Baloji, coming on 8th July 2012 to Amsterdam
If you're going to be anywhere in or near the Netherlands in the first week of July, stick the 5th - 8th in your digital diary because the Amsterdam Roots Festival, one of the largest, most diverse and most interesting international festivals in the Netherlands, is revving up for another good one this year.
The festival, a celebration of the full diversity of the global musical community, is now in its 15th year, and has lined up a selection of 30 cutting-edge cross-over acts from around the globe to help mark its jubilee.
Keep an eye on their programme page for the full line-up, but our tips are:
AFRICAN HIP HOP MEETS VINTAGE SOUKOUS: BALOJI (8th July, Oosterpark)
From The Guardian UK to MTV Iggy and beyond, the Congolese crossover artist has been winning a lot of fans in high places in the last year, so we assume he needs no further introduction.
Baloji's sound is a true mash-up of African hip-hop, funky soukous guitars, reggae and rock, and he's performing on one of the open-air stages on the last day of the festival, which means its free!
ETHIOPIAN JAZZ MEETS DUTCH PUNK: THE EX + GETATCHEW MEKURIA & GUESTS (6th July, at the Bimhuis)
The combination of Legendary Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Mekuria and The Ex, the punk band that emerged from Amsterdam's squat scene, remains a curious one, but it works, as anyone who's experienced the mix of raw energy and sinuous sax lines that emanates from the stage when they've performed together in the past can attest.
Their show will be further enlivened by the addition of Ethiopian dancer Melaku Belay and Meselu Abebay, and - here's another name to gladden the heart of any jazz fan - saxophonist Ken Vandermark.
HYPNOTIC WEST AFRICAN BLUES ROCK: JUJU (8th July, Oosterpark)
The partnership of British rock veteran Justin Adams and celebrated Gambian griot Juldeh Camara is already two albums deep, and they click so well musically that there's no reason why we shouldn't expect many more albums in the future. Expect some dazzling solos from Juldeh Camara on the nyenyara (one-stringed instrument).
Also free, incidentally.
THE ICON OF ANGOLAN MUSIC: BONGA (8th July, Oosterpark)
A passionate voice for African independence way back in the sixties, Bonga, with a powerful, raspy voice that seems to reflect the Angolan soul, continues to spread Angolan music around the world, introducing many to Semba, in particular (Semba is the predecessor to Samba, Kizomba and Kuduro).
Bring your dancing shoes for this one.
The other acts look promising, too, but these are our tips, so stick the dates in iCal and see you there.