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Errol Nazareth's best music of the year

On this, the last day of 2015, our music columnist Errol Nazareth shared his musical highlights of the year.

Metro Morning's music columnist loved the fusion that happened in 2015

On this, the last day of 2015, I'd like to share my musical highlights of the year.

I was struck by the number of fascinating fusions and cross-cultural collaborations I listened to all year. For example, the classical Indian music giant Shujaat Khan teamed up with Iranian singer Katayoun Goudarzi to record a sublime tribute to Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi saint.

The local band Ozere did a stellar job of bringing together folk, roots and classical music.

And from Peru came a party band called Bareto who blend Colombian cumbia with Afro-Peruvian rhythms, reggae, electronica and even Hawaiian sounds on their album, Impredecible.

And 2015 was also a bumper year for re-issues. 

There were some heavy box sets —  and I mean that literally — from big names like Springsteen, Dylan, The Stones, John Coltrane and the Isley Brothers.

But the reissues that really captured my attention were artists I'd never heard of before.

Between 1968 and 1973, songwriter and killer keyboard player Lee Michaels released seven records. Each of them got rave reviews. A collection, titled Heighty Hi: The Best Of Lee Michaels, contains 20 solid tracks from one of the most soulful singers of his era.

Karin Krog is a legend in her native Norway but fairly unknown in these parts. Don't Just Sing features her best recordings from 1963 to 1999 — four decades of jazz, blues, progressive rock, pop and even some experimental music. 

Many brilliant musicians and singers passed away this year, which made their music resonate more this year to me.

The list includes Lemmy from Motörhead, drummer John Bradbury of The Specials, Ben E. King, Percy Sledge, gospel singer Andre Crouch and Wendell Holmes who played with the awesome soul-gospel-blues band the Holmes Brothers.

This year also saw the passing of the blues legend B.B. King, who I saw umpteen times. 

His autobiography Blues All Around me is an essential, inspiring read and his box set King of The Blues is a must-have, including his signature song, The Thrill Is Gone.