Best Music of 2013: NPR

Magda Giannikou and one of his accomplices from his Banda Magda.

Courtesy of the artist


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Courtesy of the artist


Magda Giannikou and one of his accomplices from his Banda Magda.

Courtesy of the artist

“World music” can mean just about anything. The tracks of the French clubs. Field records captured on remote Pacific islands. Bollywood soundtracks. Argentine tangos. Or, for that matter, pop, traditional, classical or religious music from anywhere in the world – as long as the lyrics aren’t sung in English and the instruments aren’t “western” (unless they are). Granted, I have set myself a pretty wide (and ultimately frustrating) scope over nearly 20 years of world music coverage for various outlets.

But I like to see the positive repercussions of branding art in an incredibly vague way. This means I have all the more great music to dig into, even though I never hear a fraction of what’s going on and is worth hearing. So I invite you to consider this list of 10 albums that I really enjoyed this year as a simple starting point for discovery – and tell me what I missed via Twitter, on Facebook or in the comments section here.

And don’t forget to check out all of the great international picks on NPR Music’s other year-end lists, from our 50 Favorite Albums to our 100 Favorite Songs. Needless to say there are a lot of globalism in the year-end picks offered by my friends Jasmine and Felix at Alt.Latino – so check out their excellent list. I was delighted to see that we only had one point of intersection which meant there was even more for me to hear in 2014.



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