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Sound Travels The New: Ainu Pop, Afrobeats & Forro

Marewrew "Kane Ren Ren" Mottoite Hissorine

Marewrew are an intriguing quartet, guardians of the ancient upopo songs of the Ainu people. The Ainu are a culture that predates the Japanese arrival to what is now known as Japan, and differ from the Japanese in that they are ethnically a Caucasian people and that has meant marginalization in heterogenaeity of Japan. At least two bands I know of are hard at work defending and promoting Ainu language and art, the first Is The Oki Dub Ainu Band and today, I introduced you all to devlishly sweet four-way harmonies of Marewrew.

The quartet's own performances are truly entrancing and their spiraling, repetitive voices are an enchanting introduction to the exotic, ancient Ainu traditions and customs. The truth of names is apparent as you listen and underscored when you know the translation of it; 'butterfly' in the Ainu language, perfect for music that easily alights.


Fanga & Maalem Abdullah Guinea "Dounya" Fangnawa Experience

Once, long ago, I travelled to Morocco and fell in love with the trance-inducing vibes of gnawa music. Deep, rhythmic and hypnotically repetitive, I discovered gnawa on dusty tapes I found in the souqs of Tanger, Meknes and Fez. I also discovered an artist I enjoyed almost more than any other and it appears I wasn't the only one. French Afro collective Fanga must've made the same trip because they, like me found Morocco’s Maalem Abdullah Guinea. Not only that, they found a way to cross-pollinate and together have synergised gnawa roots music to the classic, funky 1970s afrobeat. The banjo-esque pluckiness of the three-stringed guimbri that defines gnawa music sounds surprisingly fresh with the clipped funky guitar and synth bass, while the mournful, soulful overarching vocals bring everything back again to the streets of Marrakech. A trip that's fun to be on.

Fim De Feira "Coco Veloz" De Todo Jeite A Gente Apanha

Winner of the 2009 Brazilian Music Awards, in the Best Regional Group category, Fim de Feira brings in its compositions the most significant northeastern rhythms, tied to the creativity of cordel poetry produced in Northeast Brazil. Appropriately, Fim de Feira hails from Pernambuco in the Northeast of Brazil and brings both the rural and urban sounds together in their latest release  De Todo Jeite A Gente Apanha. The sounds are pretty varied with rhythms ranging from baião to carimbó, via côco, forró, maxixe and cantigas de viola, and also with the constant presence of the cordel poetry (think, 'zines, but devoted to poetic tales of local histories). The combination of music and poetry, plus a captivating stage presence has made Fim de Feira a pretty promising band from t Pernambuco's next generation...

Souljazz Orchestra "Serve And Protect (Sofrito edit)" 

If  Souljazz Orchestra is the best Ottawa has to offer, then Canada's about to have a visitor named Marcus Doucette soon. I've been into SO for a minute, but their latest album, Solidarity is a beast of the funkiest proportions and has the band on the short list of afrobeat's rising stars. I had a single earlier in the year on Sound Travels and I thought I'd throw this one out there for you, a brand-new re-edit from Hugo Mendez's Sofrito crew. The results are predictably awesome. 

Production Manager | Radio Milwaukee