Starkly haunting, tearing masterpieces of rebetika from 1933-37, when Rita and Roza ruled the roost. The best Greek composers and musicians around, too.
The Parisian musette style — from the accordion-banjo-drum trios typically heard in dance halls in the Roaring Twenties, to the refined swing of the 1940s.
Spellbinding, lovesick ballads and blues— traditional sevdah songs from Bosnia, also Macedonia and Kosovo, deftly jazzed-up.
Slow, brokenhearted Bosnian sevdah. Wonderful singing, with stripped down, accordion accompaniment. Absolutely terrific.
Uncanny, fervid music from fire-walking rituals — 1979 field recordings from northern Greece — alongside killer new invocations of the spirit-world… excoriated, dread, ecstatic, driven.
Mainly female vocal ensembles performing seasonal, child-bearing and wedding songs, with instrumental dance excursions by violin, reed-pipe, cymbalum, accordion and drum.
The key fifties recordings of the great anarchist songwriter. For Alex Kapranos — ‘his lyrics were more subversive than Dylan or the Sex Pistols and he wrote better tunes than either.’ Tremendous.
Great-fun, expertly-assembled, well-presented collection of ye-ye girl pop, featuring Francoise Hardy (of course) alongside BB, Anna Karina (from the Godard films) and co. An LP now, too.
Fifty 2011 recordings of voice — polyphonic paghjella, lullabies, laments, orations — and traditional instruments like goat horn, pirula flute and cialamedda bagpipes, and modern violin, mandolin, accordion.
Lullabies, carnival, work, wedding, shepherds’, bandits’ — music for singing, flutes, bagpipes, guimbards, fiddles and cymbalums.
Fundamentally, this is brilliant no-frills flamenco, but Diego’s a pianist, not a guitarist, which opens the music to jazz and modern-classical cross-currents.
Tremendous, new, informal recordings from the bars, private houses and streets of Jerez, Seville and Cadiz. You can hear insects, dogs barking. The music is fierce, unpolished, searing and soaring. Really great.
Tango is the national music of Finland (where Finns say it was invented) — more melancholic, less erotic than its Argentinian inspiration; the accordion, not the bandoneon. Examples here from 1915 till now.
Tremendous, unearthly, unhinged music ranging from plaintive, ancient dirges to hypnotic, droning dance pieces. 78s, mostly reissued for the first time. Decent notes, translations; lovely, original Crumb artwork.
Smart, exuberant, deftly experimental French pop, crossing chanson and the nouvelle vague, with brilliant arrangements by Jean Claude Vannier.
With the Art Ensemble Of Chicago in 1971, her masterpiece. The eight-minute title track is a total KO — dazed, alluring, urgent surrealism over deep, funky jazz — but the whole thing is sensational, a stone classic.
Folk songs from Lorca’s collection Las Canciones Populares Espanolas make rather ruddy, incongruous settings for Foster’s voice. The empty ones are best.