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The 15 Best World Music Albums of 2010

Africa dominated the world music scene in 2010 -- or at least, it dominated Western perceptions of what "world music" might be. That said, the new vinyl archeology could be seen at work in all areas and all eras of recorded music.

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Davila 666: Pocos Años, Muchos Daños

You're aware that they could defect into another sound at any moment.

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Sahelsounds

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Tinariwen: Inside/Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions

This five-track, half-hour live set is an offshoot of the longer album Emmaar.

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Garotas Suecas: Feras Míticas

Acid jazz was there before, but now it takes over.

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Dona Onete: Feitiço Caboclo

Looking around for translations of the Portuguese lyrics, I find out that I've been listening to her request kisses from a beer-wet mouth.

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Benyoro: Benyoro

A razor-sharp group of six instrumentalists founded by a Californian who plays djeli n'goni and guitar.

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Da Cruz: Disco e Progresso

Mariana Da Cruz sounds as if she's having the time of her life on vocals.

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Zongo Junction: No Discount

It's not surprising to see free jazz credited alongside Fela Kuti as one of the group's inspirations.

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Tanya Tagaq: Animism

One of the most radically bewildering symbioses of voice and field recording I've ever heard.

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Oumar Konate: Addoh

Plenty of grinding jangle on the debut solo album from this talented Malian guitarist.

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Godbrain

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Benyoro

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Quraishi: Mountain Melodies

Exquisite, calm, unbudgeable, Quaraishi plucks his way through nine samples of ancient and modern folklore, some of it composed by himself.

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Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics: Cigarros Explosivos!

They need to either knock you dead with skill or else subvert the whole notion of skill.

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Sibelius-Akatemian Folk Big Band: FBB

When the voices ring together it's a communality fantasia or HOA's magic joy-dream.

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Ahmed: Dhaalu Raa

When he tenses up for hard rock, he sounds gawky, but relaxation turns him intense.

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Various Artists: globalFEST Selector

None of the megafamous names are on here, but nobody's going to miss them.

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Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Latin Rare Groove

Customer satisfaction almost universal on this one.

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Asasi

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Anansy Cissé: Mali Overdrive

Execution is king here.

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Ibibio Sound Machine: Ibibio Sound Machine

This is an album that came out of a language.

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Yasmine Hamdan: Ya Nass

Her narrators miss their lovers, they're sad about them, they're filled with longing.


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