My mailbox has produced some very promising new world music releases in recent days:
- Badi Assad's upcoming Verde (street date 13 September) is chock full of engaging vocals and her stunning guitar work.
- I was intrigued by the high-powered guest artists on Herbie Hancock's Possibilities (street date 30 August), including Sting, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, and Christina Aguilera. Most intriguing for world music fans will be the scalding Afro-Latin "Safiatou," featuring Santana and Angelique Kidjo.
- From South Africa comes the group Freshlyground; their CD Nomvula blends African roots with irresistably catchy pop melodies. And Zolani Mahola's swooping vocals (in both English and African languages) are reminiscent of an early Gwen Stefani - in a very good way.
- Boubacar Traore's new Kongo Magni (street date 13 September) is so fresh, I haven't had time to listen. But when have the Malian blues of Kar Kar ever disappointed?
- KKV Records of Norway, the folks who brought us Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, continue their cross-cultural releases with Women CARE, a collaboration between four Norwegian women (Unni Wilhelmsen, Lynni Treekrem, Simone, Anneli Drecker) and four African women (Talike, Tigist Bekele, Chiwonoso, and Marie Daulne)