- Best Native American album: various artists - Come To Me Great Mystery — Native American Healing Songs [Silver Wave Records]
- Best Hawaiian album: Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho - 'Ikena [Daniel Ho Creations]
- Best Reggae album: Burning Spear - Jah Is Real [Burning Music Production]
- Best Traditional World Music album: Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu [Heads Up International]
- Best Contemporary World Music album: Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo - Global Drum Project [Shout! Factory]
Many, many deserving artists and albums didn't garner even the recognition of a nomination. None of SoundRoots' top 10 albums of 2008 were on the Grammy lists.
Which leads me to today's music. Ladysmith Black Mambazo are great, but a truly innovative album that deserves wider recognition is Sira by Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze.
Goetze is a German-born, New York-based trumpet player. Cissoko is a Senegalese singer and kora (21-string African harp) player. Sira ("mermaid") is the name of Cissoko's youngest daughter, and an appropriate name for a type of music that seems fanciful and not easily glimpsed in the ordinary musical world.
Their collaboration is a masterpiece of improvisation, melody, and beauty. Somewhere between jazz and griot music, it captures an ethereal spirit of sublime communication between two master musicians in perfect balance.
[mp3] Ablaye Cissoko + Volker Goetze:
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