Best of Folk 2021


Folk is the music for the people, from the people. And as our planet is pretty big, there are uncountably many different sorts of “folk” music. So many, in fact, that my top 5 cannot possibly cover all of the immense variety of sounds there are. Nevertheless, it does cover some decent part of it, and so here are the five best folk albums from 2021 in my opinion!


Number Five: Nika Mo – Of Cloven Hoof in Honey


On Of Cloven Hoof in Honey, Australian singer Nika Mo explores many of the lesser known Grimm tales, and turns them into song, beautiful melancholic folk songs. Thanks to a vast array of contributors, the album sees a healthy variety of sounds, which are expertly conducted and crafted, and hauntingly memorable.


Number Four: كرخانة – الْأَزْرَقَيْن


How would you like a free improvisation band using folk instruments and themes? Would that be called “free folk”? Well, here’s كرخانة (Karkhana) to fulfill your needs. The album was released fairly recently, but I’ve rarely had so much fun going through an album! The international septet definitely surprised me with this release, and I think more people should look into it!


Number Three: Dafné Kritharas – Βάρκα


French singer Dafné Kritharas released her second album, Βάρκα (Várka), this year, and it’s been one I’ve been returning to frequently. As with her previous album, we get to hear a wide variety of cultures represented by her songs, according to her Bandcamp: Greek, Sephardic, Bosnian, Armenian, Turkish, and more. Moreover, thanks to many collaborators, each song and folkloric tradition is honoured by a master musician (other than Kritharas herself). I’d say this is a perfect introduction album to new cultures, since it’s very easy listening.


Number Two: بَادِيَة – بَادِيَة


بَادِيَة (Badieh) is an Iranian-Spanish collaboration that represents the music of the خراسان (Khorāsān) on oud, rubab, tar, and setar, as well as many other instruments, thanks to various guests. The album is a beautiful and inspiring experience, and thus it belongs in my top 5.


Number One: San Salvador – La Grande Folie


There really was no other choice for number 1. San Salvador’s Grande Folie really sat comfortably above the rest. Ever since I listened to it earlier this year, it hasn’t quit my mind. At one point, I was obsessed with it, and made everyone I know listen to it! The French vocal sextet takes traditional songs from various traditions and rework them with their creative quill to make something truly modern, folksongs for the new generation! They also did write songs from scratch on that album. Seriously, the folk music experience of 2021.


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 22 January

San Salvador – La Grande Folie

59:00
experimental folk
Pau, France
Pagans

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 29 January

Institutrice – Cohortes

37:19
experimental folk
France
Un Je-ne-sais-quoi

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 2 February

Ocrilim – Blwch-ariam / Eiraddfa

51:59
experimental folk
Weehawken, New Jersey
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 3 February

Szabó Sándor & Kobza Vajk – Rejtek

50:10
folk
Hungary
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 12 March

Erlend Apneseth Trio – Lokk

36:38
indie folk
Buskerud, Norway
Hubro

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 19 March

Frode Haltli – Avant Folk Ⅱ

40:21
experimental folk
Oslo, Norway
Hubro

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 6 April

Nika Mo – Of Cloven Hoof in Honey

38:25
experimental folk
Perth, Australia
Tone List

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Saturday, 10

Tolgahan Çoğulu & Sinan Ayyıldız – Amorphous

17:24
folk
Turkey
Ahenk müzik yapım


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 30 April

Diagonal & Jean-Christophe Cholet – Back in Tunisia

51:12
world fusion
France
Infingo


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 21 May

Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime

41:10
world fusion, blues rock
Niger
Matador

Read our review.


Tracklist (click to display)


Monday, 24

E-an-na – Fascinathanatango

47:10
folk fusion
Sibiu, Romania
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 28 May

جو بھینَفْس سُكُون يس

42:38
world fusion
Lahore, Pakistan
Astigmatic

Tracklist (click to display)


Saturday, 26 June

Dafné Kritharas – Βάρκα

42:28
folk
Paris, France
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 9 July

كرخانةالْأَزْرَقَيْن

83:57
world fusion
Beirut, Lebanon
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 13 August

بَادِيَةبَادِيَة

23:02
folk
Mashhad, Iran
Worlds within Worlds

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 17 August

La Pêche – Dubrashishov

48:12
Balkan fusion
France
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 14 September

François Pelletier – Le Refuge

44:58
folk
Montréal, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 17

Becca Stevens & the Secret Trio – Becca Stevens & the Secret Trio

37:04
folk
USA
Ground Up Music


Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 21

Кацярына ДоковаМова дрэва

37:58
folk, jazz fusion
Lisbon, Portugal
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 24

Cloud of I – Gazing

20:13
folk fusion
Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel
Batov

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 26

DSF – DSF

32:12
experimental folk
France
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 29 September

E-an-na – MLR

19:12
folk fusion
Sibiu, Romania
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 8 October

Australian Art Orchestra – Hand to Earth

45:19
world fusion
Australia
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 5 November

Völur – Die Sprachen der Vögel Ⅲ : Zwischen den Wäldern

27:12
folk
Toronto, Ontario
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a

89:22
drone folk
Italy
I, Voidhanger

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 12

ΑμαζόνωνInvisible Cities

41:41
world fusion
Den Haag, Netherlands
Triptik

Tracklist (click to display)

Dix-Sept Saturnes – Dix-Sept Saturnes

63:08
experimental folk
Strasbourg, France
Pagans

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 19

JP « le Pad » Tremblay – Rrrik thffu (l’onomatopée d’un crachat)

53:26
folk
Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 26

Joseph Rabjohns & Lachlan R Dale – Eclipsing & Orbs

43:42
post-rock, folk
Sydney, Australia
Art as Catharsis

Tracklist (click to display)

Malin – No Escape

71:55
chamber music
Poland
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 10 December

ᐲᑐᕆᔅ ᑎᐊShifting

32:51
indie folk
Quaqtaq, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Best of 2021

01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal
01/04 – Best of Brutal Death Metal
01/05 – Best of Classical
01/06 – Best of Death Metal
01/07 – Best of Deathcore
01/08 – Best of Doom Metal
01/09 – Best of Folk

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