RADIO SALONE - SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALLSTARS Recorded entirely on vintage analog gear, the album is reminiscent of the classic funky 70s African sound popular with vinyl collectors and reissue labels. Having persevered through the horrors of the Sierra Leonean civil war, band leader Reuben Koroma and the group continue to musically evolve in exciting ways, well past their jam sessions in the Guinean refugee camps and the rawness of their first recordings in their native capital of Freetown. The songs fuse intricate dub elements not found in their earlier material with soukous and rumba, and interludes are featured as part of the album flow for the first time. While the band initially gained fame through the power of their story and message, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have since become one of Africa's most active touring bands, and the years of experience are reflected in the virtuosity of their performance on Radio Salone. (Cumbancha, 2012)

YO - ROBERTO FONSECA  Roberto Fonseca is a brilliant Cuban pianist, who is also a great musical adventurer and astute collaborator.  If jazz-funk is a key reference point (the heady percussiveness of "80's"), this varied offering also spins out in a variety of directions on other tracks; pop, classical, blues, world... The duet with Malian songbird Fatou, "Bibisa" - also involving a conversation between piano, ngoni and kora - is a show-stopper; fresh-sounding and one part dreamy to three parts invigorating. There are fascinating meetings between Cuban jazz and Moroccan Gnawa and Algerian pop, elsewhere.  Novel musical fusions can seem contrived, but the chemistry here is consistently magical. (Jazz Village, 2012)

BLUEGRASS  New in from the prolific compiler Putumayo... Alison Krauss kicks off this particular party. CLICK HERE TO HEAR SAMPLES.

ACOUSTIC BRAZIL Our favourite Putumayo compilation of all, never tire of playing it in the shop (which is rare for me!).  Gorgeous, sophisticated samba cancao and other popular Brazilian music by legends such as Gal Costa, Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso. I won't enter into hyperbole, except to say that that everyone in the world should own a copy. Probably two in case they lose one.  CLICK HERE TO HEAR SAMPLES

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF HUNGARY Hungarian music, which bears the influence of folk, gypsy and Jewish tunes, is a living and breathing European tradition with its own unique instruments. Listen out for cimbalom master Kálmán Balogh, dazzling fiddler Róbert Lakatos, and traditional gypsy party band Parno Graszt (World Music Network, 2012)

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF ETHIOPIA  This Rough Guide bursts at the seams with everything from golden age Ethio-jazz to contemporary dub fusion. Classic tunes from Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete appear alongside Krar Collective, Dub Colossus and more. Features free bonus CD by Invisible System. (World Music Network, 2012)

'hits the bull’s-eye' 4****stars, Independent On Sunday

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF SCANDINAVIA  There is a quality to the music of Scandinavia that seems born in the long winter months; it is dark and humorous, steeped in tradition yet sharply inventive. This Rough Guide showcases some of the most adventurous sounds from the region, including the techno-joiking of Wimme, Icelandic minimalism by Amiina, and explosive experimentation by Kimmo Pohjonen with the Kronos Quartet. (World Music Network, 2012)

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO FLAMENCO DANCE  Adored the world over, flamenco dance is a passionate and expressive art form originating in Spain. A vibrant living tradition grounded in the gypsy roots of Andalusian flamenco culture, it combines song, guitar and dance in one compelling movement. (World Music Network, 2010).

'an excellent and varied compilation of current flamenco artists', fRoots

'tempting tracks... great value' 4**** stars, Limelight (Australia)

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO PSTCHADELIC AFRICA  Far-out psychedelic-sounding rock mixed with a thick dollop of deep funk and soul was massively popular during the 1960s and 1970s in Africa. This Rough Guide features some hand-picked gems from the archive such as Victor Uwaifo and Balla Et Ses Balladins, and includes tracks by unstoppable psychedelic veterans Ebo Taylor and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, who are still releasing top-quality mind-bending grooves today. (World Music Network, 2012).

CELTIC WOMEN  This Rough Guide spotlights music from the Celtic shores of Northern Europe and beyond. Artists like Irish singer Cara Dillon and French-Breton innovator Cécile Corbel infuse their music with strands of contemporary folk, Americana and more. This Rough Guide also considers Canadian artists, such as stellar name Teresa Doyle, who are re-inventing their Gaelic roots. Bonus disc from Tessa Doyle (World Music Network, 2012).


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