Colah Colah & Turbulence - Network & The Future (Elevation Records/Basco Record Production)
With 'Network & The Future', recorded in collaboration with Turbulence, Colah Colah confirms the talent we already detected on last year's 'Networks'.
Fredy Massamba - Makasi (Self-published/Musicast Distribution)
For 'Makasi' (Lingala for "strength"), the logical sequel to his 2010 debut 'Ethnophony', Fredy Massamba once again collaborated with producer Fred Hirshy, even though for the mix of the album he travelled to New York where it was worked on by Russell Elevado (best known for his contribution to D'Angelo's legendary 'Voodoo' album).
Mamar Kassey - Taboussizé (Innacor Records)
Mamar Kassey, the band around musician Yacouba Moumouni named after the founder of the legendary Songhai Empire that stretched along the Niger River, has for many years been Nigerien music's calling card.
Les Espoirs De Coronthie - Fougou Fougou (Chapter Two Records/Wagram)
Yours truly first got acquainted with Guinean band Les Espoirs De Coronthie at the 34th Edition of the Sfinks Mixed festival in 2009, but their debut album ('Thinkhinyi', Wountanara, 2009) unfortunately didn't make it unto these pages.
Dub Inc - Paradise (Naïve/Diversité)
In the three years between the release of their previous album 'Hors Control' (2010) and the recording of this fifth album, Parisian formation Dub Inc played concerts on the six continents.
Lobi Traore - Bamako Nights: Live At Bar Bozo 1995 (Glitterbeat Records)
African live albums are like service stations in the desert: they undoubtedly exist, but are hard to find.
Shantel - Anarchy + Romance (Essay Recordings)
Now the Balkan hype seems to have died down again, Shantel is also exploring different horizons: 'No More Butterflies' still hints at his older work, the Greek influences on 'Planet Paprika' echo in 'Lenny Soda' featuring Emma Greenfield and the track list even includes a cover of an old Finnish tango classic ('Letkis', Katri Helena, 1965), but at no moment does 'Anarchy + Romance' leave a lasting impression.
Driss El Maloumi - Makan (Contre Jour)
We already knew Moroccan oud player Driss El Maloumi as one of the three members of 3MA.
Kirk Degiorgio - Kirk Digiorgio presents Sambatek (Far Out Recordings)
For 'Kirk Degiorgio presents Sambatek', DJ Kirk Degiorgio indulged himself by reworking a series of Brazilian rhythms from the Far Out Recordings label's catalog, collaborating with percussionists from the Escola de Samba Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel in Rio de Janeiro.
Various Artists - Red Hot + Fela (Knitting Factory Records)
The Red Hot Organization, the non-profit organization started gathering funds to raise awareness in the fight against AIDS in 1989 by releasing thematic compilation albums, hopefully doesn't need an introduction.
Danny Michel & The Garifuna Collective - Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me (Stonetree Records/Cumbancha)
A few weeks ago we presented The Garifuna Collective's new album and Andy Palacio's former backing band already returns for 'Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me', an album they recorded with Canadian singer-songwriter Danny Michel.
Tommy McCook - Reggae In Jazz (Pressure Sounds)
With jazz 'Reggae In Jazz' has little to do, because in fact this is just an instrumental reggae album Tommy McCook recorded in 1976 for producer Stanley 'Buster' Riley (brother of Winston 'Techniques' Riley).
Lloyd Brown - Rootical (Zion High Productions)
Like its European counterparts Irievibrations Records and Soulbeats Records, American Zion High Productions is slowly but surely building itself a reputation for solid roots releases.
Black Flower - Black Flower EP (Zephyrus Records)
For Black Flower saxophonist Nathan Daems surrounded himself with a number of likeminded souls (Jon Birdsong - cornet, Wouter Haest - keyboard, Simon Segers - drum, Filip Vandebril - bass & effects) with whom he explores the limits of the Ethio-jazz genre.
Perfect Giddimani - Over The Top (House Of Riddim Productions/Giddimani Records/VPal)
After France and Germany, Austria now seems to become the new hotspot for solid reggae productions.
Hirie - Hirie (Roots Musician Records)
Hirie (Patricia 'Trish' Tacon) was born in the Philippines, raised in Italy and then moved to Hawaii and with her self-titled debut positions herself somewhere between Etana and Rihanna (be sure to check the infectious 'Sensi Boy', which in the remix by Maad T-Ray is pure Rihanna) with clear influences from American reggae bands like SOJA, Tribal Seeds and of course Hawaii's Natural Vibrations, thrown in for good measure.
Chuck Fenda - Jah Element (John John Records)
With Chuck Fenda's previous album ('Fullfilment', VP Records, 2009) we weren't all that impressed, but the "poor people defender" takes revenge with 'Jah Element'.
Raphael - Mind Vs Heart (Irievibrations Records)
Austrian Irievibrations Records is gradually becoming a quality label for proper European reggae releases.
Da Lata - Fabiola (Agogo Records)
With 'Fabiola', Da Lata, the London collective around Chris Franck and Patrick Forge, finally returns after an absence of ten years.
Jaune Toujours - Routes (Choux De Bruxelles)
The last time Brussels band Jaune Toujours made these pages, they were working with Beninese Gangbé Brass Band, a collaboration that ultimately culminated in the 'Afrobelbeat (Be/Nin)' EP.