World Music

It was just two years ago that Mauritanian vocalist Noura Mint Seymali hit the international scene — but now, it's hard to imagine the scope of African music without her. The singer and her band blow listeners away with giddily woozy and dreamlike vocals; blistering guitar played by her husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly; and the grounding elements of Ousmane Touré's bass and Matthew Tinari's drums.

Two new albums of Puerto Rican music are giving vintage musical styles new meaning in the present. Singer Ileana Cabra and the leaders of the group Miramar all had careers in cutting edge salsa and pop; on their own, though, they've chosen to update older sounds, especially the melancholy, romantic bolero. Their new albums -- Ileana Cabra's iLevitable and Miramar's Dedication to Sylvia Rexach — are both out now.

As President Obama touched down in Cuba over the weekend, Cuban artists were making waves at the SXSW music festival in Austin.

These days, the idea of home is on the mind of the fantastically gifted singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Rokia Traoré. It's been four years since Mali, Traoré's native west African country, began descending into ongoing bedlam.

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