Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I just got back from the Gnawa Festival in Morocco. It was great, unlike any other music festival i've been to in Europe. It takes place annually in the fishing town of Essaouira and attracts 200,000 people over 4 days of open air free music. Gnawa and all it's related offshoots and fusions are represented, you name it from Gnawa metal to Gnawa salsa, it's all there. For me, I was more interested in some of the more traditional forms.
It's North African trance roots are heavily apparent as the musicians jam into the night, though the songs originate in healing rituals not unlike Haitian Voodoo ceremonies or the Afro-Brazilian practises of Candomblé. Some of the shows go on till dawn, with the artists stopping only to changing into differnt coloured robes representing for each section (derdeba) of the perfromance, black, blue, white etc... Bands travel from all over Africa as well as the world to perform to massive crowds of people, mostly young lads who all seem to be into reggae too. The vibe was really chilled (and booze free) as hash smoke circled above the crowd and pople dance themsleves crazy. Here's a quick video I took at the end of a show by the excellent Gnawa master, Maâlem Saïd Ouressan.
I also caught a show by the legendary Maalem Mahmoud Guinia who was truly awesome, the deeply hypnotic bass sounds of his three string Gimbri were funky as hell.
Grab a great album download by him over at Snap Crackle & Pop.
Other than the Gnawa music, Morocco proved to be a brilliant place to indulge my growing interest in North African and Arabic stuff. The infamous Jemma el Fna square in Marrakech is an awesome place to hear anything from snake charmer music to all kinds of stuff I couldn't even begin to label. On the subject of snakes, some dude did actually sneakily put a live cobra around my neck while I wasn't looking :(
Anyway as dusk sets over the square and the smells of insense and merguez sausages fill the air, it's a truly special place to hear some of Morocco's amazing solo musicians playing though battered car stereo systems. Sublime Frequencie's Hisaham Mayet has recently release a film on DVD and album called Ecstatic Music of the Jemaa El Fna, a raw collection of some of the sounds. As they say..
For centuries, the Jemaa El Fna (Rendezvous of the Dead) has remained the stage for one of the most spectacular social forums on the planet. By day, this central square in the city of Marrakesh, one of Morocco's great imperial cities, fosters a kaleidoscope of entertainment for its local inhabitants; storytellers, acrobats, magicians and snake charmers all create intriguing displays of bewitching spectacle. As the sun sets, the evening grows frantic with the pulse of the crowd; it is then that the night musicians set up. Free from the restrictions and expectations of light entertainment for a tourist crowd, these musicians manifest ecstatic performances that animate the audience and players alike.
Here is the trailer for the film.
Record shopping was also a great experience. For some reason many of Marrakech's cd sellers are based in between orange juice stalls surrounding the square. I picked up some Moroccan Gnawa and percussion, Algerian Rai and some great comps of Syrian Dabka (Omar Souleyman style).
Here's a nice, sadly unlabelled Gnawa track that I picked up.
Unknown - Gnaoua Traditionnel
And I swear I'll make a little mix of some of the best stuff soon.
You might remember Poirier mentioned this in our interview with him a few months ago. Montreal's MC Boogat drops a fresh mixtape, packed with all kinds of tropical stormers mashed together slickly by Poirier himself. Get it now.
Boogat – Que Pegue Duro y Violento (mixed by Poirier)
01. Pa’ Argentina (El Hijo De La Cumbia)
02. Mejor No Preguntes (Sonido Del Principe)
03. Beat Perfecto (Afrika Bambaataa)
04. La Gloria (Poirier x Gotan Project)
05. Bajo (Schlatchofbronx)
06. No Mames Wey (Pitbull)
07. Pega La Conga (Yerba Buena)
08. El Gran Robo (Cosa Nostra Riddim)
09. Subestimado (Nookie Riddim)
10. No Te Fies In Nadie (Untrust Riddim)
11. La Mezcla (Monobloco)
12. Quedade Lejos de Mi (El Hijo de La Cumbia)
13. Wakala (Punjabi MC)
14. Me voy Pa’ Brooklyn (Uproot Andy)
Secousse is back this Friday with our second
This month we're celebrating the diverse sounds and flavours of Africa, Secousse brings you a special live francophone and anglophone set by K-Melia, who developed their own unique style in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, namely RPK (Rap Purement Kinois), an inspired mix of hip hop, Congolese rumba, ndombolo and pop music. The band are fronted by Secousse's own awesome Mic champion MC Kastro so bigness is guaranteed. Joining them, Secousse's resident tropical party band, A.J. Holmes & The Hackney Empire along with The Secousse Sound System DJs: Vamanos, A.J. Holmes & Morocka.
And get there early to watch the screening the Quater final game: Ghana Vs Uruguay.
All the info is here and at Notting Hill Arts club.
One of my favourite summertime gigs is playing the epic latino raves by the river at Newcastle's Vamos festival. Come check me throw down loads of tribal, cumbia, Techno Brega and latin party bangers on saturday night. Also a live set by Portugal's Octapush.
FREE FREE FREE !!
All the info is here.
Friday, June 25, 2010
There are three very worrying issues for the 21st century; global warming, overpopulation and the fact that the Americans are sooner or later going to win the World Cup.
Just think how many young Americans will have kicked their first ball in the wake of their famous victory over the English. A resounding win by Ghana, the only African nation left, will however put an end to America's brief fancy with the beautiful game.
To inspire Ghana here's some highlife from the legendary Mercury Dance Band as well as a recording from a Ghanan funeral procession, ie the sound of Ghana once again finishing America's World Cup hopes.
The Mercury Dance Band - Kai Wawa
Ghanan Funeral Procession - Adova
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Ghana is looking like it right now for Africa, so we're gonna put all our strength behind this exciting squad. Plus, Black Star fans are the best.
There are a couple globalista DJ's out there, that will be supporting the German side, so that warrants a little stoking of the rivalry flames (I see you Orion & Sebastian.)
Here's a little Hiplife to get the competative juices flowing, and check out my WFMU post on the new Hiplife documentary Homegrown: Hiplife in Ghana.
Monday, June 21, 2010
This is a remix of their track Mogoya done by T-Bird and Maxey Blaze out of Barcelona:
I have a soft spot for Malian music in electronic style ever since I've heard some of Salif Keita's more contemporary experimentations. Ngoni players like Issa Bagayogo have done remix albums (which I got to be involved with) and check out for Burkinabe Yacouba Diarra the Bay Area's local Ngoni master.
Pa' Las Mamasitas (Boima & Orion Remix)-Isa GT
Follow her on Twitter for up to the minute details on her show. Visit her myspace for all her show announcements. Visit her blog for a peak into stuff she digs, and visit her label to pick up some more great tunes!
Friday, June 18, 2010
There are tearful eyes all over England tonight and it's nothing to do with a certain football result i feel i played a part in, it's because of the news that tomorrow Vamanos' days as a rum-drinking man about town are officially over.
Being half way around the world i can't attend the ceremony myself but i really hope they managed to book Omar Souleyman
Failing that, Dave Quam put me onto an awesome recording of Wedding Bands From Rajahstan and i think The Village Band who would do an awesome job too
Village Band - Jhumar
The Clash-Rock the Casbah
Dedicated to Fruko, who is embodying this spirit by supporting Algeria. If this is indicative of anything in the World Cup, and especially if the upsets continue, your allegiances are gonna get confused.
Of course, Algeria heard the message:
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Not being unpatriotic but I promised myself that for the World Cup i'd always support the African team first. Things aren't looking too promising at the moment for the African nations so Algeria will definitely need my support against England tomorrow.
If anyone can inspire Algeria surely it's Cheb Khaled
Cheb Khaled - La Camel
And one more for good luck
Boutaiba Sghir - Dayha Oulabes
Monday, June 14, 2010
One of the things i miss most from London would be my regular trip to Honest Jon's in Ladbroke Grove where I'd come away with far too many awesome records for my skinny arms to easily carry so it's very welcome to see from the other side of the world the shop and its labels going from strength to strength.
Not only have they released two of the greatest new records this year in T++'s sampling of old East African 78s on Wireless and Actress' brain melting loops on Splazsh, but their nascent Dug Out reissue label has given us everything from the trippy reggae-psychedlia of Dadawah to RnB inflected Dancehall of Foxy Brown.
Check out an old unmastered version of Dadawah's Seventy Two Nations below, then go a get the new undoubtedly better, new version too.
Dadawah - Seventy Two Nations
The Vuvuzela; an ingenius present from the good people of South Africa who are trying their best to drown out the ignorant comments from your average football commentator.
Now not only can we hear it whilst we watch England fail miserably in the World Cup we can be treated to its joys whilst listening to South African House too
Going back 40 years, the always diligent scholars at Strut are releasing the second volume of their insightful Soweto Township Sounds series with the third to come in early August.
Cop a free download of Mahotella Queens' Nkuli's Shuffle below. A must for fans of Afro Jazz and Rare Groove
Mahotela Queens - Nkuli's Shuffle
Buy volume two here and here.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Fair enough, the US aren't looking like jokers this year. Gotta admit Clint Dempsey has been a fucking legend at Fulham the last 4 years (rap career aside) and it's gonna be weird seeing him against England. But at the end of the day..Shhhh
Conroy Smith - Dangerous
See you on the other side !!
Friday, June 11, 2010
Los Rakas, “Abrazame (Uproot Andy Remix)” (United States/Panama/Canada)
Mr. OK, “Poto Mitan” (Canada/Haiti)
M.anifest, “Swing Low” (United States/Ghana)
Tabi Bonney, “Tick… Tick” (United States/Togo)
Toy Selectah, “Half Colombian-Half Mexican Bandit” (Mexico)
Dubbel Dutch, “Throwback” (United States)
Kush Arora, “Humidifier Jammer Club Edit” (United States)
Rita Indiana, “Poderes” (United States/Dominican Republic)
Theophilus London, “Don’t Be Afraid” (United States/Trinidad and Tobago)
A rivalry amongst us Ghetto Bassquakers? Today's matches were great, big up Group A, (my allegiances were torn, so I'm happy all around) but let's get down to the nitty gritty with a friendly taunt... England, what you got?
Wyclef-Ghetto Racine (PJ's Creole Mix)
See you tomorrow!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This Friday after screenings of the opening games i'll be playing my favourite
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Comeme's awesome DJS Pareja have served up a fine mix of afro-electro, uk funky, schaffel techno and Tom Tom Club remixes before finishing it off with one of my top two techno tracks of the year so far (MMM's Nous Sommes) over at Del Jardin Latino.
Download the mix here and for those of you with a basic grasp of Spanish there's an interview to read too.
Masalacism, Montreal's awesome blog/radioshow launch what promises to be a heavy hitting label, if their blog has been anything to go by in the last few years. The first release is a digital EP from Montreal-Haitian Creole Hip Hop artist Mr OK, weighing in with some bass heavy dirt raps over Haitian folk samples. The EP Men Mwen features a great remix our own Chief Boima hot off the heals from his own debut release Techno Rumba EP on Dutty Arts.
Download a track and purchase the 5 track EP over at Maslacism.
Buy on itunes or Amazon
Mr OK - Men Mwen
01. Mr OK ft Larose – Yaya (Prod Freeworm)
02. Mr OK – Men Mwen (Prod Benkele)
03. Mr OK – Bese Ba (Prod Freeworm)
04. Mr OK – Poto Mitan (Prod Benkele)
05. Mr OK ft Larose – Yaya (Chief Boima Remix)
Check out this interview with Masalacism's Valeo over at The Fader
Two years after everyone's favourite angsty basshead Kode9 deplored "fashionable tropical music" (in Plan B i think but if anyone can send us a link to the interview it would be muchly appreciated) he continues to lighten up and to dip his toes into some warm tropical waters.
K7 are giving away a free download of his new Marimba sampling funky dub "You Don't Wash" here which is part of his forthcoming DJ Kicks mix.
The tracklisting looks pretty great too, not only does it start with the lush "Once in a while" by Werk Discs' Lone but it takes in everything from Kwaito (Mujava's Pleaze Mugwanti) to the now ubiquitous pitched down Juke of Addison Groove's 'Footcrab'.
Check the Lone tune below
I always find it fascinating how Champeta has evolved from Colombian DJs playing African soukous records, influencing bands of the time, to the new electronic soundsystem style - one part Baile funk, one part King Jammys.
Just found a great interview with Edwin, a champeta DJ in Cartagena over The Aesthetic Poet which is super interesting.
For a more visual take, LES ROIS CRÉOLES DE LA CHAMPETA is new documentary (French subtitles) by LUCAS SILVA & SERGIO ARRIA.
Thirty years ago, sailors brought the first African records to Colombia. Since then, DJs and black musicians have reworked these rhythms.
Adding an Afro-Colombian feel and rap and raggamuffin influences, they gave birth to a new musical mixture called Champeta, vibrating the sound systems of black shantytowns.
Check out a clip and purchase the DVD here
Tracing the origins of Champeta in the 50s right up to the 90s (before it turned properly electro), an awesome new compilation called Palenque Palenque! is released this week on Soundways filled with rattling Afro-Colobian party jams.
This is a little taster of the album which is buyable here or here.
Son Palenque - Tungalala (El Sapo)
Also check out this amazing gallery of Champeta Sound Systems at Flickr.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Next dance is JULY 2nd at Notting Hill Arts Club.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
London is getting hotter. Secousse Sound System heats it up a bit more - Myself, Mo and A.J. Holmes playing you some Secousse flavours on the new show we did for London Fields Radio.
Secousse Sound System on LFR
Malcolm Mclaren - Double Dutch (RIP)
Tshetsha Boys - Vomaseve
Big Nuz ft. DJ Tira- Umlilo
El-B & Noodles -We Don't Play (The Heatwave Remix)
Los Rakas - Abrazame (Uproot Andy RMX)
A.J. Holmes & The Hackney Empire - Fraudian Slip (A.J. Holmes Remix) (RELEASED ON GHETTO BASSQUAKE THIS SUMMER)
Unknown Tribal Guarachero
DJ Sbu - Vuvuzela
The Very Best ft Mo Laudi - Angonde (Johan Hugo Remix)
Abelardo Carbona Y Su Conjunto - Palenque
Mfaz Mnonyama - Uyangiganjela
Folo Ebenezer Graff And African Maringer Safari - Fire Fire