It's easy to limit one's attention to familiar Western sounds, but that would deny the pleasures of this year's best Latin and world music albums, including Angélique Kidjo's reimagining of the Talking Heads' Remain in Light, the return of Ethio-jazz icon Hailu Mergia, and the latest from Tuareg guitar master Bombino.
Kidjo's stunning reimagining of the Talking Heads' 1980 masterpiece highlights its African roots and substantiates Remain in Light's credentials as one of the most influential albums of the rock era in a worldwide context.
The acclaimed Tuareg guitarist leaves the West behind, recording in Africa on his fiery, unfiltered sixth album.
The band's Tweety Gonzalez-produced sophomore effort moves beyond electro corridos to embrace cumbia, psychedelia, Afrobeat, and more.
The esteemed Aussie art pop duo delivers a bacchanalian oratorio inspired by the Greek god of wine and ecstasy.
The Rio de Janeiro native elegantly filters Brazilian musical traditions through his distinctive pop approach on his sophomore set.
After two prolonged battles with cancer, the artist returns with his first studio album in nine years and it's a rocker.
El Maestro's late career surge offers fans a killer set of his salsa classics completely revisioned for jamming by his tentet and big band.
A star-studded, topically and musically provocative collaboration between Calle 13's Visitante and Dominican songwriter Vicente Garcia.
The favorite son of Afrobeat and his longstanding band deliver a tour de force of Afrobeat quilted with highlife, Latin, Caribbean, and R&B.
The Ethio-jazz icon makes a triumphant and vibrant return, three decades after his last release.
A peculiar and utterly mesmerizing collection of whimsical, dreamlike compositions from the Spanish guitarist and composer.
The Colombian songwriter and singer ignores the language barrier, doubles down on reggaeton, and furthers his quest for pop domination.
On his third full-length, the Colombian singer weds his pop and reggaeton identities, and provocatively combines them with urban sounds.
Natalia Lafourcade's second volume of Musas, her tribute to the Great Latin American Songbook, is just as delightful as its 2017 predecessor.
Recorded live to tape at Havana's legendary Areito Studios, this cooking multi-generational big band pays homage to the mambo with passion and innovation.
There is no sophomore slump evident on the artist's second long-player, absolutely stacked with romantic performances and numerous guests.
The Barcelona-based singer, songwriter, and actress delivers her sophomore outing that weds flamenco and copla to R&B and urban pop.
Re-enlisting Robert Glasper as co-producer, the Afrobeat scion offers his own take on the music that incorporates modern jazz, dub, and rock.
The Malian singer/songwriter employs a youthful electric band on his vital and joyous fourth release for Thrill Jockey.
The third studio effort by this nine-piece outfit pushes their 21st psychedelic cumbia to engage sounds from across the Latin world.
The West African powerhouse continues to blaze their own path on their excellent third release for the FatCat label.
A decade after the popular first volume, Analog Africa presents another set of electrifying Afro-funk from Benin.
Camilo Lara produced and curated this star-studded tribute to one of Mexico's greatest songwriters and reveals the eternal youth appeal of the material.