Eight artists from around the world you should be listening to right now

The World

I spent last week at the World Music Expo in Budapest. It was great to meet and hear musicians from around the globe.

Missed it? Don't worry. Here's a rundown (in no particular order) of some of my favorite acts.

1. Palenke Soultribe — Colombia

This band blew me away when I walked into their showcase on Thursday night. Members of group are originally from Bogota, Colombia, but they now live in Los Angeles. 

They put on a high energy show and great use of technology and visuals that didn't overshadow the music.

2. Aziza Brahim — Western Sahara

Aziza Brahim was born and raised in a Saharawi refugee camp in Algeria. Although she didn't sing this tune, it's one of my favorites.

3. A-Wa — Israel

A-Wa means yes in Arabic. And if you were to ask me if I like their stuff, that's exactly the answer I would give you.

This trio of sisters hail from a remote farming community in southern Israel. Habib Galbi is the title track off their new album of the same name. All the tunes are updated versions of traditional Yemeni-Arabic women's songs. 

4. Cheikh Lô — Senegal

Cheikh Lô was the winner of this year's WOMEX 15 Artist of the Year award. His new album is Balbalou andit's fantastic. I love the track "Degg Gai."

5. Emicida — Brazil

Emicida is a rapper from São Paulo, Brazil.

His showcase in Budapest was on Friday and I was most impressed by his band, especially the two percussionists. You may recognize the tune "Levante e Anda" ("Get Up, Stand Up"). It was part of the FIFA '15 Soundtrack.

6. Blick Bassy — Cameroon

I can imagine Blick Bassy singing his tunes somewhere along the Mississippi Delta.

His was the only daytime showcase I caught. He calls his music Folk Afro Blues.

7. Bea Palya — Hungary

I had the pleasure to speak with Hungarian singer-songwriter Bea Palya a day after her showcase. She told me she was heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell. Her songs are personal and sometimes controversial, tacking issues like abortion or sexuality.

Related Story: Despite threat of a boycott, one of the largest world music festivals is now underway

8. Vaudou Game — Togo/France

Closing out my list is the group Vaudou Game.

Togo-born Peter Solo is leader and singer of the group. He formed Vaudou Game in 2012 in Lyon, France. He taught the band a bit about Voodoo culture and how to sing in the Mina language. 

I put together a playlist with some my favorites. Enjoy!

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