Setenta - Latin Piece Of Soul (Hot Casa Records)
One only needs to listen to the aptly titled 'Latin Piece Of Soul' to realize Setenta paid careful attention to the example set by the greats of the Nuyorican salsa and soul scene (if you like this sound definitely check out the back catalog Fania Records label).
Bottle Of Moonshine - Everybody Watches No One Knows (Zephyrus Records)
Turnhout based ska and rocksteady-collective Bottle Of Moonshine has already been going at it since 2003, but is now finally releasing its debut album.
Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha - Lapland-Balkan (Playground Music)
For their new album, 'Lapland-Balkan', Finnish band Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha has immersed itself in the musical traditions of the Balkans resulting in a highly festive blend of Finnish and Balkan elements.
Norris Man - Mystical Journey (Home & Away Music/Nordic Steel Entertainment/Fox Fuse)
It took Norris Man over a year to create the seventeen tracks on 'Mystical Journey', a partly self-produced album, for which he also joined forces with the team (Henrik 'Spitfiyah' Persson, Jens 'Jatrix' Landegren and Iman 'Russ' Esmaeilpour) behind Swedish Nordic Steel Entertainment, with whom he already recorded the 'Modern Roots' album last year.
Babylon Circus - Never Stop (Jive Epic/Sony Music)
Babylon Circus, a band from Lyon, but nowadays operating from Paris, have been going at it for nearly twenty years now.
Alborosie - Dub The System (Greensleeves)
Alborosie already proved his dub craftsmanship with the limited edition 'Dub Clash' in 2010 and of his latest album 'Sound The System' he's now also releasing a vinyl only dub version (the vinyl format only allows for eleven instead of the sixteen tracks on the original album to be featured).
Mikey General - Hailelujah Song (Reggaeland Records)
Just before the year end Reggaeland Records still surprises us with 'Hailelujah Song' by Mikey General.
One Root - Revelation (Self-published)
Stating Pura Vida and Brussels based One Root (formerly known as Sunrockers, winners of the 2012 edition of the Benelux Reggae Contest) are kindred spirits might be just a bridge too far, but judging by the tracks on this 'Revelation' EP both bands have at least listened to the same Jamaican examples.
Lisa Bennett - Blowing Down Trees EP (Self-published)
With her 'Blowing Down Trees' EP, Lisa Bennett, the Brooklyn, New York-born singer with Jamaican roots (but currently living in Belgium), clearly wants to show her versatility; from ska and roots to dancehall and dubstep, Bennett seems to tackle it all with the same ease.
Jamaican Jazz Orchestra - Jamaican Jazz Orchestra EP (Self-published)
An initiative like this ten-man strong Jamaican Jazz Orchestra, drawing inspiration from artists like Ernest Ranglin, Monty Alexander, Bob Marley, The Skatalites and Jackie Mittoo, only has a chance of success if it counts a set of sound musicians in its ranks, and judging by the tracks on their self-titled debut EP that is certainly the case here.
Shanren - Left Foot Dance Of The Yi (Riverboat Records/World Music Network)
Shanren is a band from Yunnan, a mountainous province in Southwest China, their name roughly translating as "mountain men".
Tango Extremo - Dama De Blanco (Self-published)
Of all Latin American music genres tango is certainly closest to classical music; something Dutch band Tango Extremo, a five piece ensemble around violinist Tanya Schaap, also must have noticed as on 'Dama De Blanco' they give a number of well-known compositions by composers like Claude Debussy, Georg Friedrich Händel and Sergei Rachmaninoff a tango makeover.
Million Stylez - Songs About You EP (Special Delivery Music)
No idea wither Million Stylez recently found new love or had to cope with a breakup, but on this 'Songs About You' EP the Swedish singjay resolutely opted for tunes about his love life.
Erik Aliana - Just My Country (Buda Musique)
After Blick Bassy, thanks to Erik Aliana we finally get to hear some music from Cameroon again.
Easy Kabaka Brown - Opotopo (Soundway Records)
Good news for the vinyl fanatics among you because 'Opotopo' (Easy Kabaka Brown's nickname), the first of two albums that Nigerian musician Easy Kabaka Brown recorded in the 1970s, will only be reissued in a limited vinyl edition (those who purchase the LP also get a free digital download of the album on top).
Lëk Sèn - Hope Inna Afreeka (Jahsen Creation)
Lëk Sèn has great plans: with the proceeds of his third album, the aptly titled 'Hope Inna Afreeka', the Senegalese bard wants to build a music school in his native village Ngor.
Tamikrest - Chatma (Glitterbeat Records)
One could consider 'Chatma' ("sisters"), Tamikrest's third long player to date, to be the band's first concept album.
Luciano - The Qabalah Man (Al.Ta.Fa.An Records/Grooveattack/VPal)
Is it just yours truly or are Luciano's albums starting to sound more and more recognizable? In the case of 'The Qabalah Man' there are several reasons for that: Al.
Débruit & Alsarah - Aljawal (Soundway Records)
On 'Aljawal' ("the traveler") electro and traditional Sudanese music meet somewhere between Khartoum, New York and Paris.
La Sieste Du Dromedaire - Tango From A Dromedary Point Of View (Self-published)
La Sieste Du Dromedaire is already in the running for the most beautiful CD case of 2013 (thanks to Jan-Sebastiaan Degeyter) and by combining Argentine tango with African percussion the five-member Belgian-Dutch ensemble also brings together two very different worlds.