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Round-up 2017 Michal Boncza's albums of the year

FORMERLY of Fitzcarraldo Sessions, Herve and Thierry Mazurel’s Valparaiso is a collective project of stunning musical vision, with chanson at its core.
In Broken Homeland, a group of invited singer-poet-lyricists provides the voices and texts, with Phoebe Killdeer, Rosemary Standley, Marc Huyghens and Howe Gleb mesmerising as their expressive voices probe perceptions, feelings and relationships. The arrangements are breathtaking too.
Orkesta Mendoza, from their local city Tucson, are also second or third generation Latinos and Vamos a Guarachar! revisits the shared heritage of migrations with songs that stun.
Traces of cumbias, mambos, corridos and rock produce an entirely new language that's an utter revelation.
Rock and jazz are the musical lingua franca of Kefaya’s Radio International, where multicultural components are fused seamlessly into seven breathtaking songs, interspersed with 10-second radio broadcasts of political comment preceding each. Brilliant.
When identity is hard to hang on to in a world globalised by capitalism, bands like the Zimbabwean sextet Mokoomba, who affirm their culture and do it with modernity, sensitivity and aplomb, have to be shouted about from the rooftops. Their Luyando is as exquisite as Mathias Muzaza’s voice is stunning.
Jupiter Bokondji and Okwess International are politicos who interpret the oral and music “zebola” tradition of the Mongo people, a majority in the Congo and part of the larger Bantu nation, to debate social ills and failings of government. A high-risk undertaking, but Kin Sonic remains brisk, danceable and memorable.
Why did We stop Growing Tall? by Abatwa (The Pygmy) offers a medley of chants sung, often polyphonically, by various artists, with voices rich in tonalities and low-key, ever-changing modulations that are eloquent, affirmative, authentic and proud. The sheer glory of the human voice is a joy to listen to.
If you like your salsa raw and in your face, then La Mambanegra’s El Callegueso y su Malamana is it.
Hailing from Cali’s working-class district of San Nicolas this is a proud bunch, “I’ve got the candour of my people, I’ve got the strength of my continent,” its founder Jacobo Velez belts out and you understand why.


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