world . african . latin


Genre pick of the week Cover of Caravela by Caravela.
Caravela are an Afro-Brazilian quintet with members from Portugal, South America, Australia and the UK. Their music is an exploration of the communal traditional and spiritual music of Lusophone countries like Brazil and Cape Verde, approached with a contemporary groove and feel.

Caravela shine a light on traditional rhythms and styles and reimagine them with a jazz attitude of improvisation. Blending influences like Baden Powell, Mayra Andrade and Lionel Loueke, Caravela's exploration of Afro-Brazilian music on their debut EP is not to be missed.


Millie says: Caravela breathes new life into jazz incorporating Afro-Brazilian music for a contemporary spin on things. Fresh and upbeat, let this wash over you in a wave of rhythm and vibrancy.

K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade

Wahala Wahala

Under the guidance of the outrageously talented Ghanaian force of nature Kweku Sackey, aka K.O.G, and the whirlwind of energy that is Jamaican rapper Franz Von, the Zongo Brigade deliver infectious, high-energy West African grooves via Sheffield, drawing on Afrobeat, soul, funk, rock, hip hop and reggae which has fast gained recognition in London and all over the UK.
K.O.G’s signature mix of high-energy songs, raps, operatic vocal effects, along with the hard-hitting patois raps from the spirited Franz Von and a dedicated band of serious musical badmen, has led the band to perform on some of the biggest stages including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals and numerous clubs and venues around Europe.

Deeply rooted in stories from Africa, the album draws on love, peace and social issues. K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade’s motto “Unity in Diversity” stems from Kweku’s African origins and also embraces the eclectic mix of nationalities which make up the band.

With a backdrop of unmistakeable African rhythms that include electric brass, thunderous percussion and sharp-edge guitar, ‘Wahala Wahala’ takes possession of the body as the words excite the mind. Racism, rejection, inequality, exile - the subject matter is always serious but the delivery irresistibly upbeat and rhythmic, guaranteed to get the feet moving because in every pain, there is also joy.

This classic Brazilian album from master drummer Ronald Mesquita was originally released in 1972 and features songs by Jorge Ben, Antonio Carlos-Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Edu Lobo and others. Mesquita is probably most well-known for playing with Luis Carlos Vinhas and his ‘Bossa Tres’ outfit, along with his own group, ‘Ronie E A Central Do Brasil’, that he formed after his return from the US in the early 1970s. He also played on several songs on Tenorio Jr.’s ‘Embalo’ album that Mr Bongo recently reissued. The killer track ‘Balanca Pema’ was very big in the Jazz Dance scene in the 90s and also featured on the Mojo compilation ‘Dancefloor Jazz Volume Four’. Madlib sampled ‘Balanca Pema’ on his Medicine Show Number 2 ‘Flight to Brazil’.

Celso Rubinstein

É A Vida Que Diz / Enquanto Houver

With the fifth release and the first 7inch on the quality imprint, Notes On A Journey turns its attention to Brazil. Finally, one might think, since it’s an open secret that the guys behind the label all have a soft spot for music from the leading coffee exporter in the world. So, when Brazilian DJ, record collector and digger extraordinaire Junior Santos brought this Celso Rubinstein 7-inch EP (called «Compacto» in Brazil) to the Berlin label’s attention he hadn’t to do a lot of persuading to have NOAJ reintroduce this beautiful piece of music to fans around the world some 36 years after its first appearance.

Born in Brazil to a family of Holocaust survivors, Celso Rubinstein’s career as a singer allowed him to take residency in several countries including Spain, Portugal, Israel and Britain. He performed as an artist in numerous clubs and supported other artists as backing vocalist. In 1982 he booked studio time at Chico Batera’s studio in Rio De Janeiro to record two songs for an intentional debut album.

On «Enquanto Houver», written by Paulinho Mendonça and Gerson Conrad, Rubinstein tried to infuse some rap flavour: «I wanted to get away from that style of singing where you sing a bunch of notes without breathing. You can hear that all the words in the song are pronounced properly but the cadence is broken up, so the intention was to do a kind of rap without it seeming to be rap.

Marina Lima and Antonio Cicero contributed «È A Vida Que Diz», a song as marvelously written as much as performed sophisticatedly by Rubinstein with his star-studded studio crew. Amongst them: Oberdan Magalhães and Claudio Stevenson from Banda Black Rio, Rique Pantoja, keyboard player, arranger and conductor Reinaldo Arias, as well as American session musician Don Harris. Celso Rubinstein wanted to create a unique atmosphere for the recording sessions, inviting numerous people to the control room to amplify the spontaneous live feeling even more (the control room was filled with people like Ney Matogrosso, As Frenéticas, Claudia Telles, Fátima Guedes.) You definitely can hear this vitality on the record originally published in 1982 by Rubinstein himself.

Since there was a massive vinyl shortage at the time in Brazil, no label had any spare material to waste on newcomers. Only the label Tapecar, which had its own pressing plant, helped Rubinstein out and used the left over material from the manufacture of Gal Costa’s latest album («Minha Voz») to have his 7” privately pressed. Needless to say that it missed any recognition back then. But now, 36 years later, thanks to Junior Santos and Notes On A Journey a broad audience has the joy to finally embrace this beautiful music wholeheartedly.


7" Info: Limited to 500 copies worldwide.

Dexter Story is an artistic spirit in the truest sense of the phrase. From his work as a multi-instrumentalist for acts like the Sa-Ra Creative Partners, to his management role with Snoop Dogg and his turn producing Dayme Arocena’s 2017 album Cubafonia, Story understands the business from every conceivable angle. But over the past four years, Story has experienced a rebirth, a realignment of focus towards his own musical vision and story.

Initially inspired by the music and cultures pervasive throughout the Horn of Africa, Story translated his experiences into the album Wondem, followed closely by the single Wejene Aola featuring jazz luminary Kamasi Washington, both on Soundway Records. If Wondem was a brief glance into Story’s new creative vision, Bahir is a pinpoint refinement of that purpose.

On Bahir, he melds his world into the one he fell in love with so strongly while in Africa. One way in which he’s done so is by incorporating musicians from both sides of this coin. LA luminaries are featured throughout, as are African contemporaries he encountered throughout his travels.

Sudan Archives gives a show-stealing vocal performance on “Gold”, while the Ethiopian producer Endeguena Mulu adds impenetrable and psychedelic texture to the album’s title track.

So Bahir finds the polymath musician not stuck between two worlds, but as a member of both. We get Ethiopian jazz tonalities, Tuareg grooves, ekista dance rhythms, Afro-funk, Somalian soul and forays into more contemporary jazz rhythms, too. Angelenos like Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Josef Leimberg give the record its backbone, while African artists like the Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate give Bahir its glimmer and shine.

Unknown Artist


After changing lives with their first release last year, those unorthodox party starters at Waffles serve up another helping of edit excellence, extensively tested on their D*sp*c** Soundsystem. Digging deep into the cosmic hustle of the A-side, we find ourselves lost in the psychedelic swirl of an afro-cosmic classic in the form of "Macao". Tumbling toms and a tasty breakbeat create a head spinning rhythm, while Mediterranean scatting and big female backing vocals get the whole room loose and limber. Over on the flip, "Spanish Fly" heads deeper into the afro-Balearic nexus with a deep disco bassline, cinematic strings and a gently spiced vocal. Sounding simultaneously like a lost Turkish disco record, a Modern Romance B-side and a Leo Mas standard, this killer cut shoud sound superb in the sunshine. It's early days, but this sounds even better than the first edition - buy on sight!

Unknown Artist


More mouthwatering magic from the brothers Dewaele here on their ever tasty Waffles imprint as they treat us to a double helping of afro-cosmic brilliance for all the future sapeurs out there. Getting straight into the good stuff, "Hankuri" sees the duo flip a dangerously infectious African groove over some lively funk breaks before adding delicate delays, brainfizzing laser fire and some subtle synth work to lift the whole sheebang up a notch. Boasting a bassline to die for, shoulder rolling percussion brilliance and killer vocals, this one's certain to get everyone on the dancefloor thoroughly loosey goosey. Over the other side "49 Gang" takes a hallucinatory swig out of the ceremonial cup before heading deep into the depths of the undergrowth for some saucer eyed trance dancing. As the metronomic beat and unwavering arpeggio keep things sort of steady, a whole host of jungle ambience, echo drenched yelps and tribal chants swirl and spin around you, tripping you out totally before the new wave vocal and funked up synth comes to the fore. No need for psychedelics here, this track boggles your noggin like a fresh batch of mushy brew. Heavily road tested on the Despacio Sound System, this juicy slab of wax should bring some sweet psychedelic flavour to any DJ set.

'Estudando O Samba' is an incredibly unique concept album from the one and only Tom Ze, originally released by Continental Brazil in 1976 - a tough one to find at a good price in its original form now. ‘Estudando do Samba’ (or ‘Studying The Samba’) is a post-Tropicalia studio experimentation laiden with layers of hypnotic percussion, effects & samples that deconstructs the ‘samba’ form. Recorded during what was arguably his most creative period. David Byrne found the record in Rio in the late 90’s and included several songs on his Tom Ze collection for Luaka Bop a few years later. At that time Tom was not recording or touring much; playing low-key shows in Sao Paulo and contemplating a move back to Irara to work at a service station owned by one of his cousins. Byrne’s project helped to reignite his career and he hasn’t looked back since.

Born in 1950 near Constantine and raised on a parental diet of traditional Arabic music, Zohra quickly took up singing and playing the guitar and kept doing so after she and her family moved to the North of France. Playing gala events and receptions during her first years in France it took an encounter with multi-talented instrumentalist, composer, arranger and conductor Joel Hannier to take her into the world of recorded music. Joel Hannier’s experience in writing and interpreting music for ballets, television, orchestras and a vast array of French and international musicians made sure their collaboration – sung in a Berber dialect – was destined for success. The title track ‘Badala Zamana’ gets picked up by various radio stations, most notably in Arabic speaking countries. In France the song did not go unnoticed either, but until today - although championed by Habibi Funk among a few others – it remains relatively unearthed.


Patrick says: Music Take Me Up come through with a reissue of Zohra's sought after 1977 rarity "Badala Zamana" with an extended version on the flip. Organic Arabic disco with a French twist? Sounds Balearic to me, and Radio Soulwax agree!

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