For a dozen years, a music festival that highlights the music of Africa has been held near Timbuktu, Mali. This year, a nationalist uprising and ongoing battles made the Festival au Desert impossible. A new recording from the most recent event helps fans continue to celebrate the music.
Yirga finds his way into Ethiopian standards, displays his flair for jazz over solo and ensemble pieces, and performs effortless homages to vintage soul. He holds everything together with voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
For decades, San Francisco DJ Cheb i Sabbah has explored numerous fusions and reconfigurations of North African, Middle Eastern and Indian music styles. He's now in the midst of a health crisis, and many of his musician friends are lending support through a benefit album.
Congolese guitarist Franco is not well-known in America, despite being one of Africa's greatest pop artists. That might change, now that the the African guitarist and band leader's tracks have been released on two albums, Francophonic Vol. 1 and 2.
Critic Milo Miles reviews the reissue of The Explorer Series featuring music from around the world that was originally released from 1967 to 1984. The Explorer Series is now being re-released by region. The first is 13 CDs from Africa (on the Nonesuch label).