10 tracks from across the globe to check out right now

Shake up your listening habits with these ten picks from our World music playlist, and then go straight to Spotify, Apple Music or Deezer to hear many more incredible beats and inspiring sounds from across the globe.

1. ‘Queens’

Les Amazones d’Afrique

‘Queens’ is the latest single to be lifted from the second album by Les Amazones d’Afrique. Featuring Rokia Koné on lead vocals, the track blends classic a Malian guitar and rhythm section with jazz drumming, hammond organ and the unmistakable touch of producer Liam Farrell (a.k.a. Doctor L) with gritty synth overdubs. The official video captures the singer performing in venues on the local, vibrant music scene of Bamako, Mali.

2. ‘STR8 OUTTA MUMBAI’

Jai Paul

‘Str8 Outta Mumbai’ is the standout track on enigmatic London-based artist Jai Paul‘s 2019 album Bait Ones. Released after a seven year hiatus, the track draws from Paul’s Asian heritage, heavily sampling the 1977 Vani Jairam recording ‘Bala Main Bairagan Hoongi’ and lending it a new relevance with the addition of contemporary electronica elements.

3. ‘Deixa’

Bebel Gilberto

‘Deixa’ is the first single taken from Brazilian bossa nova star Bebel Gilberto‘s forthcoming new album Agora, her first in six years. During this time, Bebel lost both of her parents and her closest friend. She says that as a result, the album ‘is a little bit crazier, more mature and extremely sincere.’ Enlisting the production skills of Thomas Bartlett (of The Gloaming), Bebel’s expressive vocal sits above a steady groove combining a dream-like drone of horns, bells and strings, creating a unique sound that we look forward to hearing more of on the upcoming record.

4. ‘Yolele’

Papa Wemba

We have recently been celebrating the 25th anniversary of Papa Wemba‘s seminal album Emotion, which was released in March 1995. Once described by Peter Gabriel as “the African singer with the greatest voice”, the pop sensibilities of New Order producer Stephen Hague allowed Wemba’s voice to soar and to reach new audiences on this album, perhaps best exemplified on the infectious opening track, ‘Yolele’.

5. ‘Baby’

Dakhabrakha

Ukranian folk quartet Dakhabrakha have created a sound which is hard to categorise. Drawing primarily from Eastern European folk, the success of the band lies in their ability to echo elements of soul, hip-hop and blues whilst still sounding totally unique. Their dramatic live set stunned the audience at WOMAD Charlton Park last summer with driving rhythms and otherworldly vocal hooks. ‘Baby’ is taken from their 2014 album Light.

6. ‘aRRABI al aRABE’

Mariem Hassan

Mariem Hassan was one of North Africa’s great singers. Using music as a way of protesting on behalf of her Sahrawi people, she sang with powerful emotion about their displacement when Morocco took control of Western Sahara in 1975. She spent the early days of her musical career touring refugee camps, encouraging fighters of her people’s cause, before carrying the message with her to Europe. Later in her career she enjoyed widespread acclaim, performing at WOMAD Festivals in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Sadly, she died as a desert refugee in 2015 in south-west Algeria, but her musical legacy lives on through beautiful recordings such as this track, taken from her 2012 album El Aaiun Egdat.

7. ‘Birthright’

Sarathy Korwar

Sarathy Korwar fuses traditional folk music recorded with the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi and Indian influences) with contemporary jazz and electronics. His music is an honest reflection of his experience as an Indian in Britain, incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz performances.

“ ‘Birthright’ talks of the absurdity of lines drawn in the ground that define us” says Korwar. “Do we belong in our homeland? Where will we be seen as ourselves? It also draws attention to the climate crisis and how race, class, faith and caste play into the equation of who will drown first.”

8. ‘Yange’

Aurelio

As summer beckons, we love to revisit the Garifuna sounds of Aurelio Martinez. Through sweet guitars and delicate percussion, Aurelio tells the tale of his brother who suffered and passed away from a mysterious undiagnosed illness on this track named in his honour, which is taken from the 2011 album Laru Beya. Though the events are tragic, the tone of the song, like many Garifuna accounts of difficulties, is subtly celebratory.  Yange’s story is being told while grief is being given voice. The focus, as in many of Aurelio’s songs, is not on conveying his opinion, criticism, or commentary, but on finding common touchstones of shared emotion.

9. ‘June’s Garden / Pockets’

Kinnaris Quintet

Kinnaris Quintet are an all-female string ensemble based in Scotland. Their music has been described as ‘euphoric’, and combines Scottish and Irish folk with classical, Scandinavian and Appalachian influences. Using an approach that is innovative, impulsive and instinctive, their music lends itself to a creative freedom that has grasped the attention of live audiences and critics alike. ‘June’s Garden/Pockets’ is taken from their debut album, Free One.

10. ‘Azmari Dub’

Dub Colossus

‘Azmari Dub’ is the opening track on Dub Colossus‘ 2008 debut A Town Called Addis. The album was inspired by meeting, writing, and working with singers and musicians in Addis Ababa in August 2006; it is a collaboration between Bristih producer Nick Page and these amazing musicians covering Azmari and traditional styles as well as the popular singing styles of the 60s and 70s. It seeks to combine the golden years of ethiopique beats and ethiojazz with the dub reggae styles of early 70s groups like The Abyssinians and The Mighty Diamonds.

Listen to our World Playlist

You can hear all of these tracks and lots more on our regularly updated ‘World’ playlist. Available on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer, we choose tracks from our catalogue alongside new releases and music that we love from other labels to bring you a diverse and inspiring mix of sounds from all corners of the world.

Listen NOW

By Oran Mullan

Published on Fri, 10 April 20

Further reading

Les Amazones d’Afrique Remix Contest final 12 revealed

The tracks were chosen from over 500 remix submissions.

NTS Work In Progress 2020 selection announced

Real World partnered with NTS Radio to support this artist development programme.

A look back on 2019 at Real World Records

Looking back on a busy twelve months for the record label in the year of our 30th birthday.

Remix Contest: ‘Love’ by Les Amazones d’Afrique

Les Amazones d’Afrique invite you to remix ‘Love’ from their new album Amazones Power