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Two Tribes, Volume Two

17/09/21Tobi Kirsch And Ubbo Gronewold Continue Their Intercontinental Journey In Rhythm On Agogo Records

The only thing we might complain about is that Tobi Kirsch and Ubbo Gronewold made us wait just a bit over two and half years to receive Volume Two of their "intercontinental journey in rhythm." Finally dropping two-day on Agogo Records is the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2019-released debut exploration of contemporary European artists incorporating African musical traditions in their work, building musical bridges instead of soundproof walls. "Two Tribes" is the name of the game that caused quite a stir then and should raise even more ears now. 

We seized the opportunity to do a short mail-in interview with Tobi and Ubbo back when Volume One of their spectacular compilation first hit the airwaves and had Tobi describe their joint project. "The idea was to show how many different approaches are alive today, when it comes to music that is inspired by African rhythms. We've both been inspired by such cultural encounters for a long time. The compilation is about the two continents Africa and Europe, but the title can also be seen as a symbol for two different backgrounds and traditions in general, no matter where from, that meet to create something new and unique," he explained and we dare say the same rings true this time around.

Their latest selection contains 14 tracks by class acts such as Danish six-piece The Kutimangoes, UK afrofuturist combine Onipa, elusive afro-noir outfit Karthala 72, Moroccan-German Gnawa fusion two-piece Rabii Harnoune & V.B. Kühl, Swiss DJ collective Alma Negra, Portuguese siblings Octa Push alongside Kenyan artists Alai K and Isaac, French beatmaker, producer and DJ Guts alongside Haitian-Canadian jazz saxophone, clarinet and trumpet player Jowee Omicil, Franco-Creole quartet Dowdelin, Hamburg multi-instrumentalist and trailblazer David Nesselhauf, Athens' Afrodyssey Orchestra, nine-piece Berlin- and Potsdam-based collective Wanubalé and dub wizard Dr. Markuse, Polish-Angolan duo and Isilda Viegas, Sambia-born and Cologne-raised up-and-comer Kaleo Sansaa as well as Hamburg sound artist Andi Otoo alongside Rwandan musician and dancer Evariste Karinganire.

"Not long after the release of 'Two Tribes Volume One' we realised that our journey had only just begun and lots of stories still had to be told. [For Volume Two] we put our emphasis on expanding to other European regions and including different countries than [before] and we also wanted to give it a bit of a different musical twist. The result are 14 tracks covering what we consider a broad and diverse spectrum but still clinging to our initial idea of building a musical bridge between the continents of Africa and Europe. The immense cultural diversity of both is represented by newcomers alongside more well-known names, both of which have a strong connection to the rich musical traditions of Africa. On board are African artists living in the diaspora on equal footing with Europeans that incorporate their high affinity for the African continent into their music," writes Ubbo Gronewold, further detailing their approach.

Two Tribes, Volume Two” meets listeners at the cross-section of two vast and highly diverse continents, delivering 14 forward-thinking musical statements devoid of judgement to audiences looking to expand their horizons, hear something new or quite simply connects the dots. Which leaves us to wonder about a possible third instalment, but let's not get ourselves and stay in the moment as we step back onto the global dancefloor and rejoice in this superb selection. Stream the full release via the player below or head to Bandcamp to place your order. Also, you might want to check out the official companion video to Alma Negra's exclusive track "Oh Mar" below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom