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
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Young Preston fan has play-off hero Jermaine Beckford's shirt stolen from him at Wembley - which then appears for sale on Gumtree
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people