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Huff Post's Best Albums Grammy's Forgot

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Monday February 20, 2017

From The Huffington Post

40 That the Grammy Awards Forgot: 2016’s Best Albums From Around the World
By: Daniel Rosenberg

Beyoncé or Adele? That was the message from this year’s Grammy Awards, and the debate they’d like us to continue until next year’s ceremony. While “25” sold millions, it was far from the best album of the year.

2016 will be remembered for its political earthquakes and for the tragic deaths of musical giants including David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, and Esma Redzepova, several of whom shared their final thoughts and dreams for eternity in their last albums. Similar messages of hope and desperation can be found in magnificent recordings made in African prisons and in Syrian refugee camps. The plight of refugees and migrants have shaped the political climates on both sides of the Atlantic, their music and demanding stories can be found throughout this global list of the best recordings of 2016:

Roberto Fonseca: ABUC (Verve/Impulse) (Cuban Jazz)

Roberto Fonseca manages, in one album, to take his audience on an extended tour of the rich history of Cuban music. The Buena Vista Social Club pianist is joined by another BVSC legend, Eliades Ochoa on “Tumabo De La Unidad” while New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty shines on “Cubano Chant”. There’s 1940’s style big band mambo, as well a host of other Latin jazz tracks, all beautifully arranged and produced on 2016’s Cuban album of the year.

Rokia Traore: Ne So (Nonesuch) (Mali)

The themes of home, refugees, and ethnic violence can be found throughout Rokia Traore’s stunning release, Ne So. The recent rebellions in northern Mali drove millions from their homes, and ever since the conflict started, Traore has been performing free concerts in refugee camps. The album is produced by John Parish (who has worked with P J Harvey, among others), and features songs in Bambara, as well as French and English, including a devastating version of Billie Holliday’s classic “Strange Fruit”, reminding us that the world still has yet to truly confront racism and its consequences.

To read the full list click here