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Mr Bongo's Top 50 Albums Of 2019


This year has seen a seemingly unending stack of incredible new music and reissues flowing in and out of the Mr Bongo HQ. We cast our votes on the albums that have been soundtracking 2019, and then went through the tough challenge of limiting that selection to just 50. And the winners are...

 1) Sault ‎– 5 / 7

Forever Living Originals

Two records that had the whole Mr Bongo team very excited, partly due to how the first release '5' grabbed the attention of each genre-lover, and the quick turnaround of the equally as mysterious and brilliant ‘7’. Packed with hidden gems and undeniable jams, these stunning genre-defying records celebrate a blend of African, Disco, Soul, Gospel-boogie and post-punk sounds. 


2) Ebi Soda - Ebi Soda / Bedroom Tapes 

Sola Terra Records

What a start for Sola Terra Records! These two EPs by Brighton jazz funk septet, Ebi Soda, were snapped up fast, and it’s tricky to source a copy now as they were limited runs. Take that as a testament to just how good these records are.


3) Kit Sebastian – Mantra Moderne

Mr Bongo

It may be a Mr Bongo release, but don’t be fooled into thinking that has impacted it’s high placement in our end of year chart. This is an incredible record from a talent that blew us all away this year. ‘Mantra Moderne’ is a stunning, contemporary masterpiece of the highest order that fuses Anatolian Psychedelia and Brazilian Tropicalia with 60’s European pop and American jazz. The album explores universal themes such as love, loss, decay, language and ideology mixing three different languages: English, Turkish and French.


4) Rupa – Disco Jazz Colored Vinyl Edition

Numero Group

A much-needed official reissue of Rupa's amazing cosmic Bollywood / funk / disco / balearic, ‘Disco Jazz', masterpiece from 1982. We loved this release so much that we even made a special red vinyl edition with Numero Group. If you have been to see Mr Bongo DJ in the past year you would have almost certainly heard one of us playing tracks from this record. 


5) Surprise Chef – All News Is Good News

College Of Knowledge

Superb low-fi David Axelrod / Janko Nilović esque cinematic funk with a Melbourne twist. Great to see emerging talent making innovative records such as this - an absolute beauty. Expect big things from this band in 2020.


6) Shirley Finney  – Pray Again


Rain&Shine ‎are spoiling us - they haven’t put a foot wrong in 2019 - all killers. This one from Shirley Finney is an awesome gospel masterpiece. The 'Pray Again' album from 1979 is an office favourite, so hats off to all involved, high-praise indeed. 


7) Kinkajous – Hidden Lines

Running Circle

Such an amazing album from the London based band Kinkajous, 'Hidden Lines' blends jazz, electronics, with cinematic scores and proggy vibes. It was off a lot of the usual suspect’s radars, but made a big impression on the Bongo team. The band’s keyboardist, Maria Chiara Argirò, has a solo album in the top 50 too. Ones to watch.


8) Solange – When I Get Home


A forward thinking, leftfield R&B album, from a global star. It’s undeniable, so it’s in the top 10. 


9) Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 - Joia!

Banana & Louie

You don’t often discover an album that was half recorded in Brazil and half in Wales, but this LP from Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 is just that rare thing of beauty. When we first heard 'Undiú' we thought it was a new 'old' record someone had discovered. It is a real joy and features Nina Miranda, Shawn Lee and other guest musicians and vocalists.


10) YĪN YĪN – The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers

Bongo Joe

A heavyweight album from YĪN YĪN on Bongo Joe's! A fantastic debut album from the Dutch crew, which blends funk, psych, 60's soundtrack & disco with east-asian vibes. Khruangbin fans will dig this one.


11) Ishmael Ensemble – A State of Flow

12) Hozan Yamamoto With Sharps & Flats – Beautiful Bamboo-Flute 

13) The Mauskovic Dance Band – The Mauskovic Dance Band 

14) Various Artists – Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Three 

15) Ebony Steel Band - Space Lab 

16) Altın Gün – Gece

17) Neal Francis – Changes

18) Greg Foat - The Dreaming Jewels

19) King Lagoon's Flying Swordfish Dance Band – The Golden Lagoon

20) Coastal County – Coastal County

21) Dila – Dila

22) Little Simz - Grey Area

23) Sampa The Great – The Return 

24) Maria Chiara Argirò – Hidden Seas 

25) Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble – Where Future Unfolds 

26) Nef Mais Alors!!?... C'est À L'Envers 

27) Derya Yıldırım & Grup – Şimşek Kar Yağar 

28) Fernando Falcao – Memória Das Águas

29) Sessa - Grandeza

30) Carioca & Devas – Mistérios Da Amazônia 

31) The Comet Is Coming Trust – In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

32) Werther – Werther 

33) Andres y Xavi – Vibraciones y Sentimientos 

34) Ana Mazzott – i Ninguem Vai Me Segurar 

35) Angel Bat David – The Oracle 

36) Edson Natale – Nina Maika

37) Reggie Andrews And The Fellowship – Mystic Beauty

38) Ezra Collective – You Can't Steal My Joy 

39) Yaseen & Party - Yaseen & Party 

40) Mariana Ingold – Cara A Cara

41) The Skints – Swimming Lessons

42) Pyjæn - Pyjæn

43) Ayizan – Dilijans 

44) Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso 

45) Alfa Mist – Structuralism

46) Bedouin Soundclash - MASS

47) Jungle Brown – Full Circle

48) Floating Points – Crush

49) Various Artists – Future Bubblers 3.0 

50) Los Siquicos Litoraleños – Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales Vol. 2


Top 10 Singles Of 2019


1) Azwon – Paradise Island

Pressure Makes Diamonds


2) Ze Roberto – Lotus 72 D

Mr Bongo


3) Vance And Suzzanne – Can't Get Along Without You



4) Rochelle Rabouin – This Is My Year

Discs Of Fun And Love


5) Carnival – From Strawberry Fields To The Pyramid Club (With Love)

Firestation Records


6) A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario

Mr Bongo


7) Oiro Pena –  Oiro Pena



8) Creative Arts Ensemble – Kaeef Ruzadun presents The Creative Arts Ensemble

Creative Arts Records


9) Don Blackman – Just Can't Stay Away

Melodies International


10) Leoparden - Boliglån / Rist Skjelettet

Lyskestrekk Records