Mali Folk-Hop, Rock en Espanol, Aussie Reggae and Colombian Cumbia… Gotta Be Sound Travels

Mali Folk-Hop, Rock en Espanol, Aussie Reggae and Colombian Cumbia… Gotta Be Sound Travels

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Blue King Brown is my favorite band right now. They embody everything I love in music from Ozomatli, African bands, Tower of Power to Santana. They are the voice of the street and the band of the future!”-Carlos Santana

“I am always inspired by BKB’s funky, high energy, socially conscious music. Natalie is a bright light in the world with a vision that extends beyond the stage and together with the rest of the band raise the roof off every show they play. I love em!!!” – Michael Franti (Spearhead)

High praise right there for the Melbourne-based band that is currently blowing up in their native land. And right so, Blue King Brown bring an interesting dynamic to the scene fusing soul, rock, hip hop, roots reggae and percussive grooves with an original rhythmic edge. Natalie Pa'apa'a, fronts the band with socially conscious lyrics underlining her powerful voice and backed up with a band replete with lap steel, upright guitars and a very nice back line. With Bass, Rhodes, Hammond, Percussion and Kit, they create a distinctly different roots reggae flavor that is as intriguing as it is good. Rare stuff indeed. The album is really solid stuff and not in the least pretentious. Honestly, this kind of edgy, super-relevant beat-based music with Aboriginal, revolutionary vibes is what I've always expected from Australia…it's about time Blue King Brown came to be!

Blue King Brown "Say Peace" Worldwize Part 1: North and South



SMOD, quite simply, are one of my favorite new bands. I must admit that I'm already all about all music Malian, but I also admit I was pleasantly surprised that this band is making this kind of hip hop. After a listen to their album, I found a unique approach that is more folk-hop than hip hop per se. It doesn't hurt that the album was produced by world music maestro Manu Chao. SMOD originally connected with Manu Chao through their frontman Sam, who is the son of world music stars Amadou & Mariam. Manu Chao had produced Amadou & Mariam’s breakthrough album, Dimanche A Bamako and apparently didn't have to go far for his next endeavor. Judging from the work on this release, this band could be big…


Calavera y La Popular Indipendiente are another interesting group making some serious new sounds in Colombia. Taking inspiration from the very sounds of their city, Medellin, this song is the first from the band and is funny too apparently (if you know Spanish) and quite good. All the information I can find on this group is in Spanish and scant at best. From what I can tell however, it's well worth a listen… 

Calavera y La Popular Indipendiente "Sopetran" Comentame

Guatemalan singer and songwriter Gaby Moreno left her country for Los Angeles, where she got into the local music scene and took classes at the Musicians Institute. Her soulful vocals and ability to switch languages and genres have made her a rising star. Moreno is part of a batch of young, soulful Latina singers whose voices evoke Fiona Apple or Tori Amos. On her new album, though, Moreno also channels her inner Aretha. Her songs have been used on popular TV shows, and she has two albums out; her most recent is titled Illustrated Songs. Moreno says she finds inspiration in old-fashioned music of the vaudeville era, and was intrigued by the early visual art form of projecting images with musical accompaniment — hence the new album's name. A listen to this amazing album will fill your head with all kinds of daydreams. The songs have a simplicity underwritten by Moreno's exquisite voice, simply amazing…

Gaby Moreno "No Regrets" Illustrated Songs

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