From Kishasa's ear-bursting sounds, Ghanaian rappers, Afrobeat kings from Nigeria to Nubian rhythms in Egypt, among a host of titillating sounds and rhythms, Africa's musical year will get off to an exciting start.
Nigeria is riding high on the release of D'banj's first album in four years at the end of 2012. Senegalese bard Wasis Diop will drop a new record, and veteran singer of morna from Cape Verde, Zé Luis, will release his first international album in 2013.
In Egypt, Nubian singers and frame-drummers NubaNour will release their album of music reflecting the culture that was swallowed up by Lake Nasser. The ear-bursting Kinshasa sounds of Jupiter & Okwess International will debut in Europe with Hôtel Univers. Guinean Mory Kanté will make a sparkling new release later in the year.
There are a lot of talented African musicians who have not been given attention due to factors like piracy or a lack of proper music institutions or labels
As the Festival au Désert goes ahead despite the obstacles, Mali is also productive in the studio. New albums are expected from ngoni whizz Bassekou Kouyate, songstress Rokia Traoré (pictured left), Tuareg rockers Tamikrest and new sensation Samba Touré. The industry has gotten a kick with the formation of a new label dedicated to African music, Glitterbeat, which will release an unearthed recording of the late guitarist Lobi Traoré playing live in a Bamako nightclub●
"There are a lot of talented African musicians who have not been given attention due to factors like piracy or a lack of proper music institutions or labels: Canada-based Nigerian Oranmiyan Ajagundade, who sings in Yoruba with an Afrobeat and hip-hop sound; Chuma Obumselu, who sings in Igbo as well as English; Babatunde, who is a rapper from Nigeria and is very deep; Show Dem Camp, a group I worked with years back and are still amazing...
On my journey around the world I get to meet really good artists. Just two days ago I met an amazing artist called Manifest, a rapper from Ghana. Wanlov the Kubolor is another Ghanaian talent. These are artists who are conscious and use music as a means of reaching out to our leaders for change. You should check them out" says Nigerian singer Nneka (pictured centre)●
Albums of 2012
After the Malian kora player's astounding collaboration with French cellist Vincent Segal, At Peace continues to show how he understands the sounds of others whilst quietly delivering his own magic.
Ethiopia Super Krar
This London-based trio brings a sparky new energy to songs based on Ethiopian traditions and played on the krar lyre. Rocky, edgy and transfixing tracks include a dedication to Mulatu Astatke with a driving rock sound and melodic flute solos.
Staff Benda Bilili
Bouger le Monde
A second studio release from this Congolese super group highlights the electric sound, in part produced by Roger Landau's musical instrument of tin cans and string. With additional singers, it's a more sophisticated mix.
Soweto-born rapper Spoek Mathambo's second release is a multi-genre journey through the issues facing his country-men. Dubstep, reggae, highlife and hip hop sit alongside electro beats on tracks about subjects including the diamond trade.
Cuban pianist Fonseca makes a daring leap into Cuba's musical roots with an album filled with African talent. Alongside his rippling piano tunes is music from Cameroonian bassist Etienne Mbappe, percussionist Baba Sissoko and vocalists Fatoumata Diawara and Assane Mboup.