This Monday, I debuted a couple of songs that were just released on Brooklyn-based label Dutty Artz. Hard to put the label into a category, but if I had to, I'd call their releases tropical, electronic and very worldly without being "world music" per se. Both Sorie Kondi (Sierra Leone) and Brooklyn Shanti (Bangladesh) fit this idea to a T.
"Moner Alo," a Bangla-Spanish duet about heartbreak, came about when Brooklyn Shanti heard the instrumental track Talking Drum by the group Banana Clipz (made up of Chief Boima and Oro11) being played by his roommate Anoura. The melancholic tone of the song fit perfectly with Shanti's mood at the time and he instantly came up with the chorus for Moner Alo which means "light of the heart" in Bangla. It is a song of heartache and loss, but it helped bring Shanti out of a dark personal period. Might this work for a Wisconsin winter? You tell me.
And then there's…
The other release Dutty Artz just released is the second from Sierra Leone's Sorie Kondi, Thogolobia. Born blind in one of the poorest countrie on the Earth has proven to be just one part of an amazing story. Having to forego an education, Sorie instead focused on learning to play the Kondi (a regional name for a thumb piano). When civil war erupted in the mid 90's Sorie went into the countryside and evolved further, renaming himself after his own instrument. After the war, Kondi returned to Freetown, his pre-war home and penned the amazing "Without Money, No Family," which in turn got him noticed.
Noticed by Broklyn-based Milwaukeean Chief Boima, also of Sierra Leonean descent, who brought him to the States and toured with him in 2012. This collaboration is bearing fruits for 2013 as Boima's label Dutty Artz has just released Sorie's brand new release Thogolobea, featuring Boima's production. Dope stuff. The songs on this album are infectiously upbeat with strong rhythms supporting Sorie's impressive, virtuosic work on the thumb piano. Kondi's story as well as his music is really amazing; African future music–highly recommended!
Sorie Kondi "Bumbuna" Thogolobea