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One particular artist that I like is Toumani Diabate. He is from Mali and plays the Kora, a stringed instrument. Nice recording and very accesible music. A good album to start with is New Ancient Strings, not sure of the label but you can get it at Amazon if you can't find it in your local record emporium. Another label to add to the list Hhh provided is Real World. This is Peter Gabriel's label and has a lot of variety.
Yes Peter Gabriel's Label has a lot to offer, two albums that I have which are great are as follows:
1) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt (excellent recording)
2)Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook - Night Song (extreme low bass content and a great workout for speakers which can play low bass down to 25-30 Hz)
Another gem in world music is Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder's "Talking Timbuktu" (Ali is also from Mali, and this album was listed in Stereophile as "Album of the month" when released)
I would also recommend Strunz and Farah's Primal Magic (if you like flemenco guitar this is one of the best in my opinion, I have had it since ten years and still is always close to my system whenever I need to revitalise my soul)
Try Dadawa and to borrow a quote from one music reviewer
"Voices From The Sky is a gorgeous (though somehow too short) collection of Tibetan music by a young Chinese singer. In the note for the first song, there is a reference to the Tibetan deity who gives musical skill to outstanding singers. You'd almost suspect that the Melodious Goddess had given a tweak to this album.
Among them is the haunting "Ballad of Lhasa" with its opening of fluting pipes and background drums, the difficult-to-decipher "Question From The Other Shore," the thunder-accented "Sixth Dalai Lama's Love Song," and "Believer" ("I suddenly heard/the true world of your prayer").
The musical instruments include bamboo flutes, keyboards, and drums. And occasionally there is a massive chorus; I had to crank down the volume. Another cool touch is the thunder in "Love Song." My main complaint with Dadawa's album is that occasionally it becomes a little too piercing; her voices soars up where it hurt my ears. But her voice is more often than not melodious and soft, a bit more like Enya, except that she sings words that are a bit choppier than Gaelic. And the lyrics are listed both in their original language, as well as an English translation that reveals their poetic meanings.
A gorgeous album that brims over with unique music, by a very talented young woman and a religious leader with a great deal of poetic skill."
I have really nothing to add except I slightly prefer her earlier "Sister Drum" album for better instrumentation and music composition.
- "Fancha, Criolina", Cape Verde (Tinder Records)
- "Basia, Time and Tide" (Epic)
- "Mira Zakai, Unaccompanied", a capella (Ima Records)
- "Cesaria Evorda, Distio De Bilata", made in France (?)
- "Misia, Ritual", (Erato)
- "The Astrud Gilberto Album", (Verve Records)
- "Astrud Gilberto -w- Turrentine", (CBS)
If not into older popular music the last two may be too corny for you. She has a beautiful voice (think Nico and early Marianne Faithful), plus first rate musicans backing her up.
All of these are on CD (you did not specify).
You might also try searching for music of Basque origin (both old and contemporary).
I cannot locate these right now (stored a lot of our CD's in boxes), so no titles.
We have a double CD (modern Basque) that guy's @ the local audio shops used to drool over when I brought it in (Kepa-something, I think).
"The Living Road" by Lhasa De Sela - she has the most beautiful husky, alto voice ever (cowboy junkie-ish)...sings in spanish, french and english
"Visal" by Abida Parveen - you'll enjoy this if you're into south-asian classical music especially classical vocals. And if you're a Nusrat Fateh fan, this is must for you...