France's Francois & The Atlas Mountains return with new album Piano Ombre next month (17 March). Having once being based in Bristol, the group aren't idly name, not only have they travelled physically, they travel musically too. "It's very difficult to restrict to a few songs. We spend a lot of time listening to music from other continents," explains the eponymous François Marry. "A lot thanks to the blog Awesome Tapes From Africa and the label Sahel Sounds. A quarter of Africa itself would be enough to fill a playlist for a whole season. I had to be brief and decided to pick songs from every countries that we feel related to (we cover Talaalbadro Allaina, and a bar of The Girl With Flaxen Hair live), or that shows that artist from everywhere around the world are influenced by music from other parts of the world (Caetano Veloso, KS Chithra, Prince, Moodoid)." Here's his selections, plus in a Playlist first, a handy map...
Moodoid - De Folie Pure FRANCE "This Around The Atlas playlist starts in France. Moodoid is a new French band that combines a lot of the influences that we like in music, Bollywood, French pop, 70s psychedelic and jazz. The perfect starting point of a world tour."
Talaalbadro Alaïna (Moroccan traditional) - MOROCCO "Going south from France. Morocco. I learnt this song last year from a sufi singer. This is a traditional song to welcome the prophet in the city of Mecqua."
Ali Farka Toure - Alah Uya MALI "Further south to Niafunke, in this part of Mali, sahel and mandingue traditions cross. The spirits of the river Niger are obviously the most important elements in this music."
Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instruments - Hebo Lale ETHIOPIA "Going east to Ethiopia: The vocal 'essshhhh eshhhh' reminds me of a night we spent in the Fendika, the best musical place in Addis Abeba."
K.S.Chithra - Yaaro Sonnaangalaam INDIA "Eastward across to another continent of music: I would like to get lost there one day. There is so much spiritual music I love from there. I chose some pop music though for this playlist. I guess I wanted to share with you the drumroll of the introduction. Doesn't it feel like being in some Indian version of Mario Bros?"
NB Talaalbadro Alaïna, Song Of The Beating Wings Of A Chick and Have You Ever Been To Heaven are currently unavailable.
Palawan Highlands Music - Song Of The Beating Wings Of A Chick PHILLIPINES "This is the music that I listen to anytime I want some peace of mind in a plane, train or bus. I don't know much about the Philippines. But thanks to this music my sleep is peaceful on the side of the world I fall asleep in. Thank you Philippines."
Tomita - The Girl With Flaxen Hair "Going east still, up North a bit. Japan. How I dream to visit this country! Year after year I tell myself: next year I'll go... This is a cover of a Debussy song. The original inspired La Fille Aux Cheveux De Soie on our new album Piano Ombre. This is the 70s manga version."
Lawrence Arabia - Travelling Shoes NEW ZEALAND "On our way east, landing in the marvellous country of New Zealand. Most music from there is brilliant. This is a song with an appropriate title for our playlist. And it's also an extract from my favourite album of whichever year it came out."
Caetano Veloso - Coucouroucou Paloma BRAZIL "After a very long crossing we're in South America. I could have chosen Sepultura Roots to represent Brazil. I chose a mellow Caetano Veloso version of a Spanish song instead. I'm getting old and tired. Too much touring possibly."
Madoo - Have You Ever Been To Heaven JAMAICA "Going North, one stop to Jamaica, studio one, one love... one everything. One long stop that could last one life long. I'm worried if I went to Jamaica, I'd never leave. I was looking at it on a map the other day. Given the aura of the Jamaican music I couldn't believe how small the island looked, and also how close to Cuba it is. The Jamaican groove gets me anytime."
Prince - Around The World In A Day USA "Let's go North. I'd happily stop the atlas exploration in Jamaica, but I couldn't resist the opportunity of putting some American music in this world music compilation. When you see all the amazing music that comes from everywhere around the world, it seems outrageous to use the World Music to tag any non-western music. Let's hear what Prince has to say about it."
Richard Hawley - The Motorcycle Song UK "I don't know my way back home. I chose Richard Hawley to represent the UK because he sells Henderson's Relish at the merchandise table at his shows."
El Perro del Mar - Walk On By SWEDEN "One last stop in Europe on our way back. Sweden is an important country for the pop music of the years 2000. The trip finishes on foot: Solitude's my best friend... I lift my head up and I walk on by..."
For more head to Facebook.com/francoisandtheatlasmountains.