This week, we’ll check out some of my favorite albums of 2013. Even with the record industry seemingly in the dumps, there have been some really fantastic releases that have caught my ear. Here are my top favorite picks!

Boogaloo Assasins: a great local band I first heard on the radio and was immediately intrigued. We’ll hear their version of the Dawn Penn classic, “No No No” from Old Love Dies Hard.

Dieuf-Dieul de Thès: this tongue-twister of a Senegalese band has the sort of energy that makes you love West African music on their album Aw Sa Yone Vol 1.

Cesaria Evora: a posthumous release from the Queen of Cape Verdean music named Mãe Carinhosa.

Orchestre El Gusto d’Algiers: this 21 piece cha’abi orchestra is the Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers. Separated by time and war, the mostly-octogenarian musicians–Jews, Arabs, Christians–got together for one last tour and album. Their show at Grand Performances was one of the highlights of the summer. Their album, El Gusto, is privately issued but available.

Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa: part Broadway showman, part Moroccan trance music, both the self titled album and Grand Performances show was another high point of my musical summer.

La Familia Valera Miranda: This is son band from Eastern Cuba, playing soulful, simmering hot music from Oriente Province. They also had a few shows in town over the summer. The name of their album is De Santiago Yo No Me Voy  (I’m not leaving Santiago de Cuba).

Buika: the sultry Spanish singer’s new album has a new album, La Noche Mas Larga (The Longest Night). She’s also touring America and just had a show this past week on 12/17 at Club Nokia.

Oriental Blues (Various): this is a collection of classic songs performed by some great performers including Natacha Atlas, Greek singer Savina Yannatou, Persian artist Hossein Alizadeh, and others.

Joseph Kabasele: Le Grand Kallé: His Life His Music is an expansive 2 CD collection and 100+ page hardbound book celebrating the first Congolese artist to fuse Cuban and Congolese music together into what became known as Congolese Rumba. This style started in the heady years after Congolese Independence from Belgium in 1960. There is such optimism in this joyful music, which preceded the assassination of Congo’s first democratically-elected president, Patrice Lumumba, along with the chaos of Katanga’s secession, kleptocrat General Joseph Mobutu and his long reign of the resource rich country.

Click to stream via KCRW Radio App

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 12/20/13

  1. Boogaloo Assassins / No No NoOld Love Dies Hard / Sicario Records
  2. Dieuf-Dieul de Thiès / Na Binta / Aw Sa Yone Vol 1 / Teranga Beat
  3. Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa / Ana HayouAziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa / Socadisc-Adami
  4. La Familia Valera Miranda / PotpourroDe Santiago Yo No Me Voy  (I’m not leaving Santiago de Cuba) / FVM
  5. Buika / Siboney  / La Noche Mas Larga (The Longest Night) / Warner Music Latina
  6. Cesaria Evora / Mãe CarinhosaMãe Carinhosa / Lusafrica
  7. Orchestre El Gusto d’Algiers / El Assima / El Gusto / Private Issue
  8. Dhafer Youssef / Al-Hallaj / Oriental Blues / Network
  9. Joseph Kabasele / Independence Cha-Cha / Le Grand Kallé: His Life His Music / Stern’s

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  • Dr. Vicki Burrichter

    Dear Tom,
    At year-end, I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you SO MUCH for the great music and blogs! As a Ph.D. in music, I consider some of the most profound part of my training to be the many, many years I have listened to you and all that I have learned from your exquisite taste. As I teach classes in Latin American Music, Jazz, and conduct my choirs at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, I draw from your blog and your shows and am thrilled to introduce my students to you and your work.
    I can never thank you enough for being such an influence on my life and art.
    with deep gratitude and best wishes for your holiday season,
    Dr. Vicki Burrichter
    Denver CO

  • yownyoint .

    Thanks for featuring these Artist Spotlights. There is some great stuff here. I’m relatively new to Rhythm Planet and have really enjoyed what I have seen/heard so far.