This year, The World featured new albums and songs from many global artists. Music is part of the show’s DNA and, as it turns out, it is something many of the show’s staff appreciate. They want to share some of the music they enjoyed this year on a playlist that will take you on a musical journey around the globe.
Every week, host Marco Werman shares with listeners some of the less mainstream artists he and others in the newsroom are dialed into. “From time to time, it's about my own taste. Other times, it's what I think will resonate with a wider audience,” Marco said.
The playlist includes some of Marco’s favorite album releases of 2022, starting with a collaboration between Vieux Farka Toure, the eldest son of the late legendary Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist Ali Farka Toure, and the Texas-based band Khruangbin.
Both artists were introduced to see if there might be enough chemistry to produce an album, reprising some of Farka Toure father's classic guitar melodies. The result, a record titled "Ali" — which has chemistry to spare — is a respectful homage to the father of Sahara desert blues. The collaboration also finds new patterns through entrancing songs like "Diarabi."
Nilüfer Yanya’s songs harness a lot of energy, and even up-tempo numbers that Marco says bring him a strange sense of calm.
“When I first heard Yanya's guitar and voice, I immediately thought of the Pretenders, whom I love,” Marco said. In her second album titled “Painless,” the British singer and songwriter included beautiful melodies like “The Dealer,” “Chase Me” and “The Mystic.”
As a studio director and producer, The World’s April Peavey not only chooses the music you hear daily on the show but also reports stories and produces interviews with global artists of multiple genres.
Among April’s favorite releases this year is "Aboogi," the latest album by Algerian Tuareg band Imarhan, recorded in a studio they built themselves in the city of Tamanrasset, in southern Algeria. “It is desert rock at its best,” April said. “And the song 'Achinkad' is a prime example.”
“Wamono Groove: Shakuhachi & Koto Jazz Funk ’76,” is a fun collection of vintage jazz and funk music from 1970s Japan, with a focus on the stringed koto and the Japanese flute the shakuhachi.
“Imagine the perfect soundtrack to a 70s Japanese cop show,” April said. She recommends the track “Nanbu Ushioi-Uta.”
Iceland’s Víkingur Ólafsson is currently one of the most celebrated and innovative concert pianists, known for his interpretations of Bach, Brahms and Mozart. On this new release "From Afar," Ólafsson performs classical music and plays traditional Icelandic songs as well.
“It’s his most personal album. In it, he plays all the tunes twice — once on a grand piano and another on an upright piano. Listen to his take of Robert Shumann’s 'Traumerei (from Kinderszenen, Op. 15),' played on an upright,” April said.
Reporter Durrie Bouscaren bumped into Nigerian Afropop singer Kizz Daniel’s latest song titled "Buga" while searching for breakfast-themed music. “Buga has nothing to do with breakfast but it’s now my favorite morning beat,” Durrie said.
In Kazakhstan, like many post-Soviet states, music and movies have long been dominated by the Russian language and culture, which was considered "high art." Recent years have given way to a Kazakh renaissance that embraces the country’s nomadic past, language and emerging independence.
“Yenlik is my absolute favorite artist in this genre,” Durrie said. “She infuses her raps with a distinct beat that has roots in Kazakh oral traditions, and 'DOP' is one of her best.”
“We’d be remiss not to include 'Baraye,' arguably the song of the Iran protests inspired by the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody,” Durrie said. It means "Because" and lists the reasons that people are angry at the government.
Reporter Bianca Hillier has been a fan of Rina Sawayama since 2017’s "Cyber Stockholm Syndrome." The British-Japanese singer released a new album in September of this year called “Hold the Girl,” with instant classics such as “This Hell” and “Catch Me In the Air.” The song "Send My Love to John" from the same album was inspired by Sawayama’s friend, who is a queer immigrant, and his complicated process of coming out to his parents.
“Instead of focusing on the hardship of his situation, like many similar narratives do, this song is about the friend’s mother expressing a subtle but intentional acceptance of her son’s partner, John. It’s a story of empathy, told by Sawayama’s impressive vocals and acoustic guitar,” Bianca said.
The World’s engineer Mike Wilkins recommends "Boleros Psicodélicos," a 12-track tribute album by the co-founder of the psychedelic soul duo Black Pumas, Adrian Quesada. In this record, Quesada pays homage to the golden era of romantic bolero music, while bringing his own psychedelic leanings into each track.
“Accessible and hauntingly familiar, the album easily fits into both a Saturday night or Sunday morning playlist. This is a new addition to my collection, as I sought out more music from Quesada after Marco highlighted his latest effort, Jaguar Sound, in October,” Mike said.
This year, digital editor Amanda Lichtenstein became obsessed with “Mela Mela,” a song by Ethiopian artist Kassmasse in collaboration with Jamaican reggae artist Protoje that promotes peace in war-torn Ethiopia. “The hypnotic hand-clapping and slow build to a crescendo of joyful beats takes me into a transcendent state as I play the song on repeat throughout the day … I’ve never heard a song quite like this,” Amanda said.
Ever since reporter Tibisay Zea interviewed Uruguayan singer and songwriter Jorge Drexler, she has been listening to his new album, which got multiple Latin Grammy awards this year.
“My favorite song is 'Cinturon Blanco,' or 'White Belt.' It's a song about trying to be a beginner again, and all the excitement and possibilities that come with seeing things with new eyes, Tibisay said. “It reminded me of Pablo Picasso’s quote: ‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like a child.’”
Next up are producer Anna Kusmer’s recommendations of songs by Belgian singer, rapper and songwriter Stromae, who produced an earworm of European dance parties in 2009, titled “Alors on danse” or “So We Dance.”
“It’s hard to imagine that baby-face Stromae has been on the scene for over 10 years, but I have found his most recent music to be the most interesting and enjoyable, including his 2022 tune 'L’enfer' is a hypnotizing propulsive song about depression and 'Santé,' a celebratory ode to service workers who can’t celebrate — because they’re working,” Anna said.
Check out the playlist and let us know which songs you recommend adding. Send us your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or wherever you follow us on social media.
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