The French-Moroccan quartet Bab L’ Bluz reached the top position of the June Transglobal World Music Chart this time with their album “Swaken”.

“Swaken” is eleven tracks that spark and pulse with kinetic, pedal-to-the-metal energy. Follow the spiral, and find your centre. Move and whirl, headbang and hair whip, into a place that is out there and deep within, an altered state where minds open, boundaries fall away and trust – in values, principles, ourselves – is rediscovered, made real.

This is ancient-to-future music, rooted as much in psychedelic blues, funk and rock as in the trancey, propulsive rhythms of northern Africa’s Maghreb: Gnawa, Amazigh, Hassani and Houara music.

Recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, England, written partly in Morocco – the birthplace of frontwoman Yousra Mansour – and mostly across a world tour. Mansour’s melismatic voice has never sounded so forceful, or the riffage from her electric awisha lute so mighty. Her bandmates Brice Bottin, Ibrahim Terkemani, Jérôme Bartolome (on everything from keyboards, flutes and electric guembri to drums, backing vocals and qraqeb castanets) interact with what might be telepathy, their playing skilled and tight.

Losing yourself to find yourself is a central tenet of Swaken, an album whose warm analogue sound nods to such ’70s rock icons as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Nass El Ghiwane, Morocco’s very own Rolling Stones, social justice warriors who mixed western rock and folk with a trance aesthetic influenced – as is that of Bab L’ Bluz – by Gnawa lilas, the all-night healing rituals intended for sacred spirit possession.

The Bab reads in Arabic like a gate, and the quartet has imaginatively placed an inscription on it, “Welcome to the truth that can be spoken without fear.”

Top albums June 2024:

  1. Bab L’ Bluz · Swaken · Real World [-]
  2. Ali Doğan Gönültaş · Keyeyî · Mapamundi Música [6]
  3. Sam Lee · Songdreaming · Cooking Vinyl [3]
  4. Aynur · Rabe · Dreyer Gaido [1]
  5. Asmaa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou · L’Bnat · Ajabu! [18]
  6. Aziza Brahim · Mawja · Glitterbeat [2]
  7. Kiran Ahluwalia · Comfort Food · Six Degrees [12]
  8. Avalanche Kaito · Talitakum · Glitterbeat [16]
  9. Maria Mazzotta · Onde · Zero Nove Nove [5]
  10. Ana Lua Caiano · Vou Ficar Neste Quadrado · Glitterbeat [9]
  1. Huun-Huur-Tu, Carmen Rizzo & Dhani Harrison · Dreamers in the Field · Dark Horse / BMG [-]
  2. Jembaa Groove · Ye Ankasa | We Ourselves · Agogo [8]
  3. Olcay Bayir · Tu Gulî · ARC Music [-]
  4. V.A. · Congo Funk! Sound Madness from the Shores of the Mighty Congo River (Kinshasa / Brazzaville 1969-1982) · Analog Africa [10]
  5. Quintet Bumbac · Héritages · Collectif Çok Malko [24]
  6. Tarwa N-Tiniri · Akal · Atty [-]
  7. Lina · Fado Camões · Galileo Music Communication [4]
  8. Sahra Halgan · Hiddo Dhawr · Danaya Music [7]
  9. Marjan Vahdat · The Eagle of My Heart · Kirkelig Kulturverksted [26]
  10. Céu · Novela · Urban Jungle / ONErpm [-]
  1. Besh o droM · Hova Lesz a Séta? · Fonó [23]
  2. Halva · Musafir · Zephyrus [22]
  3. Vedan Kolod · Birds · CPL-Music / CPL-Musicgroup [27]
  4. Dele Sosimi & The Estuary 21 · The Confluence · Wah Wah 45s [17]
  5. Adama Yalomba · Tanou · Remote / Studio Mali [-]
  6. Les Amazones d’Afrique · Musow Dance · Real World [11]
  7. Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams El Din · Ousoul · Buda Musique [14]
  8. Newen Afrobeat · Grietas · Lichens Family [30]
  9. Alxaraf · Exodus · Digital Dos [-]
  10. Nancy Vieira · Gente · Galileo Music Communication [13]
  1. Tiken Jah Fakoly · Acoustic · Chapter Two [-]
  2. Altan · Donegal · Compass [39]
  3. Maliheh Moradi & Ehsan Matoori · Our Sorrow · ARC Music [15]
  4. Atanda · Ọ̀mọ̀nílẹ̀, Son of the Soil · One World [-]
  5. Lass · Passeport · Chapter Two [19]
  6. Yīn Yīn · Mount Matsu · Glitterbeat [20]
  7. Za! & Perrate · Jolifanto · Lovemonk [32]
  8. Abdallah Oumbadougou · Amghar: The Godfather of Tuareg Music Vol. 1 · Petaluma [28]
  9. Les Frères Timal · Sè Sa Menm · Aztec Musique [-]
  10. Suzumeno Tears · Sparrow’s Arrows Fly so High · Doyasa! [25]

NMR (Photo: press)

Founder members and administrators Transglobal World Music Chart

Ángel Romero (US), Araceli Tzigane (ES), Juan Antonio Vázquez (ES)

Current active members:

Alexis Herrería (MX), Rosângela Britto (BR), Ula Nowak (PL), Liana Cisneros (PE), Banning Eyre (US), Magda Tejchma (PL), Seth Jordan (AU), Tony Hillier (AU), Charlie Crooijmans (NL), Nigel Wood (IE), Dore Stein (US), Roger Holdsworth (AU), Madan Rao (IN), Gil Medovoy (US), Chris Heim (US), Ciro De Rosa (IT), Scott Stevens (US), Hendrick T S Foh (MY), Cliff Furnald (US), Rob Weisberg (US), Toni Polo (FR/ES), Nicolás Falcoff (AR), Masakazu Kitanaka (JP), Jordi Demésenllà (ES), Rafael Mieses (DO/US), Luís Rei (PT), Jean Trouillet (DE), Evangeline Kim (US), Willi Klopottek (LU/DE), Alejandro López (ES), Jon Kertzer (US), Ken Stowar (CA), Jiří Moravčík (CZ), Mu Qian (CN), Carlos Ferreira (PT), Gil Rouvio (IL), Bouna Ndiaye (SN/US), Kutay Derin Kuğay (TR), Robert Gregor (SK), Yatrika Shah-Rais (IR/US), Armen Manukyan (AM), Rolf Beydemüller (DE), François Bensignor (FR), Eleni Ziliaskopoulou (GR), Marija Vitas (RS), Jaïr Tchong (BE), Enrique Blanc (MX), Tiago Lucas Garcia (BR), Zekeriya S. Şen (TR), Benjamín Muñiz (PR), Daryana Antipova (RU), Mika Kauhanen (FI), Luisa Piñeros (CO), Toni Pennacchia (US), Chen Hanzi (CN), Takuya “Salam” Unagami (JP), Janaína Ávila (BR), Roger Short (UK), Ankur Malhotra (IN)

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