The Introducing series originally showcased artists previously unreleased or unavailable outside their own country, some of whom went on to become well-known names on the global stage such as Etran Finatawa, and Hanggai.
The label has hosted some of the most unique, and brilliant, undiscovered sounds in music. On the Introducing label you can hear Zulu maskanda music, with a guitar fashioned from a five-litre oil can; cherished sounds from the Sahara, passed down through generations; vocal harmonies rooted in the forests and plains of southern Bulgaria; and even messages of peace, love, brotherhood, social justice and faith in God from one of Senegal's best-kept musical secrets.
Shiyani Ngcobo - Listen to the album
Introducing Shiyani Ngcobo
The African continent is a melting pot of musical diversity where the chameleon-like qualities of the guitar have come into their own. The late great Shiyani Ngcobo is proof of this with his beautifully sounding homemade guitar, fashioned from a five-litre oil can, which he plays in the Zulu musical style known as maskanda, a tradition born of the Zulu experience of labour migrancy at the turn of the twentieth century.
As a musical form, maskanda is recognized by the instrumental flourish that sets the tone at the beginning of each song, by the ‘picking style’ of guitar playing, and by the rapidly spoken sections of Zulu praise poetry (izibongo). But maskanda is more than a set of formal procedures; it is cherished as a practice that is firmly rooted in Zulu experience. The very first album in the Introducing series, this important recording captures how Shiyani remained true to the aesthetic of early maskanda, while at the same time nurturing his own individual style.
Etran Finatawa - Listen to the album
Introducing Etran Finatawa
It would be impossible not to highlight Etran Finatawa, who's band name means "the stars of tradition". They have certainly become exactly that, forging ahead whilst honouring a cherished sound that has been passed down through generations.
They recently collaborated with House music giants Disclosure on their energetic track Etran, bringing their brand of music, from the rich nomadic cultures of the Tuareg and Wodaabe people of Niger, to the front and centre of the world music stage.
Perunika Trio - Listen to the album
Introducing Perunika Trio
Perunika Trio’s sound is rooted in the forests and plains of southern Bulgaria. With songs traditional and nostalgic, they invoke an earlier age where singing and vocal harmony were held in the greatest esteem. A trio united in their feistiness, as well as their loyalty to their Balkan roots, the members of Perunika Trio don’t adhere strictly to tradition so much as give it an upgrade.
This album brings to life the dramatic beauty of Bulgarian folk music, where pagan past, Church Slavonic traditions and five centuries of Ottoman rule fuse, leading you to an exciting journey into Slavic spirituality.
Daby Balde - Listen to the album
Introducing Daby Balde
Daby Balde has long been one of Senegal's best-kept musical secrets, he became highly celebrated at home before exploding onto the international scene. Inspired by the music he regularly performs in Le Marigot, his popular Dakar club, this album showcases his stunning compositions based in the Fula traditions from the south of Senegal, incorporating the sumptuous sounds of the West African kora, balafon and acoustic guitar.
Released in 2005, Introducing Daby Balde was championed by some of the bastions of the world music scene. Recorded in Senegal and Belgium, Daby sings in Wolof, Mandinka, French and Fula. Always striving to keep his African culture alive, Daby’s compositions are messages of peace, love, brotherhood, social justice and faith in God. For fans of the hard-hitting music of Senegalese stars Youssou N’Dour or Baaba Maal, this will be a quiet revelation, as these arrangements of traditional styles from Senegal’s south are seductive in an entirely fresh way.
Dozan - Listen to the album
Dozan is a modern folkloric chamber group, consisting of incredibly gifted Jordan-based Arab musicians representing all ages, origins, training and experience, combining western and eastern instruments and singing techniques. Each of the three singers and four instrumentalists from Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, bring a unique flavour of their own Levantine heritage to the project. (The Levant is a geographical term that denotes a large area in Western Asia.)
Formed by Jordanian vocalist Shireen Abu-Khader to celebrate her own musical folklore, Dozan mix Arabic classics with modern compositions and weave together unfamiliar music that carries a mystical beauty.