Two Tribes

01/02/2019Agogo Records Presents: An Intercontinental Journey In Rhythm

Today marks release day for the brand new "Two Tribes" compilation on Agogo Records, which embarks on "an intercontinental journey in rhythm". Compiled by Tobi Kirsch and Ubbo Gronewold, the 12-track selection focusses on contemporary musicians in Europe incorporating African musical traditions into their own body of work. "Two Tribes" features "a broad range of constellations, ranging from musicians with roots in African countries who reside in Europe to collaborations between European and African artists", as it successfully attempts "to capture at least a part of the enormous diversity [this music] has to offer"

Tobi and Ubbo's undertaking is all the more relevant, seeing the amount of movement this genre is currently experiencing and the resulting necessity for quality curation. Consider "Two Tribes" a sort of snapshot, shining a light on modern-day compositions that bridge musical heritage and current club culture, be it organic or electronic.

Intrigued by what we heard and read about the project, we decided to sit down with Tobi and Ubbo to find out more. And here's what they had to say:

Greedy – Tell us a bit about yourselves...

Tobi – I've been a music publicist for the past 10 years and counting. I started as a radio host and music journalist in 1996 and have been DJ'ing since 1994. Ubbo is actually still a radio host at CaressCaress and for Jetztmusikfestival Mannheim as well as a great DJ and local promoter at Alte Feuerwache Mannheim.

G – How did this project come about?

T – 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.

G – "Two Tribes" is a selection of contemporary European artists incorporating African influences, sounds, instruments or rhythmic patterns into their own productions. How is this more than yet another example of cultural appropriation?

T – I have the feeling that something new comes of it. I don't think it is simply cultural appropriation, especially when you pick artists like Selma [Uamusse] who is rooted in Mozambique. She just brings in her musical knowledge to Europe and creates something new and exciting.

Ubbo – Of course we are aware of the discussion you are hinting at. One has to be very careful and treat the history and musical heritage of other peoples with respect. So during the selection process we convinced ourselves that all the participating artists are doing exactly that and we can say that we have a clear conscience because all of them are examples of how to do it the right way!

G – How did you go about the selection process and which are your personal favourites? 

T – The selection process took a while. We had certain safe candidates like Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers. However, we had to leave other tracks out because they weren't finished on time or we couldn't license them. We wanted to have some exclusives. The idea behind the CD version was to have it work like a DJ set, ranging from slower songs to more uptempo ones you can easily dance to. We may have liked to add a Henrik Schwarz remix to the spectrum, but I think the final result is the best we could get. My personal favourite is the Aldubb remix of Blay Ambolley's "Walk for Ground". It's so trippy, I love it!

U – It's always really difficult to pick a favourite from your own compilation. Of course we like all the tunes (that's why we picked them, haha). Each one has its own handwriting, strength and relevance. One that is really special is "Just in a Moment to find a Way to Sun Day" by Raoul K. It's 15 minutes long (which is kind of the limit lengthwise for a compilation) and so hypnotic from beginning to end. Check this one out on a proper stereo system!

G – And lastly (for the fans), are you already planning a sequel?

T&U – Of course we are thinking about it! There is so much great music out there. We have enough tunes and ideas, also concerning remixes. We could easily start Volume 2.

You can stream/buy the new "Two Tribes" compilation via Agogo's Bandcamp page, which includes additional information on the tracks and artists selected. Also, check-out 2b fuzzy's exclusive "Two Tribes" promo mix on Mixcloud. And if you happen to be in Berlin next week on February 7th, stop by arkaoda in Neukölln for the official "Two Tribes" record release night, including Andrea Benini's "Drumphilia" live.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom