Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank You For Making Us Winners!

NEW YORK, March 30, 2012 – announced today that Afropop Worldwide has been selected as the 2012 Readers' Choice Award for both Best World Music Radio Show and Best World Music Website. Now in its fifth year, the Readers' Choice Awards honor the best products, features and services across more than a dozen categories, ranging from technology to hobbies to entertainment to parenting and more, as selected by its readers. Owned by the New York Times, the network sees over 75 million visitors per month.

Megan Romer, the World Music Guide for said "I was pleased, but not the least bit surprised, to see my regular readers and Afropop Worldwide fans turn out in such large numbers in support of the show and the website. The weekly broadcast is a staple in my house, and I've spent many hours digging deeper and deeper into the Afropop website -- I count myself among one of their biggest fans!"

Four New Soundway Releases Fill Out History

In recent years, no label has shown more dedication to filling in missing links of African pop history than the UK Soundway label.  This small flood of titles, mostly from Ghana and Nigeria, are noteworthy in illuminating the vast, rich world of funky, rocking African urban bands that operated in the '60s and '70s.  This is particularly helpful given the world's ongoing fascination with Fela Kuti, his sons, and the ever-growing afrobeat phenomenon.  It is now abundantly clear that Fela's innovations did not spring from whole cloth, but rather from a world of bands intensely attuned to pop music developments in the US and UK.  Sorting through this great music, it also becomes clear how Fela's sound exerted its own influence on this dynamic and fast-changing scene.

Four new titles, just out, add new pieces to the puzzle, and introduce an intriguing contemporary twist.  First up, 1970s Ghanaian rockers Edzayawa with Projection One.  This band eschewed love songs in favor of more probing, philosophic themes.  The lead track on Projection One is called "Darkness," and it showcases the musicians' loyalty to African rhythms, in this case a smoldering, 6/8 from Southeast Ghana, home of the Ewe people.  Drawn to Lagos, in part by Fela's rising surge, Edzayawa managed to infiltrate Fela's Kalakuta Republic, opening Africa 70 shows at the Shrine, along with Jani Hastrup's MonoMono (who also have 3 great Soundway releases).

That was Edzayawa's status in 1973, when they went to EMI Studio Lagos to record Projection One.  We feel Fela's influence in the slow steaming intro to "Edzayawa," but where Africa 70 favors the slowly evolving groove, this band is just as apt to turn on a dime and leap into funk or rock territory, as on this track.  This brief, but noteworthy, session holds up well in retrospect.  Most satisfying of all is the band's creative blend of traditional and borrowed rhythms.  Truth be told, there's more indigenous African rhythm in these 8 tracks than on any afrobeat release.  At the same time, the session rocks.  One Projection was never actually released in Ghana, though Edzayawa's leader Nana Danso eventually returned to Accra to form the legendary Pan African Orchestra.

Also from Ghana, Rob's 1977 second release Make it Fast, Make it Slow presents somewhat odder, though also interesting, fare.   Rob was a minor artist in Ghana, releasing just 2 albums on the Essiebons label.  This one delivers slow, funky broods spiced up by an army band brass section (Mag 2).  The album's pervasive religious theme ("I've Got to See You Again, Lord," "He Shall Live in You") contrasts provocatively with the title track, a funky, James Brown inspired groove whose sexual illusions are driven home by Rob's drawn out, vocal evocation of orgasm in the intro and, especially, the outro.  Wow!  Fela's influence is also felt here, for example, in the determined brass onslaught and pidgin English rapping of "Not the End."  By 1977, Afrobeat was well known in the region, pushing funk and rock acts to new levels of originality and self expression.  One thing Rob has going for him is a good, raspy soul voice.  He doesn't always use it to maximum effect, but it's a clear point of distinction.  Another mark of this release is the prominence of African bell parts, a local variant on the indispensable cow bell percussion turning up in so many pop recordings at the time.

Maybe the most satisfying of these three classic titles is Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afri Rock Exponents 1973-77 by The Funkees.  The CD title pretty much tells the story.  But despite the goofy band title (who can hear it without thinking of The Monkees?), this is a choice set of 16 quirky, fun, highly musical dance tracks--and there are 18 of them here, making this release the best value of the four.  In a word, this combo cooks, with wah-wah and chippy-chop guitars, bluesy piano riffs, bubbling bass, hot percussion breaks, and searing, joyful vocals.

There's a tenor of Afrobeat politics ("Break Through New Dub"), and also flashes of humor (the totally rocking "Dancing in the Nude") and even a prescient nod to yet-to-be-invented disco ("Dance With Me").  Little surprise that this outfit was one of few to rival MonoMono on the live scene in Lagos, nor that they were brought to the UK for a run of memorable live shows, and the recording of 2 albums before their breakup in 1977.

I've noted before that MonoMono, formed after Joni Haastrup's year in the UK working with Ginger Baker and company, shows a more convincing grasp of rock delivery, both in vocals and guitar arranging, than most of these West African rock acts.  But The Funkees are similarly persuasive, coming through with energy and verve that make their sound surprisingly durable all these years later.

The fourth new Soundway offering marks a departure for the label.  After establishing itself as the most determined unearthers and reissuers of classic African pop, Soundway now opens its horizons to the wave of new artists who are making contemporary dance music drawing on sounds of the past.  Batida is the recording debut from Angolan/Portuguese producer DJ Mpula (Pedro Coquenao).  The music includes choice samples from 1970s Angolan pop, a deep well of tasty, guitar-driven grooves that reissuers have only begun to reveal.  Those classic sounds shine throughout here, but the rhythmic packaging is decidedly contemporary--fast, driving club beats often informed by Angola's influential techno-dance genre, kuduro.   The promotional copy for this release flatly declares that kuduro "has no links with its country's musical heritage."  None?  I'd say that notion bears further investigation (stay tuned for Afropop's coming series on Angola), but what it clear from the music here is that the breathless pulse of kuduro vibes nicely with the tuneful sunniness of classic Angolan sounds.  This is a standout project, guaranteed to please both fans of classic Afropop and young listeners looking for new sounds with contemporary energy, edge and production values.  And that's no mean feat.  Sweetening the mix are cameos by a number of young Afro-Lusaphone singers and rappers in Lisbon.

Batida's music is featured on this week's Afropop Worldwide program, "Crate-Diggers and Remixers" produced by Saxon Baird.  The program deals precisely with this nexus of impulses--discovering lost sounds of the past, and making new African music for a new era.  Good to know that Soundway is on the bandwagon.  This is a promising wave, and one apt to deliver a long, happy ride.

 - Banning Eyre

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lamin Fofana - Unknown Journey II

On this week’s program, 'Crate-Diggers and Remixers', you can hear a couple of DJs – Chief Boima and Geko Jones – talk about remixing obscure styles and records from Africa and Latin America. Both those guys also are a part of the Dutty Artz crew which is a loose collective of DJs and label that puts on a events in NYC including the always bumping "Dutty Artz Sweat Lodge" every second Friday at The Cove.

Today another Dutty Artz associate, Lamin Fofana, dropped a remix featuring Aminata Diabate along with Detroit-based techno produce Drexiciya (See our program on Detroit Techno here) that fits right in with this week’s program. With rumbling percussion and hissing synths, the tracks lays down a staggering beat over Diabate’s intense and hypnotic wails. Not enough producers out there doing stuff like this. Maybe that’s a good thing. Keeps the quality at a high-level and the style unsaturated.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interview with Chief Boima

Chief Boima is a Brooklyn-based DJ and producer who recently released a new EP via Dutty Artz titled African in New York. The EP showcases Boima's knack for remixing and updating styles of African music and making them club-ready for a new, younger audience. However, Boima is more than just a DJ. He recently traveled to Liberia where he compiled music from popular local styles of music gbema and hipco and released a compilation called Lone Stars via Akwaaba Music. Boima also writes frequently for the always poignant Africa is a Country while contributing to  the Dutty Artz blog and Ghetto Bassquake. If that wasn't enough, he is also getting his Masters in International Affairs at The New School in New York City.

We interviewed Boima for our forthcoming "Crate-Diggers & Remixers" show (out 3/29!). Below are some snippets from the interview.

On the goal of his music:

I want to put my cultural identity out there, so people who come after me, and are in the same position as me, don’t have to go through the same processes and can be really proud of where they come from. I think that this can have implications for how people see home, and how much people invest in back home or if people visit. How many Sierra Leonean kids came here at a young age or were born here and have never been back in twenty years, and how many of those people could contribute to the welfare of our country and are not because of perceived stereotypes?

On the responsibility of globe-trotting, crate-digging DJs:

I’m in this position of privilege where I have access to a passport that will get me across borders, credit, money, all these things. I have access to all this stuff, I’m at a level that’s financially, resourcefully here, and other people are resourcefully there. That’s like the world that we’re existing in, that were born into, we are born with these issues of privilege. But I think from my own experience from life, I’ve been able to identify those privileges, be conscious of them, and try -- in my interactions with people -- to be more conscious of them. I think we should be more conscious and think. It doesn’t mean we need to stop what we are doing or anything like that, its just that means we have to think about what we are doing, and try to be as responsible as possible. I never told anyone to stop what they are doing, and I still don’t tell people to stop what they are doing. That’s not what it’s about. Its just about providing more access and always having in mind that people’s voices that aren’t being heard. It’s about keeping in mind that the infrastructural problems that need to be addressed. And that’s it. I’m not like a militant anti- anything. I’m pro-more. I want more, not less.

On copyright law:

I believe that morality is based on judgment of individuals, about what they understand about right and wrong, and fairness between individuals. And I think that’s how we need to measure it. I don’t think that copyright is a measure of that. Because copyright is often in service of people who are way more privileged then anybody else. Copyright is more in service of corporate interests and more in service of government interests, then your average person in general anyway. So, that’s how I would answer those contradictions.

On Lone Stars & Liberia:

Monrovia is a very diverse place. So I was associating in the circles that was the young people who were into hipco and gbema music, and into going to the clubs. I was going to their local drinking spots, and I also went to the western clubs were they don’t play any Liberian music, places that actually have the funds to support a local music scene that aren’t supporting it. I was going to places where they have free entrances, places where these people are super-stars, but the kids that are frequenting these places have no money, and can’t support an industry. So I think that was a part of the motivation for me to want to get involved was because I saw that there was a disconnect between the money and the people, and I thought that hopefully I could start the ball rolling to change that kind of situation.

For further reading, Chief Boima recently had a roundtable discussion with Diplo and Eddie Stats via Okayplayer on the responsibility of a DJ sampling and using sounds beyond the states.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Exclusive Egypt: Exclusive Podcast: The Ecstasy of a Sufi Moulid

As a web exclusive downloadable podcast. to our Hip Deep Egypt 4 program, "Living Traditions," we've decided to delve into the world of sufis. Join us as Afropop visits a sufi moulid celebration in Upper Egypt and delves into the history of sufi celebration and culture in Egypt.

Download or Stream:

Exclusive Podcast: The Ecstasy of a Sufi Moulid by Afropop Worldwide

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spotlight: The Tropical Noise of Los Piranas

They certainly don’t come on gently. Instead, they appear like the world’s funkiest car-accident, all frantic foot-stomp, screaming metal, and the sure knowledge that you’re going to crash into something very hard, very fast. But then the music turns, never actually exploding into atonal cacophony that it seems to be threatening, and you slowly start realize that there’s a classic Latin baseline underneath all that stammering guitar, and that the drummer is totally holding it down, and that you could probably even DANCE to this stuff without too much trouble.

It’s hard not to get slightly hyperbolic when trying to describe the music of Los Piranas. Hailing from Colombia, they were formed as a side-project by members of Frente Cumbiero  and the Meridian Brothers, two bands that are both pretty excellent in their own rights. It might be a bit of an imposition, but listening from a North American perspective, Los Piranas’s sound might be best described as a particularly warped variation of dance-punk, a style with a lineage that include no-wavers like James Chance and the Contortions, post-punk bands like the Gang of Four, as well as more recent groups such as the Rapture or Les Savy Fav. Like most of these bands, Los Piranas utilize a sharply bifurcated sound, playing off the contrast between the low frequency hits of bass and drum and the high, treble-y bite of the guitar. It’s a skeletal music, lacking the body provided by vocals or rhythm guitar; as a result, it’s possible to clearly focus on the rhythmic interplay between the three band members.

What sets Los Piranas apart is the nature and intensity of that rhythm. Whereas many like-minded bands borrow single-mindedly (and often at the most basic level) from the vocabulary of disco and funk, Los Piranas spread their net far wider, pulling in a variety of cumbia (and cumbia-related) rhythms. But more then simply providing greater variety, the band just swings, grooving in a way that so often eludes (or simply never occurs to) bands like the Rapture or even more dub-wise groups like Mi Ami. The familiar sharpness is there, but it melds into the rhythm in a way that renders it both jarring and deeply funky. Which is really the pleasure center that the whole dance-punk idea is aiming for.

Much of this is success is due to the stunning guitar work of Eblis Álvarez, who stands front and center for all of the album’s songs. His tone, manipulated by who knows what kinds of processing, screams and wavers and trembles and bleats, stoically refusing to sound like any guitar you’ve ever heard. NONE of this sounds like anything you’ve ever heard. And that is why you should go to the band’s website, and download the album for free. Because music this good should be listened to. Loudly.

Thanks to Sounds and Colours for turning us onto this.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spotlight: Los Chicos Altos

Out of Barcelona, Spain comes the afro-latin sounds of duo Los Chicos Altos. The two just dropped a new EP titled Se Va Mamba via UrbanWorld Records that we’ve had spinning all weekend. The EP is their second installment of re-recording and remixing Afro-Latin classics and infusing them with a more modernized, club-friendly sound. The two hooked up with singer Claudia Naranjo Pantoja who we don’t know much about, but the songstress adds a classic touch the updated sound. The EP also has four remixes which are just as good as the originals.

Fans of Novalima and the trend of electro-cumbia should find something to enjoy here. We sure did.

Stream below and or buy/download the EP.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baloji & Just A Band at SXSW 2012

Contributor Barry Wilson was at SXSW with camera in hand. Here's some great photos shot by him from festival when he saw Baloji and Just a Band.

The Return of Fashion Records

Trying to understand the evolution that Jamaican/reggae music has undergone over the past thirty years is often a mind-boggling challenge. In what other music, for instance, do you go from the organic warmth of seventies roots reggae to the digital “slackness” of dancehall in less then a decade? How do you follow the webs of influence that flow out of Kingston, as the ideas and tactics developed by dub producers jumped to both sides of the Atlantic, influencing hip-hop, jungle, and who knows how many other musical styles?

Some valuable pieces to this puzzle have recently reemerged thanks to the digital reissue of a number of long out of print classics from the Fashion Records catalogue. Collected on the compilation Fashion In High Style: Fashion Records Significant Hits Volume One, the label’s best known songs cast a fascinating light on this process of growth, detailing British reggae as it began its transition from more traditional forms such as lover’s rock to the increasingly digital dancehall and raga that would dominate the music’s future.

Founded in 1980 by John MacGillivray and Chris Lane as an expansion on Macgillvray’s famous Dub Vendor store, Fashion quickly grew to become one of the most important British reggae labels, releasing records featuring both homegrown talent and Jamaican luminaries visiting (or living in) England. Perhaps because of this, it was quick adapt to the digital revolution that swept through reggae in the wake of “Under Mi Sleng Teng” and the dancehall boom that it instigated, releasing records by seminal “fast-chat” and ragga artists such as MC Smiley Culture (Check out his awesome “Cockney Translation” video), Cutty Ranks, or Starkey Banton, while still continuing to find chart success with the lover’s rock on which it was initially based. Taken as a whole, the compilation is really a head-spinning journey, moving with unbelievable speed from the sweet harmonies and soul-style horns of Dee Sharp’s “Lets Dub It Up” to the machinegun toasting of Bunny General’s “Full Up A Class.” What’s really exciting is that all of this is just scratching the surface of the label’s catalogue, more of which should continue to surface in the coming months.

-Sam Backer

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Georges Collinet Invites You To His "Syncopated Lair"

Our host Georges Collinet has a message for you.

Afropop Worldwide host Georges Collinet invites to vote in Readers poll for:

Best World Music Radio Show

Best World Music Web Site

Props for our field reports that take you to Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, New York and beyond. Our Hip Deep series of historically based programs such as our 5-part series on Egypt. Introductions to exciting emerging artists. And of course, the one and only Georges Collinet! Thanks to our friends at PRI who distribute our program to over 100 stations across the country.

Help put us over the top! You are allowed to vote once per day per category up until March 21. Tell your friends. Thank you!

Vote HERE! Remember you can vote daily until March 21st!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spotlight: Waya Waya

Out of Mexico comes Waya Waya, a production duo dropping feverish beats that collide at the intersection of kuduro, Tribal Guarachero and a platter of tropical bass goodness for a dense, club-ready sound. The duo just released an excellent EP titled La Tribu via Etoro records label. We are particularly fond of the track named after the duo which lays down a speedy beat with some steely percussion before getting native on us with the excited yelps of an unnamed female and samples of what sounds like a whittled, wooden wind instrument.

Made up of two ladies named Jenice & Cani, Waya Waya has been around for a minute now. They won the remix contest Ze Bula by Akwaaba & Mad Decent in October 2009 but have become particularly active of recent. Word has it that they got a couple of other singles and EPs on the way this year.

We can’t wait.

Thanks to Ghetto Bassquake for bringing this to our attention.

-Saxon Baird

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré Prep Collaborative Album, Tour

On March 27th, Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitar master Vieux Farka Touré are releasing a collaborative album, The Tel Aviv Sessions via Cumbancha. Going under the moniker The Touré Raichel Collective, the unlikely collaboration was born during a chance encounter at an airport where the two artists crossed paths. Two years later, the two got together in a small studio in Tel Aviv one afternoon and cut a record along with Israeli bassist Yossi Fine and calabash player Soleymane Kane. The collaboration is a collection of gorgeously loose improvisation. Check out the track below:

The two are touring North America this Spring. Dates are as follows:

April 12: Washington, D.C. - The Hamilton
April 13: New York, NY - City Winery
April 14: New York, NY - City Winery
April 15: Somerville, MA - Somerville Theatre
April 16: Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Jazz Club
April 17: Platteville, WI - UW- Platteville Center for the Arts
April 19: Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music
April 21: Atlanta, GA - Rialto Theatre
April 22: Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
April 23: Santa Cruz, CA - Kuumbwa Jazz Center
April 26: San Francisco, CA - Herbst Theatre
April 28: Seattle, WA - The Triple Door
April 29: Vancouver, BC - Norman Rothstein Theatre
April 30:Vancouver, BC - Norman Rothstein Theatre
May 01: Calgary, AB - Temple B'nai Tikvah

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sonia M’barek sings Andalusian Muwashshah

Renowned Tunisian vocalist Sonia M’Barek, is scheduled to appear in a rare New York City concert sponsored by the cultural center Alwan for the Arts. She will be joined by the Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture resident takht ensemble, led by Musical Director Hanna Khoury. Sonia M’Barek is a mistress of the muwashah Arab song form, which our readers and listeners will be familiar with from past Afropop Worldwide radio and blog pieces. The history of the song form is rich, so we wanted to give you a historical primer! For a musical primer, check out Sonia M'Barek videos below.

For nearly 800 years, Spain under the Islamic empire—Andalusia—was a cosmopolitan civilization made up of Arabs, Africans, Jews, Europeans; peoples from all over the Mediterranean and beyond. One of the innovations of Andalusian culture was the muwashshah, a new genre that revolutionized the tone as well as the form of Arabic poetry and song. The qasidah, dating to pre-Islamic times in the Arabian peninsula, had been the dominant genre of Arabic poetry, spinning epic tales from the nomadic lives of the Bedouin into double lines with a single rhyme throughout, building a trance-like monotony that could compete with the endlessness of the desert. The muwashshah (pl. muwashshahat) became its lyric antithesis: short poems of 4 lines, sometimes 5-10 lines, with original rhyme schemes, and themes frequently involving love, or drinking—or both. “Fill the glasses, oh Winebearer!” “Listen to the playing of the lute” “Her walk taught the branches of the trees how to sway,” and “Oh, we long for the days of Andalusia” are typical lines from popular muwashshahat.

When the Moors and Jews and others were expelled from Spain in 1492, most crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into (Muslim) North Africa, bringing their culture with them, influencing and blending with the cultures there. Genres like the Moroccan nawba and the Tunisian maluf sprang from this fertile blend of Andalusian and North African song. Eventually the muwashshah made it to the Eastern Arab world, finding a home in Aleppo in northern Syria, a major hub along the Silk Road stretching from Europe and Istanbul through Central Asia and into China. Though the modern-era muwashshah retained the 1,000-year-old poetry of Andalusia, the music was Syrian, influenced as much by the odd meters and rhythms of the Ottoman Turks, as by Syria’s neighbors in Iraq and Egypt. The Egyptian singer and composer Sayyid Darwish (who you’ve heard about in our most recent Egypt shows!) in the early 20th Century traveled to Aleppo for four years to study music, and brought the genre back to Egypt, composing some of the most well-known muwashshahat still sung today. Starting in the 1950’s and 60’s, Sabah Fakhri from Aleppo re-popularized the genre and brought it international recognition.

Today, the muwashshah has once again been given new life in Tunisia, appropriately lying midway between Andalusia and Syria, jutting out from North Africa into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. For the last several decades, conservatories in Tunisia have made a significant effort in preserving the classical genres of music in the Arab world, including tarab music from Syria and Egypt (which includes the muwashshah), and some would argue that contemporary Tunisian musicians have surpassed Syrians and Egyptians in their own genres. Sonia M’barek is the most impressive example of this trend: not only a master of native Tunisian genres like the maluf as well as a singer of innovative new contemporary music, Sonia M’barak is also one of the finest singers of muwashshahat living anywhere in the world today.

If you are in New York City, her upcoming performance in New York City on March 23rd, at the CUNY Graduate Center, is a rare event not to be missed. Sonia will be joined by a talented group of American-based musicians, under the leadership of violinist Hanna Khoury, music director of the Philadelphia-based Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture; the ensemble also includes percussionist Hafez El Ali Kotain, cellist Kinan Abou-afach; oud player Kinan Idnawi, qanun player Hicham Chami, and bass player Jerell Jackson, all masters of the instruments you’ve been hearing about so often lately with our coverage of Arabic music through the Egyptian lens. They will be joined by singers from Keystone State Boychoir.

If you are in NYC, tickets are selling fast! Get yours here. To join the Alwan for the Arts mailing list to hear about future events, click here.

- Sami Abu-Shumays 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Label with A Cause: Mais um Discos

The London-based label Maise um Discos is a imprint with a mission: to bring some of the mind-bogglingly diverse sounds of modern Brazilian music to the ears of the (Western) world. Eschewing most (if not all) of the stylistic trademarks that Western listeners have traditionally associated with Brazil, Maise um Disocs is striving to demonstrate the enormous breadth of Brazil’s contemporary musical culture, a world in which young musicians are as likely to be influenced by Radiohead as Os Mutantes. Building on the label’s inaugural release (an award winning two-CD compilation of the “New Brazilian Music” called Oi!), 2012 is being devoted to the download only release of 12 six-song EP’s, each representing a different musical sub-culture.

The most recent is Electro Amazonia, a collection of "Technobrega," or “Cheesy Techno” in Portuguese. Until recently, this style of music seems to have received Rodney Dangerfield levels of respect. But, entirely undeterred by any lack of cache, its fans kept on listening, and it has begun to attract increasingly positive attention. Based on this compilation, it seems possible to understand both sides; this music is an entirely shameless rush of pop, featuring big-voiced stars like Gaby Amarantos growling over synth-horns, synth-drums, synth accordions, and (of course) plain old synths. The overall affect is strange; it simultaneously sounds like something you just heard on the radio, and entirely unlike anything you’ve ever heard. And it’s really catchy. And, based on all of these factors, is therefore clearly awesome, considered as a thing that exists.

Electro-Amazonia is only the second of the 12 releases (The first was Nova Tropicalia, a collection of modern artists exploring the psychedelic patrimony of Tropicalia), so you should definitely keep a heads up for whatever comes next. Based on the evidence accumulated so far, it’s a pretty sure bet that it’ll be rad. 

For more information, check out the website. It's super on-point with a map of where all the artists on label are from on the compilation and a ton of links.

Below you can stream a couple of tracks from the Oi! downloadable series.

-Sam Backer

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Papa Ghana Drops Video for "I Am An African" Single

Papa Ghana dropped his debut solo single,“I Am An African,” almost a year ago but just recently released an official music video for track. As his name explains, the MC has roots in Ghana but resides in then Netherlands. Papa Ghana is also a member of the creative collective Daily Paper and is one third of the music trio L’Afrique Som Systeme.

“I Am An African” was produced by South African Riky Rick which is apparent in the hard-hitting kwaito-vibe of the single. The track drops a groove and then rides it out, building into an intense frenzy by the second-half. We dig the sound and love the colorful video even more.

Watch below:

Papa Ghana’s solo debut The Mandingo EP is expected to drop some time this year.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spotlight: Zuzuka Poderosa: Carioca Bass Mixtape

Zuzuka Poderosa and Kush Arora have just dropped a new mixtape on us featuring a crew of guest spots including DJ Edgar, Sany Pitbull, Stereotyp, Jumping Back Slash, as well as tracks from the likes Spoek Mathambo, Los Rakas, Dizzy Wright, Poirier, 5kin and Bone5, Gnucci Banana and bunch more. It might the hottest thing dropped this winter thus far with heavy slabs of club-ready tropical beats bursting at ever second. Chalk one up for pan-genre Latin bass music.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Brazilian-born Zuzuka Poderosa, it about time you made some formal introductions. After growing up in Rio, Poderosa has been making a name for herself over the past couple years in NYC. Her style has been christened as Carioca Bass music which is lands somewhere between ghettotech, baile funk, Bmore gutter music and a bunch of other electronically-fueled bass-heavy club banging styles.

This mixtape hits hard and includes what reads like a "who's who" of the loosely defined "Tropical Bass" movement.

Grab it below:

- Saxon Baird

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spotlight: Wontanara Revolution - "Rootboy"

Stronghold Sound out of SF has been catching our ear of late. Just last week we were bumping DJ Juan Data’s cumbia-fied Bondi Blaster. This week Wontanara Revolution dropped a video for “Rootboy,” a jazzy roots-reggae number. We first heard Wontanara Revolution last summer and included them in our August mixtape and really liked what we heard. On "Rootboy," the outfit takes a cue from the #occupy movements to rep the underprivileged, underrepresented and the rest of the 99%.

Check the track + video below:

Rootboy - Wontanara Revolution from Amit Dubey on Vimeo.

The track will appear on a new compilation via Stronghold Sound titled Sembeh Ma Fa Fe: Mandeng Roots & Revisits from Guinea Conakry. The compilation is the result of the SF-based label - traveling to Guinea Conakry to record music at the heart of what was once the Mandeng Empire of West Africa. Blending traditional West-African, Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop as well as dub sensibilities, the label worked with nearly 20 artists to produce the eclectic and revealing body of Guinean music spanning the roots of Mandeng to revisits from the African diaspora.

Be on the lookout for that!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheikh Lô Tours North America

Senegalese legend Cheikh Lô is gracing the U.S. with his presence next month in support of his last record, Jamm. In our coverage of the new album, reviewer Luiza Piffero wrote, "At once husky and smooth, Lô’s voice is versatile enough to evoke the praise-singing tradition of the Sufis in Senegal while also incarnating radically different personas ranging from the most devoted flamenco singer to a Cuban salsa veteran or a Malian vocalist. Whatever he sings though, its Cheikh Lô, you know it. And the world is just short of singers like these, who can sew different styles together while maintaining a strong personality."

Read the rest of the review HERE.  Dates below:

Apr 11: Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University - Washington, DC
Apr 12: University of Missouri, St. Louis - St. Louis, MO
Apr 13: Michigan Theater - Ann Arbor, MI
Apr 14: Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, NC
Apr 19: The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
Apr 20: Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall - New York, NY
Apr 21: Le Cabaret du Mile End - Montreal, QC
Apr 27: Louisiana International Festival - Lafayette, LA
Apr 28: New Orleans Jazz Fest - New Orleans, LA
Apr 29: Louisiana International Festival - Lafayette, LA

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vote for Afropop Worldwide with Georges Collinet in the 2012 World Music Readers' Choice Awards

Afropop Worldwide,  is pleased to announce that we were nominated in the 2012 World Music Readers' Choice Awards! Will you vote for us and Georges Collinet? Afropop Worldwide is distributed by PRI Public Radio International to over 100 stations in U.S. !

The two categories we are nominated in are "Best World Music Radio Show" and "Best World Music Website." The voting ends March 20th. Please show your support.

 Here's the catch: You can vote once a day until the deadline of March 21st! So please vote early and often!

There are number of categories but Afropop is specifically in the third from last and the last questions. So make sure you scroll down! OH and don't worry, doesn't send you spam. So don't worry about giving your email.


Watch + Listen: Sidi Touré - "Ni See Ay Go Done"

Malian guitarist Sidi Touré is making a big U.S. crossover push! After a U.S. tour last year, Touré recently signed a deal with stateside label Thrill Jockey who will be releasing his forthcoming full-length, Koïma, on April 17th.

As a prelude to the album, a gorgeous new video has emerged for the track “Ni See Ay Go Done.” The video footage was shot in 8mm by Frédéric Wasiak and edited by Covalesky, who recently spoke about the making and intentions of the video:
“Frédéric took these images during his first trip in the north of Mali. Thanks to these beautiful images, I wanted the viewer to live a trip in the north of Mali and through this trip feel all the things that are hidden in Sidi's music: the desert, the majestic scenery, large spaces, the Malian cities and the people who live there (mostly Songhaï and Tuareg). It's also a way to see a small part of Sidi's life: leaving Gao to go to Bamako, going from the desert to the capital and coming back to Gao, probably rather in a dream than in real life.”

Sidi Toure - Ni See Say Ga Done from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Listen to another track “Tondi Karaa” off Koïma.