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Digital Zandoli Vol. 1 + 2

Heavenly Sweetness Drops Part 2 Of 1980s/90s West Indies Zouk & Synth Funk Series
 

"That's Zouk," my friend exclaimed, when I played the first track off of "Digital Zandoli Vol. 1", a stunning, dancefloor-oriented compilation of 13 disco, boogie and [yes] Zouk tracks recorded in the French West [...]

"That's Zouk," my friend exclaimed, when I played the first track off of "Digital Zandoli Vol. 1", a stunning, dancefloor-oriented compilation of 13 disco, boogie and [yes] Zouk tracks recorded in the French West Indies of the 1980s and released by Parisian imprint Heavenly Sweetness in 2016.

Curated by Julien Achard of Digger's Digest and Nico Skliris (formerly Superfly Records), the release "reveals a broader spectrum to the otherwise poorly defined genre" (Vinyl Factory) with sun-filled, laid-back and body-moving grooves by artists the likes of O.R.E.A., Pierre-Edouard Décimus, Acayouman, Meliza and many more, merging "traditional and other rhythmic genres (funk, disco, afro-beat, Latin, Brazilian ...) with new instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines in the creative process".

Volume 2 of the acclaimed compilation, aka "Digital Zandoli 2: Funky Zouk Spectrum 1984 – 1993"just dropped in October and is an absolute blast from the past. Listen to Nico Skliris' Volume 1 mixtape in the SoundCloud player above or "Pina Colada Coco Loco" by Joyeux de Cocotier below. Big tunes!

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Gül Ahmet

Poland’s MLDVA & Çınar Timur Share Psychedelic Saz-Powered Track + Two Remixes
 

Heads up, here comes a 'sazzy' freebie for you! Earlier this year we shared a one-off track by Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek, taken from the strictly limited "Saz Power" compilation, released on Ironhand Records [...]

Heads up, here comes a 'sazzy' freebie for you! Earlier this year we shared a one-off track by Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek, taken from the strictly limited "Saz Power" compilation, released on Ironhand Records back in May. That being said, if you haven't yet checked it out, the selection features "eleven contemporary bands with saz-powered sounds from around the world, i.e. authentic sounds from distinctive saz minds". You can listen to the full album via the SoundCloud player above. 

This week, Polish combo MLDVA (Tomasz Jurecki, electric bağlama / Grzegorz Dąbek, synths / Szymon Piotrowski, drums) & Çınar Timur (acoustic bağlama), who delivered the compilation's opener "Gül Ahmet", shared their track along with two hallucinogenic remixes from the hands of Istanbul-based beatsmith Da Poet and Jerusalem-based producer/DJ Feller. The three-track release is available digitally on Bandcamp at a 'name your price' basis. So feel free to support. You won't regret it!

Below you can watch the beautifully animated "Saz Power" album trailer.

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Toto Bona Lokua

The Magical Trio Delivers Yet Another Timeless Body Of Work On “Bondeko”

Intrigued by the gorgeous album artwork, we just unearthed this equally inspiring and recently released musical gem on Parisian imprint NØ FØRMAT! by the wonderful trio Toto Bona Lokua. Composed of Gérald Toto [...]

Intrigued by the gorgeous album artwork, we just unearthed this equally inspiring and recently released musical gem on Parisian imprint NØ FØRMAT! by the wonderful trio Toto Bona Lokua. Composed of Gérald Toto from the island of Martinique, Richard Bona from Cameroon and Lokua Kanza from the Congo, this magical three-piece was quick to draw us in by its velvety cohesiveness. What struck us was the pure beauty of their vocal arrangements and utmost musicality in their delivery, providing a haven of soothing harmony and shared focus in times otherwise marked by so much noise, distraction and division. 

"Picked and strummed guitars, flute and discreet electro atmospherics (from producer Laurent Bizot) provide a dreamy backdrop, with the triumvirate of voices alternating between solo and immaculate sweet harmonies – an African Crosby, Stills & Nash, if you like. [...] it’s seamless stuff," Neil Spencer comments in his review for The Guardian. And indeed, Toto Bona Lokua provide listeners with somewhat of a blueprint for social togetherness or simply a mesmerising soundtrack to enjoy, when life seems all too rushed. 

More than thirteen years after their 2004-released longplayer "Totobonalokua", the twelve tracks on "Bondeko" are another timeless and ultra-modern body of work that cannot be unheard. Listen to the full album on YouTube or feast your eyes and ears on the official music video to album opener "Ma Mama" below.

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Masana Temples

Tokyo’s Kikagaku Moyo Ready Richly Flavoured Fourth Studio Album

Tokyo-based "psychedelic explorers" Kikagaku Moyo first came together in the summer of 2012 as street buskers, but quickly evolved into a tight-knit collective of free-minded multi-instrumentalists. Their sound [...]

Tokyo-based "psychedelic explorers" Kikagaku Moyo first came together in the summer of 2012 as street buskers, but quickly evolved into a tight-knit collective of free-minded multi-instrumentalists. Their sound "incorporates elements of classical Indian music, Krautrock, traditional folk and '70s rock", but "encompasses a broad spectrum of influence" and experimentation. Freedom and improvisation are key as the Japanese five-piece builds bridges "between the supernatural and the present"

Their recently released album "Masana Temples" is in fact their fourth full-length studio album, but the first we've heard of them. The longplayer's "shifting dimensions" are inspired by the band's mutual journey, including numerous tours and performances across the globe as well as a "pilgrimage" to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, to work with jazz musician Bruno Pernadas, who assumed production duties on the album. "The album's always changing sonic panorama reflects the spiritual connection of the band moving through this all together" and "challenging their own concepts of what psychedelic music could be". 

Nomadic in nature and multiplicitous in perspective, Kikagaku Moyo deliver a richly flavoured soundtrack that works on so many different levels it's hard to choose. That being said, this album will be sure to find appeal even among those, who may not consider themselves to be truly passionate about alternative rock or indie music. Stream/buy the full album here as well as their previous works and make sure to listen to their full live performance for Seattle's public radio station KEXP below. They'll be performing live in Berlin on November 13th.

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Ghosts & Robots

Den Sorte Skole To Open Berlin "100 Years Of Copyright" Festival W/ New "Ghosts & Robots" Live Show
 

Back in May Denmark's sample wizards Den Sorte Skole premiered their brand new audiovisual project "Ghosts & Robots" with three sold out shows at Copenhagen's grand Royal Theater (Det Kongelige Teater), treating [...]

Back in May Denmark's sample wizards Den Sorte Skole premiered their brand new audiovisual project "Ghosts & Robots" with three sold out shows at Copenhagen's grand Royal Theater (Det Kongelige Teater), treating audiences to "an experimental, dark and masterful piece of art combining music, sound, light-installation, video-projection and laser mapping" in collaboration with acclaimed Danish visual artist group Vertigo. 

"A complex 'Gesamtkunstwerk' that showed us how music - like life itself - can be violent, silent, beautiful, crazy, ugly and enchanting at the same time. Without compromises Den Sorte Skole give us a perspective on ourselves and the world we live in and should be considered the most important music project in Denmark at the moment," reads the rave 5-star Soundvenue revue.

Over the past years, the Danish sample-based producer and composer duo has been on a roll, unearthing and sampling countless records from across the globe, fusing multiple genres from various eras to create a magical tapestry of sound and take listeners on a trip through time and space. Their live performances resemble a dark symphonic journey, brought to life through samplers, turntables and effect-machines, though they've also composed classical symphonies and worked with choirs and live musicians from all over the world. 

Following the resounding success of their 2015 longplayer "Indians & Cowboys" the two-piece was awarded the Crown Prince Couples Award in 2017, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in Denmark. "Ghosts & Robots" represents their latest, mind-stretching odyssey in sound, as they set out to explore "a parallel world, where ancient ghosts and future robots communicate through heavenly spirituals and poisonous rhythms".

On October 18th they bring their amazing new live show to the large auditorium of Berlin's iconic Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (HKW) to open the "100 Years of Copyright" festival, which runs through October 21st. The festival digs deep into the controversial and hard-fought concepts of 'the original', copyright and intellectual property and features concerts, panels, screenings, installations as well as breath-taking performances (find the full program here). You can relive a few minutes from Den Sorte's Skole "Ghosts & Robots" premiere in May below or listen to the track “Aiona” from the project, to be found in the SoundCloud player above.

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Saigon Supersound Vol. II

Jan Hagenkötter Releases Second Compilation Of South Vietnamese Tunes From 1965-1975

Not too long ago we featured Frankfurt-based DJ, label head and electronic music pioneer Jan Hagenkötter's inspiring selection of "Golden Age" tunes from South Vietnam. Now "Saigon Supersound" returns with Volume [...]

Not too long ago we featured Frankfurt-based DJ, label head and electronic music pioneer Jan Hagenkötter's inspiring selection of "Golden Age" tunes from South Vietnam. Now "Saigon Supersound" returns with Volume 2, which this time focusses on the period between 1965-1975, during which a lively South Vietnamese pop culture emerged under difficult circumstances. You may see it as a continuation of Volume 1, which had not yet gathered enough material to tell the full story. 

As a matter of fact, the tireless efforts to dig up music from this era and the release of Volume 1 actually paved the way to more finds and ultimately enabled the team to not only collect enough quality material for a second release, but also realise more projects, including the Vietnam Now Festival in Paris and London as well as a documentary film to be released in 2019.

"Saigon Supersound Vol.2" comprises 18 tracks and is accompanied by detailed liner notes from the pen of An Pham, who puts the selection into context and distinguishes the various styles and influences to be heard. You can stream/buy the entire release here and experience "the beautiful music of a short but significant period in Vietnam's history." Great work, again.

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Nouvelle Ambiance

A Brilliant Compilation Of Pan-African Underground Sounds From 1980's Paris

Berlin's Oye Records just hit our Twitter feed with a sweet recommendation by ways of Paris-based label Nouvelle Ambiance. The imprint dedicated to "celebrating musical and cultural collaborations" recently released [...]

Berlin's Oye Records just hit our Twitter feed with a sweet recommendation by ways of Paris-based label Nouvelle Ambiance. The imprint dedicated to "celebrating musical and cultural collaborations" recently released a brilliant compilation of Pan-African underground sounds from 1980s Paris.

"In the early 80s a perfect storm of social, technological, political and cultural developments brought about a unique music scene centred around Paris, away from the major labels and pop charts. Musicians, ideas and styles flew between the small independent studios and labels of the French capital, Francophone Africa and the Caribbean, experimenting with new technology and drawing in a dizzying array of influences to soundtrack clubs, bars and radio stations."

The twelve tracks represent a dancefloor-ready selection of varying styles, including rumba, Bikutsi, Soukous and boogie and come equipped with "a 28-page magazine format booklet containing unpublished photos from the archives of photographer Bill Akwa Bétotè" and interviews. "Nouvelle Ambiance!!!" was researched and compiled by Sofrito's Hugo Mendez and Nico Skliris, whom you may remember from the Digital Zandoli compilations. Stream/buy the full release here

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El Sudaca Contraataca

Colombian Collective In-Correcto Releases Third Compilation Of Latin American Counterattacks

While browsing the web for more topics to share with you, we discovered this gem by Bogotà, Colombia based collective In-Correcto and couldn't believe our ears. Unravelling before us was a compilation featuring [...]

While browsing the web for more topics to share with you, we discovered this gem by Bogotà, Colombia based collective In-Correcto and couldn't believe our ears. Unravelling before us was a compilation featuring various seemingly local artist, creating a patchwork of sounds rich in tradition yet eerily modern in sound, ranging from alternative to experimental, downtempo and tropical. Titled "El Sudaca Contraataca", the Latin American Counterattack, this their latest release is the third volume of the eponymous series and quite a trip! 

You can buy/stream the entire release here, which also goes for Volume 1 and Volume 2

El Sudaca Contraataca Vol. III
TRACKLIST

Ibu Selva - Guerrilha Primitiva
Rodrigo Gallardo - Detrás del Arbol de la Razón
Santiago Navas - Balanza (ft. Juan Orduz)
Cerrero - Cuando Canto Grito (ft. Lucía Pulido)
YOPÓ y Un Sur Gente - Lo Que Pudo Ser (ft. Galeano)
Ome - Tumbao
Biomigrant - A la Sabana Se Van en Van (ft. Miguel Polo)
La Tromba Bacalao - Chococristo
Julián Mayorga - Los Panches Telépatas Sangran por la Nariz (ft. Niels Broos)
Qapac - Elemental
Yule - Transpantaneira
Mente Orgánica - Niebla
Fernando Toth - Villa Crespo

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Muslims & Christians

Habibi Funk Takes A Closer Look At The Sudanese Jazz Scene & Kamal Keita

Following our recent recommendation of Berlin-based reissue label Habibi Funk's latest mix, we checked the imprint's Bandcamp page only to find ourselves drawn to yet another release, entitled "Muslims & [...]

Following our recent recommendation of Berlin-based reissue label Habibi Funk's latest mix, we checked the imprint's Bandcamp page only to find ourselves drawn to yet another release, entitled "Muslims & Christians". And the story goes a little something like this: 

While taking a closer look at the Sudanese jazz scene and the artist Sharhabeel Ahmed in particular, label head Jannis Stürtz began to dig deeper and eventually decided to fly to Sudan to further investigate and learn about the local music scene in the '70s. As he recalls, Kamal Keila was a name that popped up, an artist "coined the James Brown or Fela Kuti of Sudan." 

With the help of local IT expert Yassir Awad, who also happens to run a music blog covering Sudanese jazz bands, Jannis was able to arrange a meeting with Kamal on the outskirts of Khartoum and spend an afternoon in the latter's home. As it turned out, Kamal had never released a record on vinyl nor on cassette, but still had two tapes from sessions recorded for Sudanese radio. 

"In Sudan the radio stations were not allowed to play the recordings produced by music labels on air, therefore they had their own studios and invited musicians to record music for their program. In most cases the musicians would not receive a copy of the recordings out of fear that they would release the music themselves."

Though the two five-track tapes Kamal was able to dig up seemed to be in a terrible state, they actually played well. One tape contained tracks with English lyrics, the other was in Arabic. 

"Musically you can hear the influence of neighbouring Ethiopia much more than on other Sudanese recordings of the time, as well as references to Fela and American funk and soul. Kamal's lyrics, at least when he sings in English, which indicates more freedom from censorship, are very political. A brave statement in the political climate of Sudan of the last decades, preaching for the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and singing the blues about the fate of war orphans called 'Shmasha'," Jannis explains. 

Now released for the very first time on Habibi Funk, these two radio sessions dating back to 1992 are the very first in a series covering the Sudanese jazz scene and another invaluable document, saved from obscurity. You can buy/stream the entire release here. Enjoy!

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Shirin Joon

Liraz Releases Single #2 Off Her Forthcoming Album On Dead Sea Recordings
 

Right now it's all eyes on Liraz as the multi-talented Israeli artist of Persian origin unveils the second single off her forthcoming LP on Tel Aviv's Dead Sea Recordings. While her family emigrated to Israel during [...]

Right now it's all eyes on Liraz as the multi-talented Israeli artist of Persian origin unveils the second single off her forthcoming LP on Tel Aviv's Dead Sea Recordings. While her family emigrated to Israel during the '70s, right before the Iranian Revolution, Liraz's distant roots are core to her art. In fact, she has chosen to place a strong emphasis on the role of women as well as female artists and singers in Iranian society and culture.

Her brand new single is a beautiful nod to Kourosh Yaghmaei, "one of the biggest heroes of pre-revolutionary Iranian music. Throughout the 1970s he was one of Iran's quintessential guitar gods, rock stars and prophets of a young, progressive generation in Iran. His career collapsed soon after the Islamic Revolution started. And, just like other musicians and singers, especially women, he was barred from releasing records, traveling and performing live."

Produced and arranged by Rejoicer, Liraz's rendition of Kourosh Yaghmaei's song "Shirin Joon" is accompanied by Gershon Waiserfirer on electric oud, Gilad Abro on bass, Roy Chen on drums, Aviva Aleav on violin, Roy Hermon on keys, Ben Aylon on percussion and Rejoicer on synths, rhodes and drum programming. "Shirin Joon" is a heartfelt letter to a beloved soul that seems without reach. Starting off on swirling string arrangements, the Liraz's version embarks on a lush, forward-thinking beat along with just the right amount of Persian pizazz. 

"Dear Shirin / At the corner of the sky / Written with great letters  / Who ever has a beautiful lover / Has his place guaranteed in heaven / Dear Shirin / My soul my sweetheart  / Be my sweet life and kiss me / But you’re walking away / And you are leaving me here broken into pieces," the translated lyrics read.

You can listen to the single in the SoundCloud player above or buy/stream it here. Also, check out the video to Liraz's debut single "Nozi Nozi" below. Her highly-anticipated LP "Naz" releases via Dead Sea Recordings on October 19th.

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Nyege Nyege

Ugandan Music Festival Faces Charges Of Promoting Homosexuality

After quite a scare, this year's MTN Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja, Uganda is now in full effect. In a letter addressed to the East African country's Minister of Internal Affairs and the Inspector General of Police [...]

After quite a scare, this year's MTN Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja, Uganda is now in full effect. In a letter addressed to the East African country's Minister of Internal Affairs and the Inspector General of Police earlier this week, the Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, had asked that the festival be stopped "over claims of promoting homosexuality"

"I have received credible information from Religious Leaders, Opinion Leaders, and Local Authorities that the purpose of this festival, in the last two years, has been compromised, to accommodate the celebration and recruitment of young people into homosexuality, and LGBT movement," a section of the letter reads. 

While it seemed as though the festival would actually be cancelled and numerous fans took to social media to voice their surprise and concern, the minister's motion found low support and Mr Lokodo was finally urged to admit defeat: 

“I tried my best to block it (Nyege Nyege), but the devil has a strong hand. I had to backtrack,” the minister said and added: “The first day (on Tuesday) I announced that it (the festival) won’t happen, but yesterday (Wednesday) because of pressure from all sides, my elders and even my own boss, I had to concede defeat.”

Earlier this year, the festival organisers had announced, that Nyege Nyege was going to add 3 letters to its name. MTN, "Uganda's biggest telecommunication company", came on board as sponsors of this year's event. The festival is currently in its fourth year. What started as a small rained-out gathering in 2015 with around 800 people, has now turned into a highly significant festival for music and culture in East Africa, which is expected to draw 8,000 people this year:

"Made possible by the tireless efforts of volunteers and artists [...] Nyege Nyege has built an identity true to the underground, promoting values such as freedom of expression, respect, curiosity and pride in our culture while maintaining openness to diversity and the world at large, something Uganda has become known for throughout the world," a statement by the organizers reads. 

Nyege Nyege seems to be in full swing now and this year's lineup should make for an amazing musical experience. Luckily, this so-called devil has once again prevailed.

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More Habibi Funk

Berlin-based Reissue Label Drops Another Mix Of Hard-To-Find Arabic Funk
 

About time, we thought to ourselves, when we saw a brand new Habibi Funk mix pop up in our timeline. And apparently, so did Jannis Stürtz, the Berlin-based label founder and avid digger, who also happens to run the [...]

About time, we thought to ourselves, when we saw a brand new Habibi Funk mix pop up in our timeline. And apparently, so did Jannis Stürtz, the Berlin-based label founder and avid digger, who also happens to run the Jakarta Records imprint: 

"I realized last weekend that I had not done a mix since early 2017 and it was about time to bring the series back. So here is Habibi Funk Mix 008 with a selection of vinyl and tapes which were originally released in the 1970s, 1980s, and even as late as late 1990s. We got a couple of previews for material we have licensed and that will drop in the future from artists such as the Golden Hands, Attarazat Addahabia, The Scorpions and Majid Soula. Apart from that I’m super happy to have Libya covered with 3 tracks, a country about whose musical heritage I didn’t know much outside Ahmed Fakroun obviously. From the obscure to the more known...."

The last time we covered the Habibi Funk adventures was at the tail end of 2015. Back at the time there were four mixes in circulation. Now here comes number 008.  Listen via the SoundCloud player above and head over to the Habibi Funk Bandcamp page for mixes 001-007 as well as the label's official releases.

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Kasahwa

A Collection Of Early Singles By Zimbabwean Mbira Master Stella Chiweshe
 

"I am a rebel," smiles the 70-year-old Zimbabwean legend Stella Chiweshe, a breath-taking artist and performer also known as "The Queen of Mbira". Having spent her childhood surrounded by American Rock’n’Roll [...]

"I am a rebel," smiles the 70-year-old Zimbabwean legend Stella Chiweshe, a breath-taking artist and performer also known as "The Queen of Mbira". Having spent her childhood surrounded by American Rock’n’Roll and Country by artists the likes of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jim Reeves, and The Everly Brother, she at first showed little interest in local traditional music. That is until she took a liking to the Mbira, "an instrument consisting of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a wooden healing tree body." 

But Mbira also refers to "an ancient mystical music, which has been played for over a thousand years by the Shona people. Its most important function is as a 'telephone to the spirits of people, water, trees, stones and birds,' used to contact both deceased ancestors and tribal guardians, at all-night ceremonies."  Even though Stella Chiweshe eventually turned into "an avid student of the instrument and the philosophy connected to it", playing Mbira music was not considered a suitable activity for women in the British colony of Rhodesia. Thus, no one was willing to teach her, much less build an instrument for her. 

She ended up recording her very first single "Kasahwa" (1974) on a borrowed thumb piano and became a local sensation. After Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Stella Chiweshe began touring internationally and gained further acclaim, first as a soloist for the new "National Dance Company of Zimbabwe", then under her own name. Now considered a true African music icon, Stella Chiweshe lives between Zimbabwe and Germany, with Berlin being her second home.  

On September 14th, Glitterbeat Records will release a captivating collection of her early singles, remastered by Nick Robbins from London’s Sound Mastering studio. The eight "impossible-to-find" recordings on "Kasahwa" span the period from 1974-1983 and have never been officially released outside of Africa.

Listen to "Mayaya (Part 1 & 2)" in the SoundCloud player above or the video below. There will be an exclusive record release concert taking place at YAAM Berlin on September 13th

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