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Sephardic Indie Rock, Spanish Delta Blues and more; Sound Travels Monday Yo!

Always nice to get a week started with something new and that's what I did today on Sound Travels. New niceness from a few names I know and a couple that I was happy to find and introduce to you...

In 2008 DeLeon popped on the scene with a pretty dece first album. What was cool about it, was the Sephardic Jewish tradition that bubbled to the surface, through the overall Indie rock aesthetic that bedrock's DeLeon's sound. Not quite "world" music, this music is nevertheless pretty worldly; fusion in fine form. And that fusion continues some three years after that freshman release on the new disc, Casata out now on J-Dub Records.

Again, the tendencies remain the same; catchy hooks, half-English lyrics set in Sephardic themes with an underlying understanding of the groove. Very apt music from a band that draws from a tradtion that comes from transitions, as the Sephardic Jews are in deep diaspora having been expelled from the Iberian Peninsula during the Spanish Inquistion long ago. In DeLeon, the rootless world finds a home, ancient melodies find form-- and that's a good thing... Peep the video from the song I played for y'all at noon today.

We also heard Los Rakas, a Bay Area duo that raps as well as anyone, never mind that it's all in Spanish. Flow is flow, and these cats are banking that when you hear their sound you'll just know. But if you don't know, take a deep listen to this talented crew who is working hard to translate their skills into success.

Hailing from Panama but now residing in California, Los Rakas blends Hip-Hop, Plena, Reggae and Dancehall music with Spanish and English lyricism creating songs 
that leave your head noddin' and body rockin.' Los Rakas (DunDun and Rico AKA Filthy Rich) tag team the mic with a tenacity reminiscent of old school veterans in the game and the passion of the newer artists on the scene. Tasy tasty tasty! Check it...

Guadalupe Plata had the blues-ey cut that started the set. I had to get it in there, they're just like my favorite band of the moment and a big part of the music I played last week. Though their sound is all deep blues, they are in fact, from Spain. Nevertheless, I think they are one of the most "live" bands rocking the deep stuff. Sounding like an amalgamation of the swampiest, tranciest, pre-rock scream and shout blues that could have never existed in the past, but informed by it, are most certainly a part of the genre's future. They sound like John Lee Hooker crossed with Muddy Waters in a session with R.L. Burnside at Son House's house, translated for a cooler-than-Univision audience of Spanish-speakers and post-hipster hooligans. Not only that, but for the moment, both their '09 EP and their brand new, self-titled album are free. Get them! And I'll remind you of their awesomeness...


We finished the set with a new African artist Bantu, who describes is recently released album No Man Stands Alone as “...a journey of sorts, a musical pilgrimage to rediscover the essence of urban Nigerian music in Lagos, the city of chaos”. Ambitious indeed.

The 10-track album is a collaborative one, with the artist featuring Nigerian and Ghanaian musical acts; known and up and coming. Some of them include; Lord of Ajasa, ageless Highlife musician, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Azadus, Ghanaian artist and MOBO 2010 award nominee Wanlov the Kubolor, Sehinde Jo, Bantu’s brother Abiodun and Nneka among others. Speaking of that collaboration, check the video he did with Nneka...

Production Manager | Radio Milwaukee