Calico Soul

13/11/2019Berlin-Based Nomadic Duo Farafi Releases Free-Spirited Debut Album On Piranha Records

A recent release that took us by surprise? That would have to be "Calico Soul", the debut album of nomadic Berlin-based duo Farafi, whose striking combination of captivating vocals and percussive sounds were quick to enthral us. Their story is one of modern roots, travels across the globe and a love for music both heartfelt and spiritual. Darlini Singh Kaul and Joy Tyson met in Goa, in the coastal village of Arambol. There, they discovered their shared adoration of African music, began singing a capella and exploring different musical traditions, from classical Indian to Turkish folklore, Arabic maqam and Western jazz. It didn't take long, before they were joined by friends they had made "in this magical place."

The two were raised in musical families: Darlini in London with Indian/French roots, Joy in Florida with roots in Eastern Europe. Inspired by their diverse backgrounds, experiences and travels, their "eclectic collection of sounds" blends traditional African, Middle Eastern, Indian and Western contemporary music to danceable effect, as Farafi sing in several different languages:

"We resonate with the phonetics of Zulu, Xhosa, Swahili and Yoruba," says Joy. "We often translate English lyrics to multiple languages, and then look at what phrasing fits best for what we have to say." Darlini adds: "When I was a kid, I felt limited by English and French. As I started to sing African songs, a language I had no intellectual reference to, it made me look at the notion of invented languages as a tool to compose purely on a phonetic aspect. This allowed me to express feelings that were beyond a language and sing straight from my heart."

The name Farafi actually derives from the West African Bambara term 'farafina', which translates to 'land of the black skin'. In fact, the two have created their own 'farafish' language (incorporating African vernaculars), intended to "reach the depths of all humans" and resonate across the globe. They also play several instruments, including the cajon, Moroccan krakebs and frame drum as well as the West African ngoni, the kashaka and Indian Ghungroos. Their exhilarating sound celebrates the "beauty of expression." It's the "poetry of two free-spirited women, joining their voices together with a world-bound, cosmopolitan sound", spreading messages of "hope, togetherness and freedom." 

We recommend you stream the full album below and enjoy the companion music video to their empowering single "Djanya Wofu", "a true female warrior chant about resilience and resistance."

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom