Last post before Christmas, folks. I'm heading off to Morocco for a winter break tomorrow, getting back just before the end of the month - so this may turn out to be the last post of the year as well.
I'm not going to do the usual "these we have lost" tribute - the list is far too long and far too depressing - but here are few of my personal musical highlights.
Man of the Year for both recorded and live music is the great William Bell, for "This Is Where I Live" and his show at the Union Chapel in July. Hiss Golden Messenger get an honourable mention in both categories as well. Other memorable gigs included the bizarrely brilliant Tuvan-Tuareg combination of Sainkho Namtchylak and Terakaft.
I won't attempt to rank all my favourite tracks of the year, but looking through the list I noticed that a disproportionate number of them were by female singer-songwriters and desert blues ensembles. So here are three of each which may perhaps have passed you by.
"Small Talk" - Julia Jacklin
"Assossamagh" - Imarhan
"Irene" - Courtney Marie Andrews
"Akhar Zaman" - Bombino
"The Girl From The Banks Of The Ohio" - Ana Egge & The Sentimentals
"Ahile Lamma" - Kel Assouf
We'll round things off with the Man of the Year and the Party Hit of the Year. Happy Christmas to all our readers.