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 and it'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.
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!