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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A forward thinking, leftfield R&B album, from a global star. It’s undeniable, so it’s in the top 10.
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.
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.
16) Altın Gün – Gece
21) Dila – Dila
29) Sessa - Grandeza
42) Pyjæn - Pyjæn
Top 10 Singles Of 2019
Pressure Makes Diamonds
Discs Of Fun And Love
Creative Arts Records