New World Monday | Ana Tijoux, Kalafro, Novalima and Rodrigo y Gabriela
Every Monday, Sound Travels the world with new music to share at the noon-time spot. This week was a set of mainly Latin-flavored tunes with an extra shot of Italian hip hop crossed with reggae. What did we play?
New music from Rodrigo y Gabriela led the set. A fiery-fast flamenco jam from their new album Area 52 that's due out early this month. Their fourth studio album, and first-ever collaborative affair. Titled Area 52, the record features nine tracks from Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s discography re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra known as C.U.B.A. Reconfigured or not, the songs have a new life and judging from the single "Juan Loco," promise to be good. Not only that, but the folks at ATO Records have offered the single for free!
Also had new music from Novalima, a collective of Peruvian artists who've been crafting authentic Peruvian sounds and escalating their evolution with healthy doses of dub, electronic and pop into their sound since 2001. On their sixth disc, Karimba, we find a band not just finding their step, but stepping with swagger. Their sound is somehow more sure, more confident; less dabbling and more direction. And that direction is definitely the dancefloor, funky Latin club sounds even nicer on the air, that's why we went there...
In my digging for the best of the newest in World music also brought a bit of the deep unknown-- an Italian Hip Hop/Reggae crew called Kalafro. Kalafro is a musical collective from Reggio Calabria, Italy. Formed in the early 2000s, Kalafro make some of the dopest reggae and hip hop I've ever heard from Italy (outside of Alborosie and Mama Marjas.) Their new album, Resistenza Sonoro is actaully more of an EP, but the album is due out this month and given what I've heard so far I'm'a grab it. Though I don't know Italian, from what I've heard, their lyrics are socially conscious and often speak on issues of justice and crime(mafia); I can get behind that.
Last, but definitely not the least of what I played was what may be my new favorite song of the early new year from Chilean rapper extrordinaire Ana Tijoux. Who's that? Nothing short of being the best rapper in the Spanish Language. Bold but true, Ana Tijoux’s 10 year career has seen her cover a lot of ground. More than cover it, she's been breaking said ground with smart collabs (Julieta Venegas, Control Machete, Bajofondo etc...), out-of-the-box creativity (ie. a #1 children’s animated hit show called Pulentos) and stone cold rhymes that need no translation (but are even colder with them). A big part of the hip hop scene in Latin & South America, Ana has spent the past couple of years working the U.S. knowing that may be the final frontier for what (I think) will be a more Global profile.
I can't stress enough how big I think this album will be (I'm listening to it as I write); La Bala is not a creative departure but rather its continuation and culmination of all the best parts that have come before. Her flow was always pretty mature for my ears, full of confidence and taste, suave lyrics of superb beats. After seeing her play at Lollapalooza, I can say that she is that rare artist who sounds as fresh live as on album, and this album is very close to what she gives live, and that's a good thing. Though it seems like America has lost its taste for old-school, jazzy boom bap, it lives on and lives large in Ana Tijoux. She's a lost classic that for many, sounds fresh and new. Though the album isn't due for a bit, I've got your sneak-peek here. And if you can't wait, visit her web-site for a free copy of her new mixtape Elefante.
And here's the video for the actual lead single (not just my favorite)...