For this week’s Sound Travels, I looked back at some of the best world music compilations and re-issued albums of global grooves released this year. A digger’s delight is how I’d describe these deep and hitherto out-of-print songs from bands that don’t deserve to be forgotten.
I love compilations like these to launch deeper investigations into the countries and scenes they came from and trends of a particular time. How else would we know about the rise of electronic dance music in South Africa from 1988-1990? In addition to that, the vintage finds in this mixtape help us discover Ghana, Northeast Brazil, the Ivory Coast, France and more.
“Pantsula! – The Rise Of Electronic Dance Music In South Africa, 1988-90”
This weekend’s Sound Travels was less a mix and more an introduction. I tried to share some newer artists or established ones on mostly new-leaning work for the Sound Travels Sunday set. Enjoy this Latin indie-alt (or, alterlatino) mixtape.
Stream the program from Sunday or immerse yourself in the Spotify playlist of mostly new Latin indie-alternative sounds from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking acts. Some classic, others quite new…
This week’s Sound Travels features the Grammy-winning Mexican indie/psychedelic rock band Zoé.
For me, genres are a tiring exercise, I like everything. If Latin indie-alternative sounds generic, it kinda should; what I really wanna share is a mix less concerned with being rock, reggae, pop, reggaeton, etc. and more about fresh sounds that really exemplify the diversity of styles throughout the Latin(x) world. Because Latin music is more than reggaeton, salsa, merengue and bachata, this playlist takes open mind of acceptance for artists and acts that break molds and cross boundaries and nation notions.
March (or any month really) is a great time to celebrate women, so that’s what I’m doing this week on Sound Travels…this mix is all about the ladies of reggae, both new and old.
Discover the classic sound of Judy Mowatt, Aura Msimang & Full Experience and Sister Carol along with the innovative jazz-reggae fusion of Hempress Sativa, Jah9, Love Joys and more. These are the female reggae artists you should know.
The most famous names in reggae are men, but female reggae artists have always been around contributing to the roots of the genre and the culture—and they’re still here keeping it fresh. The ladies of reggae bring a specific soul and energy to the off-beat bass and rhythms. When we think of reggae, we should think Rita Marley just as often as we think Bob. Don’t forget the ladies of reggae and listen to this mix!
That Pentateuch Movement have built their local and international rep on the strengths of their live sets is admirable. But as a DJ, I am even happier that they’ve started putting out some solid songs for me to get, have and love. Their first release, “Punchinella” is a dubwise throwback to 80’s Black Uhuru, when Sly & Robbie were running their rhythm.
Jesse Royal “Always Be Around”
The newest member from Protoje’s In.Digg.Nation Collective, Lila Iké is a young Jamaican singer with a classic and soulful sound. Iké took the decidedly unorthodox path of releasing a tribute to her mother as her debut single, “Biggest Fan,” and her second release, “Gotti Gotti,” is even better…
This early digital reggae gem from Midnight Riders called “Bobby Was a Gangster” was released on New Zealand’s Red Robin Records. Not many details, just a solid chune…
Randy Valentine “Vigilant”
Kerida Johnson, aka Hempress Sativa finally dropped her debut album in early 2017 and Unconquerebel has proved to be worth the wait. Her weighty, witty lyricism is dense with rootsy, Rasta-informed wisdom and the album features a stellar lineup of musicians like Chinna Smith and Flabba Holt. Boom wah da da deng indeed…
IIII+IIII [Eji-Ogbe] is the product of Otura Mun’s life long journey of self discovery: reinventing himself as a musician, to understanding life and meaning through spirituality, and love through sacrifice. These themes are the backbone of his band ÌFÉ’s debut album, where you can hear one of the most unique fusions between Afro-Caribbean and electronic music; between the percussion of the Yoruba rituals, the Cuban rumba clave, dancehall downbeats and even R&B. For that, Mun (who is an ordained babalawo and student of Yoruban and rumba) electrified the basic rumba set up of congas and cajones, drilled holes in the instruments, added electronic sensors, and connected them to a sampling pad. It’s music that breaks the rules. With its abundance of reverb, its challenging percussion and sweet sonorities, it’s a beautiful expressions of Afro-Caribbean creativity and resilience. The end result is music that lives in its own self-contained world of love and expansion.
Ariwo are a quartet that charts strange waters “the unexplored intersection between electronic and Afro-Cuban folkloric music” type waters. With members from Cuba and Iran, their heart pumps a propulsive and raw Cuban rumba underneath a melancholic and bass-heavy electro-Iranian beat– and it’s clubby yet folkloric vibe works.
The word Ariwo means “Noise” in Yoruba. The name was selected to underline the band’s emphasis on sound and its desire to combine traditional rhythms into a live electronic performance that challenges perceptions of ancestral music, and connects diverse cultures from around the world.
The band is made up of Iranian electronic composer, Pouya Ehsaei [Entr’acte], and three of London’s most influential Cuban musicians: Oreste Noda [Sambroso Sambroso], Yelfris Valdes [Sierra Maestra] and Latin Grammy winner, Hammadi Valdes [Carlos Acosta / Irakere]. Pouya processes their live instruments while creating soundscapes and hypnotic rhythms that draw influence from the folkloric music of Cuba and his home city of Tehran. [Manana Cuba]
Whatever you make of it, I think it’s pretty fresh…