Reggae Sounds

Seminal Dub-Poet, Activist And Icon Linton Kwesi Johnson To Receive 2020 PEN Pinter Prize
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Call it a coincidence, but the day we posted an exclusive 2008 Riddim Culture radio tribute to pioneering Jamaican artist, studio engineer and broadcaster Michael Campbell, aka Mikey Dread, we received word that prominent Jamaican dub poet and activist Linton Kwesi Johnson had been awarded the 2020 PEN Pinter Prize. The literary award, named after renowned British playwright Harold Pinter, was created by the English PEN organisation in 2009, to celebrate [...]

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Spirit Groove

Multi-Percussionist Kahil El’Zabar & Tenor Sax Colossus David Murray Release Phenomenal New Spiritual Jazz Album
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Welcome to the house that Kahil El'Zabar built. For decades now, Chicago's hugely innovative, "legendary multi-percussionist and spiritual jazz master Kahil El'Zabar [has been on a] quest of spirit through groove." It comes as no surprise then, that his latest, June-released album alongside fellow spirit-searcher and "tenor sax colossus" David Murray is simply entitled "Spirit Groove". Spanning over four decades the two have collaborated on a multitude of [...]

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Afropentatonism

Niger's Alhousseini Anivolla and Ethiopia's Girum Mezmur Join Forces on Hypnotic Pan-African Album Project
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Afropentatonism... say it out loud, read it again to make sure you got all the letters right and then just let it seep in and gently take effect. What might be mistaken for a cult or a new brand of metal music rooted in African tradition turns out to be neither nor. Instead, "Afropentatonism" references the pentatonic scale, which many claim to be the world's oldest scale. With its five notes per octave the pentatonic scale dates all the way back to ancient [...]

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Africa Today

Nigerian Trumpet Phenom Etuk Ubong Releases Six-Track Direct-To-Disc Album On Night Dreamer
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If you've listened to or possibly even added Etuk Ubong's 2018-released "Black Debtors" 7-inch to your collection, then you're already in the know and will likely agree to Seun Kuti calling him "one of the best things to come out of Lagos." The Nigerian trumpeter, composer and bandleader with his home-cooked 'Earth Music' style is a veritable musical force to be reckoned with. For his latest feat he's now teamed up with London/Haarlem-based imprint Night [...]

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The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti

Ostinato Records Releases The First-Ever International Album From Groupe RTD
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The BBC's Focus on Africa programme called this "a very special album" and we couldn't agree more. While collecting music to put on our "Greedy for May" playlist on Spotify a few weeks back, we previewed the first available tracks of "The Dancing Devils of Djibouti" by Groupe RTD, aka "one of East Africa's best kept secrets," and were deeply impressed. Now fully released and available via Ostinato Records, we can't wait to share the story of the first-ever [...]

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No Pata Pata

Angélique Kidjo Collaborates With UNICEF On New Version Of Miriam Makeba's Defiantly Joyful 1967 Hit Song
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In 1985, the star-studded supergroup USA for Africa – initiated by Harry Belafonte and led by Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie as well as iconic producer Quincy Jones – released its global charity anthem "We Are The World", which went on to sell over 20 million copies and raise over $75 million to combat famine in Africa. The song was remade in 2010 to benefit the earthquake-ridden Republic of Haiti. This year, Lionel Richie suggested recording a third [...]

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Strovilos

Cyprus' Trio Tekke Releases A Post-Rembetiko Whirlwind Of A Fourth Album
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This period of being at home more and reflecting on life, the state of affairs and current world order has come with the immediate benefit of consuming even more music. Although the lack of revenue for streaming of any kind remains an issue that needs to be addressed, we can't say we haven't revelled in the abundance of music being released, shared and performed live on screen at the moment. As such, we ourselves have made a load of new discoveries. But it also [...]

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Black Atlantica Edits

Daniel Haaksman Readies A Dancefloor-Friendly Exploration Of The Afro-Latin Diaspora For BBE
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In other transatlantic news, Berlin-based Man Recordings founder, DJ and producer Daniel Haaksman returns with a superb dancefloor-friendly exploration of the Afro-Latin diaspora for BBE Music. Haaksman has long made a name for himself as a transcontinental curator of global, tropical and future bass tunes – ever since his seminal "Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats" compilation in 2004 – steadily cultivating aural dialogues between Europe, South America and [...]

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Uzelli Elektro Saz

Esma & Murat Ertel Curate 13-Track Electric Saz Compilation From The Extensive Uzelli Kaset Vaults
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A few months ago, when commercial air travel was still a thing, we visited our second home on the Bosphorus. During our stay, we had the opportunity to meet with Esma and Murat Ertel (lead singer and electric saz player of experimental Istanbul psych-formation Baba Zula) in a coffee house in the neighbourhood of Levent on the occasion of their soon-to-be and meanwhile recently released "Uzelli Elektro Saz" album, compiled from the extensive archives of the [...]

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Istanbul

Bucovina Club Meets Anadolu Rock On Shantel & Cümbüş Cemaat's Rousing Collaborative LP
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In 1976, the legendary Erkin Koray, one of the pioneers of Anatolian rock music, released a track called "Cümbür Cemaat", which roughly translates to 'all together now'. Almost five decades later, today, Frankfurt-based producer and partisan of Balkan music styles Shantel teams up with Istanbul-based outfit Cümbüş Cemaat – notice the play on words, 'cümbüş' referring to an oud- or mandolin-like Turkish instrument as well as a 'merrymaking' – to [...]

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The Same Dance

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino's Mauro Durante Launches Beautiful Split-Screen Dance Project
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As many countries across the globe have slowly begun to lift certain precautionary measures, in an attempt to aid their struggling economies, social distancing remains a global issue. Naturally, those who can still choose to stay at home as much as possible. Yet, even though this is a time of separation for most of us, there is also a growing need for support, solidarity and togetherness, if only virtual, to alleviate the effects of social isolation. In [...]

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Les Vikings De La Guadeloupe

Heavenly Sweetness Reissues 14-Track Tribute To The Pioneers Of Biguine Jazz
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The Vikings from Guadeloupe...we'll let that resonate for a minute, before we proceed. These 1960s legends from the French Antilles are the pioneers of Biguine jazz as well as the archipelago's first true rockstars. In many ways "they embodied the same spirit of liberty and anti-conformism" as other leading international bands and artists of the times and "with their unorthodox dress sense reinvented the music of the tropics and shook up its conventions."

Their [...]

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