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Best of Globalwize 1999

02/07/21Weltbeat's Jean Trouillet Readies His Annual Best-Of Globalwize Releases In A Comprehensive Spotify Playlist

Let us take a trip back to the year 1999, at the turn of the millennium, and revisit Weltbeat host/selector Jean Trouillet's annual best-of selection for his Globalwize format. Recently compiled into a comprehensive Spotify playlist for Greedio, Trouillet's favourite and most significant musical releases of 1999 are now up and ready to be streamed by you and yours. His latest lineup brings us 15 brilliant contributions to feast our ears on, but not without a short introduction for some added context: 

Getting things rolling is a jazzy, avantgarde and folkloristic collaboration by Bulgaria's Fairy Tale Trio, alias Theodosii Spassov, Anatoly Vapirov and Stoyan Yankulov, off their "Jazz Across the Borders" album, which builds a neat bridge to a "Turkish Dance", as performed by the innovative, highly original and decidedly hard-to-pigeonhole Japanese outfit Cicala Mvta. Remaining in Balkan territory, we then hear a track by Romania's Fanfare Ciocarlia, the inimitable brass wedding band, whom you may have heard performing in one of Kusturica's movies, true virtuosos, taking each song to delirious heights. Care for a dance?

1999 also marked the return of the one and only Manu Chao (of Mano Negra fame) and his iconic album "Clandestino", championing a sound and an era in its own right. His track "Mentira" brings us to the "New Ancient Strings" collaboration by Malian kora masters Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko, acoustically retracing their ancestral heritage on 21 strings a piece and heard here playing a Mandinka dance that dates back to the 13th century. Moving on to Ethiopian soul music, Trouillet then selects a vintage, gorgeously heart-wrenching 1973 track from Francis Falceto's pivotal Ethiopiques collection by the great crooner Mahmoud Ahmed.

"The Congo Acoustic" is next, an album by the late guitar legend, composer and band-leader Mose Se Sengo, nicknamed "Fan Fan", introducing us to the popular, guitar-led Central African soukous, which derived from Congolese rumba and inspired the modern-day hightech sound. Taking over from there, is Senegal's Cheikh Lô with "Bambay Gueej", the title track off his stunningly produced album, featuring mbalax rhythms, bluesy ballads, Cuban influences and funky brass.

Which brings us to "Lady" by a certain Fela Kuti, who sadly passed away in Lagos in 1997, but who's pumping afrobeat sound lives on. As does his son Femi Kuti, who can be heard keeping his father's danceable legacy very much alive on "Truth Don Die". Another milestone that year was London-based Moroccan artist U-Cef's versatile album "Halalium", of which he said: "Everyone that worked on this album, be it White, Black, Arab, Jew, Christian, European, American, North African or Israeli, felt touched by this music and its message, uniting us in spirit on this intercultural halal adventure." Trouillet then plays a track by the late San Francisco-based Algerian DJ/producer Cheb-i-Sabbah, who worked alongside Don Cherry and can be heard here on a track entitled "Kese Kese", in collaboration with Afghan dutar player Aziz Herawi and Pakistan's Shafqat Ali Khan on vocals.

Nearing the end his 1999 best-of selection, we here a ska-flavoured, summery #1 hit by Toulouse-based multicultural outfit Zebda, followed by "Por El Suelo" by Manu Chao and, last but not least, a special dedication to Jamaica's Augustus Pablo, who passed away that year, but whose distinctive melodica sound and "Rockers Rock" still ring true today.

You can stream the full playlist via the player below or in our Greedio channel on Spotify. Rest assured, we will be back with a new selection for the year 2000 shortly. Until then, have a good one and stay tuned!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom