Sep 29, 2016

From Germany: Tiliboo Afrobeat - Silabaa

Tiliboo Afrobeat is a Berliner band led by composer-vocalist-percussionist Omar Diop. Omar comes from a region in the south of Sénégal called Casamance, one of the heartlands of the west-african Mandinka cultural heritage. As a child, Omar assimilated rhythms and songs from many of the different cultural groups living in this region, including Mandinka, Wolof, and Jola. By the time he was 15 years old he was already a professional choreographer for popular dance groups in the Casamance, but this was only the beginning of his musical journey.
Omar came to Europe for the first time in the 1992 to teach percussion workshops, but quickly found work as a performer, playing with african and european jazz musicians on stages all over Europe. It was during this time that he conceived and developed his personal style of afrobeat music, mixing jazz and other international influences with the traditional rhythms and melodies from Casamance. Shortly after his arrival in Berlin in 1997, he founded Lion Express, the first version of the band that would become Tiliboo.  The band moves effortlessly from funk and afro-cuban salsa to deep Casamance trance rhythms, from Fela-Kuti-style afrobeat to traditional Mandinka griot repertoire.


Afrobeat, well or simply called Afrobeat Afro, is considered one of the most contagious Blackmusic substreams ever a more than happy and warm seen Dauergast in SOULTRAIN. 

International icons of the genre, which originated in the seventies in the western coastal belt of Africa from Nigeria through Benin, Togo, Ghana (with the Ghana typical Afrobeat ingredient Highlife) and the Ivory Coast to the secret "music capitals" of Africa, Mali and Burkina Faso, has, as thus Fela Anikulapo Kuti or his son Femi Kuti, Antibalas, to name the Orchestra Baobab, Osibisa, Manu Dibango or Tony Allen only a very few are regular onlookers in SOULTRAIN and make "their" genre , the Afrobeat, all honor. 

The Omar Lion Express, predecessor band of Tiliboo Afrobeat from Berlin with mastermind Omar Diop from Senegal align themselves with this very proud tradition and return as Tiliboo Afrobeat the best of the genre out that it has so notoriously famous blank are: Elements of Soul and radio, of jazz, rock, Caribbean ideals and popular mainstream to Reggae mate when Afrobeat and the new Tiliboo Afrobeat album "Silabaa" most energetically and to show what is the real core of Afrobeat music philosophy: the heat of the maximum, danceable moment ever.So sprayed in the summer 2014 in the Berlin Butterama Studios recorded "Silabaa" with its nine titles energetic in all directions, relies on African folklore as well as on Central European Jazz injections and crunchy deep funk breaks, always characterized by the indispensable during Afrobeat voluminous and sleek Bläsersätze. 

That Tiliboo Afrobeat from a small network of international musicians from the already mentioned Senegal, from France, the United States, Burkina Faso and Germany composed gives the album additionally a multicultural base, which at the same time always authentic, honest music itself - Glimmering Afrobeat with easy retrospective Soul sparks - can speak for themselves. 

This is particularly evident at the end of "Silabaa", the first of a short, relaxing and necessary tempos pausing with the penultimate song "Sama Natale" before equal to the last track "Goré Ngaa" again full throttle, in a very direct, especially with concomitant, high volume control working perfectly to show a convincing way, what is going on with this Afrobeat, especially for untrained ears, ever to be."Silabaa" of Tiliboo Afrobeat is entertaining and a prime example of the possibilities of the most beautiful and certainly the coolest black music styles of music at all: the absolutely contagious, immensely likeable Afrobeat - watch out!

Sep 27, 2016

Sir Jean & NMB Afrobeat Experience – Permanent War

A state of things, a scream from the heart, a lament, a song soaring in emergency, asking questions… Why are we living in this perpetual war ? This never interrupting violence ?

You are most welcome to join NMB and Sir Jean‘s quest for answers, all together “One for All and All for One“, and evoke a different possible world, one that wouldn’t revolve around profits, one that wouldn’t take for granted the routine of steadily violating all essential human rights, like ours does extensively.

SIR JEAN & NMB AFROBEAT EXPERIENCE comes as the reunion of a singing wizard with a New Orleans-style brass band. After having carved our previous album DEMOCRAZY in West Africa’s red marble, we proceed with our AFROBEAT EXPERIENCE along with SIR JEAN, a magnetic singer with a stunningly deep voice. 

Sep 14, 2016

From Namibia: Black Vulcanite - Black Colonialists

AFTER facing countless questions from fans on when their new album drops, Black Vulcanite yesterday announced that the day had finally arrived. And this time around, it was no April fool's joke.

Titled 'Black Colonialists', the album is a body of work that is themed around a Afrofuturistic theme as is evident from the cover art as well as most of the song titles.

Speaking to The Namibian soon after the announcement yesterday, Mark Mushiva expressed regret that it took so long for the album to drop but noted that is was unavoidable due to certain factors.

“It's really sad to say but a host of things kept us from releasing. Some of them included the fact that we had to migrate in terms of producers and had to start writing everything from scratch. I was also in Europe for quite some time so that played a role as well.”

The 19-track album, by the group, also made up of Nikolai 'Okin' Tjong­arero and Alain 'Ali That Dude' Villet, is well worth the wait, he said, and has a lot of hidden work as well as a concept art booklet. “We wanted to take time to make sure we really put out a very good product.”

'Black Colonialists' is heavily centred around Afrofuturism which is defined by Wikepedia as “a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of colour, but also to revise, interrogate and re-examine the historical events of the past”.

Black Vulcanite has throughout their work gravitated towards this theme and this time around, went a little further. The cover art features African heroes such as Steve Biko, Nora Schimming-Chase, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Daniel Tjongarero Snr, Thomas Sankara, Niko Bessinger, Hendrik Witbooi and Mandume ya Ndemufayo. “When we conceptualised the album, we asked ourselves what we wanted to project. We weaved in all the concepts from our first EP and amplified them. Afrofuturism itself has always been central to the Black Vulcanite motif,” Mushiva said.

The group worked with producers like Maloon The Boom, BeatSlangers and Chris-Tronix as well as newcomers such as Martin Amushendje, amongst others.

Collaborations on the album are packed with surprises, including award-winning duo Star Dust who feature on two tracks, 'Brazil' and 'Waiting for God'. “We've always had a deep respect for a lot of Star Dust's work and after last year's NAMAs when we performed together, we discussed possible collaborations,” Mushiva said. The two groups soon went into studio together. “There was a deep synergy between the way they sang and our songwriting,” Mushiva said of the musical connection that blossomed.

The first video from the album is expected to drop this month but Mushiva declined to give a specific date, saying that they want fans to fully digest the album first.

For purchases, fans can check out the group's social media pages for the numbers of distributors. Negotiations are still underway to get the album stocked in local music outlets.


In 2005, Binyavanga Wainaina published his seminal How To Write About Africa essay. In it, the Kenyan author takes aim at the West for their one-dimensional depictions of Africa (war, famine, dying babies…that kind of shit). A year later, Wainaina’s essay grew into a book and still remains one of the sharpest pieces of satire and political insights in the continent’s literary canon.

This month, Namibian rap outfit Black Vulcanite released their debut album Black Colonialists – a follow up to their 2013 15-track ‘EP’ Remember The Future. As with their debut EP, the album is “a look back at the future”, with heavy Afrofuturist themes over neck-snapping snares, thumping kick patterns and jazzy melodies.

There are plenty of politics too.

“In the name of my fucking poor people, I summon you,” Mark Mushiva kicks off the album. On How To Rap About Africa the trio follow Wainaina’s tradition, knocking down one stereotype after the other. “Black, genocide, famine, safari…” the group lists on the chorus.

Given the collective nervous condition currently being experienced by black people, the world over, Black Colonialists comes across a message for the times. And as Wainaina did with How To Write About Africa, so too are Black Vulcanite staking a claim in constructing a new canon with their latest release.

Sep 9, 2016

From Zimbabwe: The Monkey Nuts

The Monkey Nuts are a Zimbabwean hip hop group consisting of three members: Joshua Chiundiza, Tinotenda Tagwirei and Impi Maph. They have been known for introducing a new sound on the scene in Harare since 2011, and are preparing to break out to the world as they got signed to renowned label BBE (UK) for the release of their EP Boombap Idiophonics, expected to drop on 27 April 2015. We spoke to Joshua for an introduction to a group that could be seen as an anomaly in the Zim hip hop scene, but that’s ultimately a product of the interconnected world in which influences bounce across stages and the internet.

“Have you heard how they catch monkeys in Brazil, Julie? Let me tell you. They put a nut in a bottle, and tie the bottle to a tree. The monkey grasps the nut, but the neck of the bottle is too narrow for the monkey to withdraw its paw and the nut. You would think the monkey would let go of the nut and escape, wouldn’t you? But it never does. It is so greedy it never releases the nut and is always captured. Remember that story, Julie. Greed is a dangerous thing. If you give way to it, sooner or later you will be caught.”

The above quotation is one of my favorites, only this is not Brazil but Zimbabwe and these are The Monkey Nuts! What’s the story? 

Yeah, the name is an interesting one. Wish the story behind it was as insightful as the idiom you referred to. To clarify things a bit, it’s actually The Monkey Nuts, like The Who or The Bhundu Boys, and not just Monkey Nuts. It’s a mere translation of the Shona term ‘nyimo’. Nyimo are known as groundnuts or monkey nuts in English. We just liked it and it seems to catch the attention of people more often than not.

You guys were apparently born and raised in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, a country that has seen a lot of changes in the last decade and a half but someone you seem to have skipped over a lot of thin ice successfully. How did you hone your craft in the years before you ‘caught your break’?

Zim has been going through a bit of a tough time indeed. But Zimbabweans are quite the resilient bunch. And that’s how one has to be in such times, resolute. And it’s on the backdrop of such difficulties that we believe we can push through by offering something creative and innovative. The changes that our country has gone through have been good for us in a sense. They’ve challenged us to think and produce something we believe will be authentic and genuine.

We’ve been at this ‘seriously’ for close to four years now. It’s not really that long actually, but from the moment we started out, we’ve managed to link up with some individuals and organisations that have provided us with maximum support. Organisations like the Magamba Network, Zimbabwe German Society and Alliance Francais de Harare. They simply liked what we were doing and offered to support us.

We basically do everything ourselves in terms of the creative process. We write our own songs, compose and produce the music. We do play instruments (guitar, bass, synth, keys, emcee, vocals), we are a band ultimately, and the fact that we are cousins contributes to that synergy. We have spent a lot of time together and we know each other really well. It’s always mainly just the three of us when we are conceptualising a project and we usually bring in session players for live performances/recordings (drums, mbira, marimba, bass).

What are the examples of contemporary Zimbabwean issues that stir your creative muses and why?
We’d like to think that we are experimental and we are often caught up in between two minds. We have our African heritage, but then we also carry that which we have tried to shake of quite unsuccessfully; our colonial past. From our observation, Zimbabwe is pretty interesting in that regard. We are trying to forge out a strong Zimbabwean/African identity, but are yet to fully understand what that actually means.

A lot of what we do, and specifically the way we look at each other from a cultural perspective, is still heavily influenced by our colonial past. Of course one may say, but for how long? How long will you allow your past to lord over you? Well, the moment we understand why it is that we do things in a particular way, will be the moment that it will be easier for us to embrace change.
It’s this observation that inspires our music, that continuous clash of two worlds. It’s another reason why we like to work and collaborate with artists and musicians from different genres. Our latest project is a collaboration with a French underground DJ from Marseille [Dj Oil from France, ed.] who’s inspired by jazz/blues rhythms from the 50’s and 60’s. The collaboration also features vocals and mbira from one of Zimbabwe’s leading female musicians [Hope Masika, ed.].

Following the success of Mizchif’s ‘Fashionable’ in the nineties that was a roaring success across the continent, what other Zimbabwean rappers have stepped up to take up the mantle? And what is the average perception or knowledge of the Zimbabwean hip hopper about the celebrated rapper known as MF Doom (Daniel Dumile)?

Daniel Dumile is a bit of a mystery to everyone isn’t he? The US stake claim to his fame more than anyone else. But there is definitely acknowledgement of his Zimbabwean heritage by the Zimbabwean hip-hop puritan, but wouldn’t say that his influence has been that substantial. Mizchif on the other hand, yeah he definitely inspired a lot of heads on the scene. The 90’s was a pretty good era… we had Miz, before him there was Peace of Ebony and Zim Legit [Zimbabwe Legit, ed.] over in the States. There was also Shingi ‘Mau Mau’ who’s still at it and the late King Pinn. Now we’ve got so much more talent on display, emcees like Aerosol, Outspoken, Upmost, San Sebb, Synik, T.Shoc. Fore, Jnr Brown, just to name a few.

Do you imagine that your sign up by BBE will make you a force to reckon with in African hip hop?
We’re happy that we signed with BBE, but this is were the work really begins for us. We’re not really concerned about competing with other artists across the continent. Our main objective has always been to create a global product in terms of our music. Signing with BBE means we are close to achieving that, but there is plenty of work to be done. We are still growing; we are still finding our sound.
What is the state of Zimbabwean hip hop, and where do The Monkey Nuts feature in its social hierarchy?

What is the state of Zimbabwean Hip Hop? Interesting question. Wish there was an easy answer. The talent and work ethic is there, there’s no doubt about that. The scene has grown, but its still pretty small. We have taken a lot from the American blueprint, but done very little to break it down and redefine it for ourselves. In our opinion, there is still a lack of identity, that’s the main thing. It’s this lack of identity that has blunted our creative edge.

We’ve got emcees over here comparing themselves to or duplicating American and Western artists in style and sound. The same goes for the producers. They will gladly sample Nina Simone or Howling Wolf and completely ignore the sounds and rhythms from Zimbabwean music legends like John Chibadura or James Chimombe. It’s not like that with hip-hop acts from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa for example. And that is the main thing we felt we had to find in terms of The Monkey Nuts, identity. And we’re getting there. We aren’t really sure where or if we fit in, in terms of the Zimbabwean Hip Hop hierarchy. What we do know is that we are Zimbabwean and we are making hip-hop, global hip-hop. And that’s the plan for us, to record, release and perform our music on an international platform.

You can ‘catch’ The Monkey Nuts online via their Facebook page or Twitter.

On their Soundcloud page you can listen to the ‘Something Out Of Nothing’ EP which can be downloaded for free here.

Sep 5, 2016

From Zimbabwe: Wells Fargo - Watch Out!

Vinyl Me Please writes:

Every once in awhile an album or band comes out of nowhere and takes over your turntable. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s one of the best parts of loving this stuff in the first place and when it does, you feel like you’ll never be the same. And, dramatics aside, you probably won’t be. There’s a special kind of love you develop for music you wake up one day knowing nothing about and go to sleep feeling overwhelmed by. A special attachment you develop to the things that wreck you.

That’s how Wells Fargo’s album Watch Out! was for us. The people who made this record, and the world it came out of, make for the most compelling and heart wrenching story we’ve ever heard behind an album we’ve featured. No question, the history of this thing is going to shake you up. And the music itself is no less forceful. Released as a call to arms for a blooming civil war and kept from a full release by racist labels, Watch Out! is the kind of full frontal revolution rock that would have made flower children squeamish and Jimi Hendrix weep. There’s so much more I could say about it but we’ve brought in some of our favorite writers to do that for me and I can’t wait for you to read what they’ve put together. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: This album matters in the same way all the great ones do. Because of the freedom it brings whenever it’s played.


Wells Fargo were part of a counterculture that has been almost totally forgotten, even in its country of origin. In the 1970s, during the last decade of Zimbabwe’s War of Independence, rock music exploded with a message of unity and hope. Wells Fargo was at the forefront of the “Heavy Music” movement serving as fuel for the fight. Originally released as a series of singles, this is the first time their music has been released since its initial, limited pressing. More than four decades later we proudly present to you, in collaboration with Now-Again Records, Watch Out! for the first time in album form. 


Don’t let the all-American corporate name fool you. Wells Fargo were an edgy, guitar driven and politically dangerous band from 1970s Rhodesia — a group that defied the odds of political apartheid and took incredible risks in performing their music. While their sound draws parallels to the more melodic works of Jimi Hendrix and (especially) Black Merda, Wells Fargo cut a unique take on rock n roll; one of haunting melodies and relentless rhythm.

At the time this style of music was known simply and appropriately as ‘heavy rock’ in Africa, and the groups playing in this style adopted the stance of peace, love and unity, all the while being seen as a crucial force in the liberation movement of the continent. Influenced by the screenings of Woodstock, several rock festivals were organized in the 1970s, proving to be culturally progressive — progressive in that they were fully integrated during a time in which segregation was still an ugly reality. “Watch Out”, the group’s most famous recording, was adopted by the liberation movement as a theme song, prompting the menacing investigative arm of the Rhodesian government’s Special Branch to spy on both the group and their fans. It was this political heat that eventually resulted in the brutal beating of the band by police following a concert brought to an abrupt halt.

Sep 2, 2016

Vaudou Game - Kidayu

When it came to recording ‘Kidayu’, the new album from Vaudou Game, released 7th October on Hot Casa Records, Peter Solo did not need to consult the oracle, instead relying on the voodoo rhythms and raw afro-funk and soul that has served him so well.

Solo immersed his Lyon companions in the flourishing Afrobeat rhythms of the 1970s along with those of traditional song. But far from being backward-looking, together they deliver an original style of music, dynamic and jubilant. Marked at times by James Brown-style shouts, ‘Kidayu’ pairs voodoo harmonies with funk and blues.Born in Aného-Glidji, Togo, the birthplace of the Guin tribe and a major site of the Voodoo culture, Peter Solo was raised with this tradition’s values of respect for all forms of life and the environment. At an early age, he made a makeshift guitar, and his music propelled him into the spotlight, his undeniable talent earning the respect of renowned African artists. Mastering traditional percussion instruments, his desire to discover the world and to carry his practice forward led him to England, where he became immersed in gospel music and then eventually to France where he calls home today.

The idea of integrating the haunting voodoo lines, sung in honour of the Divinities, into energetic 70s afrofunk, is, in Solo’s mind, an obvious extension of the analogy he found between this voodoo tradition and trance inducers such as the soul, funk, and rhythm ‘n blues of James Brown and Otis Redding.Solo had a vision of codifying the musical scales that are found in sacred songs of Beninese and Togolese vodun music. The terms “vadou” and “voodoo,” which come from the word “vodun,” refer to spirit and name a blended culture of voodoo practices from different West African ethnicities.Entirely produced, recorded, mixed and mastered using vintage material and instruments produced in the 70s, old cassette tapes were the “grigris” (or lucky charms) which proved most effective to ward off digital corruption of their music and allow them to thrive as a tight-knit group with a solid groove.

Kidayu means “sharing” in Kabye, the language spoken in northern Togo, and sharing, is the philosophy of Vaudou Game – both in their recorded music and on stage.

In songs like ‘Natural Vaudou’, ‘Cherie Nye’ and ‘La Vie C’est Bon’, the unbeatable trance rhythm inherited from James Brown and Fela Kuti, icons of Funk and Afrobeat, are evident.

Across ‘Kidayu’, Vaudou Game sound like the big bands from the golden age of Ethiopian dance music but it’s in songs like ‘La Dette’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Elle Decide’ where they show their greatest inspiration; the rumbling soul and funk of James Brown. Raw funky basslines let Solo’s lyrics bounce back and forth until the result is so pulsating and mesmeric you just have to move your feet.The ecstatic voodoo rituals that Solo grew up with are used as a fertile basis for Vaudou Game’s sound. In using the original form, he decorates his songs with guitars, keyboards, bass, rhythms and counter rhythms, and a steaming pair of brass.

Since the release of their debut album ‘Apiafo’ in 2014, Vaudou Game have never turned down the heat on over 130 stages across Europe, Africa, America and Asia and can count BBC Radio 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson as a fan, voting the album ‘Record of the Week’ on his show.On ‘Kidayu’, Solo is joined by Vicente Fritis on keyboards/backing vocals, Jerôme Bartolome on saxophone/percussions/backing vocals, Guilhem Parguel on trombone/percussions/backing vocals, Simon Bacroix on bass/backing vocals, Hafid Zouaoui on drums, and sound engineer Stephane Pauze.