MAGIC MIX

world . african . latin

WEEK STARTING 12 Jul

Genre pick of the week Cover of Auidny / Njoo El Leyl by Ahmed Fakroun.

Ahmed Fakroun

Auidny / Njoo El Leyl

Back in 1977, Ahmed Fakroun was doin' it in Libya. The Benghazi born multi-instrumentalist took his training in traditional folk and rai and love of disco, soul and French art rock and translated it into a super groovy cross-cultural hybrid which made him one of the biggest musical stars Libya ever produced. This debut 7", recorded with legendary British producer Tommy Vance is the perfect introduction to Farkoun's style, rolling out the speakers with a loose bassline, funk guitars and rai-styled vocals. Horns, flute and some sick synth licks further spice the pot, calling to mind Demis Roussos in "I Dig You" mode. On the flip, "Njoo El Leyl", shuffled and sizzled with syncopated perfection, delivering dusty rock for the funk crowd and desert funk for the rock fans. Chanted vocals, dreamy melodies and super stoned percussion hold it down perfectly, keeping us moving until that far out and fuzzed up guitar solo brings the psych to the party. Out of press since it's release, this official reissue is an absolute essential folk. Buy on sight!

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Forty years since it was last in press, Groovin give us a replica reissue of Ahmed Fakroun's superb debut "Aiudny". Fusing funk, folk, slow disco and Libyan rai, Fakroun drops a couple of deep desert shufflers which still slay in the present day. This one stays in the record bag!

Hailed as the most revolutionary force in popular music for two decades, Africa Express was founded in 2006 and brings together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to break boundaries and offer a new perspective on Africa and its music. Each record and event is unique, based upon on-the-spot collaboration and filled with unique moments of magic; the collective have hosted trips and concerts in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mali and UK to date.

Africa Express travelled to South Africa in January of last year to complete an electronic album in just 7 days, a week of discovery, collaboration and music-making. The result is "Egoli" – 18 tracks capturing the fresh, joyous sounds of Afro Futurism, straight out of Johannesburg. Featured artists include Damon Albarn, Blue May , Gruff Rhys, Georgia, Ghetts, Mr Jukes, Nick Zinner, Remi Kabaka, Otim Alpha and Poté as well as emerging and established stars of the buzzing South African music scene including BCUC, Blk Jks, Dominowe, Faka, Infamous Boiz, DJ Spoko, Mahotella Queens, Moonchild Sanelly , Muzi, Morena Leraba, Nonku Phiri, Radio 123, Sibot, Sho Madjozi, Zola 7, Zolani Mahola (Freshly Ground) and Maskandi guitar legend Phuzekhemisi.


Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18

Joia

    You might know CARWYN ELLIS from other projects like COLORAMA (part of the most heterogeneous and open-minded pop made in the UK this century), Bendith (Welsh dreamy folk) or Zarelli (hauntologic electronic). Or maybe you might be familiar with him because he collaborates with pop superstars and universal references like Edwyn Collins, Pretenders, Oasis or Saint Etienne. Or maybe you don’t know him at all, so far, because Ellis is one of those musicians that does not feel self-important, that is not under the spotlight but that is praised by other musicians and everyone wants to collaborate with. His diverse personal projects are a sample of his passionate love for the music with no borders of any kind. He is hard to label, and transforms his skin in each new record. Almost in every song. He records the albums that he feels like doing whenever he feels like doing them, and with the sound and the people that stand out for him in that moment. Most of his songs are sung in Welsh, his mother language, but his music is timeless and universal. Carwyn always approaches the global by the local.

    It isn’t a coincidence that precisely now he has decided to take the plunge and go to Rio de Janeiro to record, along with two distinguished crazy local artists like Domenico Lancellotti and Kassin, his most colourful record. “Joia!”, in which he presents his new band Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, is a non-explicit plea against the Brexit. Against any Brexits taking place right now any way or another in this world shocked by the continuous transformations and fears that they lead to. Pretty sure that Lancellotti or Kassin might say that it is an anti-Bolsonaro record. However, Carwyn and his fellows in Rio 18 prefer to do a cheerful and positive record, like almost all the south American music it is inspire in, to celebrate that those changes, that definitely mark an era , boost and ease the fact that a musician from Cardiff is able to record an album with musicians from the other side of the world, and make it halfway between Rio and London with the invaluable help from another top musician like Shawn Lee. A record with latin American flavor sung, again, in Welsh, whose phonetics and sound matches surprisingly well with tropical music.
    The record stars (literally: it’s the sound of a car engine which starts this trip) with a cumbia, Unman (Nowhere, perfect title for a project like this), which is a curious starting point and a good letter of introduction of the intentions for an album recorded by a Welsh man with some Brazilian friends. But this is a sensory party, a celebration in which you never know what you’ll find when you turn around the corner. Ellis already got us used to it in all of his projects (and within every Colorama record), but that now, precisely due to the collaboration between such imaginative, incorruptible and original musicians such as the ones forming Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, is when they get even more special and fun.

    Cumbia, Bossa Nova, Samba, Tropicalism, Latin Funk, Pop and wonders like Ymosodwyr Anweledig (Invisible Attackers), a pure Tropical Krautrock song; like if Broadcast were to move their bunda to the sound of Os Mutantes, and which illustrates perfectly what can we expect from this JOIA which is the opposite of Brexit and narrow minds. Jump on to this trip and you’ll end, like the record ends, saying Diolch almani (Thanks For That) to Ellis for this record; obrigado, as the female chorus responds to the beat of the bossa.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It's not a combination that I would have necessarily put together, but the chilled Brazilian grooves and Ellis' intoxicating vocals make for a wonderfully enjoyable way to make your political views known (for those that speak welsh, obviously). It's as brilliant as all his other projects, and on a completely different tip.

    Here the ever reliable Soundway Records reissue Free Youth’s long sought-after 1985 single “We Can Move” - one of the first known examples of Ghanaian hip hop, emerging at the dawn of ‘hip-life’ (hip hop meets highlife). It was the trio’s only release and originally pressed on 7” vinyl, but now comes fully restored, remastered and available for the first time on 12” vinyl along with the original cover art.
    Free Youth comprised three main members: Terry “Sir Robot” Bright, Lenny “Nii Addy” Dimple, and Abednego “King Abed” Ayim Bright. In the early 80s they began performing in clubs and parties across Accra, with friends and other dancers occasionally joining them on stage - including Reggie Rockstone, who later went on to find global stardom.
    In 1985, the band were approached by a producer and invited to record at a local studio. Without having written down any music, Terry, Lenny and Abed sang the parts and beatboxed the rhythms to the session musicians prior to recording. Out of this session came “We Can Move”, a blend of hip-hop and Afro-funk with a proto disco-boogie beat, punchy trumpet riffs and melodic rap flow.
    Included in this Soundway release is an exclusive instrumental cover version from Welsh ensemble Drymbago. This replaces the original B side track “Freedom Video Centre” which was an advertising jingle for a business associated with their former producer.

    The fourth vinyl release from Banana Hill - the party-cum-record label based right here in Mancunia! It comes from Kenyan producer Jinku who drops the deeply personal "Vagabond" EP. Through sound textures and patterns, the waning lights of a relationship are exemplified through tension, discordant sound layers and African polyrhythms examining the damage caused through infidelity and repercussions faced for one's own actions.

    Vagabond's remixes come from El Buho and Sooma, both purveyors of polyrhythmic multicultural music. El Buho's remix of A2 brings his Latin American music rhythms warping and twisting Loa Myst's vocal around accordion stabs and a constantly bouncing bass. Sooma's remix of A1 leans towards her house roots, layering complex polyrhythms, creating a hypnotic groove, majestically tied to a hypnotic tribal call.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: More solid stuff from this emergant firm. Locals will be well aware of vibrant cartel but now it seems, it's time for the world to listen!

    Afro-Peruvian music, also known as 'música criolla', finds its roots in West African music, Spanish and European genres and native musical traditions from Peru. Flamenco-influenced sounds sit next to African tribal elements and a simple yet effective percussion instrument called cajón.

    After a long struggle to preserve música criolla through oral tradition over generations, actually resulting in much of the original music being lost, a renewed interest in those rhythms and melodies arose in the 1950s. Some years later the legendary Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda provided help to promote Perú Negro, a dance company that also incorporated percussion combined with música criolla. Ronaldo Campos, "Lalo" Izquierdo, Víctor Padilla, Rodolfo Arteaga and Caitro Soto, among others, played a key role in the foundation and early days of the company. Their shows celebrated and recreated black culture in Peru and they quickly became regulars at Lima's theatres.

    In 1969 they won the main award at the Festival Hispanoamericano de la Danza y la Canción in Argentina. The repertoire performed at the festival was later included in this album, originally released in 1973 in Peru and Spain only. The lyrics and music of these songs reflect the country's multicultural diversity, blending elements from the African tradition and echoes of Spanish-influenced melodies around stories of slavery days, rural labour and folklore.

    Although lesser known than music from other nearby countries, Peru Negro's recordings are reminiscent of Afro-Colombian or Afro-Cuban rhythms. If you have an interest in Cuban son or Colombian bambuco, this record will be an essential addition to your collection and the perfect introduction to the fascinating música criolla.


    Munich. 1994. A group buck current trends with a ground-breaking release. Tikitaka by Tamburá left aside the techno of the time to focus on a the lesser known styles of afrobeat and tribal music. The result was three tracks that sail and soar on a primal energy, three works that whisk listeners away to exotic lands of wooden wind instruments, ritualistic vocals and, even, bag pipe majesty. For twenty five years this record has been an unattainable mystery, until now that is. Kalahari Oyster Cult have lovingly restored all three of the trailblazing original tracks alongside two very special remixes. Melbourne’s Tornado Wallace adds new layers of intensity as he cuts and reshapes melodies and beats to set any floor alight with this visionary remake. Dazion offers a very different interpretation. Focusing on vocals, this new talent accentuates the shamanic-like chants of Tikitaka, using them as a base from which throbbing synth lines grow as new depths are explored. An EP every bit as daring in 2019 as it was in 1994.

    Umm Kulthum

    The Twinkling Star

      Oum Kalthoum is a legendary Egyptian vocalist and one of the biggest celebrities of the 20th century Arab world. She was dubbed "The voice of Egypt" and "Egypt's fourth pyramid", and is considered a national treasure. This 1961 album originally released on Parlophone is one of the finest examples of her vocal ability and a beautiful example of mid 20th Century Egyptian popular music. Kalthoum counts among her legion of fans none other than Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Bono, and Youssou N'Dour, along with most of the Arab speaking world, and this LP is one of the finest of her career. An absolute legend!

      Werther

      Werther

        1970’s best-kept Bossa Nova secret. Surrounded by mystery for nearly 50 years due to its obscurity, this is one of the most honest, personal and unpretentious albums of its genre. A selection of 12 exquisitely crafted songs supported by measured, subtle arrangements.

        The list of musicians born or raised in the Tijuca district of Rio de Janeiro is long and illustrious and includes names that have shaped Brazilian music: Tom Jobim, Roberto Carlos, Tim Maia, Milton Nascimento, Jorge Ben or Erasmo Carlos – to mention but a few. We can now add to that list another name: Werther. In 1970, a man by that name recorded an album unique in its personality, its honesty, and its lack of pretense. In a time when Bossa Nova had become a global phenomenon and its main characters were already household names in Brazil, Werther assembled a collection of songs that uncannily – almost naively – remind us of the time when Bossa Nova was just a group of youngsters making music. His songs are about simple things: bohemian life, the sea, love.

        Despite Werther and his friends being only in their teens, without any previous experience recording music, those working behind the scenes were not equally amateur. Producer Peter Keller had already worked with Aloysio De Oliveira in the quintessential Bossa Nova label Elenco, and was also an initial partner in Roberto Quartin’s cult label Forma. Studio owner Bill Horne was a very loved character in the Rio jazz scene who had regularly taken part in the legendary meetings in Nara Leão’s apartment and befriended some of Brazil’s most respected musicians. Some of these musicians were, for example, Naná Vasconcelos and Edison Machado, who provided small contributions to Werther’s album.

        It was only in the 1990’s that Werther’s album was rediscovered by a handful of collectors and Brazilian music enthusiasts, who recognized in it a purity that had already vanished from the mainstream Bossa Nova recordings. But due to the haziness around the original release and the relative anonymity of its instigators, many questions surrounding these recordings were left unanswered. Today we are finally able to disclose the full story behind Werther’s short-lived contribution to Brazilian music.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Before the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, unleashing a horrifying genocide, Cambodia had one of the most vibrant and exciting music scenes in Asia. With a mixture of traditional Khmer music and myriad western genres (from French and Latin music, to rock-and-roll, rhythm-and-blues, surf, psychedelia, soul and many more) the few pre-75 Cambodian recordings that survived (most of them were destroyed) are enough to make anyone with a taste for good music shocked by the amazing quality of the sounds created during those golden years. Gathered in this amazing album are some of the most talented and unique musicians from that amazing era with an explosive collection of tracks sure to blow the mind of the listener. A celebration of some of the best music ever made. Muck like the western 'Nuggets' series - every home should have a copy of this treasured compilation nestled somewhere in its record shelves....


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