There were some outstanding releases to chase away the gloom of 2009. In alphabetical order, my favorites were:
- Mamane Barka: Introducing Mamane Barka (World Music Network) Niger
- Blick Bassy: Léman Cameroon
- Kimi Djabaté: Karam (Cumbancha) Guinea-Bissau
- Rachid Halihal: Arabian Music from Morocco (ARC Music) Morocco
- Baaba Maal: Television (Palm Pictures) Sénégal
- Novalima: Coba Coba (Cumbancha) Perú
- Oumou Sangare: Seya (Nonesuch) Mali
- Puerto Plata: Casita de Campo (IASO Records) Républica Dominicana
- Sara Tavares: Xinti (Four Quarters Entertainment) Portugal
- Tinariwen: Imidiwan : Companions (Times Square Records) Mali/Tuareg
I Bring What I Love
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's documentary about a pivotal period in the life of Youssou N'Dour. Excellent access to the personal history of this usually very private superstar.
BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE of 2009
King Sunny Adé at the Independent, San Francisco
This was one of the most fun evenings of the year. Nigerian living legend—the "Minister of Enjoyment"— was in fine form on the intimate stage of the Independent. A night of nonstop dancing with a crowd who was totally into it.
BEST LOCAL DISCOVERY of 2009
Radio Africa & Kitchen
Chef Eskender Aseged's cuisine is sensitively composed of nourishing ingredients and his zest for life.
BEST BRUSH WITH GREATNESS of 2009
Interview with Baaba Maal at Press Here Productions in New York, October 16, 2009. This one-on-one interview will air in February 2010 on Africa Mix at KALW 91.7 FM in anticipation of Baaba's upcoming tour—presumably performing songs from his acclaimed release, Television. See you at the show! Tuesday, April 20, 2010, CalPerformances at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.