Credit: Vito Rivelli

Great music, we know, comes in many languages, in every style, from all corners of the globe. T+L scoured the world to find five of 2009’s top international releases. Before your next trip, just press play.

  • Argentina: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, La Luz del Ritmo (Nacional). After a decade, the iconic rockeros are back with a dynamic collection of reggae, calypso, and pop tracks.
  • Sierra Leone: Bajah & the Dry Eye Crew, Young Rising (Modiba). The charismatic dance-hall star aces his American debut with a tuneful, hip-hop–inspired record.*
  • Spain: DePedro, DePedro (Nat Geo Music). This seductive album dwells in the sweet spot where smooth Spanish melodies converge with sultry Mexican rhythms.
  • India: Kailash Kher, Yatra-Nomadic Souls (Cumbancha). Merging Sufi chants, Bollywood exuberance, and Slumdog-style pop, Yatra defines the modern sound of India.
  • Brazil: Céu, Vagarosa (Six Degrees). Pour bossa nova into a blender with a scoop of samba. Blend on low, stirring jazz in slowly.
  • France: Ayo, Gravity At Last (Nublu). The Paris-based, German-born artist taps into her Nigerian and Roma roots to create an evocative, wide-ranging folk sophomore album.**
  • Mali: Amadou & Miriam, Welcome to Mali (Because Music). A 60-something blind Malian couple + West African music traditions + impeccable pop production = a stellar, accessible world music release.
  • Ireland: The Swell Season, Strict Joy (Anti Records). This poetry-inspired acoustic reverie should guarantee more well-deserved attention for the fresh-faced duo behind 2007’s Oscar-winning Once soundtrack.***
  • United States: Spencer Day, Vagabond (Concord Jazz). The catchy, pop-jazz stylings of this promising young pianist reflects everything from musical theater to Dusty Springfield. Watch out, Billy Joel.

*Release date of Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew’s first LP, Young Rising, has been pushed to 2010.
**Ayo’s Gravity At Last will be available in early 2010.
***Available October 27th on iTunes and