CKUT’s Top World Music Picks for 2012

World Skip the Beat host Parker Mah runs down a selection of his (personal) top 10 world albums of 2012. “World albums” is defined as a very broad category that includes traditional / contemporary, folk / urban, original / remixed music from different countries and global cultures, or music that is influenced by such cultures. The list includes not only original albums released in 2012 but also compilations released in 2012, overruling the year in which the music in the compilation was originally released.

Albums were selected based on originality, production value, consistency, and overall booty-shakingness.

Top 10 albums:

10. Alaa Wardi (Jordan / Saudi Arabia) – Alaa Wardi EP (A Cappella)

Sample song: Shalamonti Fel7al

Alaa Wardi’s driving voice and compound-eye videos are a treat. Vocal overdubbing like this is nothing new, but he does it well, and in arabic, and with an energy and range reminiscent of Cuban group Vocal Sampling.

9. Mala (UK) – Mala in Cuba (Brownswood)

Sample song: The Tunnel

Not just electronic beats over latin songs or canned bongo sounds. Mala goes a lot further, exploring the collective unconcsious of cuban music. I liked it better than Maayan Nidam’s Nightlong (2009), a possible precursor.

8. The Funkees (Nigeria) – Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria’s Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77 (Soundway)

Sample song: Ole

All of their Nigerian 45s assembled in one album. Harry Mosco Agada (and Miles Cleret) can do no wrong.

7. VA – Sofrito International Soundclash (Strut)

Sample Song: Mas Ka Kle – Lese Yo Pale

DJ compilers Hugo Mendez & Frankie Francis turn out another gem from dusty crates of Caribbean and central African rarities. Fe’m Confiance by the Difficiles de Pétion-ville is a dancefloor killer.

6. Bocafloja (Mexico) – Patologías del Invisible Incómodo(

Sample Song: Caleidoscopio

Talented spoken word artist, poet and rapper Bocafloja has been a very busy man this year, with a pile of collaborations and a full-length album to his credit. Excellent production and two standout tracks with fellow Quilomboartist Hache ST and Gabriel Teodros (ex-Abyssinian Creole), profiled earlier this year on WSTB.

5. Lucas Santtana (Brazil) – O Deus que devasta mas também cura/The god who devastates also cures (Mais Um Discos)

Sample Song: O Deus que devasta mas também cura

His stellar show at Grüner Salon in Berlin this fall sealed it. An album for all occasions, with the mellower songs just as strong and catchy as the uptempo ones.

4. Ondatrópica (Colombia) – Ondatrópica (Soundway)

Sample Song: Tiene sabor, tiene sazon

Will Holland and Mario Galeano pull off Buena Vista Social Club, colombian version. Michi Sarmiento, Fruko, Pedro “Ramaya” Beltrán, Alfredito Linares, Wilson Viveros, Markkitos Micolta, Anibal Velasquez and others join forces in a Discos Fuentes time-warp, with Mario Rincón in the studio.

3. VA – Surinam! Boogie & Disco from the Surinamese Dance Floors ‘76 – ‘83 (Kindred Spirits)

Sample Song: Usje Sukatma – Waiting for your love

A surprise from South America, the first (and hopefully not the last) compilation of rare vinyl boogie & disco cuts from Surinam. Look for full album re-releases in the near future.

2. Barbara Moleko (Denmark) – Lykken Er (Disco: Wax)

Sample song: Gå en tur

Had to go to Copenhagen to discover this rising star, relatively unknown outside of her native country. Honeyed voice & fantastic soul-era mixdown gets me every time.

1. Batida (Portugal / Angola) – Batida (Soundway)

Sample song: Alegria

Hip-hop MCs & the copious use of original samples sets this album far above other kuduro / dance albums I’ve heard. Instant block party.

Honourable mentions: OQuadro – OQuadro (Coaxo do Sapo), El Buho – El Tecolote Canta (Antartek Records), VA – United States of Africa mixtape(mixed by EngongHitek), VA – Stolen from Africa Vol. 2