- Axum – Axum
- Luisa Maita : Lero-Lero
- various artists: Putumayo Presents Tribute to a Reggae Legend
- The Budos Band: The Budos Band III
- King Sunny Ade: Baba Mo Tunde
- Mohsen Namjoo: Oy (Ouch)
- various artists: The Rough Guide to Bhangra
- Jienat: Mira
- Rahim Alhaj: Little Earth
- various artists: Roots of OK Jazz-Congo Classics 1955-1956
It's been a good month for new releases...and particularly for some less familiar artists. Take Axum. A duo of Ethiopian-Israelis (Gilor Yehuda aka Judah and Reuben Aragai aka Tedross), they blend hip-hop, dancehall, and reggae sounds with Ethio and Middle Eastern vibes, a mix that will knock your socks off. Luisa Maita remains on the chart, down from No. 1 last week. Putumayo's tribute compilation to Bob Marley also remains, followed by the Afro-soul of the Budos Band's third album (see SoundRoots' recent review).
King Sunny Ade is back with his first studio album in a decade; the long tracks aren't particularly radio-friendly, but make for fantastic listening in a format more like his famous long live sets. Mohsen Namjoo's Persian rock follows, then a new Rough Guide to Bhangra and the joiking-percussion album from Jienat.
Rounding out the chart this month is Rahim Alhaj's great world-jazz double CD Little Earth, featuring a raft of guests including Robert Mirabal, Bill Frisell, Glen Velez, and Yacouba Sissoko (what, no Bill Laswell?). And then another time-capsule album from Crammed -- this time a fascinating look at Congolese big-band jazz in the mid 1950s.
Check out the links above for audio samples and more info. And if you think I've missed key albums, feel free to discuss -- or you can submit your own review for possible publication on SoundRoots.