Zion Train - State Of Mind (Universal Egg)
Yours truly is not an expert in the universe of Zion Train, but that didn't stop me from enjoying 'State Of Mind', the first full-fledged Zion Train album since 2007's 'Live As One'.
Various Artists - Steely & Clevie presents Memories (VP Records)
Above all else 'Steely & Clevie presents Memories' is a tribute from Cleveland 'Clevie' Browne to his deceased companion Wycliffe 'Steely' Johnson, a project they still started working on together.
Titi Robin - Les Rives/River Banks (Naïve)
Although in France he's got almost a whole career behind him, we had actually never heard of Thierry 'Titi' Robin, multi-instrumentalist and world traveler.
Mamani Keïta - Gagner L'Argent Français (No Format!/Naïve)
Mamani Keïta's life story reads like a novel: she grew up in Bamako without a father, lost her mother when she was only thirteen years old and was eventually discovered by Salif Keita who took her to Paris.
The Liberators - The Liberators (Record Kicks)
It seems to rain afrobeat projects these days; from all over the world we continue to get releases and curiously enough there's hardly ever a bad one between them.
Various Artists - French Reggae Revolution (Soulbeats Records)
With this charmingly packaged compilation - the cover is a reggae version of the well-known image of Marianne, the French national symbol - Soulbeats Records tries to paint a picture of the current French reggae scene.
Groundation - We Dub Again (Soulbeats Records)
The release of 'Building An Ark', the upcoming album by Groundation was postponed to March 2012 and so the fans will still have to grin and bear it for a while, but to kill the time Soulbeats Records still releases 'We Dub Again', an album with dub versions of songs from 'We Free Again' and 'Dub Wars'.
Joni Haastrup - Wake Up Your Mind + Monomono - Give The Beggar A Chance & Dawn Of Awareness (Soundway Records)
Attentive readers will have spotted the name of talented Nigerian keyboardist Joni Haastrup on these pages before, because Soundway Records already used some of his songs for their Nigeria Special compilations and he was also one of the musicians who worked on the 'Black Goddess' soundtrack reissued by the same label.
Salimata Diabate - Kolokagni (African World Music)
Salimata Diabate's music contains elements of Senegalese, Guinean and even Malian tradition and that's not a coincidence; Diabate was born in Dakar, but already started to travel the world with the Ballet National de Guinée at the age of ten! 'Kolokagni' is reminiscent of the Cuban influenced music Salif Keita and Baaba Maal turned out when they were both still signed with Island Records.
Sugar Minott - Reggae Anthology: Hard Time Pressure (17 North Parade/VP Records)
Just over a year after his premature death, VP Records honors the great Sugar Minott with this double CD/DVD anthology.
I Wayne - Life Teachings (VP Records)
At the time of his debut album, 'Lava Ground', now more than five years ago, we still described I Wayne as: "the most hyped Jamaican artist after Sizzla.
Glen Washington - Most Wanted (VP Records)
VP Records seems to have taken charge of Greensleeves' Most Wanted series and opted to put the work of Glen Washington in the spotlight.
DRC Music - Kinshasa One Two (Warp Records)
DRC Music's 'Kinshasa One Two' one moment sounds like an African fever dream and the following resembles an LSD-trip through the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.
Various Artists - Reggae’s Gone Country (VP Records)
The fact one can create a reggae version of just about any song is nothing new and without the musical influences from the United States (which reggae musician was not influenced by the soul of Curtis Mayfield and his Impressions) the Jamaican music landscape might have looked very different.
Sanchez - Love You More (VP Records)
Sanchez migrated to the United States a few years ago and that move seems to have affected his music.
Various Artists - Black Feeling 1 & 2 + Ray Lugo & The Boogaloo Destroyers - Mi Watusi + Shaolin Afronauts - Flight Of The Ancients (Freestyle Records)
It's always nice to be able to present a new label and this time that's the English Freestyle Records, founded in 2003 and mainly specializing in funk, jazz, soul and Latin music.
Banda Black Rio - SuperNovaSambaFunk + Various Artists - Nicola Conte presents Viagem 1, 2 & 3 (Far Out Recordings)
'SuperNovaSambaFunk' is the new album by a band that in Brazil needs no introduction: funk formation Banda Black Rio! Banda Black Rio was established in the early 1970s and these days a second generation of musicians has taken over from their founding fathers.
Fool's Gold - Leave No Trace (I Am Sound Records/Wagram)
Yours truly was still very enthusiastic about the debut of Californian Fool's Gold, but their alternately Hebrew and English mix of African music, krautrock and 1980s pop and dance, seems to have all but disappeared on 'Leave No Trace'.
JuJu - In Trance (Real World Records)
On their debut album 'Soul Science' (Wayward Records, 2008) Juldeh Camara and Justin Adams still appeared under their own names, but for 'In Trance' they abbreviated them to the tasty JuJu, a term referring to the witchcraft inspired religion which originated in West-Africa and made its way to America.
Sebastian Sturm - Get Up & Get Going (Rootdown Records/Soulbeats Records)
For his third studio album Sebastian Sturm ended his collaboration with the Jin Jin Band and that can be heard; 'Get Up & Get Going' sounds rougher and heavier than its predecessors, making Sturm's somewhat mellow reggae gain maturity and strength.