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Top 10 Global Albums of 2009

The top 10 "world music" CDs of 2009, stretching from Africa and the French Caribbean to New Zealand and Brooklyn.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Wonderwheel

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Soundways

Music

Bela and Boban in Budapest

The first phrase to learn in Budapest has to be "Maga sokkal jobban tud angolul, mint én magyarul", or “Your English is far better than my Hungarian.”

Music

Bluegrass Grows in Brooklyn

The Five Deadly Venoms are leading the charge of a thriving bluegrass scene in Brooklyn.

Music

Brazilian Funk and Cuban Soul Heat Up the Northern Climes

A killer samba beat and an irresistible Cuban Sway: Brazil's futuristic Otto and Cuban expat Alex Cuba deliver soulful sounds.

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Caracol

Music

Tuva Meets Technology

From the ‘non-existent’ land of Siberia comes the long-existing sound of Tuvan drumming and throat singing.

Music

Bob Holroyd Re:Turns

“Writing music is often like assembling a collage, and I think this is why a lot of my tracks have a sort of cinematic quality to them,” says Holroyd.

Music

For Summer Dancing in the Streets

Six spectacular world beat albums that will have you dancing through those sweet summer nights.

Music

Novalima: Peru’s Hidden Treasure

Friends and band mates since high school, these Peruvian electronistas all moved to different countries; Novalima was made via emails and zip files.

Music

A Transcendental Evening at Alice Tully Hall

After the first piece, my friend leaned over and whispered that if you close your eyes, you are easily taken away.

Books

The Decline of Men: How the American Male Is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future

If men were a product, the marketplace is saying it’s outlived its shelf life. Author Guy Garcia considers how to reshape men to fit the modern world in The Decline of Men.

Books

James Baldwin's Turkish Decade by Magdalena Zaborowska

Zaborowska's dedication and passion for the subject of James Baldwin shines through; if only the dry touch of academia were far lighter.

Performing Arts

Beyond the Bubble of the Grammys

The Grammys suffer from the same problem as the rest of the recording industry: thinking America defines culture.

Books

The World Is What It Is by Patrick French

It may be difficult not to judge the man behind the Nobel-prize winning words, but this exploration of the author's life, career, and political stances will enthrall and outrage the reader.

Performing Arts

Across the Universe, for the Sixth Time

This year's globalFEST was punctuated by performances from Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, La Troba Kung-Fu, Kailash Kher, Watcha Clan, and others -- a brave journey through the world of sounds, guided by open minds and big hearts.

Books

Hello, Everybody! by Anthony J. Rudel

If you’re concerned with how media has developed and want to wager a guess about its future, this provides a textbook example of what to expect.

Travel

Visions of the World

Three world-music documentaries deserving of your attention detail the unity of Islam through music, the convergence of South Asian folk with modern technologies, and the plight of Saharan desert dwellers.

Reviews

South Park: The Cult of Cartman - Revelations

Cartman shows us gaping holes in our cultural and individual patterns: elitism, fundamentalism, and overt and habitual ignorance.

Books

Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

Saramago’s novels are meditations to be experienced by those willing to journey down the labyrinthine mazes he constructs.

Music

The Ubiquitousness of Ubiquity Records

There is no clear-cut definition of what Ubiquity Records produces, unless we go for universal terms like "good" and "dope".

Books

Remix by Lawrence Lessig

The author is not overly romantic; he does not believe that “free art” helps anyone, recognizing that file sharing should be legislated.

Music

Forty-Nine Hours at T-Dot Town's Annual Small World Music Festival

Today's global music is an extension of the culture that has been emerging over the last century, when airplanes and vinyl recordings made social exchanges possible to an extent previously undreamed.


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