Proof that cultures are colliding: the recent upsurge in cross-pollination among musicians. Here, albums making waves on the world-music scene.
Born in Zaire and raised in Brussels, Zap Mama's Marie Daulne channeled her mixed heritage into A Ma Zone (Luaka Bop). Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-released Ancestry in Progress (Luaka Bop). The 14-plus ethnically varied members of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra create a hybrid of jazz, funk, rock, and West African soul on Talkatif (Ninja Tune). Blur front man Damon Albarn paired up with Mali's top musicians, including one of the few female ngoni players, to produce Mali Music (Astralwerks). Since every country has a plethora of talent under the radar, the Rough Guides compilations will help you get your feet wet in the vast pool of global sounds. —Hillary Geronemus