Readers' Choice 2022 kicks off with a single-song appetizer seguing into a 91-song playlist covering a host of genres and blends
Part One
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Contributor Jan Vochten highlights Brooklyn-based Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab as one of the year’s best global artists.

The Fifth Annual Edition of Reader’s Choice opens with a single song appetizer and moves to a 91-song playlist feast.

VICTORIA WRITER Helene Meurer presents a choice meant to inspire – the tight and lively Heaven by Los Lonely Boys, a trio of brothers from San Angelo, TX. They call their style Texican rock’n’roll which blends blues, soul, country and Tex-Mex.

MUSIC ENTHUSIAST Jan Vochten draws on a number of divergent genres in his 91-song playlist – electronica, folk, classical, country, African, Middle Eastern and more. He brings deep knowledge and open, inquiring ears to this considered set of selections. Some of them highlight the blending of genres and artists. Examples include – Outkast and Norah Jones, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Massive Attack, Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin, Buddy Guy and Jason Isbell.

Other artists you’ll hear are Mavis Staples dueting with Valerie June; Spain’s Rosalia and Toronto’s The Weeknd teaming up; the heralded Pennsylvanian Alex G; Angel Olsen; Harry Styles; Julia Jacklin; Sharon Van Etten; Canada’s Weather Station, Arcade Fire, Mustafa and AHI; Brooklyn-based Arooj Aftab; internationally renowned Belgian performer Stromae and his friend the late, great Flemish rocker Arno.

Jan is my cousin and lives in Mortsel, Belgium. I’ve been lucky to have been learning about – and sharing – music with him since I was a teenager.

The 5th Annual Readers’ Choice

Kurated readers share their favourite music of the last year in the annual Readers’ Choice series. Anything musical is welcomed whether its new, an old favourite, something self-composed and more. Thanks to all the contributors!

Kurated is a music sharing project.
Share it with your friends!
Stay tuned and enjoy,
Kris Sig Plastic V3
26 December 2022

Helene Meurer
Victoria, BC

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The Garza brothers are Los Lonely Boys hailing from San Angelo, Texas.

ONE SONG: Heaven by Los Lonely Boys.

Why this song? The quick answer would be because Heaven is at once laid back and irresistibly danceable. But also, it is a lament – yet still full of hope. And in this era of ongoing utter turmoil, the song continues to lift me up and remind me that “heaven” is in fact right here, close at hand. When we are open, bite-sized reminders of heavenliness can be uncovered in the most unexpected places. 😉  

About Helene: A writer and amateur musician, Helene explores her own bit of heaven while unabashedly making music with others.

Jan Vochten
Mortsel, Belgium

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Belgian stars Stromae and Arno played a duet in February not long before Arno’s death. See the clip here. (Karel Uyttendaele photo)

91 songs on Spotify


A list that includes the late Belgian rocker Arno, American Valerie June, the audacious Harry Styles and the smooth Weyes Blood

One of Belgium’s leading musicians, Arno, died in April of pancreatic cancer.
He was born in the same year as me and was an important part of my musical history.
He continued to write and perform until the end. Like Warren Zevon  – who released his last
album, The Wind, two months before his death – Arno recorded his last record, Opex, which
was released posthumously, in his final weeks. Hailing from Ostend, he sang mainly in
English and French. In one of his last shows, he is joined by his colleague and friend Stromae,
finding the energy and power to stand up and sing Putain, Putain
Putain, Putain live with Arno and Stromae
Dans les yeux de ma mère One of his most famous songs
Je veux vivre From his last recording
O la la la Early work, lots of energy, his trademark

Weyes Blood
from their second album of a trilogy. Every bit as good as the first one.
It’s not just me

This Norwegian artist’s recent concert in Brussels received rave reviews. Her music
is very impressive.
The woman I am
Exist for love

After a serious illness caused by malaria medication in 2015, this Belgian superstar finally came back with new and excellent music

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Harry Styles

Harry Styles 
This one is inspired by my daughter. She attended his September concert in Antwerp and
loved it. We listened to his latest album together and agree it’s a good one.
As it was

Richard Thompson, Michael Jerome, Danny Thompson and Pete Zorn
Great song, incredible
Take care the road you choose
Live version on YouTube

Some young and new Belgian bands

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Haunted Youth

Haunted Youth: their first album (Dawn of the Freak) was a big surprise with catchy and – at times – dreamy songs: ShadowsBroken
Sylvie Kreusch: Walk walk
Lost Frequencies: Are you with me 
Tamino: Sunflower

World music 22

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Arooj Aftab

Massive Attack: Mustt Mustt In the 1990’s I attended several concerts by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a Pakistani Sufi musician. This remix of his music with Massive Attack was new to me.
Mdou Moctar: Chismiten
Arooj Aftab: Bhagon Main
Vieux Farka Touré: Gabo Ni Tie

Some new and old highlights

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Angel Olsen

Kaleo: Way down we go
Angel Olsen: Big Time; All the flowers
Valerie June: Fade into you ; Why the bright stars glow ; You and I
• Mustafa: What about heaven
Arcade Fire: The lightening I and The lightening II

Check out the 91-song playlist

Listen to Spotify Readers’ Choice 22

About Jan: I’m 73 and living in Belgium. There were many new discoveries this year.
Some were inspired by my daughter Hanne, my cousin Sietse and Kurated. It’s also been a
good year for many young and new Belgian bands.