Legendary Malian Artist Idrissa Soumaoro Celebrates Musical Homecoming On Third Album

"Diré" is a town on the left bank of the Niger river in the 333 Saints of Timbuktu region of northern Mali. It is there that the legendary Malian singer-songwriter, guitarist and master of the kamalen n'goni Idrissa Soumaoro met his wife and where his late first daughter was born. It also happens to be the title to his long-awaited and recently released third full-length that has been a long time in the making, maybe even a lifetime. Initiated by Marc-Antoine [...]

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Congo Guitar

Stockholm-Based Congolese Guitarist 'Vumbi' Dekula Releases Resplendent Solo Guitar Album

There is a particular beauty inherent to the distinct stylings of the Congolese guitar, the boleros, rumbas, soukous and similar 'slow music' styles which, despite their laid-back form, have a certain swing to them that is undeniably infectious. When we saw that Brighton's Hive Mind Records was about to drop a release simply titled "Congo Guitar", we had a feeling we were in for a treat. And, having previously familiarised ourselves with the genre via a handful [...]

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Beirut's Charif Megarbane Releases The Soundtrack To A Summer By The Mediterranean Sea

But why marzipan? The title to the first contemporary full-length on Habibi Funk, released two months ago to the day, is enough to spark our curiosity. Sweet indulgence...that must be it. Soft, sugary, rich, filling, the taste of honey and almonds, a wonderful amuse bouche. Release number 023 brings us to Lebanon, where multi-instrumental producer extraordinaire Charif Megarbane (Cosmic Analog Ensemble, the Free Association Syndicate, Monumental Detail) has [...]

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Mississippi Records Reissue Lost Classic Of Ethiopian Golden Age By Aselefech Ashine & Getenesh Kebret

Fans of Ethiopian grooves and those to be best listen up: Today, we bring you an absolute "gem of a record," originally released in 1976 on Kaifa Records and now reissued in full for the first time by Brooklyn-based imprint Mississippi Records. You might call it "a lost classic of the Ethiopian Golden Age," but more importantly it is a testament to two leading voices of the era. Fittingly titled "Beauties", this ten-track collection sees two of Addis Ababa's [...]

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Upopo Sanke

Pingipung Posthumously Reissues Transcendental Second Album Of Iconic Ainu Singer Umeko Ando

"Let's sing a song," is the translated meaning of "Upopo Sanke", the second album of Ainu artist Umeko Ando (1932-2004). The Ainu, in case you didn't know (because neither did we), are an indigenous people of Japan, the earliest of the northern island of Hokkaido, "whose lands once spanned from northern Honshu [on the Japanese mainland] north to Sakhalin and the Kuril islands [now a disputed part of the Russian Federation]" (read more here). And Umeko Ando is [...]

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Chicago's Lapgan Resurfaces With Another Beat-Laden Epic Digging Deep Into South Asian Music

We don't need no e-du-ca-tion! Um, wait, that didn't come out the way it was supposed to. What we meant to say was that education and Western education in particular as well as the way that a certain view on history is taught by those with a well-known colonial past, is and has been insufficient to say the least. Or as the release notes to Chicago-based producer/beatmaker Lapgan's latest sonic epic state: "Western education is often a sanitised account of [...]

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Samuele Strufaldi & Música Macondo – Building Futures In The Ivory Coast Through Collaborative Music

Every once in a while, we come across a project that is truly about making a difference through musical collaboration. Back in 2019, Florence-based "polyhedric composer" Samuele Strufaldi followed an invitation by his friend, the local djembe player Pêrmlay Boris Pierrou, to travel to the latter's home village of Gohouo-Zagna in the Guemon region of the Ivory Coast and collaborate on some music. As he settled into his new surroundings, Strufaldi became aware [...]

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Rocafort Records Releases V.A. Compilation Of 'East African Hits On The Colombian Coast'

Rain in Berlin is so heavy these days, it feels like we've gone coastal. And so coastal is our choice for soundtrack of the week, as we direct our attention to Barcelona's Rocafort Records and their recently released various artists compilation, inviting listeners on an Afro-Caribbean tour of the Colombian coast. "Piconema: East African Hits on the Colombian Coast" brings us nine gems of East African heritage, "showcasing the best of Kenyan Benga music – a [...]

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A New Dawn

Pedro Ricardo And Damián Botigué Release Luminous Debut Fusing The Traditional W/ The Contemporary

One day ends, another one begins. The transition is fluid yet always heralded by a new dawn, a moment so magical that few things ever get close to capturing its allure. Most recently, two rising stars of the global scene raised the curtain on their debut collaborative LP, released on Barcelona-based imprint Canela En Surco. Fittingly titled "Un Nuevo Amanecer" ('A New Dawn'), Portuguese multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ Pedro Ricardo – who delivered his [...]

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When The Dust Settles

London's Mandé Jazz Ensemble Balimaya Project Explores The Concept Of Family On Sophomore Album

Remaining both in the UK and in West Africa after recently reviewing the new album of experimental UK dub project African Head Charge "A Trip To Bolgatanga", we now turn to London's Mandé jazz ensemble Balimaya Project. Formed by composer, arranger and djembe player Yahael Camara Onono back in 2019, the group fuses the musical experiences and rhythmic traditions of the diverse West African diasporas and identities with influences from London's contemporary [...]

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A Trip To Bolgatanga

Singular Experimental Dub Project African Head Charge Returns From A Twelve-Year Hiatus

Right on time for a new generation of listeners to become acquainted with their broad palette of psychoactive sounds, African Head Charge are back with another album on Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound. With a discography reaching back to the project's mind-bending 1981 debut LP "My Life in a Hole in the Ground" – playing on "both the title and concept of David Byrne and Brian Eno's "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" – their latest feat follows a twelve-year [...]

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MLDVA & Çınar Timur

Poland's Aficionados Of Turkish Psychedelia Present Their Modern-Day Tribute To The Sounds Of Yesteryear

To say we've been eagerly awaiting this release would be somewhat of an understatement. Five years after releasing their debut single "Gül Ahmet", which also featured on the strictly limited "Saz Power" compilation by Ironhand Records, Kraków-based outfit MLDVA and Turkish instrumentalist Çınar Timur unveil their debut LP on Shapes of Rhythm. Presenting their unique take on Turkish psychedelia with a definitive nod the psychedelic rock movement of the [...]

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