The best music of 2012: Global pop
Sunday 30 December 2012
You have to admire artists that go with their instincts regardless of whether there's an audience waiting for them on the other side.
For nearly a decade, American-Israeli group Balkan Beat Box have fused what no band have fused before, and with their fifth album, Give, they've refined their songwriting skills to the point where the result matches their ambitions.
Young Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca's debut, Yo, suggested influences as diverse as Erik Satie and Abdullah Ibrahim. It rarely puts a foot wrong. Vinicio Capossela has been described as Italy's Tom Waits, but his concept album Marinai, Profeti e Balene signposted the fact that he is very much his own man. Incorporating as many styles as there are songs, and utilising everything from orchestra and choir to the most idiosyncratic percussion instruments
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, Mama Rosin continued to believe they had Cajun blood running through their veins. And with Bye Bye Bayou they came as near as they'll ever come to convincing the rest of us that this is the case.
Closer to home, may I introduce you to London band Tigercats, whose debut album, Isle of Dogs, is a strikingly original concoction of late 1970s post-punk, brightened up by jangly Congolese-style guitar. It found itself on my CD player more than anything else in 2012
Review: Of Mice and Men
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Arts & Ents blogs
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
- 1 Disabled people are trapped in assessment 'nightmare' by PIP benefits regime, says Dr Stephen Duckworth
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Queen turns 88: David Bailey captures another side of the Queen in birthday portrait
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers