November 8, 2012 Yirga finds his way into Ethiopian standards, displays his flair for jazz over solo and ensemble pieces, and performs effortless homages to vintage soul. He holds everything together with voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
July 31, 2012 The various music styles of Eastern Europe's Roma people, formerly known as gypsies, have become favorites with audiences around the world. Milo Miles says no group does a better job of blending tradition with innovation than the ensemble led by Boban Markovic and his son Marko.
June 7, 2012 For decades, San Francisco DJ Cheb i Sabbah has explored numerous fusions and reconfigurations of North African, Middle Eastern and Indian music styles. He's now in the midst of a health crisis, and many of his musician friends are lending support through a benefit album.
March 19, 2012 South African trumpeter and band leader Hugh Masekela has released more than 30 albums since his American debut in 1961. The concept behind his latest album, Jabulani, is deceptively simple. It's a collection of South African wedding songs which Masekela remembers vividly from his youth.
December 21, 2011 For many years, the search for unknown or forgotten soul singers has dug deeply into music archives. But surprises still turn up. Music critic Milo Miles says this year's best discovery is a West African singer and bandleader named El Rego.
August 23, 2011 The New York trio Battles and the Chicago-based experimental rock band Cheer-Accident come from very different directions. But critic Milo Miles says that both groups have recently put out their most appealing records, without losing their cerebral side.
June 7, 2011 Elvis Presley is constantly being discovered by new generations, and by older fans in new stages of life. Critic Milo Miles talks about the surprise rewards he found while listening to the new reissue Elvis Is Back! — and during his first visit to Graceland in Memphis.
April 26, 2011 Since the 1960s, the electric guitar has provided a bridge between international folk cultures and modern pop music. An example today is the singer and guitarist Bombino from Niger, whose album Agadez contains currents of blues and rock, along with traces of African folk.
March 24, 2011 Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista has played with everyone from Paul Simon to Herbie Hancock to Yo-Yo Ma. On his album Caym, Baptista and his band interpret the music of John Zorn. Music critic Milo Miles says the album "avoids the typical downfalls of eclectic world-music albums."