Album: Orchestre National de Barbes, Alik (Discovery)

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The Independent Culture

Orchestre National De Barbes take their name from Barbes, the district of Paris where these West and North African musicians hail from.

Although this is the follow-up to a live debut released 10 years ago, it would be a slight exaggeration to say it's been eagerly awaited. However, this jaunty, spirited effort – which combines punk energy with tight, polyrhythmic playing – is great fun. All the songs are growled in Arabic and French apart from an audaciously comic "Sympathy for the Devil" that mystifies on the first listen, but subsequently delights once one has tuned into the band's aesthetic. Rachid Taha fans listen up.

Pick of the Album: The Gnawa punk rock of 'Civilise'

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