Born in the Algiers Kasbah to a Sephardic family of Andalusian origins, LB trained in classical Arabic music. He mixed in other favourite styles — flamenco, film music, rumba, jazz, chaabi — to make ‘Francarbe’.
Irresistible kora-led Manding melodies, surging and hypnotic; original songs rooted in the musical traditions of Senegal and Mali.
Spellbinding, lovesick ballads and blues— traditional sevdah songs from Bosnia, also Macedonia and Kosovo, deftly jazzed-up.
Buena Vista diva and piano maestro — two Cuban legends basking together in romance and nostalgia: ‘a dedication to the love of music’.
Three Palestinian brothers, master oudists — intensely emotional and dramatic, thunder shot through with lightning — joined by percussion and now and again the Tunisian singer Dhafer Youssef.
The fab fadista at the Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon: many contemporary compositions, with Jose Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar, Jose Elmiro Nunes on Portuguese and classical guitar, and Filipe Larsen on bass.
Slow, brokenhearted Bosnian sevdah. Wonderful singing, with stripped down, accordion accompaniment. Absolutely terrific.
Luminous, chamber settings of the lyrical poetry of Manuel Alcantara, beautifully done. Martin is one of the most feted flamenco singers of her generation.
Her publicists bang on about how she’s mates with Prince and Jagger, so what a relief this is real-deal, melting fado singing, beseechingly soulful, no histrionics — with ace Custodio Castelo on Portuguese guitar.
A second helping of fast-fingered thrills and heart-tugging spills from the wonderful Argentinian accordionist, master of chamame.
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.
The Buena Vista diva, nostalgic but still experimenting — check her duets with Brazilian legend Chico Buarque, and Richard Bona, the bassist from Cameroon.