Trance Gnawa

Elmir Records Releases A Collection Of Ritualistic Trance Music From Iconic Moroccan Group Nass El Ghiwane
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Healing is a process that is best accompanied by music. Rooted in North Africa are spiritual ceremonies called 'ziara', "where people come to exorcise demons, purify their bodies and loudly reaffirm their attachment to God, the prophet and the deities who claim to embody him."  During these ceremonies, ritualistic music provides the appropriate setting to conjure up ecstatic outbursts and attain a higher state of consciousness. "The most brilliant performers of [...]

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Africa Yontii

Sengalese Guitarist Tidiane Thiam Releases Compelling Appeal To Africa To Take Back The Reins Of Its Own Destiny
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There's an innate beauty to this new album by Senegal's Tidiane Thiam, but beyond its pensive allure lies a more profound concept, one of pride and provenance and hope. Titled "Africa Yontii", which is Pulaar – a Fula language spoken primarily in the Senegal River valley area – and translates to 'Africa, It's Time', this nine-track instrumental guitar serenade carries within it a deep-seated dream: “It’s time. Africa, it’s time. It’s time that [...]

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Ghana Special

Soundway Records Unveils Scintillating Collection Of Electronic 'Burger Highlife' Sounds From The Diaspora, 1980-93
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As wonderful as it is to have such a broad selection of grooves on one record, it's admittedly tough to review 'various artists' compilations down to the very last detail. Instead of sharing in-depth background information on each and every artist involved, capturing the collective vibe and providing some necessary context usually suffice to point people in the right direction. That being said, Soundway Records just released the heavyweight second volume of its [...]

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Zonder Pardon

Amsterdam's Don Melody Club Releases Unapologetically Wonky, Infectiously Groovy 'Dutch Pop' Five-Tracker
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Let's take it back to the club and get those 'Nederwave' engines revving. Revisiting our promo archives, we chanced upon this rare Dutch pop elixir released on Bongo Joe Records in collaboration with Dutch imprint Excelsior Recordings at the start of the year. "Zonder Pardon" is a zesty, wonky, yet undeniably groovy five-tracker by Amsterdam's Don Melody Club, the moniker of Donald "Donny" Madjid. Also a member of the infamous and equally punchy Mauskovic Dance [...]

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Musafir

Multi-Cultural Ensemble Halva Presents 3rd Album Reimagining The Traditional Sounds Of Eastern Europe
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Taking a more classical approach this time around, we bring you the recently released third album by Halva, a multi-cultural ensemble that has a penchant for reimagining "traditional Eastern European styles" with virtuosic aplomb. Their wholly original compositions from the hand of Belgian band leader and violinist Nicolaas Cottenie are marked by dazzling virtuosity and a talent for musical storytelling; albeit the majority of their music is instrumental. The [...]

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Ocher Red

Siberian Brother Duo Herandu (Evgeny & Mikhail Gavrilov) Releases Mesmerising Jazz Fusion Debut On Hive Mind
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Call it serendipity, but this unassuming release recently resurfaced in our feed, reminding us that we had previously received and flagged a promo in our inbox by the same name. As luck would have it, there it was and upon reading the release notes we quickly realised that this instrumental gem might just be our thing. Out on Brighton's Hive Mind imprint as of last Friday and titled "Ocher Red", this is the debut full-length of Herandu, the sonic alloy of [...]

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Les Belgicains

Back From A 54-Year Hiatus The Recently Revived Covadia Imprint Shines A Light On Its Remarkable Back Catalogue
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The notorious algorithm served this one up on a silver platter a few weeks back, suggesting we follow the newly revived, Brussels-based Covadia Records imprint and after brief consideration, we decided we would. Now here we are to reap the rewards, seeing as the label released its inaugural compilation last Friday, one that you better not sleep on. If you are familiar with the sounds of infamous Congolese rumba and bolero band TPOK Jazz and its charismatic [...]

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Altera Vita

UK Duo Alina Bzhezhinska (harp) & Tony Kofi (tenor sax) Releases Heavenly Spiritual Jazz Collaboration On BBE
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There's something undeniably celestial about the harp and this effect is multiplied to the fullest on this heavenly collaborative debut album by the phenomenal harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and tenor sax phenom Tony Kofi. This is not the first time the two UK-based, multiple award-winning artists have joined forces and yet, hearing them in a duo constellation does exude a certain magic. Titled "Altera Vita" ('Another Life'), this collaborative full-length "homage [...]

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Working Progress

Jamaica’s groundsound (Gavsborg & Riddim Writer) Release Afrofuturist Dancehall Album With A Message
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Every now and then we like to shake things up a bit and throw a sonic wrench in the system. Today's circuit breaker comes by ways of Kingston, Jamaica, home to groundsound. The forward-thinking duo consisting of Gavsborg (founding member of the Equiknoxx collective) and Riddim Writer (word artist & cultural analyst) has formed "a message-driven, Afrofuturist partnership" and recently released a stunning one-hour full-length "to free-up how listeners hear, think [...]

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Ye Ankasa

Berlin's Jembaa Groove Collective Returns With Another Heavy Afro-Soul Groover On Agogo Records
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Certain things remain a constant, such as the this planet of ours that keeps spinning on its own axis and those clocks that keep on ticking. Also, Berlin's Jembaa Groove is back with another album on Agogo Records. Two years after delivering their unifying debut "Susuma" (read more here), fusing West African influences with the infinite possibilities of jazz and a healthy dose of soul, the multi-cultural seven-piece returns with yet another heavy afro-soul [...]

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Merci Yaya Bongo

Marseille’s Secousse Imprint Releases 2LP Compilation Of All-Female 'Animation Groups' From Gabon 1982-1989
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Call us ignorant, but only now are we catching up on the history of Gabon. The country on the Atlantic coast of Central Africa gained its independence from France in 1960, however, relations between the two countries remained co-dependent. Gabon has had three presidents since gaining its autonomy, the most prominent being Omar Bongo, who stayed in power for a whopping 42 years only to be succeeded by his son in 2009, who then ruled another 14 years until his [...]

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Hiddo Dhawr

Somaliland's Emblematic Chanteuse, Nurse and Cultural Activist Sahra Halgan Unveils Zealous Fourth Album
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Last Friday marked the return of a true, yet still lesser known musical and cultural icon, the great chanteuse, nurse and activist Sahra Halgan. Hailing from Somaliland, a region in northwestern Somalia that declared its independence from the British protectorate in 1991 following a brutal civil war, but remains "unrecognised by the international community," Halgan continues to be one of the region's strongest voices in every respect. So before we dive into her [...]

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