Let us officially wave goodbye to a year whose politics took a toll on our sanity, but whose tracks gave us wings to enter the new. Whether you want to bust out some dance moves making your way to class, pirouette along Panther Beach or sing into your spatula while cooking up a “new year, new you” dinner, these rising artists from around the globe will restore your faith in 2018.
You survived 2017. Celebrate with Paris-based afropunk artist Tshegue’s electric and heart-racing track filled with guitar riffs, swelling vocals and vivacious percussion. According to lead singer Faty Sy Savanet, born in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the band’s name — which is also a nickname of hers — refers to street kids in Kinshasa hanging out and making music. This song blends garage rock with Congolese rhythms, generating a playful feel that will pump you through the day.
Mild High Club
This psychedelic ode pays tribute to the southwest Native American figure Kokopelli, the hunchback, flute-playing deity who represents fertility and music. The lead singer of the psychedelic pop band Alex Brettin lures listeners with his soft, husky voice paired with eerie and sensual drum beats embodying “the Kokopelli.”
Me Voy (TrookoRemix)
Ibeyi feat. Mala Rodriguez
Sultry offbeat hip-hop stirs into electronic R&B vocals in “Me Voy,” describing the melancholy of the past to strengthen the future. Ibeyi’s French Cuban sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz write their lyrics in several languages, with these delivered in Spanish. The lyrics, “Y ya no tengo frio / Y ya no tengo miedo / Aunque no tenga nada / A mí mece el cielo,” translate to “And I’m not cold anymore, and I’m not scared anymore, and although I don’t have anything, the sky rocks me,” a soothing reminder to accept the vulnerability of transition.
Forget your morning coffee and have a listen to Haze’s exhilarating reminder to “Risk being uncomfortable to become unstoppable.” Haze, who identifies as agender, is an important figure in the growing representation of queer hip hop artists. Their raw voice and message declare we are what holds us from being our truest selves. The song features poetic rap over dark and smoky beats. Add this to your playlist to head into the day with purpose.
Durbaan Ka li Tuma
Waayaha Cusub feat. Desiigner
Translating to “The New Dawn,” Waayaha Cusub is a Somali hip-hop music collective from Kenya that combats Islamic extremism. The band members’ political focus abroad caused them to be banned from re- entry to Kenya. They collaborated with American rapper Desiigner for Spotify’s “I’m with the Banned” movement, featuring videos and songs by artists from Muslim-majority countries paired with American musicians. Waayaha Cusub’s lead singer Falis Abdi’s sharp vocals carry quick-paced beats to manifest an uplifting battle cry against institutionalized racism.
Cuando el mar se trague el sol
Hal Incandenza feat. Linda Mirada
When the sun sets, as the song is titled, it just might sound like Hal Incandenza and Linda Mirada’s mystical electronic composition. Synthetic beats layered over echoing flutes and chimes create a sentimental and dreamy ambience. Poetic lyrics allude to the light and dark, or the sky and sea, of uncomfortable change. Listen to the rest of their album “Calor” if you are hoping to transcend your expectations this year.