Kosher Nostra

A Musical Anthology Of Jewish-American Organized Crime

Little do many know about the history of Jewish gangsters in early 20th century America or the so-called Kosher Nostra movement of Jewish organized crime with its key figures the likes of Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen or Bugsy Siegel. As an estimated two million jews emigrated from Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914 (New York alone counted 1.7 million Jews in 1910), they were met with a new struggle for survival in the New World, [...]

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Not Forgotten

Cambodia's Lost Rock And Roll

On our global search for extraordinary material, we recently stumbled upon this sublime documentary on Cambodia's emerging music scene during the 60's and 70s, creating a sound clearly composed of Western influences yet distinctly their own:

"Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping, America, England and France, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The beautiful singing of their [...]

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Sudanese Sounds

Awesome Tapes From Africa Presents: Salah Mustafa

Brian Shimkovitz has been at the forefront of digging culture for more than a decade now, making obscure finds and unbelievable material available to a larger public via his notorious Awesome Tapes From Africa (AFTA) imprint: "This is music you won't easily find anywhere else – except, perhaps in its region of origin."

Staying true to their word, AFTA recently shared a brilliant two-sided mixtape by Sudanese legend Salah Mustafa, who according to the [...]

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The Case of Ramy Essam & International Mobility Issues

Born out of the very first World Conference on Music and censorship back in 1998, Freemuse, "an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression" in music across the globe, continues to play a major role in exposing worldwide inequalities. Personally, we've been supporting and following their activities for quite some time now and receive regular updates via their highly informative newsletter.

For example, [...]

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Black Magic Woman

Challenging Christianity's Role in Ghanaian Society

Ghanaian artist/singer Azizaa and rapper/director Wanlov the Kubolor are at the forefront of an open-minded generation in Ghana that is increasingly starting to question the omnipotence of colonially imposed Christianity in the country, while elements of local culture and tradition are publicly rejected or consciously suppressed.

In a recent interview with The Fader the two sat down to discuss the current situation in Ghana, the big business that is religion [...]

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Turkish Jams

Istanbul's Bant Magazine Meets Amsterdam's Red Light Radio

Last weekend Istanbul's alternative music magazine Bant hosted Amsterdam's award-winning Red Light Radio for a 6-hour live broadcast of "Turkish Jams" featuring several local acts including the likes of Farfara, Islandman, Lara Di Lara, Gevende, Ağaçkakan, The Ringo Jets, Kim Ki O, Reverie Falls On All, Pitohui, Ah! Kosmos, Palmiyeler, Can Güngör, Gaye Su Akyol, Bubituzak and the everpresent Baba Zula as well as their respective selections. Tune in via [...]

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Duck Rock

A Sonic Essay On Malcolm McLaren's Iconic Album

Berlin-based DJ, producer and Man Recordings label-head Daniel Haaksman, a well-known devotee to the global dance floor scene with a penchant for fresh urban bass sounds from baile funk to afro house (which he also presents via his regular Luso FM radio show on Funkhaus Europa), recently released a brilliant sonic essay, paying tribute to Malcolm McLaren’s iconic 1983 “Duck Rock” album.

McLaren, known to have championed British youth culture, fashion [...]

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Diggin' In Cuba

Another "Pura" Mixtape By GUTS

Returning from a recent trip to Cuba, DJ/Producer/Beat-Digger extraordinaire GUTS serves up a two-hour free download vinyl mixtape of vintage pearls from the island, as part of his "Pura" series.

While you're at it, you might also want to check out his previous mix of 1970's Colombian grooves and fusion music, a mix of afro beat, funk, cumbia, haitian compa, disco and tropical music, which should also still be available via the Parisian Heavenly Sweetness [...]

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Los Pirañas

Colombian Sounds Of Tomorrow

Frente Cumbiero mastermind Mario Galeano, whom you may also be familiar with from his Ondátropica collaboration alongside Will Holland (aka Quantic), spearheads this latest treasure of the Colombian experimental scene, going by the snappy name of Los Pirañas. The trio comprising Galeano on bass, Eblis Alvarez on electronic guitar, computer & synths as well as Pedro Ojedo on percussion released their highly recommendable quirky 'Tropical Noise' album entitled [...]

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Mbongwana Star Airs Trippy New Video

If you've been following our journal from the start you will remember our previous enthusiastic post about Congolese supergroup Mbongwana Star, pushing forth their breathtakingly vibrant debut album "From Kinshasa" and their special electronic blend of space dub, afro-punk, club sounds.

Well, they are back with a wickedly trippy video to their album track "Nganshé", which draws you in like a bad dream: A voodoo-step version of Kraftwerk’s “The Model”, [...]

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A "Minute Of Silence"

To Be Heard Across The Globe

Choosing silence as the best response to what he considers the Austrian government's failure to handle the current migrant situation and improve the catastrophic conditions in Traiskirchen, Vienna's largest refugee camp, artist Raoul Haspel recently launched his powerful minute of silence "Schweigeminute", which has now topped the iTunes and Amazon charts in Austria.

With over 4,000 orders and counting the single can now be downloaded for 0.99 euros [...]

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Au Revoir, Mogadishu!

Songs From Pre-War Somalia

While browsing Okayafrica’s latest recommendations we came across a rare gem from pre-war 70's and 80's Somalia: Entitled “Au Revoir, Mogadishu Volume 1 - Songs From Before The War” this tape, compiled by Berlin-based cassette label Caykh Recordings and Jakarta Records blends “traditional Somali folk music, infused with Western funk, rock and reggae” as well as a pinch of “Indian, Arabic and African” flavours. The mix includes selections from acts [...]

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