The mind's eye is a familiar enough concept but the mind's ear less so. However, it's my mind's ear that's thrilling to the very idea of the Spanish jazz/flamenco diva Buika's emotive voice filling London's Union Chapel on 18 April. This gorgeous space is a gift to singers if they have the good sense to only bring a small acoustic ensemble with them.
I hate to say it, but there may be the smallest question mark hanging over my next choice. How can anything be said with certainty about Mali at the moment? However, one of the country's greatest contemporary musicians, Bassekou Kouyate, has managed to record a thrillingly powerful new album, Jama Ko, which bristles with anger. The album's late-January release coincides with concert appearances alongside fellow Malian Sidi Touré and Touareg rock band Tamikrest.
On the CD front, Monoswezi is a collective of musicians from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Norway and Sweden. They play a highly original blend of sophisticated modern jazz, topped off by the intricate buzz and twang of vocalist Hope Masike's hypnotic mbira (thumb piano). Even though we're only a week into January, I feel confident their strikingly atmospheric debut album The Village will be on my end-of-year list for 2013.