Jul 22, 2015

From Mali: Idrissa Soumaoro - Ampsa

A classic and seldom heard LP from Bamako! Not just your average Malian LP, Ampsa features has to be heard to be believed organ, hypnotic guitar and amazing sweet vocals. A truly great LP and must have for fans of Malian music. A faithful reproduction of the original with the addition of liner notes by Florent Mazzoleni. A co release with Singasongfighter.

Jul 20, 2015

Richard Russell about Ethiopia

Richard Russell is the boss of XL Recordings (home of Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Jack White etc.) and the producer of recent classics such as the late Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here and Bobby Womack’s The Bravest Man in the Universe (together with Damon Albarn). In 2010 Richard travelled to Harar, Ethiopia, as part of the Africa Express along with fellow producer Rodaidh McDonald. Their Ethiopian visit resulted in the release of the four track Ethiopian EP last year on Angular Records under the name Fresh Touch (named after a Harari restaurant).

The lead track Harar Rythm is a co-production with Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and is accompanied by a stunning video of archival footage of Ethiopian landscapes, Harari musicians as well as Emperor Haile Selassie (who was born in a village close to Harar). Harar Rythm and the other tracks on the EP is a thrilling mix of traditional Ethiopian chanting, clapping, various other sounds recorded in buses and hotel rooms across Ethiopia together with electronic loops and samples. The result is fairly unique and throroughly hypnotic.

We recently got the chance to ask Richard about the wisdom he gained in Ethiopia. Find out how the Ethiopian visit influenced his recent productions and tune into Harar Rhytm below:

Although the Ethiopian musical tradition is incredible rich and nuanced, many foreigners’ knowledge of Ethiopian music is still limited to Mulatu Astatke’s ethio jazz. Was it a deliberate choice from your side that you wanted to do something very far from ethio jazz?

There wasn’t any plan. We didn’t even know we were making an EP. We were just inspired to create by our surroundings. Ethiopia is an extraordinarily inspiring place. It has an energy completely unlike anywhere else in the world.

How was it working in Ethiopia compared to your recent experience recording in DR Congo?

Everything about our trip to Ethiopia was different from our trip to DRC. Both were life-changing, and from a musical perspective you couldn’t ask for more broadening experiences. We went to Ethiopia simply to learn, to experience places. We ended up making an EP. It was very laid back. Whereas we went to DRC specifically to make an album for Warp, in a short space of time, so there was a bit more pressure. It felt like Kinshasa and Addis are like different planets… but I guess we see the world, as we are, rather than it actually is… so I’m sure our state of mind would have a big impact on what we thought of the place. Equally you only scratch the surface of any place on a visit like this, it would be amazing to spend more time in a place like Addis, in this lifetime or another…

Are there any particular techniques, experiences or other wisdom gained in Ethiopia that you have been able to use in your work afterwards?

I’ve probably carried the feeling of my visit to Ethiopia into everything I’ve done since. My rhythmic contributions to the album I produced for Bobby Womack with Damon Albarn were definitely influenced by things I learned in Ethiopia… not neccesarily in an overt way, but you can’t not be influenced by visiting somewhere as special as Ethiopia. I’d encourage any musician but especially anyone who is interested in rhythms to visit Ethiopia, because you end up learning so much, just by being there.

I picked up on a gentle spirit in Ethiopia, a sort of female spirit… strong, but gentle. Thats a great spirit for creativity… you have to be rugged to be a musician or producer, but you also have to be very sensitive, very open. We listened to some singers in a church in Harar who had many of us in tears, just the sheer beauty and power of the sounds they were making. I felt privileged to have witnessed that, and I’m grateful to have had the experience. And hopefully through trips like these we get to encourage the dialogue between African and Western musicians, its a gradual thing…


Jul 17, 2015

Future Sound of Mzansi

20 years into it’s democracy, Future Sounds of Mzansi, is a documentary which aims to explore, express, and interrogating South Africa’s cultural landscape. A chief vehicle of this exploration is electronic music, a staple of South African popular culture.

It features an exciting range of emerging electronic music artists from various SA cities including Aero Manyelo; Black Coffee; Christian Tiger School; Felix Laband; John Wizards; Krushed & Sorted; Machepies; Markus Wormstorm; Mix & Blend; DJ Mujava; Naked Boys; Nozinja; Okmalumkoolkat; Panyaza; Rude Boys; Sibot; Spoek Mathambo; DJ Spoko; Zaki Ibrahim and many more.

We traveled around South Africa to explore our rich electronic music scene. For years there’s been a strong movement of producers, instrumentalists, vocalists and most importantly, party goers, giving themselves to new ideas of African electronic music.

We have seen a couple of generations unafraid to be proudly South African,proudly party rocking, proudly futuristic, international stake raisers, and hell raisers. The future looks awesome, blindingly beautiful and bursting at the seams with youth energy and talent.
Still a country steeped in poverty, crime, and injustice, we party like our lives depend on it. From the sounds of deep house to glitch hop, kwaito-house, township tech, sghubu sapitori; durban qhum, daintly melodic electronica to dubstep; super fast khawuleza and shangaan electro. The groove is thick and infectious. And we give ourselves to it.

Our mission was simple, to meet up with some of our heroes, colleagues, competition, and co-conspirators…an ever potent gang of electronic music pioneers sculpting The Future Sound of Mzansi.


Jul 15, 2015

Jake Sollo ‎– Jake Sollo

Jake Sollo (Nee Nkem Okonkwo) started his career in the 1960s with The Hykkers, a "beat" group formed at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After they disbanded Sollo subsequently joined the Aba-based Funkees. By 1976, with creative and personal tensions The Funkees slowly disintegrating, Sollo was offered the golden opportunity to play a year with the creme de la creme of Afro-rock groups, Osibisa.

Around the 1980s Jake Sollo made his career as producer, mostly at Tabansi/Taretone and spawned various artists as Felix Lebarty, Veno and Esbee Family, traveled to London and recorded various great solo Lp's.

Sadly, Jake Sollo died way to young in a car accident in 1985.


You can find a hell of information about Jake Sollo @ amazing combandrazor.blogspot.com!


Father Time Mother Nature
Say No More
Show Me How
Weebo-Me Weebo
Pas Du Tout
Five O Five
African Gypsy

Jul 13, 2015

From Tanzania: Mafumu Bilali Bombenga & AfroBeats Band

AS a young boy growing up in Kigoma Region, he looked up to Verkys Kiamangwana Mateta, one of the most influential figures in the history of Congolese music.

He idolized the Congolese music maestro, who developed his own honking, gut-bucket style of saxophone playing, which characterized most of the exciting music of the 1960s and 1970s.

Bombenga has featured for a number of bands, but scores of music fans still associate him with Dar International band, one of the groups that took the Tanzanian music scene by storm in the early 1980s After doing rounds in many other groups, including Kilimanjaro band, the multi-talented musician decided to form his own group, African Beats band.

That is Mafumu Bilali Bombenga for you. 'Super Sax', as he is fondly referred to by his adoring fans, is one of only a handful of local musicians who have managed to emblazon Tanzania's name in the world of music.


Jul 11, 2015

From The Netherlands: Atanga Boom - Atanga Boom

Atanga Boom was formed in Spring 2012 and immediately made a splash on the Dutch scene, performing on numerous festivals and clubs, including the annual Felabration Festival, the biggest afrobeat event in Europe.

Atanga Boom is a small collective featuring the Netherlands most passionate groove-addicts with members from bands Monsieur Dubois, Bernie’s Lounge and The Shuffle Demons.

The combination of an irresistible rhythm section, hook-laden guitar/keys duo and heavy horns of tuba and bari-sax, makes Atanga Boom the ultimate poly-flexible groove machine.



We're Atanga Boom, a fresh new band pulsing with Afrogrooves, funk, and jazz.
Our original mix combines the organic sound of tuba and baritone sax with the spacejazz effect of guitar and keyboards and a witches brew of drums and percussion.

We've performed in clubs and festivals for more than a year, all the while developing our tracks in the studio and now the time is ripe to bring out our first cd. We've recorded twelve dynamite tracks and we're well on our way but we need your help to press the disks, get the artwork printed, and promote the cd.

Your donation to will help us materialise this terrific project. Naturally you won't be left empty-handed. Below you can read about how we'll reward your support. This can range from receiving a cd (before it reaches the store shelves) or getting a unique recording of your favourite tune played on the tuba! On March 20 2015 we'll be launching our cd release in Paradiso and we extend to you a heartfelt welcome!


Jul 8, 2015

Sunlightsquare - King Yoruba

The eagerly awaited Sunlightsquare album 'King Yoruba' is finally here. And it's well worth the wait.
The rule-breaker, tastemaker and trendsetter Claudio Passavanti (the mastermind behind Sunlightsquare) is back, with his usual style, panache and grace.

Recorded in both Havana and London, 'King Yoruba' features the sophisticated and unique vocal styling of Cuban Javier Valera on the fantastic 'Afro Boogie Super Hombre'.

The album's HUGE and exciting brass intricacies are coupled with skilful percussion and the production values that you have come to expect from Sunlightsquare. You will also find a couple of Sunlightsquare reworks of classic songs. You know the ones, the ones you should NEVER cover.

Yet, once again Claudio Passavanti has completely rewritten the rulebook and reworked the Earth, Wind & Fire classic 'Fantasy'. Fantastically produced with amazing and exciting breakdowns that even Earth, Wind & Fire would be proud of. 'Fantasy' features vocals from London Soul and RnB vocalist Kevin Mark Trail and Cuban Toni Rodriguez.

You will have also heard 'Breakin' Down (Sugar Samba) - Dale Ma!' A Latin infused Sunlightsquare rework of the Julia & Company song from 1983, which features voice of Rene Alvarez and could be heard everywhere this year in the Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd movie 'Cuban Fury'.

This is not the first time Sunlightsquare have broken all rules, and it will not be the last. In March 2010, Sunlightsquare released the highly successful and critically acclaimed Jackson Sisters cover version of 'I Believe In Miracles' and turned it on its head. Therefore fans know what to expect from Signor Passavanti.

Look out for 'Caleidoscopico' too. The fusion of horns, flute, percussion, 70s funk and jazz is sublime.

The Latin-American and Afro-Caribbean influences are here for all to see and experience, a truly eclectic venture 'King Yoruba' will take you to places you never thought possible.