As probably one of the largest groups of folks utilizing global music on the regular, I feel that we, as bellydancers, should support our musicians every chance we get. That means actually paying for their music once in a while – not just copying CDs for each other and grooving to them on Pandora and Spotify for free… As one who has been guilty of giving out free music to dance students and friends occasionally in the past, I remember once a workshop teacher having a great response when a participant asked if she was going to email us all a copy of the song we were dancing to. She said she didn’t do that, as a rule – if we wanted the music, we needed to pay for it so that the musicians get the proceeds from us all sharing in their wonderful art. 🙂 Thank you to her (I can’t recall who it was exactly, but there have been several since who have had the same policy) for giving me this realization so many years ago, and I ask that all of us continue the favor of paying these musicians for their music. So here are some new albums worth throwing a couple bucks at:
*I don’t get paid for recommendations nor do I have sponsors for this blog. These are just personal recommendations.
Grammy award-winning Tuareg musicians – peak your interest? These guys blend traditional sounds of the Saharan Desert with some deep soul, blues and a touch of rock. It’s as if someone raised on Mississippi Delta blues was transplanted right into the middle of conflict in Mali and joined a band of nomads trapsing the Saharan Desert. Same groove, same heartbreaking and soulful lyrics. And to find out where that sound comes from, just read a bit about the lead guitarist’s bio on wikipedia. Wow.
We missed them playing Italy recently, but they’ll be swinging through France and America over the Spring! Check out their tour dates here.
*If you like this group, there is a whole world of Sahara Desert Blues music! You can check out the album “The Rough Guide to Desert Blues” to get a sampling from various artists.
This album came out last year, but it’s still worth mentioning. It’s a beautiful blend of Indian sitar with classical piano. Anoushka Shankar (who happens to be a half sister of Norah Jones) uses elegant melodies and simple rhythms, making her music easier to dance to than some traditional sitar. There’s even a collaboration with M.I.A. on this album, which is referential to humanitarianism and global conflict.
*She’ll be in Berlin soon, then headed to the US (including Birmingham for our friends down there! yip!) – check her tour dates here
Sultans of String
This is another one that came out last year, but this super fusion group deserves a spot on the list. Based in Canada, but blending Arabic folk, Spanish flamenco, French-gypsy, South Asian, Celtic and Cuban sounds, these guys have some real toe-tappers on their albums.
Looks like they’re sticking to Canada tour dates this Spring but will hit America in May and again in August. See their dates here
No introduction needed here for most of you, but let’s just remind everyone that Beats Antique is under the production/arrangement of bellydance headliner Zoe Jakes, and we know that means there are always great danceable tracks on every album. This album is no different in that regard, but PLENTY different in the variety of music and influence put together on it. New Orleans jazz, blues, West Coast hip hop, and Russian vocals come together, along with the gypsy trance, electronica and dub step we love about this group.
They’ve got a handful of tour dates sprinkled around the west and midwest US, check them out here
If your taste is slanted towards the electronica and chill, Bonobo has a cool new album. This producer is UK-based but the new album Migrations explores global sounds with subtle references to folk music around the world.
Bonobo will be touring all over Europe over the next month, and will hit the US in April, covering quite a bit of ground, including Atlanta and St. Louis for my pals there! Check out their dates here.