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Best of World Music - 2022

Artist Gaye Su Akyol
Turkey’s Gaye Su Akyol mixes psychedelia and folk and even surf music into her music. (Photo Courtesy of Glitter Beat Records, pulled from their press packet)

Unlike other cool music and entertainment magazines and websites, our crack team of musicologists (really, it’s only me) like to take their time in culling together a best of, end of the year list. 

This is just in case something pops on the radar on the last day–I want every musician to get their chance at appearing on this list. Plus, in reality, I was on holiday for two weeks.

So, here’s some of the best music that came my way last year–some of which includes a band who didn’t release anything, since their heyday was in the late 1970s and 80s, but whose music was recently unearthed and put out into the world–so it counts in my book. 

Also, unlike all the other best of lists, I do not number mine or put them in order (although, there is one or two that if pressed, I would have as my number one-see below). And, because of attention span and space, I’m only posting a few of the videos here, along with a bulleted list. To hear the whole show, tune in Saturday night from 6-8 streaming via this website or dial it up locally in Richmond, Va on 93.1 or 107.3FM.

Adrian Quesada - Ídolo (Feat. Angelica Garcia) (Official Audio)

Quesada put out two–two–outstanding records this year, one covering the lovely genre of boleros, the other an instrumental masterpiece. I feature him twice on this week’s show. You may know his work with Grupo Fantasma or with the Black Pumas. On this song, he worked with former Richmond musician Angelica Garcia–who also went on tour with him. Her voice is perfectly matched with his skillset.

Eljuri - Feeds You

Ecuadorian/New York rocker is fierce–fierce in her vocals, her lyrics and in her guitar playing. This track is from her fine album Reflexion. If you like her style, then do a search here on VPM for my interview with her.

Gaye Su Akyol - Anadolu Ejderi (Official Audio)

Inventive, out of the box and just amazing to digest is how I’d describe Gaye Su Akyol. Her innovative mix of Turkish psychedelia, folk, surf music and ʼ90s Western rock hits all the sweet spots in my ears.

Aoife Nessa Frances - Emptiness Follows (Official Video)

Like many musicians over the past two years, Irish artist Aoife Nessa Frances dug deep inside her soul during lockdown and what emerges on her debut record Protector is batch of songs that pull you in without smothering you.

Wet Leg - Angelica (Official Video)

This indie rock band from the Isle of Wight with founders Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers caught my attention with their infectious single “Chaise Longue” when it came out in 2021. But we all had to wait for their debut album to come out–which was in 2022. Hands done, this is one of my favorite records of last year if not many years. The songs remind me of the best of the 1980s (XTC)--smart, funny, ironic tones but I understand that they also remind other ears of other styles of music too. This album or really, CD in our case, is a family favorite.

Pierre Kwenders - PAPA WEMBA (Official Video)

The Congolese-Canadian musician, who’s won a ton of awards and has been around for a few years, released “José Louis and The Paradox of Love” and it’s filled with a foot in the past and a foot in the future. The beats are infectious and his voice is just so perfect. This is one of my favorites this year too.

GOTOPO: Malembe - Official Music Video

Berlin-based Venezuelan artist Gotopo has a knack for catchy beats that dive deep into her Afro-indigenous legacy as well as into the past and future of South America vibes.

iLe, Ivy Queen - ALGO BONITO (Visualizer)

So, so nice!

Other Musicians featured on the Best of 2022 list again, in no particular order. Plus, go search them out for their music and videos–you won’t be disappointed. 

  • Antonio Sanchez
  • Arnau Obiols
  • Jembaa Groove
  • Baaba Maal
  • Lorraine Klassen and Mongezi Ntaka
  • Iftin Band
  • Cheo
  • Natalia Lafourcade
  • Antonis Antonious
  • Dungen
  • Laia Llach
  • Albertine Sarges
  • Al Qasar







Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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