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World Music Show Best of 2023

Sabina Sciubba
Giorgio Z. Gatti
Courtesy of Sacks & Co.
Sabina Sciubba’s record “Sleeping Dragon” was one of the many gems from 2023. Check out the World Music Show interview with her on the World Music Show page.

Some great world beats were featured on last year’s show, did yours make the cut?

Unlike all the other media outlets who put out their “best of” lists near the end of the year, we at the World Music Show headquarters like to wait until the year is officially we were on vacation.

The World Music Show playlist from 2023 was filled with so many great beats, from new musicians to some from well-established ones that I’ve been playing for years. Here’s a list of some of my favorites. Unlike other “best of” lists, I chose not to rank them, because that wouldn’t be fair and this small sampling does not encompass all the tracks you’ll hear on Saturday’s show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sabina Sciubba - Hairdresser

You may know Sciubba from her days as the only female in the trio Brazilian Girls, or you may recognize her from her guest spots on the TV show “Baskets,” opposite Zach Galifianakis. It’s ok if you don’t recognize her, because once you hear her on this fun, cheeky song “Hairdresser,” you’ll see this Italian artist’s unique voice and style won’t be hard to forget.

Captain Planet - Music is Medicine

DJ and producer Captain Planet likes to mix world beats into his tracks. He’s described as a “world traveling” DJ and a “blender of global roots music,” according to Bastard Jazz Recordings. That’s pretty spot on because everything I’ve played from him this past year got me bopping around the room. His style is the perfect update to the loungy '90s beats popularized by bands like Supreme Beings of Leisure. Another DJ/producer, Nickodemus, also made the “Best of” list this year.

Bombino - Darfuq

What a great year it was for music coming off the African continent. Not only did the 70-year-old legendary Baaba Maal release the record “Being,” but two Northern Africa desert blues records were released too. Bombino’s “Sahel” and Tinariwen dropped “Amatssou.” Both records are filled with sweeping guitar tracks that radiate heat that covers you like soft linen.

Angelica Garcia - Y Grito

Though Garcia wasn’t originally a Richmond hometown resident, it’s always a good thing to support the former Los Angeles transplant —who now lives in New York — when she releases new music. Fresh from her new record label, Partisan Records, Garcia delivered these incredible tracks that are meant to be played back to back. Both ungulate and sway and build with electronic dips and booms, all layered with her powerful voice.

Moonlight Benjamin - Wayo

Benjamin has been dubbed the punk voodoo Queen of Haitian blues and rock — and it’s an apt moniker because her voice, guitar playing and all-around vibe matches that description. I was so excited to get her digital album “Wayo” in my inbox this year, because whenever I need a pick-me-up, I can just put the digital needle down on any of her tracks and my spirits are automatically lifted.

Other notable music from 2023:

If you tune into this week’s show, you’ll get to hear two hours of all my favorites from 2023. Stream the show here at or listen locally on 93.1FM or 107.3FM.

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