Kabul Workshop & Zeus!! - FREE SONG!!

Kabul workshop Old Drum & Bass in the background of new Asian electronica! Check out today's FREE SONG;

Listen To 'Zeus'

Heavily influenced by Afghan and Indian music, the electro-world of Kabul Workshop differentiates itself from the Electro-Asian scene by its originality and the quality of its compositions. It is almost like going back to the essence of drum&bass on some of the tracks. An interesting mixture!

Kabul Workshop is a workshop of musical research where the resulting melodies are a direct expression of the state of mind of their creators; a bridge between their different cultures.
Kabul Workshop, a worldly collective led by Francesco Russo and Khaled Arman, explore the ethnic sounds of Afghan and Indian music in a contemporary, largely electronic setting.

The duo, who met in 1998, wrote all of the songs on Kabul Workshop's debut album, Trigana (2002), while band members Massoud Raonaq and Shyamal Maïtra contribute instrumentation. All four band members reside in France though none are of French origin.

Check out the Kabul Workshop album here!

Listen To 'Zeus'

Marcel Khalife & Popular Cafe!! - FREE SONG!!

Marcel Khalife Marcel Khalife, he is a United Nations Educational, scientific and cultural organization "Artist for Peace". Not even Bono can say the same,- check him out;

Listen To 'Popular Cafe'

Marcel Khalife is a 'worldly artist'. He has performed in such prestigious halls as the "Palace of Arts" in Montreal, "Symphony Space" and "Merkin Concert" in New York, "Berklee Theatre" and "New England Conservatory" in Boston, "Royal Festival Hall", and "Queen Elizabeth Hall" in London,"UNESCO Palace" of Beirut, Cairo Opera House (Egypt) among others. Born in Lebanon and with his Arabic lute he has been a significant person in his way of 'playing for peace'.

Ironically, some weeks ago a venue in San Diego denied the artist to perform. The manager of the venue  felt the show would be "divisive" and "unbalanced" without an Israeli performer taking the stage the same night. It's tough to tell if this is political correctness run amok or the problem is Khalifé being Arab and this being a Christian-run venue in George Bush's America.?!

Khalife has faced persecution in the Middle East, but never something this inflammatory in the U.S.A. Earlier this year, a performance of his was denounced in the Persian Gulf island nation Bahrain, and Khalife’s music was also recently banned from radio, television, and on stage in Tunisia. Damned in parts of the Middle East for supporting freedom of expression, it is ironic that in the U.S.A. he would find similar efforts to quiet him. hm.. when is the real change gonna happen?

Music is the most peaceful way of expression, and please let it stay this way. We are in 2007, for F***'s sake! - Musicians have for years fought the war of free expression through sound & rhythm,- let's not go backwards!

Listen To 'Popular Cafe'

Get more music from Marcel Khalife here!

Salamat & Betfout with Mahmoud Fadl!! - FREE SONG!!

Salamat & M. Fadl From the desert to the dance floor; today's FREE song from Salamat;

Listen To 'Betfout with Mahmoud Fadl'

Mahmoud Fadl, a great Master of drumming, works and travels between the old Cairo and the new Berlin, which happens to be one of the traditional centers of science for Nubian culture. Some find it easier to relate to the club scene around the globe, while others, vice versa; relates better to the music that has origins from the mystic desert. - Either way you won't get lost here,- Fadl lays the world right for you!

His Tribal House Project "United Nubians" has earned international attention as one of the most innovative developments of the vibrant Berlin club scene. Beside his own work as a musician, film actor and fashion designer, Mahmoud Fadl frequently performs with the West-African Griot-Ensemble "Saf-Sap" on oriental wedding and musical workshops.

Listen To 'Betfout with Mamoud Fadl'

You'll find more inspiration from Salamat's music here!

Pantsula John & Till the end!! - FREE SONG!!

Pantsulajohn This is old-school by now, and damn funky, I'd tell ya!! Check out today's FREE song:

Listen To 'Till the end'

Pantsula John is John Mpotoane of African Flag Pantsula fame! - Pantsula, a Zulu word meaning to waddle like a duck or to walk with protruded buttocks, developed as an artistic depiction of township life.

The South African dance form evolved from the Americano township culture of the 60s, and was originally much more slick and showy than today’s incremental shakes and realignment of the thighs.

Members of the 'pantsula movement' were known for their expensive taste in clothes and harsh township slang. They were easily distinguishable and targeted by apartheid police, particularly following the violence of the 1984 rent boycotts.
It became an underground dance of sorts, practiced secretly in shacks and common halls. After the regime fell, pantsula re-emerged in a more “respectable” commercialized style. However,  this music is still identified as roots/old school funk,- and in my opinion it is far from commercialized. What do you think?

Listen To 'Till the end

Get more Pantsula music and check out the whole album here!

George Okudi & 'Oyongito'! - FREE SONG!!

George Okudi George Okudi is a musician by nature and a direct product of African art and culture! - More vibrant and true to his beat, it's hard to find something like it!

Listen To 'Oyongito'

Having grown up in urban and rural environments, George's music was able to come out of both urban and rural life styles, and created a music that blends African cultural music with modern art and technology!

George Okudi is today singing out of Kampala in Uganda, though he is well-known throughout the whole African continent. With the title of best male artist on the continent of Africa (2003 KORA Awards, Johannesburg, South Africa), the man doesn't stop there! - Suck it up and let yourself go!

Listen To 'Oyongito'

Get more music from Geaorge Okudi here!

Sevara Nazarkhan & Yallajonim! FREE SONG!!

Sevara Nazarkh Does this work for you? check it out, today's FREE song

Listen To 'Yallajonim'

We first heard about Sevara from a friend living in Uzbekistan. He told us, "Everyone in Uzbekistan loves Sevara." That didn't quite convince us until we heard her; then we were sold. Sevara is truly a treasure, an artist who is able to preserve her Uzbeki tradition, while bringing it into the pop world. Her singing of folk or classic songs is deeply informed, yet her arrangements reveal a sophisticated contemporary senesbility.

Her instrument is the doutar - a fifteenth century, two-stringed, Central Asian lute that is plucked not strummed. When music was the preserve of shepherds and lonely wayfarers, the strings were made from animal intestines... is this what we would call vintage? ... or...new and original?

Listen To 'Yallajonim'

Get more music from Sevara Nazarkhan here!

Zap Mama & Call Waiting! - FREE SONG!!

Zap Mama WOW! Today's FREE song is special! - N.W.N - No Words Necessary! - you MUST check it out;

Listen To 'Call Waiting'

Urban Ethnic Music from Brussels. When you first hear that, it sounds something of a contradiction, but since Marie Daulne gathered a number of slightly eccentric friends around her in 1990, nobody finds it strange any more. And there are reasons for that. Since then, Zap Mama has toured Europe, Africa and the United States, and everywhere they have gone, the audience has fallen for the eclectic mixture of styles somewhere between soul, gospel, pygmy song and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Unearthly harmonies born of Pygmy song, Moroccan chants and exuberant scat made Zap Mama global a cappella queens. Now for the first time they meet the roots throb of bass and drums, shot through with equal parts highlife and hip-hop. Zap Mama is soul music for the diaspora. "If your ears are open," mama Zap Marie Daulne says, "you'll understand."

With the help of gestures and an inexhaustible imagination, the five acrobatic female voices take the audience on a wondrous world journey, pausing for a moment to visit a Congolese soul, and then a few moments later, soaring on a flying carpet above the Taj Mahal. The colorfully attired ladies sprinkle the whole performance with a substantial dose of 'joie de vivre' and a disarming sense of humor.

As I said; N.W.N; it is a must! - a fine line between the soul of the past and the technology of the future!

Listen To 'Call Waiting'

check out all their albums here!

Proyecto Secreto & Olvida Todo! - FREE SONG!!

Proyecto Secreto Proyecto Secreto has plotted a secret recipe: Ska laced with swing and mambo! Check out today's FREE song;

Listen To 'Olvida Todo'

The 'roots' of Proyecto Secreto goes back to 1995. This Belgian-Chilean band thrives on a clash of cultures, with great horns and nice organs. Based in Belgium, but huge and awesome live at Ska Festivals. They have done; Rude Pot Festival in Dortmund, Dinamite Ska Festival in Leipzig, Ska Explosion Brussels, Reduit at Mainz-Kastel te Mainz etc.. but the clear highlight were the Antilliaanse Feesten the Biggest Tropical Festival in Belgium, with guest singers Begoña Bang Matu, Paola Marquez and Alejandro Donoso.

At the end of 2005, Proyecto Sectreto recorded the single Jamaica 69 an instrumental and Olvida Todo (today's free song) with Paola Marquez on vocals. David Hillyard took care of the production and Victor Rice mixed his engineering skills together, and this is what came out it:

Listen To 'Olvida Todo'

Listen to more ska from Proyecto Sectreto here!

The Afro Indian Project & Jolay! Jolay! - FREE SONG!!

Afro Indian Project Today's FREE song; Jolay! Jolay!, with The Afro Indian Project;

Listen To 'Jolay! Jolay!'

The Afro Indian Project is led by a man called RAVI (pronounced: RAH-vee). He is a well-traveled Englishman who plays an African instrument. However, his colleagues do include distinguished Indian colleagues & disciples of the subcontinent's most famous Ravi (sitarist, Ravi Shankar).

Ravi’s ‘Afro-Indian Project’ is a unique and exotic blend of African and Indian cultural sounds. Ravi (West-African kora) explores new musical horizons and soundscapes with world renowned santoor player, Tarun Bhattacharya, Ravi Shankar’s tabla player, Bikram Ghosh, legendary double bass player, Danny Thompson and master of Egyptian tabla, Hossam Ramzy. Mixed by legendary producer John Leckie (The Verve, Stone Roses, Radiohead).

As the name, Afro-Indian indicates... yes, you are right! This mixture of afro beats and Indian tunes will definitely take you places.  If you haven't been down those streets, well I will tell you there is something about this music that has produced a multicultural delight! It is actually a suitably vibrant salute to "the unforgettable experience of Indian trains"!

Enjoy today's free track!

Listen To 'Jolay! Jolay!'

Get more music from The Afro Indian Project here!

Aziza & Hayat! - FREE SONG!!

Aziza Aziza A. with her track; 'Hayat' is today's free song;

Listen To 'Hayat'

Aziza is a word in Arabic literally meaning "precious" or "holy"; though her real name is Alev Yıldırım. Born in Berlin and brought up among Turks, the largest minority group in Germany, Aziza A breathes a new life and voice to hip-hop and cunningly reflects the simplicity, attraction and truth of street life through her music which is a blend of funk, soul, jazz and R&B, all deeply rooted in the street.

As an artist creating a new musical language by the Oriental hip-hop style and built a bridge between the East and the West, she is doing it damn well! She also writes the lyrics herself, respect! check her out!

Listen To 'Hayat'

Get more music from Aziza here!

Tune Your World - Heal the Hood Project in Cape Flats, South Africa

Emile YX - Heal the Hood Calabash Music is pleased to announce our newest addition to the Tune Your World campaign:€“ Emile YX. We are featuring one of his songs - 'Soul Shine Bright' - as today's Free Song:

Listen & Download 'Soul Shine Bright'

Emile is a long-time community activist and hip hop artist from Cape Flats, South Africa. Cape Flats is one of the townships outside of Cape Town. Emile is putting all the money from his music sales on Calabash towards ongoing workshops and developmental work with the non-profit €œHeal the Hood€ based in South Africa.

The aims of Heal the Hood are:

  • To create a sustainable network of youth artists nationally and internationally through which jobs and new skills are created, arts products and arts related information can be distributed.
  • To create sustainable exchanges between youth globally
  • To create jobs through the arts in various communities
  • To empower youth and their communities with new skills
  • To combat racism and xenophobia globally

Since Emile helped create Heal the Hood in 1998, the organization has:

  • Raised $85,000 to send 70 breakdancers to the world championships in Germany over the last 10 years
  • Hosted African Battle Cry (since 1996), Battle of the Year (since 1997),Freestyle Sessions South Africa, Shut Up Just Dance, African Hip Hop Indaba
  • Recorded & Released 6 compilation CDs, and individual sales for Lions of Zion, Ancient Men, Plain Madnizz, Isaac Mutant, Black Noise, Emile YX? & Conquering Lions
  • Recorded & Released 2 DVDs and shot a documentary about breakdance history
  • Released books for Emile YX?, Da Juice Magazine and R.A.P.S.S. (Rhymes Articles Poetry Sketches, Short Stories)
  • Toured Black Noise around Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Namibia
  • Sent dancers to Sweden to learn more about hip hop dance
  • Hosted hip hop dancers from Sweden and NYC in South Africa
  • Toured schools throughout South Africa, Norway and Sweden

Emile YX and his crew have shot a couple videos to show people outside Cape Flats a bit of what is happening in the community. Watch them below.

Videos:

I am (Proud to be African)

Cape Flats Ding

Emile's Website http://www.emileyx.co.za

Get more of Emile's music.

Arash Khalatbari & Nicolas De Cusa Was Right! - FREE SONG!!

Arash Khalatbari' La Chapelle' is a station of the Paris Metro, serving the blue line, # 2. The station is connected to the Gare du Nord and the Gare du Nord metro station on lines 4 and 5. Why am I telling you this? - If you know Paris you will know! - Check out today's FREE song,- it will take you right there!

Listen To 'Nicolas DE Cusa Was Right'

For those not too familiar with this city, the neighborhood, 'La Chapelle', is one of the most "chaud" hoods of Paris. Southern and Northern parts of Africa is what you see and what you live! Arash's first solo music project is a synthesis of his experiences living in La Chapelle,  the culturally diverse Parisian neighborhood which is this album's namesake.

Arash Khalatbari, is an Iranian-born percussionist who has collaborated on numerous World Music projects (the most famous being his role as a founding member of the trio Ekova). He has lived in Paris since the age of 14.
Not a traditional musician in the true sense of the word, he assimilates the diverse cultures of the Parisian World Music scene into his music.

Enjoy today's free song, its 'special' I'd tell ya!

Listen To 'Nicolas DE Cusa Was Right'

Get more music from Arash Khalatbari here...

Pinker Tones - Love Tape! - FREE SONG!!

10 FREE SONGS EVERY WEEK!!!

Calabash Music is publishing 2 FREE SONGS every day!!!

Scroll down this page and you will find this week's 10 free songs!!

Pinker Tones

The Pinker Tones from Barcelona, Europe's special metropolis,  which is renowned for its electric and booming  mix of cultures and "buen rollo". For those familiar with this city, it's easy to feel these elements rooted in The Pinker Tones intoxicating blend of tunes! As we mentioned earlier on this month, It is quite hard to define comparables for this album where deep beats mix creating an over/underground sound, a worldly sound. However, I am more than happy not defining this album! You agree? This album makes my head spin 180 degrees; From sticky nights 'glued to the floor' at Barcelona's "afters" to  total elegance in a 100 % Bossa Nova style! An interesting and exhilarating ride!

Listen To 'Love Tape - Mash-Up By The Pinker Tones'

One Giant Leap & Braided Hair w/ Neneh Cherry ! - FREE SONG!!

One Giant LeapToday's FREE song is from an album of treasures! Check it out!!

Listen To 'Braided Hair w/ Neneh Cherry'

Through music, the world is in a 360 degree conversation with itself! Brilliant work put together with today's artists jamming on to traditional & cultural tunes! Artists, such as and Robbie Williams among others. 

When Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman joined forces to create the project '1 Giant Leap', they embarked upon a global journey that included Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, India, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, America and Europe, equipped solely with a digital video camera, a laptop and a vision - to capture and weave together a unique fusion of sound, image and spoken word from some of the world's most happening musicians, authors, scientists and thinkers and to explore 'The Unity in the Diversity'

'1 Giant Leap' is nothing short of an electronic drum circle, drawing the citizens of Earth together for a planet-wide cautionary pep talk. Mesmerizing and utterly profound, yet wonderfully accessible!

Listen To 'Braided Hair w/ Neneh Cherry'

Check out the whole album of One Giant Leap here; '1 Giant Leap'

The Afro-Brazilian Project & '21-String Samba'! - FREE SONG!!

The Afro Brazilian Project Brilliant samba/jazz fusion! Check out today's FREE Song;

Listen To '21-String Samba'

Ravi, a British kora player spent six months in Rio de Janeiro recording with Brazilian musicians, exploring the styles and rhythms of this vibrant culture. And vibrant is the word!

Straight and no Chaser, the kora brings more of the rising and falling of the sea to the already sea-like samba. It fits in with guitars like it was always a natural part of Brazilian music. Ravi's compositions are delicate and downbeat, a groove is built on "Berimbao' with an angelic wordless vocal chorus.The meditative "Amazonian Journey one" shows the beauty of Marlui Miranda's voice in a very pure and pristine moment, particularly because of the grace and poise of her tune.

Special guests include legendary clarinettist Paulo Moura; two of Brazil’s leading percussionists Armando Marçal and Robertinho Silva and Marlui Miranda, who re-creates the songs and sounds of the Brazilian Indians.

Brazilian samba with 'pling-plong sounds' from Mali and a western jazzy fusion - does that make sense?

Listen To '21-String Samba'

Get more music from The Afro-Brazilian Project!

William Cepeda & Grupo Afro Boricua, Bomba Swing!! - FREE SONG!!

William Cepeda Today we go Jazzy!  Put your boa on, dance YOUR dance through the house while you check out today's FREE song;

Listen To 'Bomba Swing'

Trombonist, composer and arranger William Cepeda is part of a new generation of musicians who have not only mastered the skills a jazz artist requires, but combine them with the traditional music of their homeland, creating a new and challenging repertoire. Cepeda calls his own variation on this theme "Afrorican Jazz."

Nothing like this has been done before! While there are plenty of great jazz albums inspired by Cuban rhythms and music, Cuban-jazz fusions as such, there's nothing quite of the same caliber out there for Puerto Rican music and jazz. The music of Puerto Rico is rich and diverse. Unlike Cuban music, which is tremendously popular the world over, the music of Puerto Rico is rarely heard outside the island. Musician William Cepeda's objective is to advocate for change:

"I want to reach out through my music and make Puerto Rican music more universal. That is my mission, to broaden the consciousness of Puerto Rican music... it is time for our music to be heard and its evolution to be given new support."

Enjoy this creation of a new and challenging repertoire!

Listen To 'Bomba Swing'

Get more of William Cepeda & Grupo Afro Boricua's music here!

Dub Champions & Heavy Dub! FREE SONG!!

Dub Champions Today's FREE song is moving the memory of late summer nights to the front of your mind; Warm Dub - sin duda!  Check out today's FREE song;  Listen To 'Heavy Dub'

The evolution of DJ soundsystem, dub studio, and live band. Original reggae, hip hop and drum and bass beats with a blues meets the mid-east melodic attack. Crossfaded real-time inna dub style, with samplers, mixers, computers, analog echo and electric guitar.

Dub Champions transform what was once confined to the studio — the Jamaican dub reggae production style of the 1970s -- into a dynamic DJ soundsystem for the here and now. Vintage analog delay, mixers, and samplers shape the sound of original tunes: tunes that blend reggae, sure, but also hip-hop, drum and bass, blues, mid-east, and African influences, and a guitar so tasty (unofficially classified as finger-licking)
among others.

Dub Champions is a live Subatomic project performing in New York City on the regular, featuring Andrew Carras on guitar, saz, & cumbush and EMCH 'pon the sound system controls. Don't miss out!

Listen To 'Heavy Dub'

Get more Dub from Dub Champions here!

Bole 2 Harlem and Bole to Harlem Vol. 1! - FREE SONG!!

Bole2harlem2200_3 What is the definition of a great "remix"? Is it a total 're-done' or just improvisation of new lyrics or new beats to original material? Check out today's FREE Song;

Listen To 'Hoya Hoye'

These days in Ethiopia, the phrase “remix” has a unique meaning. If you step into a taxi in Addis Ababa, there is a good chance your driver will attempt to get on your good side by playing a cassette, and singing along with a well-known song, while improvising his own set of lyrics over the song. The new lyrics might take on social commentary or may simply be humorous, but they will likely have insider references to modern-day Ethiopian life.    

While hip music enthusiasts are digging through record bins for Ethiopian funk and soul of the ’60s and ’70s, a diverse crew of Ethiopians, other Africans, and Americans in New York’s Harlem have created a new sound with positive Ethiocentric rhymes, funky horns, lively percussion and booty-shaking beats. Bole2Harlem represents the emergence of a new musical identity for the Ethiopian diaspora and a sonic bridge between New York’s uptown “Little Africa” and Bole, Ethiopia’s (air)port of entry. But there is a reason why a sound that some might think of as “out of left field” feels so catchy and danceable: it was created purely for fun among friends. 

“Hoya Hoye” comes from a children’s song chanted during a holiday similar to Halloween called "Buhe." Kids travel door to door in groups singing this traditional call and response. They pound walking sticks to the beat and take turns singing praises in rhyme to earn coins and bread. “The kid has to be sincere and original in his rhymes to get paid,” says Schommer, who set the tempo of the track based on hearing a young boy in Addis Ababa sing it while shining someone’s shoes. “Every Ethiopian knows this song regardless of tribe.”

The song also points to the influence of Harlem on the project. “I go to my corner bodega and hear the best salsa and merengue,” explains Schommer. “I walk down to the Ital juice store and hear the best reggae. The Senegalese and Malian vendors are blasting their traditional and modern music. The song ‘Hoya Hoye,’ is like a walk down the street in Harlem!

Harlem’s church choirs spilling onto the streets on a Sunday morning, was what inspired the opening line of the song that goes ‘Feelin’ alright!’ These riffs used could be either from the American Blues or from Amharic Tizita. 'Bole 2 Harlem' is open to all the sounds of Harlem and the experiences of Ethiopia!

The song 'Hoya Hoye' is a strong remix in that sense; mixing Western urban ghetto rhythms and rural traditional tunes. -  It is most definitely original material, which created this deep underground mix!

Listen To 'Hoya Hoye'

Get more music from Bole 2 Harlem here...

DEBU and Don't turn back! - FREE SONG!

DebuHave you ever been to the Eastern West and the Western East? Enjoy today's FREE SONG; Listen To 'Don't Turn Back'

DEBU’s repertoire does not focus on a particular category of music, but the musical style transcends cultural borders..

The creation of the music is to take exciting rhythms and themes from both familiar and ethnic instruments and meld them to produce a new, vibrant sound.
Each song is unique and attractive, creating excitement while conveying the message of its Sufi poetry - the universal love of the one True Love. One can clearly say DEBU’s lyrics are from the heart, to the heart.

The music of DEBU is free and rich in expression because it is not fettered to any one musical style or concept. DEBU’s music is progressive, exploring new horizons of sound while at the same time remaining faithful to the purpose of the underlying poetry. It may reverberate with energetic Middle Eastern drumming or soar on the ethereal sounds of a flute. Melodies may evoke an Arabian caravan scene or the strumming guitar of western country music. One may hear nuances of cool jazz, western and Turkish folk music interspersed with the multi-cadences of traditional Indonesian marawis. The listener may be roused by the fierce rhythm of a marching song or soothed by hints of European classical music. Often members of the audience are brought to their feet by soulful rhythms.

Shunning the trite rhythms of most popular music, DEBU’s percussionists play an eclectic array of meters, leaning heavily on Eastern beats and Middle Eastern dance rhythms.

Bon Voyage!

Listen To 'Don't Turn Back'

Get more music from DEBU here...

East African Urban and AnaLyze w/ K-G, Sideshow, Musah and NENO! - Free Song

Welcome to East Africa's hip-hop scene!

Check out today's FREE Song: Listen To 'AnaLyze w/ K-G, Sideshow, Musah and NENO'

East African Urban

Hip-hop is culture! In East Africa it is not any different. Many have grown up listening to it and have naturally fallen in love. Zillions of ill tracks have not hit commercial status but have still remained favorites to some.

East African Hip-Hop is today representing the new Urban culture from Kampala, Dar Es Salaam to Nairobi. Since the 60's the three countries Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have shared the same culture in music and now with the new rise in Afro-Urban music, East Africa has become a buzz with music.

In the beginning of 1989 music of hip hop and Reggae etc emerged and drew the attention of many youth in East Africa. More still needs to be done but East African Urban Music is on the rise, and what comes out of there is the most brilliant mix of urban and rural tunes. Music has always been used as a tool of expression and passing message for current social issues, and Hip-Hop’s and Reggae historical roles has its true outlet from this region.

'The East African Urban Vol. 1' expounds upon this by providing rural and urban music an open time and space to discover new sides to music and the culture that drives it. This compilation showcases the talents of various acts from all this countries.

Enjoy the ride!

Listen To 'AnaLyze w/ K-G, Sideshow, Musah and NENO'

Get more music from East African Urban here...

Bokoor Beats and Egbe Enyo w/Brekete & The Big Beats! - Free Song

Vintage will always be vintage? Check out today's FREE Song: 'Egbe Enyo w/Brekete & The Big Beats '

Bookor Beats Bokoor Beats is a collection of vintage afro-beat, afro-rock & electric highlife from Ghana! Booker Beats manages to collect some of  afro-beat , afro-rock and electric tunes and mix together some of the coolest vintage rhythms!   

A great deal of Ghana's rich musical traditions have been documented, recorded and played by the musician/musicologist Professor John Collins. His own Bokoor Band, founded in the 1970s, was at the forefront of blending western pop with indigenous African rhythms and musical traditions, inaugurating the first generation of so-called Afropop. By the time it had disbanded Collins transformed it into Bokoor Studios where he went on to record over 200 artists in various genres including palmwine and electric highlife, afro-beat, afro-rock, afro-jazz, gospel, reggae and traditional drumming.

John Collins recorded all the tracks and had them remastered from the original tapes. In his Bokoor Studio as well as his own compositions with his group Bokoor Band, pioneers of Afropop who performed and recorded in the 70s, mixing western pop rhythms with indigenous African beats.

Listen To 'Egbe Enyo w/Brekete & The Big Beats '

Get more music from Bokoor Beats

Manu Chao - 'Rainin in Paradize' - Free Song

Manu Chao Listen To 'Rainin in Paradize'

Manu Chao's 'Rainin in Paradize' is the single from his new album and this week's free single. Chao is the "the ringmaster of a multicultural, cross-generational, genre-busting circus that can whip tens of thousands of people into a frenzy even if they don't speak the same language."

Get the Music

Cold Storage Band - 'Mafambira e Wai'

Bulwayo Jazz Listen To 'Bulawayo Jazz'

'Mafambira e Wai' is a sweet track presented by the legendary saxophonist/composer August Musarurwa, the leader of the 'African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia'.

This is but one track from the 'Bulawayo Jazz' album of dynamite jazz from the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, recorded between 1950 and 1952 by Hugh Tracey. You will find no mention in any history of jazz of this exciting style developed in southern Africa - this is a grand omission and here finally is the evidence, digitally remastered by Michael Baird! Tracks on the album include "Ndakurakura Mai", "Mafambira E Wai", "Skokiaan", "Rhumba", "Tsuku Kunema", and "Hondo Chivutsi" by The Cold Storage Band; "Icharlie Jive", "Ungityela Manga", and "Hamba Hamba Madala" by Los Angeles Orchestra; "Kuenda Namwendo" and "Machipisa Watere Muchikunda" by Umtali Chipisa Band; and "N'ga Ngile Ntombi Yami" by Dick Nuebe Trio.

Get the music...

West African Stars Dry Yai Debut in U.S. with Free Single

Dry_yai_crew_lrg

Listen To Ease Di Tension Remix

CalabashMusic is offering a free download from Sierra Leone hip-hop/dancehall superstars Dry Yai. "Ease Di Tension" was written by Dry Yai to promote non-violence at home during this week's elections. The group's brand new single is co-produced by Nomadic Wax and Modiba in advance of Dry Yai's special guest appearance with the acclaimed Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars in Brooklyn.

From the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone's biggest recording artists, Dry-Yai's Pupa Bajah and the Baw-Waw Society land amid New York City's steamy skyscrapers to bring international attention their country, urging non-violence with the FREE release of their latest single, "Ease Di Tension."

"..un leh we ease di tension pan dis election.."
"..unless we ease the tension upon this election.."

The track, co-produced by Modiba Productions and Nomadic Wax in association with hip-hop community site OkayPlayer is being released just a day in advance of tomorrow's elections. Saturday, August 11th, on election day the musicians will promote their message of peace live by appearing on stage with the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars at Celebrate Brooklyn's African Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell.

Pupa Bajah and Baw-Waw Society are often hailed as "the voice of the youth", having rocked their small West African nation with hits like Grap en Clap, Angel, I Love This Lady and City Line, making them vital figures in a nation in which over half the voters are under 35. Featured in the excellent Blood Diamond film soundtrack starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, Pupa Bajah and the Baw-Waw society have subsequently garnered critical acclaim from artists such as Wyclef Jean and Moby, and have most recently appeared in the film Bling: A Planet Rock, starring members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Paul Wall, and former child soldier and literary sensation Ishmael Beah, produced in conjunction with VH1, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Article 19 Films.

This year's elections, the first since UN peacekeeping forces left in 2005, are a true test of the fragile peace in a nation recently ravaged by a brutal ten-year civil war: an estimated 50,000 people were killed, 500,000 people were displaced, and thousands of people were mutilated by warring forces. But poverty and joblessness, along with widespread governmental corruption, some of the initial causes of the war, are still rampant, and the population has grown tired of living in poverty, without access to power, clean water, and health services. Some Sierra Leoneans have been leaving the country ahead of the elections, fearful that violence will break out as voting begins. Recent news reports low-level skirmishes and isolated incidents of political violence.

But Bajah, who narrowly escaped the war as a refugee in Guinea, has a deep love for his country and an inspiring hope for the future: "after some years we will become the shining star of Africa." To make this happen he will use his music to create change within his country, "with hip-hop you can easily pass a positive message to the public as we are doing now."

Bajah sings in "Ease Di Tension": "We need a leader with a very good intention/One with a good plan for the nation/That will take us out of sufferation!"

They hope this message will ring loud and clear back home.

Free Song - Fela Kuti - 'Progress'

In honor and remembrance of the father of Afro-beat, we offer up the track "Progress", originally written by Afrobeat founder Tony Allen. Dance, remember, and rise-up!

Fela Kuti Free Song Fela Kuti's recording of Progress comes from the Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project. The album features “Progress” by Afrobeat founders Tony Allen and Fela Kuti, and a previously unreleased live version of “Uprising” by Antibalas. Other artists contributing material include: Kokolo, Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble, Dele Sosimi, Wunmi, Ikwunga, Keziah Jones, Franck Biyong and Massak, and Baba Olagun.

In today's turbulent international political climate, artists throughout the world have seized upon Afrobeat as a way to amplify the voices of those who are suffering. Afrobeat is the ideal soundtrack to mobilize relief for the victims of this dire African crisis. According to TrueMajority, the project’s sponsor:

"Life is bleak in the Darfur region of Sudan, where 1.8 million people are refugees from military attack. With intense grooves and furious horns these Afrobeat artists campaign for a better future throughout the continent, and do some immediate good for the Darfurians. Proceeds from the album go to the Kebkabiya Smallholders Charitable Society, a local community group in Sudan helping their countrymen find food and shelter as they flee the attackers. From the Tony Allen classic ‘Progress’ (featuring Fela Kuti himself) to Antibalas’ call for ‘Uprising,’ this is a revolution which dances."

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Malouma - 'Nour'

MaloumaListen To 'Nour'

Malouma is from Mauritania, one of Africa's most desolate countries. Malouma is the first Mauritanian women to introduce Modern Mauritanian Music. Her music is a mix of traditional and modern sounds where she is melding western styles to the Moorish music of the Sahara and adding electric guitars to traditional instruments such as the four-stringed, lute-like tidinit.

Anchored in the tradition yet resolutely modern, inspired by the songs of the desert and immersed in the rhythms of the Senegal River, somewhere at the crossroads of West Africa, the Arab and the Berber worlds, between the Sahel and the Savannah, Malouma's music is unique.

Malouma is also known as a militant singer, spokesman for women rights in a Muslim Country. She was born into a family of griots, the daughter of Moktar Ould Meidah, a prominent traditional musician as well as a highly skilled poet, and the granddaughter of Mohamed Yahya Ould Boubane, another virtuoso of words and the tidinit (a small traditional guitar used by griots).

Although she started performing at age 12, she started to make a national impact a bit later, through her commitment to encourage justice and equality in Mauritania, she involved herself in activist songs to stir people into action, singing for the AIDS campaigns, for the vaccination of children, for the elimination of illiteracy and for the promotion of women, among other things. While her music soon became popular among the youth (girls and boys), it was rejected at first by the dictatorship of Mauritania.

However, with the first elections in Mauritania, Malouma is now in a special place to effect change, being both an elected official in the government and continuing to make powerful music. [More...]

Boubacar Traore - 'Kongo Magni'

Boubacar Traore

Listen To 'Kongo Magni'

Boubacar Traore (Kar-Kar) has been dodging musical stardom for most of his life. In his youth, Boubacar Traore was known as the Malian Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley. People woke up every day to hear him singing on the radio. His most popular song at that time was "Mali Twist" which he has likened to a national anthem for the newly independent nation of Mali.

Traore is an artist who has affected an entire generation. His is the voice of a nation, its hopes and its fears. He is a storyteller, and his songs deal with daily living, the many facets of love, political conditions and solidarity. Sometimes they are small parables, resonant with meanings we'll never be able to understand, but clear to his friends. Perhaps the final words are best said by one of his peers, Ali Farka Toure: "If the maximum is five, I give ten to Kar Kar".

He insists he's no blues man. "Blues is blues," he says. "It's American. But there is also blues in Europe and blues in Africa. The languages are different, but you can see that all these kinds of blues have the same parents--same father, same mother." [More...]

Video: 'Ave Cruz' by CeU

   

CeU is one relaxed, sexy, soulful, electro-pop singer-songwriter. And as a budding student of Brazilian Portuguese, I can tell you that her music comes from a mixing of samba, soul and candomblé into a style that Brazilians refer to malemolência  -- which roughly translates as "flowing" or "relaxed".  Though we really don't have the same word in English, listening (and dancing) to Ave Cruz will give you the feeling that won't be lost in translation.

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Spanish Harlem Orchestra - 'United We Swing'

Spanish Harlem Orchestra Listen To Spanish Harlem Orchestra

On United We Swing, Spanish Harlem Orchestra continues in the same classic-meets-contemporary sound, but with refreshing originality. Nine of the songs are original compositions grounded in the unique identity the band has forged based on the musical legacy of El Barrio, a pulsating Eastside community in NYC located to the south of 125th St that gave rise to Boogaloo, Latin Soul, and Salsa.

“Our music style is the original sound of New York old school "Salsa dura" (heavy salsa) that was played in the early years by our pioneers,” says Oscar.  “That sound has been lost and we want to keep it alive while educating the new generations (and music lovers in general) on the true musical roots of our culture.” Oscar adds, “we’ve brought back the essence of what makes this music great and are keeping the salsa spirit alive in our recordings and shows.”

From the opening horns of “SHO Intro,” you know you’re in for an aural party.  The song is upbeat and features Oscar introducing the members of the band and opening the show. “Llegó La Orquesta” (The Orchestra Has Arrived) was co-written by Oscar and Gil Lopez. It sets up a ballroom scene that will have listeners jumping out from their seats to dance.

“I have a lot of colleagues who helped me on this album and who I feel have their finger on the pulse of what this music should be. The arrangers include Sonny Bravo, Gil Lopez, Angel Fernandez, Jose Febles and myself,” says Oscar.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra pays tribute to the legacy of Manhattans Palladium Ballroom, “the home of the mambo,” with “En El Tiempo Del Palladium” (In The Times of The Palladium), that catered to Mambo dancers and featured the bands of the BIG-3: Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito. Tipica 73 icon, Sonny Bravo, arranged the Willie Tórres tune, “Se Forma La Rumba” (The Rumba Has Begun). Oscar advises “Sácala Bailar” (Take Her Dancing) and leads into the classic 1970s Fania-era hit, “Ahora Sí” (Now’s The Time).

The rest of the album will satisfy Salsa lovers with “Que Bonito” (How Lovely) and “Salsa Pa’l Bailador” (Salsa For Dancers). The Joe Cuba cha-cha-cha, “Mujer Divina” (Divine Lady), is done in doo-wop three-part vocal harmony. “Soy Candela” (I Am Fire) keeps the pace burning and segues into a smoking “Plena Con Sabor” (Tasty Plena). “Danzón For My Father” is a piece originally recorded by Dave Valentin that Oscar composed as a tribute to his dad, Emilio Hernández.

Saving a surprise for the finale is always a great way to end a party and Oscar Hernández and Spanish Harlem Orchestra certainly do that with special guest Paul Simon. “Late In The Evening/Tarde En La Noche” is a reconfiguration of a Simon Top Ten hit from his 1980 One-Trick Pony album. Hernández, who collaborated with Simon on his Broadway musical, “Cape Man,” arranged the piece with Simon singing the classic refrains.

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The Musical Black Coffee of Cuba and Congo - Cafe Noir

Papa NoelListen To Cafe Noir

Papa Noel’s Café Noir Crosses the Ocean with Pan-African Congo Rumba

There are centuries-old ties that bind the Congo and Cuba, dance steps that swayed from central Africa to the Caribbean and back again. The story of Congolese guitarist Papa Noel and his latest African-Cuban collaboration, Café Noir (Tumi Music), is the latest word in a long and fruitful cultural conversation spanning the Atlantic.

“Bana Congo is a mission for Papa Noel,” explains Tumi Music producer Mo Fini. “I recall when I took him to Cuba for the first time some seven years ago. As he walked the streets of Havana he cried and cried, saying that when he was young his mother used to play Cuban songs to him, and this was like coming home again.”

In the 1930s, Cuban sounds took the Belgian Congo by storm. The rhythms of the rumba, originating in a Congolese dance brought by slaves to the island long before, were delightfully, eerily familiar to Congolese musicians and dancers. Imported records inspired a new generation of musicians to explore the Cuban transformation of their ancestors’ songs, creating what became known as rumba congo, a musical form that hit a nerve throughout Africa.

At first, bands played tunes they learned from Cuban recordings, sometimes inventing Spanish-sounding lyrics, but soon they crafted their own original songs with words in the local language of Lingala or in French. Against the backdrop of colonialism and dictatorship, their music assumed a truly African flair and started a musical craze that soon spread across the Congo and beyond.

Seventy-eights of Cuban son and Congolese rumba spun on many a prized phonograph player around Léopoldville, now Kinshasa, including the turntable at the home of the young Nedule Montswet, later known as Papa Noel thanks to his Christmas birthday. Noel listened from an early age to his mother’s record collection, which featured Congolese rumba greats like Antoine Wendo, whose songs were believed by some fans to have magical powers.

"I was very lucky that I had all these amazing ‘babysitters,’” Noel mused in a 2002 interview with Jane Cornwall for Jazzwise Magazine. “I mean, Wendo's [1948] song ‘Maria Louise’ was held to be so powerful it could raise the dead! I couldn't help but be inspired by these musicians. They were the first epoch of a particular style of Congolese rumba."

Noel became an apprentice of sorts to the legendary musicians of this first generation of rumba congo players. After years of absorbing Cuban and Congolese sounds, Noel taught himself to play the guitar when his mother encouraged him to pursue his passion for music. Meanwhile, a tide of talented young musicians had gathered in 1950s Léopoldville, replacing the trés and piano parts found in their favorite Cuban songs with the guitar and infusing the new music with African jazz sensibilities. Noel began to hang around studios where musicians like Wendo recorded, learning the ropes and deepening his self-guided education in rumba congo.

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Baka Beyond & Baka Gbine - 'Kobo'

Blive150 Listen To Kobo

Baka Live is a special collaboration between Baka Beyond and Baka Gbine. In April and May 2006, seven Baka Pygmy musicians made a historic visit to UK to tour with Baka Beyond.

For most of them, it was their first journey outside their rainforest home, and for all of them their first trip outside Africa. Their remarkable performances were captured on digital multitrack and we are featuring one of these tracks - Kobo - as the free single this week.

Baka Gbiné are Baka musicians from the village of Banana, near the Cameroon border with Congo, deep in the rainforest. Gbinéis their association and now becoming their village near the road. The crossroad between forest life and life in the outside world. Using guitars, percussion, voices and dance they play modern songs heavily influenced by both their traditional music and the Congolese music they hear on the radio.

Baka Beyond consists of musicians from 6 countries in the Celtic fringes of Europe and the West coast of Africa that join together to play the most original live world fusion sound around. The spirit of the music lives in the rhythm. All Baka Beyond's rhythms are played by human beings not machines !

Baka Beyond were originally inspired by Martin Cradick & Su Hart's visits to the Baka Forest People in Cameroon. While there they played music with and recorded the Baka and have continued to play and record a mix of music written with & inspired by the Baka.

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Manuela Oh Manuela by Fanfare Ciocarlia

Latin Oriental Listen To 'Let's Get Latin Oriental'

This week's Featured Song is from a compilation called Latin Oriental and features Fanfare Ciocarlia playing Manuela Oh Manuela. Fanfare Ciocarlia is a gypsy brass band from Romania, and they are playing songs and instruments and feelings that have been handed down for generations.


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Angelique Kidjo - 'Papa'

Angelique Kidjo Listen To 'Djin Djin'

From Angelique Kidjo's new releases 'Djin Djin', the track 'Papa' offers Kidjo's wonderful sound to new and old listeners alike in a typically elegant mixture of funk, soul, African rhythms all wrapped up by her soaring voice. This more traditional Afro-pop tune has her singing the heck out of midrange notes with all the pride and spirit of her idol, Miriam Makeba.

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Playlist - Cinco de Mayo

Los de Abajo

Listen To 'Cinco de Mayo'

Cinco de Mayo ("The Fifth of May") is a national holiday in Mexico, (separate from Mexican Independence Day which is celebrated on September 16) that commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

In the United States Cinco de Mayo is observed by many people regardless of ethnic origins. Many cities with large Hispanic populations honor the day as a symbolic representation of Hispanic pride. The reference to the Battle of Puebla is seen as a symbolic cultural link to those who had to overcome insurmountable odds while facing adversity.

It is in this spirit that we bring you this compilation of 9 songs, which should liven up your own Cinco de Mayo celebration.

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K'naan - Dusty Foot Philosopher - 2 FREE Tracks!

K'naan Listen to K'naan

K'naan, “the traveler”, was born in a Mogadishu neighborhood known as 'the river of blood'. He first fired a gun when he was eight. At the age of 11 he and three friends were chased by gunmen. He escaped but his friends were shot  and killed.

"God protected me so much", K'naan said in a recent interview. "The biggest protection I received was not that I didn't get shot, but that I didn't shoot anybody. That's huge. If you kill somebody, you carry their burden."

K'naan fled Somalia at the age of thirteen on what turned out to be the last commercial flight to leave the country, amidst a crumbling society and the end of any form of centralized government. Landing in Toronto with a strong sense of purpose as well as a lyrical gift, K'naan has been a beacon for other artists and to those dedicated to global change.

An elegant ambassador of peace, K'naan rhymes against violence because he has never forgotten the good fortune he had to escape death in his home country. From a personal and cultural history rooted in poetry (his grandfather is one of Somalia's most famous poets), K'naan is widening the global hip-hop perspective.

We first met K'naan at the UN Global Hip Hop Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. He performed both at the formal showcase, and also at a show organized by Black Sunday Soweto in Soweto. And although no one in Soweto had heard of K'naan before he held the crowd in his hands from the moment he walked on stage.

Knaan in Soweto

Above: K'naan and his manager Sol checking out the Black Sunday T-Shirts. Below: one of Black Sunday's founders, Hempza.

Hempza at work  Hempza

We are pleased to offer 2 FREE tracks from K'naan's forthcoming live release! K'naan is on tour this month, opening for Stephen Marley, so check him out when he rolls through your town.

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Antibalas - 'War Hero'

Antibalas Listen to 'War Hero'

Carrying on the legacy of Fela Kuti is this Brooklyn collective putting their Latin spin on afrobeat. Constant touring and frequent NYC gigs have earned them a following, but it is their relentless sound and politics that put them front and center.

From Antibalas' new release 'Security', we have chosen the song 'War Hero' for the free single. It is emblematic musically and contextually of their new album and the ever true reality of AfroBeat as a tool of musical and political expression.

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Zaman 8 - Suryaghati EP 2

Zaman 8

Listen To Suryaghati EP 2

ZAMAN 8 is the musical partnership between Dan Newman and Sanaz Ebriani. Suryaghati (which means sundial in Sanskrit), is their debut on Six Degrees Records, featuring a collaboration with renowned Iranian world-jazz saxophonist Hafez Modir.

ZAMAN 8 takes listeners through side streets, bazaars, samba processions, Jamaican dub sound-systems, and electronic beat battles – an incredible groove journey. Listening, one can feel as though surrounded in a smoky lounge in downtown NYC, a restaurant in downtown Cairo, a café in Barcelona or nightclub in Tokyo. It's not simply a "mash-up," but a real "multiplicity" of international sounds.

What separates Suryaghati from other forgettable discs in the too-cluttered bin of "worldtronica" is Zaman 8's passion to create originality and permanence from the building block-influences of distinct roots music styles: Afro-Persian, Afrobeat, underground hip-hop breakbeats, drum n' bass, Afro-Brazilian percussion, Gnawa, South-Asian, Afro-Cuban, Andalucian.

For those of you in the Bay Area, check out the Zaman 8 Official Release party on Friday, April 27th at 10 pm at the Madrone Lounge in San Francisco. The show will feature a live set by ZAMAN 8 & Hafez Modir - A three-piece Afro-Persian jazz, hip-hop & dub-electronic band.

Want to join Zaman8's mobile fan club? Get free wallpaper, early show reminders, and other fun stuff - text "zaman8" to 33669.

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Beatriz Azevedo - 'Beatriz'

Beatriz Azevedo Listen To Beatriz

Brazilian poet, singer and composer Beatriz Azevedo is a Brazilian multi talented artist who uses samba, bossa nova, afoxé, xaxado and maxixe and other traditional rhythms from Brazil to create a contemporary, seductive and truly personal style. Her song "Cena" shows how Bossa Nova continues to be re-invented, and is from her album 'Beatriz' which has never been available outside of Brazil before.

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Tinariwen - 'Cler Achel'

Tinariwen
Listen To Cler Achel

Here's a Song from Tinariwen's new album, 'Aman Iman: Water Is Life'. All it took was a 1,200-mile journey from their desert home in Kidal, north-eastern Mali, to the recording studio in the capital Bamako to produce songs like the raw driving 'Cler Achel'.

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Thione Seck - 'Assalo (Candle Games)'

Thione Seck Listen To Assalo (Candle Games)

Former member of Star Band de Dakar and Orchestra Baobab, Thione Seck has been an important figure on Senegal’s music scene since the 1960s. In the late 70s and early 80s Seck was one of the originators of mbalax, which has been Senegal’s most popular sound since then.

Thione Seck grew up with local music like mbalax but also lots of Arab and Indian sounds. African cinemas routinely show Bollywood movies as they're more affordable for theater owners than Hollywood blockbusters. This week's free song “Assalo (Candle Games) w/ Bombay Jayashri” shows how Thione Seck approached his concept of merging Senegal's music with that of Egypt and India. "Assalo" features the voice of Bombay Jayashri. She's one of India's leading exponents of carnatic music, the classical music of southern India.

Assalo is off the album 'Orientissime' or 'Orientation' which features some heavy experimentation by Seck in terms of the use of Indian & Arabic scales. This supplements his laid back vocals and the band's intense sabar driven rhythms, and displaces the band's more usual guitars, horns, and synthesizers. This album was made in collaboration with a range of more than 40 North African, Arab, and Indian musicians, playing diverse instruments and creating a fusion of styles. Seck has stated that Bollywood films were a longstanding musical influence for him, and the experiment in a fusion style reflects this.

contributed by Afropop.org

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Ojos de Brujo - 'Sultanas de Merkaillo'

Ojos150 Listen To Sultanas de Merkaillo

Catalan ensemble Ojos de Brujo combine flamenco influences with bhangra, hip-hop, reggae, Latin, soul and funk. 'Sultanas de Merkaillo' is a song taken from their latest album and shows off their fiercely independent gypsy spirit. The album, 'Techari', is an ambitious, self-produced journey, and represents Ojos de Brujo's maverick style and dedication to pushing the boundaries of their sound.

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Altan - 'Brid Og Ni Mhaille'

Altan Listen To Brid Og Ni Mhaille

Happy St. Patricks Day! In celebration of this holiday, we give you a wonderful track by one of the most long running and famous groups playing Irish traditional music, Altan. Altan remains the most successful proponents of traditional Gaelic song and Donegal fiddle-playing after over 25 years of playing together.

Today we feature the song "Brid Og Ni Mhaille" off the album Island Angel. This is also known as Bridget O'Malley and is about a man who is left heartbroken by a girl named Bridget which marries another man. It is a popular traditional song, and you can check out another version here as well.

We write from the heart of the largest Gaeltacht in the USA, Boston. And actually, our offices are above an Irish pub here, so don't try and reach us on Friday or Saturday this week, we'll be downstairs listening to a session and drinking a pint.

If you can't get to a session, check out the hundreds of new artists we've added from the Green Linnet label. Wonderful Irish & Celtic and Irish Traditional music. Check the appropriate genre sections and have a blast.

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Orchestra Baobab - 'Kelen Ati Leen'

Orchestra Baobab Listen To Kelen Ati Leen

Orchestra Baobab is the legendary group out of West Africa, and is also one of the hippest groups of the 70s. They brought together jazz, funk, soul, and traditional sounds. This week we feature a track from their "latest" release, 'A Night At Club Baobab' is a collection of live tracks recorded in the mid 1970's at the group's own Club Baobab.

These tracks are not as produced as some of the studio records, showing shadows of the rock scene in the US (think Grateful Dead) and foreshadowing of the jam band scene of today. Loose, open lines work through the songs, the percussion section is jamming on layers of rhythms, and the horns and soulful vocals work through the mix.

The track we're featuring this week - 'Kelen Ati Leen' is straight up funky. Wow! James Brown would be proud of this one. But don't stop there, as this album is filled with so much goodness, you must explore the whole thing. Start off with 'Jin Ma Jin Ma' for some more traditional Orchestra Baobab, move to 'Cabral' and 'Yolanda' to hear some of the distinct Cuban influence. During the 60's and 70's, many West African musicians did musical exchanges and travel to Cuba as part of the Cold War cultural diplomacy. Before you leave, take the time to savor Thione Seck's track 'Sey'. And take a couple for the road as well . . .

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Pacha Massive - 'La Verdolaga'

Pacha Massive Listen To La Verdolaga

La Verdolaga, from Pacha Massive's first album “All Good Things”, is a remix of a traditional Colombian song about a South American salad herb. As you'll hear, it is a trippy electronic dub mix that will stay with you. Featuring singer Lucía Pulido and rapper Flex Nug, "The song is about an herb that's symbolic of what we want our music to do," says Nova. "Spread like wildfire."

Exposed from birth to the pulse of Palo, Son, Cumbia, Reggae and the whole gamma of the Afro-New World tradition, Pacha concoct a positively charged blend that will hit you like a rum laced organic smoothie on the hottest summer day.

Nova, one half of the group (Maya is the other half), has worked in the past with New York ska-reggae group King Changó and Colombian rocker Ivan Benavides. Nova produced the entire album except for a couple of cuts co-produced with Alejandro Rossa, keyboardist for the Mexican electronic-rock band Plastilina Mosh.

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Malavoi - 'Bona'

Malavoi Listen To Bona

Looking for some end-of-winter party music? The group Malavoi has become an institution in Martinique. Malavoi's sound comes from the same legacy of Cuban charanga, which utilizes violins and flutes over rootsy African-influenced percussion. Malavoi helped to set the stage for the Zouk explosion in the 1980's.

Check out the wild percussion solo on this track which should get you up and shakin' on your feet!!

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Vieux Farka Toure - 'Wosoubour'

Vieux Farka Toure Listen To Wosoubour

Wosoubour is from the new Vieux Farka Toure album, which we've reviewed earlier this week. The track we're offering up today is the original version of the song 'Wosoubour'. We've also got an EXCLUSIVE remix of this track by Eccodek, another talented artist who fuses modernity and traditions from around the world, mixing Fiji with Mali and a multitude of other countries. More info about that track and Vieux's inclusion in our Tune Your World Campaign is in this post.

Bouriema “Vieux Farka” Touré has long been enamored with the music of his father, Ali Farka Touré. He grew up both in Mali’s capital city, Bamako, and in his father’s home-town of Niafunké in the Sahara desert—both teeming with rich musical life. During his childhood, Vieux proved himself a precocious talent as a percussionist, particularly on the drum kit and on calabash.

By the time he left the National Arts Institute in Bamako, he was a locally celebrated guitar virtuoso, able to emulate his father’s playing near-perfectly. Word began to spread throughout Bamako that Ali’s successor was emerging. In 2005, Vieux reconnected with his friend Eric Herman, a North American musician and producer with whom Vieux had played while he was a student at the Arts Institute. Both Vieux and Eric realized that it was time that Vieux record his debut album. They quickly got to work in the studio. Toumani Diabate, Mali's Kora King, agreed to contribute his awesome talent on two of the tracks. Meanwhile Ali—growing increasingly sick with cancer—offered his final recordings to Vieux’s album, an expression of his ultimate approval of his son’s path, passing him the torch with which to light his way.

Vieux is on tour now, and you can get ringtones, wallpaper, and tour information by text messaging "vftoure" to 33669 from your cell phone (within the US only, normal text messaging rates apply).

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Happy Chinese New Year - Free Songs!

Chinese New Year - Year of the Boar

This weeks free single(s) celebrates Chinese New Year, and the arrival of the Year of the Boar (or Pig), also known as Ding Hai. We are featuring two songs, one modern, and one more traditional, so that you can celebrate in any way you want. The Modern is from an artist called DJ Dimi and his album Zen Lounge and is called 'River to Your Soul'.  Listen to 'River to Your Soul'

The Traditional is called 'A Happy Year' and is from a collection of Chinese Music ClassicsListen to 'A Happy Year'

Chinese New Year, known in Chinese as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The festival proper begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th, in which this day is called Lantern Festival or Shi Wu Wan in Mandarin or Chap Goh Mei in Hokkien.

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì. Chu literally means "change" and xi means "eve".

Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese, and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its neighbours. These include Japanese, Koreans, Miao (Chinese Hmong), Mongolians, Vietnamese, Tibetans, the Nepalese and the Bhutanese (see Losar).

Chinese New Year is also the time of the the largest human migration, when overseas Chinese all around the world travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year's eve.

Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon (some sources include New Year's Eve) and ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later. This year, 2007, the New Year is on February 18th, and celebrations run from about February 10th until March 4th. So you've still got lots of time to celebrate!

This time of year is also a perfect time of year to check out our newest additions to the catalog. We've just bulked up our Chinese Music section with some of the best from China, spanning genres from Traditional to Rock to Pop to Electronic. Explore and Enjoy.

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DuOud - 'Sakat'

DuOud Listen To Sakat

Smadj and Mehdi Haddab, who together form DuOud, are children of the Parisian musical turmoil of the 90’s, have chosen the oud, just like one chooses one’s favorite pastry: with an accepted greed, without fear nor complex. For a long time, the oriental-electronic producer and the Ekova magician-member have satisfied their need to play in their favorite bars or in the intimacy of a party among friends.

Their album Sakat is a wonderful example of the simplicity and complexity of their work, exploring both the warmth of the instrument and its traditions along with some of their own experimentation.

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Los Bunkers - 'Vida de Perros'

Los Bunkers Listen To Vida de Perros

After a steady rise to fame in Chile and three albums under their belts, Los Bunkers are ready to bring their Brit-pop infused rock to U.S. shores. Working north, first the album was received with open arms by Chilean audiences in the tens of thousands during the Gira de Perros tour, and then the albums heavy radio play in Mexico of the first single Llueve Sobre La Ciudad has created a hit single throughout the country.

Now hitting the USA, these chilean rockers are sure to bring to mind such groups as The Beatles, Sloan, and Supergrass as well as The Kinks, Franz Ferdinand, and The Strokes.

Comprised of two sets of brothers and another friend, Los Bunkers is Gonzalo Lopez (bass), Mauricio Duran (guitar and vocals), Alvaro Lopez (vocals and acoustic guitar), Mauricio Basualto (drums) and Francisco Duran (guitars, keyboards, harmonica and vocals).

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Doussou Bagayoko - 'N'Fakakomo'

Doussou Bagayoko Listen to N'Fakakomo

Doussou Bagayoko represents the vanguard in a multitude of ways. She is the child of two well respected and well known musicians, the singer Nahawa Doumbia and the musician N'Gou Bagayoko. With this direct heritage, it is easy to see why Doussou will take a place on the international stage.

She is also one of the many new artists we have recently added from Mali. Calabash Music has been developing relationships in Mali that allow us to get much of the great music coming out of this country. Much of this is not available anywhere but the street cassette stalls in Bamako, but now, thanks to Calabash, you can get the newest Malian music on your computer! We're also constantly adding new music that we get from Mali, so if you have an interest in hearing the output of one of the most amazing, talented and productive musical countries, bookmark or get the RSS feed from our Mali section.

The song featured here, 'N'Fakakomo' is a great example of tradition and modernity mixed, as well as a wonderful sample of Doussou's voice.

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Baaba Maal with Ernest Ranglin - 'Koni'

Baaba Maal Listen To Baaba Maal Live at the Royal Festival Hall

Baaba Maal is one of Africa's great voices, fusing the traditional sounds of Northern Senegal with a contemporary Afropop sensibility. Though he sings in the Pulaar language of his Toucouleur people, Maal is not a hereditritary griot. Yet his longtime friendship with the griot Mansour Seck has grounded his music in the ancient traditions of the Toucouleur - which Maal has repackaged as his extraordinary musical gift to the world.

Though he first burst on the international scene in 1984 with the acclaimed Djam Leelii album, it was his stunning, high-energy live performances that made him a superstar at home and abroad. This live recording features his 1998 hit, "Koni" taken from an outstanding live performance the following year. Recorded in London's legendary Royal Festival Hall, this version features the gorgeous fretwork of pioneering Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin. Also enhancing Maal's impassioned vocals are the remarkable energy and sweet grooves of the band Daande Lenõl ("voice of the people"), with no less than eight percussionists.

Baaba also has a couple playlists to help you find his best music fast.

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Ayhan Sicimoglu - 'Reggaeturkaton'

Ayhan Sicimoglu Listen To Ayhan Sicimoglu

Ayhan Sicimoglu takes globalization to a new level. Originally from Turkey, he played for a while in Italy, before heading to New York, and becoming a regular on the latin club circuit. He also studied world percussion at Berklee School of Music, going deep into the Afro-Cuban offerings there.

Now back in Istanbul, Sicimoglu has combined his love of latin rhythms with turkish sensibilities. His new album "Friends & Family" is characterized by the collective efforts of guest performers such as Colombian Rodrigo Rodriguez, Cuban trumpet player Amik Abdel Guerra Ling Long; Peruvian Cesar Correa, Turkish jazz and popular musicians such as Fahir Atakoglu, Aydin Esen, Ozkan Ugur, Ugur Yucel, Mirkelam, and one genuine family-member, Ayhan Sicimoglu’s own soprano daughter Ayse Sicimoglu.

The song of the week 'Reggaeturkaton', is basically, as the title suggests is a very fun and interesting track of Turkish Reggaeton.

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Kobo Town - 'Independence'

Kobo Town Listen To Independence

Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where traditional calypso (kaiso) was born amid the boastful, humourous and militant chants of the roaming stickfighters. For the band, the name suggests an origin as well as a destination.

Kobo Town strives to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of the art by engaging the pressing concerns of our time. They channel the originators: Roaring Lion, Mighty Spoiler, Lord Invader, King Radio and Attila the Hun and others. The whole album is also driven by a desire to join the effort of those West Indian artists, activists and musicians who have recognized that the wounds in our society run deep into our past, and that recovering a sense of cultural, national and spiritual self-worth is a crucial first step in the path toward healing and renewal.

Their song 'Sing Out, Shout Out', Kobo Town offers a realistic take on the dreams that accompany independence, regime changes, and elections. Although they sing 'the years just slipped by and nothing came, Tyrants just bore different names', they also offer hope (and music) for those who fight for a better world. 'Sing Out, Shout Out, the dream never dies . . .'

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The Klezmatics - 'Hanukah Tree' by Woody Guthrie

Klezmatics - Woody Guthrie Listen To Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah

Woody Guthrie, father of American folk music, writer of "This Land Is Your Land," also wrote Hanukkah songs!

In 1942, Woody Guthrie moved to Brooklyn and soon, through his mother-in-law (the renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt), he became involved with the Coney Island Jewish Community. He wrote songs about Hanukkah, about Jewish history and about spiritual life.

After his death in 1967, these songs sat forgotten in archives. "Lost" for almost 30 years, Guthrie's Hanukkah lyrics were discovered in 1998 by Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie. She was so inspired by what she found, she asked the Klezmatics to write new music for the lyrics. "Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah" is the second recorded release of this amazing material. Deftly intermingling Klezmer with American folk and bluegrass, "Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah" is destined to become a holiday classic for generations to come.

The Klezmatics playful renditions cast a new light on the Hanukkah tradition. The Klezmatics have forever transcended genres: blending klezmer with aching shtetl melodies, raucous Latin stomps, wild jazz riffs and provocative Arabic, African, American and Balkan rhythms. The Klezmatics will present a contagious celebration of Hanukkah, marrying their soulful and ebullient Jewish roots to Woody Guthrie's poignantly mesmerizing and newly discovered lyrics.

For other wonderful jewish, hanukah, klezmer, and similarly inspired music, please check out some of our other selections as well.

The Klezmatics (including the full Happy Joyous Hanukah release)
Hanukah Music
More Hanukah Music
Israeli Music
Klezmer Music
Soulful Jewish Music

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Frederic Galliano Presents Kuduro Sound System

Kuduro Sound System Listen Kuduro Sound System

After having produced a dozen albums in the Mande countries of West Africa: Guinea, Mali, and Senegal, Frédéric Galliano is back from Angola with a furious new urban sound from Angola: The sound of the youth and the clubs of Luanda - this is Kuduro!

The track featured here "Pai Diesel - Até quando" is a great example of this new musical style of "kuduro". Think congotronics meets house meets hip hop. As South Africa has Kwaito, the carribean islands have Reggaeton, now Angola has Kuduro. Fun little elements of carribean culture show themselves in this music. I challenge you to listen to this track and hear the "kuduro" chants in the chorus and not start to think of reggaeton.

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Dene Issebere - Ladilikan

Dene Issebere Listen To Ladilikan

Through her artistic work, Dene Issebere tries to show the importance of different causes she is committed to in Mali. Déné chooses to focus on three themes:

1. The development of Malian culture with a focus on the Dogon culture
2. The relationship between men and women and the place of each one in Malian society, putting forward the specific problems concerning women (excision, forced marriage…)
3. Peace on the African continent and more generally in the world.

Her song 'Koro Lere' emphasizes the Dogon culture through modernization. Dene told us that this song "is intended for women of all ages in Mali. I invite them to come meet, exchange and to confess all the sufferings with which they live." It is a wonderful showcase for Dene's beautiful and soulful voice.

Musicians that Dene works with include Baba Salah (the current Sonrhaï star of Malian music) on guitar, Adama "Yalomba" Traoré on Kamelen N’goni, Zoumana Téréta on Sokou or Traditional Violin,
and many other wonderful talents.

You can also see a couple wonderful videos by Dene of songs from her new album: Ladilikan and Sangha.

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Congo Classics: Roots of Rumba Rock

Roots of Rumba Listen To Roots of Rumba Rock

Congo Classics: Roots of Rumba is one of those 'must haves' for your collection. These songs are available here for the first time since their original release on the Loningisa label in the 1950's, and are classics of what was to become (and still is) one of Africa's most popular and influential musical styles - the congolese rumba.

Afro-Cuban music arrived back home in the Congo in the 1940's and was instantly embraced as a prodigal son coming home. This music became the backbone of what was to provide the perfect soundtrack to the new urban social life in Africa - and some of the best dance music in the world.

The song "Belito" by Amba Josephine is a good example of the interesting interplay between the 4/4 Cuban rumba clave and its probably ancestor, the standard 12/8 cowbell pattern found everywhere in Africa. The song is inspired by Mongo folklore, but the guitar, played by Adikwa, is obviously of Afro-Cuban origin.

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Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars

Refugee All Stars Listen To Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars

The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars are the current example of music stars emerging from enexpected places. If you haven't heard of Refugee All Stars, or you think that someone is talking about Lauren Hill, Wyclef and _those_ 'Fugees, well, you just aren't up with the times.

These Refugee All Stars were formed in a refugee camp in the West African nation of Guinea, after all the members of the band had to flee Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city. Throughout most of 1990s, Freetown had remained relatively safe from the rebel war that had turned much of their country into a bloody battlefield. But near the turn of the 21st century, rebels attacked the city and forced a panicked mass exodus to neighboring countries.

Although group leader Reuben M. Koroma and future R.A.S. bandmates Franco (Francis Langba) and Arahim (Abdul Rahim Kamara) knew each other as professional musicians from different bands in Freetown and even occasionally played together in common musical circles, it wasn’t until they reconnected in Kalia Refugee Camp in Guinea that the roots of the group took shape.

The song featured here 'Soda Soap' is a great one that showcases the full musical talent of these artists, and also shows influences picked up from around Africa and beyond. From the references to Guinea, to the grooves straight out of the Congo, this track instantly compels you to get on your feet and dance! It also carries a social message, telling people that everyone is equal and we should respect those similarities and find peace with each other. It has been known to get even those folks up and dancing who haven't danced or smiled in years!

These artists have lived through unimaginable tragedy and yet Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have become an inspiration and a symbol of the healing power of music. From performing a packed out show at the legendary SXSW to touring the USA, these artists show us all the power of love.

Each song is an original composition written during their years in exile and taken as a whole the album serves as a musical document of the band’s incredible journey. Featuring field recordings from the refugee camps in Guinea as well as studio efforts at Sam Jones’ Island Studios in Freetown, these 17 tracks tell the story of life in the camps (“Living Like A Refugee”). Facing hunger (“Bull To The Weak”), celebrating family on “Ya N'Digba,” a song for bandleader Reuben's mother, enduring the horrors of war (“Kele Mani,” “Weapon Conflict”) and of thanks (“Compliments For The Peace”), Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transcendent power of music.

To learn more, check out NPR's story or read their bio on their label's website.

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Idan Raichel Project has taken Israel by storm

Idan Raichel Listen To The Idan Raichel Project

Idan Raichel, one of Israel's biggest (and most unexpected) stars finally has reached the rest of the world. A sweet blend of traditional Ethiopian folk music, Arabic poetry, Yemenite chants, Biblical psalms, Caribbean rhythms, along with Idan's own ideas create some wonderful sounds.

The song featured here is Brong Faya (Burn Fire) a dancehall inflected track with some sick instrumental licks straight out of Ethiopia. Rastas everywhere can be proud to see these elements meet. Sergio Braams, who sings on this track, immigrated to Israel from the country of Suriname on the Caribbean coast of South America. Braams has infused the spirit of Caribbean music into the Tel Aviv scene, and was the leader of a reggae band for which Idan played keyboards.

This album arrives along with a DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE - Idan Raichel and his crew also put out a second album that is only available online - The Idan Raichel Download Project. A collection of 13 tracks, including more original material and a couple remixes. We could recommend a few tracks for you to listen to, but you really must listen to the whole project (at least the samples) to get a real sense of the wonder and global reach of this project. Magic.

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DJ Click - New Release - Labesse

DJ Click Listen To DJ CLick 'Labesse'

DJ Click interconnects different kinds of world music with hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. In combining the flavours acoustic and electronic, he respects the traditional rhythms of the original pieces. One of his first projects was with Rona Hartner where they go on an electro-gypsy trip in Eastern Europe. He returns with Labesse, a spicy compilation conceived as a passport to adventure. DJ Click is one of the artists performing this coming week at the WOMEX conference, which Calabash Music will be attending to continue to expand the catalog of offerings available to you.

Labesse – meaning "you’re alright?" – builds a bridge between electronic and oriental music. It is an experiment of gathering hot rising oriental artists, a Euro-Mediterranean musical postcard,
which includes authentic and first-time meetings specially recorded and remixed for this event: U-Cef & Amina, Mei Tei Shô & Ganoub, Dj ClicK & Black Sifichi, Mazaher & Pasco, Gnawa Njoum Exp, Magic Malik, Hightone (Dj ClicK rmx), Smadj...

On his trip from Istanbul to Marrakech, while passing through Paris, Cairo, and London, Dj ClicK imposed some challenges on himself (the reprogramming the classical Egyptian rhythm Malful).
All his compositions are always inspired by traditional instruments: Nay (oblique oriental flute, maybe the first instrument of all mankind), oriental flutes, Oud, Guimbri (dromedary skin double bass like instrument) or percussions : Darbuka, Karkabas, Bendir... He uses all their heart and soul to heat his programming machines. The mix between club and traditional rises into a new genre…

DJ Click

This album desires to cross cultures and is dedicated to the dignity of women, to outline a message of hope for peace in the Middle East, to end the fanaticisms, and to bring people together of different origins and cultures thanks to music.

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Zola - New Release

Zola Listen To Zola

 

If you don't know Zola, you will. He got his start as an actor in a television mini-series, and has since gone full stop to the top. One of the innovators of the genre “Kwaito”, Zola has continued to innovate and move into areas very few people dare to tread. Zola takes kwaito beyond the party anthems that typify the genre, and brought the daily struggles of people into his music. Zola also sponsors a charity/reality TV show (Zola Seven) where he literally turns people's lives around. Think “Make A Wish” foundation but about real issues (food, shelter, health, etc) instead of about disneyland and such. Zola and his record label get over 400 calls every week from people asking him to help change their lives.

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Tony Allen - 'Don't Fight'

Tony AllenListen To Tony Allen Live

'Don't Fight' is legendary drummer Tony Allen's message to the world. Recorded live during his international tour in 2004, the song takes a hard look at the many wars being waged in the name of religion, politics, and power. While laying down the funky beats he innovated while creating the Afrobeat genre with the honorable Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Tony asks for the world powers to lay down their arms and stop all the wars. A message that is important today as it was then and will be in the future.
For those who don't know the name Tony Allen and his work, get acquainted! Tony is one of the greatest innovators of African rhythms on drumset and is as hip and contemporary now as he ever was.

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BocaFloja - 'Cien o Mil'

406674115_l BocaFloja, an MC hailing from Mexico City, is somewhat of an elder statesman for the underground hip-hop scene in Mexico and has been contributing to it for the better part of seven years. Living in the most populous city in the world has imbued his songs with the consciousness living in a multicultural society and being intimately familiar with the struggle one faces by not being one of privileged few. The free single 'Cien o Mil' is a reflection on the Mexican hip hop scene and as BocaFloja said "(this track) musically represents a lot of my spirit."
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Los Tres - 'Camino'

Lostressm Until September 26th this music is a Calabash Music exclusive! Los Tres, one of Chiles most important contributions to rock music, is back! Hagalo Usted Mismo (Do It Yourself) is the title of the trios latest studio album, the follow up to 2001s Freno de Mano and the tenth album in the bands storied career. Hagalo Usted Mismo combines melodic rock with traditional Chilean folkloric influences and instruments, as well as classic rock sounds. Camino, the first single, has an upbeat, vintage rockabilly sound; the single broke radio records for initial airplay on its Chilean release and has been going strong on rock stations throughout Mexico. Enjoy the sound of Los Tres from Calabash Music.

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Debashish Bhattacharya - 'Nata Raaj'

DebashishlgDebashish Bhattacharya brings thousands of years of Indian musical tradition to his innovations on Hindustani Slide Guitar. Internationally renound and respected as a master of Indian classical music he is often in a position to introduce Western ears to the sounds of the East. "A raga is like an ocean," Debashish says. "Each one has a universe of possibilities and an underlying mystical logic unifying it. The Western listener may wonder how the very first sounds that resonate from an instrument seem to transport them to a different realm, or why a morning spent listening to ragas may energize them throughout the day."
'Nata Raaj' (Dance Of Shiva) is a morning raga that features the Chaturangui guitar and expresses three rasas: peace, ecstasy and joy.The finale unites the traditions of Hindustani (North) and Karnatic (South) Indian tradition using a Khani rhythm pattern (swinging tintal).  Debashish explains, "the strong rhythmic pulse is the dance steps of Lord Shiva."

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'One Spirit' with Babatunde Olatunji

Baba Olatunji & Dawna Hammers A message from 9/11, 2001.

Born of a deep admiration for life and spirit, this song was recorded on the night of September 11th, 2001, after a day of tragedy.

This is a collaboration between master drummer and emmisary of african culture, Babatunde Olatunji, and singer/songwriter Dawna Hammers. Dawna tells us the story of the collaboration:

The Story behind 'One Spirit'

"When I first became a music teacher in 1986 I found an old record in the closet of the school with an African man’s face on it called; 'Drums of Passion'.  I didn’t know at the time who Babatunde Olatunji was! Ten years later, in 1996, when my first cd; 'Deep Inside' came out,  I 'opened' for him in Boston. We became fast friends. He invited me to the 'Omega Institute for the Healing Arts' in Rhinebeck, NY to come study with him. We ended up teaching and performing together there in 1998 & 1999. That is where he inspired me to write the song; 'One Spirit'.

"I invited him to record the song with me and he agreed but for the following two years his schedule was so full and his health was failing. As I began to lose faith he would reassure me and say; 'Don’t worry Dawna, it will happen in good time.'  On the morning of September 11, 2001, I  went to pick him up in Boston to take him to a doctors appointment.  The word of the terrorist attacks was just starting to hit the news. We sat in the Drs. office and in my car listening and watching all day. That evening I had already scheduled to record the rhythm tracks for that song in the recording studio so I asked him if he’d like to join us. He of course agreed. We gathered and prayed before we began and all felt a great sense of purpose together.  After the rhythm track was done Baba recorded his spoken message to the world. Baba passed in the the spirit world  on April 5th, 2002.

"He is now part of that Great Spirit, the One Spirit!  There are no words to express how truly grateful I am for having had the honor to have met this great drummer, teacher, leader and friend to many. I pray that somehow through the grace of God this song and Baba’s message will reach many ears and hearts around the world."

- In spirit and song, Dawna Hammers


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Masters of Persian Music - 'Saz Va Avaz'

Masters of Persian MusicYou’ve heard of the Three Tenors? For enthusiasts of Persian music, the Masters of Persian Music are that big. The group consists of four of Iran’s most celebrated musicians: legendary vocalist Mohammed Reza Shajarian (sometimes referred to as the “Persian Pavarotti”), tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh, Kayhan Kalhor (kamancheh fiddle and featured composer and performer with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project) and Homayoun Shajarian on tombak (percussion) and vocals.

Persian classical music’s mix of passionate poetry and fascinating improvisation has the potential to speak to almost any music lover, whether they understand Farsi or not. The song featured here is a version of "Saz va Avaz" subtitled "Rah-e Mey Khaneh O Masjed Kodamast?" The lyrics to the songs are really poems -- some very old, dating back hundreds of years. The lyrics to this version of this famous song were written by Farid ad-Din Attar, one of the two greatest influences of the famous poet Rumi.

Check out this fascinating little story on NPR as well featuring some interviews backstage before a concert in Los Angeles.


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Andy Palacio - 'Til Da Mawnin'

Andy Palacio
Listen To 'Til Da Mawnin'

Andy Palacio is Belize's Cultural Ambassador and the Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History. He leads delegations from Belize to international conferences, and has a wide range of responsibilities as they relate to culture in Belize. Part of his work includes working with such groups as UNESCO, IFACCA, CARICOM, SICA, OAS, ACS and the ACP. He is also the liaison for Belizean cultural councils as well as matters related to the intangible cultural heritage, cultural industries and intellectual property.

When Calabash Music asked Andy about the balancing his government work with his role as a musician, he wrote; "Although being an artist working in administration gets challenging sometimes, I believe that the experience and sensitivity I bring to my office serve as valuable assets in the development and implementation of cultural policy. I would love to believe that, in many ways, my pioneering efforts open doors of opportunity for future generations of creative Belizeans."

This week's featured song, "Not For Sale" is from the album "Til Da Mawnin" and is one of several tracks where Andy is able to combine a serious message with a seriously fun danceable tune. Among the things Not for Sale in Andy's world are: dignity, integrity, national sovereignty, the people's property, and national heritage. Great list.

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Ska Cubano - Ay Caramba!

Skacubano Step into an alternate reality with Ska Cubano! This band imagines a world where the music of Jamaica and Cuba continued to fuse after the Cuban Revolution. Reworking classic ska, calypso, son montuno, and cumbia gems into upbeat mashups is the band's specialty and their album 'Ay Caramba' has plenty of pizazz to back that up. Their versions of 'Big Bamboo', 'Marianao', and 'Istanbul (Not Constantinople)' keep you smiling and grooving to the old and new.
The free single 'Ay Caramba' is an original written by lead singer Natty Bo. It the song he sings a tale
of "financial incapacity for everyone who has hidden under the bed waiting for the lawyers to go *something* themselves".

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Pitch Black Afro!

Bw_pb_afro_sq South Africa has a number of amazing musical scenes, including a vibrant underground Hip Hop scene. Pitch Black Afro comes from the underground, specifically Black Sunday Soweto (still the home of Hempza, T Klep, Bhubesii and the Black Sunday Mixtape), and has made himself a star by combining hip hop with kwaito (kwai-hop anyone?), and by wearing the most ridiculous afro and teeth in South African showbiz. His signature song of his debut album 'Stylin Gel' is, of course, titled 'Pitch Black Afro.' Catch the next thing before it hits. Get down with Pitch Black Afro!

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Maurice El Medioni & Roberto Rodriguez - 'Oran Oran'

MauriceToday's song comes from a wonderful album featuring Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez and Algerian pianist/vocalist Maurice El Medioni (the socalled Grandmaster of Raï and the “Rubén Gonzaléz of the Maghreb”). The album is called "Descarge Oriental" - evoking a rich, transcontinental tapestry and jam session.

The album’s opening track, “Oran, Oran” features El Medioni remembering his childhood Jewish neighborhood in the port city of Oran. He tells stories that connect the disparate Spanish-Jewish-Arab elements of Andalusian culture: buying Spanish sweets and drinks sold in the shops; celebrating the Spanish Passover (jour de la mouna) where Jews, Christians, Musulmans (Muslims) all celebrated together; everyone partied with everyone, everyone was on good terms. However, the memories are often bittersweet: “Money was missing,” he sings. “There were no figs” and “I never went on vacation.”

Raï superstar Khaled, who cites El Medioni as his childhood hero and musical inspiration, says, “I’ve always loved the way Maurice plays. He represents the times when the music was pure and there was no war between Jews and Arabs, when we met to make music and share things.”

This song can hopefully lift us through these troubled times and remind us of the shared past of our different cultures, and the need for finding a shared peaceful future.

- text adapted from Rock Paper Scissors

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Omar Sosa - 'La Tra'

Sosa_free_1 We are particularly enthused to present Cuban-born pianist, composer and bandleader Omar Sosa, as this week's free single. An exciting acquisition for Calabash Music, Omar has chosen to deal directly with us, enabling him exclusive control over his own career. A model musician for the new world order, we are thrilled to have his music available on our site.

Born in Camagüey, Cuba on April 10, 1965, the musical life of Omar Sosa has been both prolific and diverse. Following a musical education central to Cuba where he studied percussion, Sosa took up residency in various locations, including Equador, North America, and Spain -- all of which shaping his unique sound.

For years, the fusion of jazz and Cuban music has resulted in some of the most animated and captivating recordings to date. Afro-Cuban jazz saw its rise soon after the death of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, when Be-bop musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, formed Afro-Cuban bands, having been drawn to electrifying Cuban percussion. Omar builds upon this union, throwing even more traditional and modern African rythms, straight-up Euro-classical, and even hip-hop in the mix. Though stylistically unorthodox, Omar resists being branded as 'avant garde,'instead offering his own explanation:

'What is jazz? For me, today nothing is avant garde. Everything is already on the table. Garlic, onions and rice can go together in so many different ways. The fire, the spirit people put into the food when they cook, is always unique from one place to the next. That's pretty much how I feel about the music.'

This week's single, 'La Tra' is a track off the album, 'Mulatos,' featuring musicians Dhafer Youssef (oud), Steve Argüelles (drums, electronics), Dieter Ilg (double bass), Philippe Foch (tabla), and Renaud Pion (clarinets). 'Mulatos,' which has garnered main stream attention, was recently nominated for a Latin Jazz Album of the Year award by the Jazz Journalists Association in New York City.

Omar nearly defies genre classification by seamlessly melding traditional Afro-Cuban rythms and an array of global sounds with rich and melodic jazz elements, and on the track 'La Tra,' delivers a musical mélange of downtempo jazz, classical arrangements, muted vocals, and urban cool.

...enjoy.

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Tinariwen - 'Oualahila Ar Tesninam'

TinariwenTinariwen is one of Mali's great guitar bands: a septet of Tuareg nomads that
transformed the more genteel "Desert Blues" of their Southern counterparts into
firey rock and roll from the edge of the Sahara. Taken from the group's second
international release, 2004's Amassakoul,  "Oualahila Ar Tesninam" is a tour de
force of Tinariwen's unique sound. Here hypnotic, loping rhythms are beaten out
on traditional hand percussion, underpinning a monster guitar riff worthy of
Black Sabbath - the perfect soundtrack for 21st century nomads.

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The Amity Front - 'Song for Suzie'

Theamityfront Erik Allen, The lead singer for The Amity Front caught my attention the first time I heard him perform at a private party. His voice and songwriting struck me as beyond his years. Upon hearing the band last week at the Middle Earth music hall, I could see that he had found a crew of tight musicians with a collective musical vision.

The Amity Front are diving into the classic styles of American folk music and adding their own energy to the stream of tradition.  The band's classic sound at once references Dylan, Robert Johnson, and the Band. 'Song for Suzie' is the first cut off their new album "Highway Bound".

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Patrizia Gattaceca - 'U Ventu Sà'

Patrizia_cd Patrizia Gattaceca is a Corsican poet and a singer. She began singing on stage and set her first poem to music as  she was a 13-year-old secondary school pupil. She is co-founder of the Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses, a female trio singing traditional Corsican songs.

This trio became internationally known after performing at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. They have sung with famous performers including John Cale and Patti Smith.

Gattaceca’s music and poetry has its roots in Corsican tradition. Not only does she write in the language of Corsica, the island with its mountains and surrounding sea is ever present in her verse : "Nostalgic clouds / Watercolour of the night / Over the hills waits / A wayward people.

Gattaceca’s poems often resemble lyrics. She writes in regular forms and her lines are melodious. In the collection "A paglia è u focu" (2000) her narrative, poetic and musical talents combine classical verse forms such as the rondeau and the villanella are used to tell a story of well-nigh mythical proportions. Patrizia Gattaceca was awarded the Grand Prix du Livre Corse (literary prize) in 1998.

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Jehro - 'Rock You Tender'

Jehrofreesongsm_1This week’s free single is perfect for relaxing outside in the summer breeze.  In the past few months Jehro has been on the road warming up audiences for Brazilian singer Seu George.  This week they hit North America starting with Seattle, WA and ending at the Montreal Jazz Festival July 3rd.  The opening track to his latest (and eponymous) album entitled “Everything” is what caught our attention but we chose to go a little deeper to find another gem. It wasn’t hard! “Rock you Tender” is a beautiful lullaby with Caribbean flavor that will make you want to snuggle up.
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Bonga - 'Uengi Dia N'Gola'

Hp_bonga_45613 Hailing from Angola, Bonga is a major force in African music. His songs range from ballads with delicate harmonies and beautiful, sad melodies to upbeat hip-shaking numbers. His deep, raspy, voice is both gentle and powerful. His music is distinctly Angolan, bringing together African, Portuguese and Brazilian elements. The compilation album "Angola" covers a wide variety of Bonga's music from 1974 to 1987. The track Uengi Dia N'Gola demonstrates both Bonga's gentle and upbeat sides. 

Bonga was born Jose Adelino Barçelo de Carvalho in 1943 in Kipiri, while Angola was still under Portuguese rule. He later changed his over-colonial name to the more African Bonga Kuenda. The young Bonga/José, living in the poor suburbs of Luanda, was drawn very early on to the independence movements rife in Africa during the 50s. A movement began to take form in the outskirts of Luanda (grouping together poets, novelists, painters and musicians) to reclaim the history and culture of their country. Bonga joined his father's group (his father played the accordion) that played Rebita, the music of the fishermen from the island Ilha de Cabo.

Music played an essential role in redeeming its dignity to the Angolan people, so affronted by the coloniser. In 1966 under threat he was forced into exile. He was just 23 years old when he went to live in Lisbon. Under cover of a double career as athlete and footballer, he continued his political militancy, becoming a leading figure of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Bonga has composed over 170 songs, worked on his autobiography, been nominated for the 1996 Unesco prize, received gold and platinum discs…but all the honours have not lulled him to sleep as he remains politically active, now fighting for the independence of Eastern Timor.

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Subatomic Sound System - 'Breakin' Down Tha Barriers'

Hp_subatomic_sound_system_57426 Subatomic Sound System is a production crew / live soundsystem / mobile studio /musician's collective born and raised in New York City by Emch and Tha Riddim Doktor. Subatomic fuses the DJ soundsystem tradition with dub studio techniques, bringing the studio flavor into the soundsystem to detonate an improvised explosive new style of music and live performance that combines the flow and diversity of DJ sets, the energy and improvisation of bands, and the sound manipulation techniques of the studio laboratory. Classic and original dub, roots, and dancehall reggae get mashed up with futuristic hip hop and space age drum and bass rhythms that are reworked and rearranged in real time collaborative interaction with a diverse crew of MCs, vocalists, and musicians. Simultaneously, the entire sound is mixed and manipulated live
on the spot. 

Their latest release, On All Frequencies, "takes on dub, underground hip hop, broken-beat and dancehall and packs them into 14 sonic gems. [The song] 'Ghetto Champion' is what Damien Marley should have been working on... It gives me the same feeling I get listening to early Massive Attack work. Not because of the sound directly, but because of the artistic energy & flavor everyone brings into the project. (ProperlyChilled.com)"

Breakin' Down tha Barriers (feat. Daddy Lion
Chandell)

Daddy Lion Chandell, the roots warrior, represents the Jamaican reggae tradition with a
legendary vocal sound reminiscent of Dennis Brown’s gritty Motown influenced style and the Abyssinians rich gospel harmonies and conscious, uplifting lyrics.  His lyrics on this song describe the current divisions and struggles we face in today's society.  The vocals are propelled by a slammin' hip hop beat, hypnotic reggae bass line, and a full arsenal of Subatomic's signature dub stylings.

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Pacha - 'Don't Let Go'

Pacha2 The New York based latin-fused drum and bass collective sends ripples through out the new global electronic scene. Pacha, (from Pachamama, meaning 'mother earth') was exposed from birth to the pulse of Palo, Son, Cumbia, Reggae and the whole gamma of the Afro-New World tradition. As a result, Pacha concoct a positively charged blend that will hit you like a rum laced organic smoothie on the hottest summer day. Playing their first-ever gig at Madison Square Garden, Pacha created an incredible buzz from the start. In the two years following that initial gig (opening for Aterciopleados) Pacha has performed with Ozomatli, Sidestepper, and Yerba Buena, among others. Featured on the soundtrack to the sucessful Latin American film, La Mujer de mi Hermano, their single 'Don't Let Go' is a breezy midtempo ride through emotional electro-phoria.

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Ekayani and the Healing Band - 'La Raihna'

Ekayani Ekayani’s great R&B ballad “La Rainha” richly deserves being singled out. In the year since it was released on the Ekayani and the Healing Band CD Full Length, this wise, thoughtful, brilliantly meditative song has won a whole cluster of honors.

“La Rainha,” written by Ekayani during a series of thunderstorms in Paris and Lisbon, has beaten out literally thousands of other originals to place in the quarter- and semi-finals of the prestigious International Songwriters Competition and Billboard’s annual songwriting contest. It has been voted the New Century People’s Choice R&B Song of the Year by a wide margin, and earned the top slot for female R&B performance in the New Century Heatseeker annual rankings. It also finished in the top 40 overall Heatseeker songs of the year, as well as in the top 20 of the ranking’s Adult Contemporary category.

What are the ingredients of a classic in the making? I think Paul Mahoux’s brilliant music, as well as the technoguitar master’s stunningly empathetic playing here, help elevate “La Rainha” to essential status. But it is Ekayani’s lyrics that seal the deal. Her words are like the undiscovered vocal track to Coltrane’s magisterial “After the Rain.” Both compositions share a storm-pensiveness relieved by an exciting premonition of life resuming, signified by the existence and the performance of the songs themselves. Ekayani’s words are like the subtle cymbal ticks Roy Haynes uses on “After the Rain” to suggest the last drops of rain still falling. Nothing, including this elegant song of experience, can grow without the rain.

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Metaphysics - 'Life'

Meta_tunnel Dubbed 'hip-hop's global ambassador,' Metaphysics is a well-known and vital figure in the African hip-hop community. Now based in Germany, the Zimbabwean born MC has defined himself as one of Africa's most prolific artists. Perhaps best known for his work with the group, A Peace of Ebony, Metaphysics has performed alongside many of the mainstream's hottest and most respected artists, including Common, A Tribe Called Quest, and Busta Rhymes. He has lent his production talents to reggae heavyweights Buju Banton and Mr. Vegas, and his collaborations with well-known acts such as Slum Village and Wu Tang's Inspekta Deck, have compelled the Western world to pay attention to African hip-hop.

Today's free single is an example of the rising creative force that is African hip-hop. Taken from the compilation, 'Afrolution Vol. 1', Metaphysic's track, 'Life,' is a collaborative effort featuring
Zimbabwe's Wasu. Delivering his signature low-toned vocal in a reflective narrative rhyme, 'Life' is an understated taste of Native Tongue sentiment packaged with a downtempo, almost ambient, beat.




african, zimbabwe, hip-hop

McCoy Mrubata - "The Groove"

Mccoy The first track on McCoy Mrubata's compilation, "The Best of Early Years," has South Africa's premier saxophonist delivering his usual standard of excellence. Joined by Paul Hanmer (keys), Barry van Zyl (drums), and Johnny Fourie (guitar), The Groove is just that -- the groove. Backed by a dynomite horn section (Prince Lengoasa, Themba Mehlomakhulu, Jasper Cook,Vuyisile Sabhongo), McCoy's playing is remarkable yet unpretentious, never detracting from the chemistry of the ensemble. Unable to deny the rightness in the rhythm, this funked-out jam will have you moving for sure.

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Technorati Tags : south african jazz

 

Gigi - 'Semena-Wrock'

Gigi After five years, Ethiopian singer Gigi returns with her much anticipated album, Gold & Wax, an organic blend of African songs mixed with elements of Jamaica, India and America.
Featuring a stellar roster, bassist Bill Laswell has assembled an eclectic array of musical talent for Gold & Wax. India's great sarangi player/vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan, tabla player/drummer Karsh Kale, funk keyboard maestro Bernie Worrell, African multi-instrumentalists Abesgasu Shiota, Moges Habte, Aiyb Dieng and Assaye Zegeye; digital futurists MIDIval PunditZ and Skizz Fernando, and avant-guitarist Buckethead all contribute to this incredible album.
The first track of the album, "Semena-Wrock," is a jazz-inspired, kit drum-led, up-tempo number, in which Gigi returns to old form. Surrounded by punchy saxophones and Laswell's signature low-end, Gigi's golden voice remains the driving force of the next 66 minutes. Backed by a tasteful landscape of drum 'n bass and resonant guitar echoes, the second track, "Anten" proves much more aligned with her work with Tabla Beat Science. The light textures of "Jerusalem," organ-led dynamics of "Salam," and the only English language song here, "Utopia," call for a spaciousness allowing the listener to invest time and emotion.

Te Vaka - 'Lakilua'

Te Vaka The band, Te Vaka, led by Opetaia Foa'i, has brought "original, traditionally-influenced, contemporary Pacific music to the world." The members of this eleven-piece collective hail from many islands in the South Pacific, including Tokelau, Tuvalu, Cook islands, Samoa, and New Zealand. A reflection of this, their rich Polynesian heritage serves as the inspiration for their exuberant musical stylings. Te Vaka, meaning "the canoe" in the language of Tokelau, produce an invigorating brand of music that forces you to dance. True performers mindful of their roots, their live show is not only an enjoyable listening experience, but a visually captivating one as well. Featuring intense percussion sequences and rich vocals, the incorporation of ethnic costume and dance into their live shows really makes Te Vaka more than just a band.

Te Vaka has released four internationally acclaimed albums, and has toured the world constantly since 1997, performing in 30 countries. The group has been nominated for two BBC Wold Music Awards, and won Best pacific Music Album for their release, 'Tutuki,' at the New Zealand Music Industry Awards.



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Embowassa - Mpere (Cockroach)

Embowassa

Embowassa gives us an alternative view of the music scene in Zaïre. Rather than follow the Rumba-Soukous trends Embowassa chose to make an original music based on their folk traditions. The featured song "Mpese - (Cockroach)" was a chance recording that ended up leading off their first album "Tuta Weza." Embowassa said that the song was telling someone, "You have saved a cockroach from the hens. Now it laughs at you." At times no good deeds go unpunished!
This beautiful recording comes to us through Robert Falk, a Belgian musician and record producer. He met Embowassa in his first trip to the continent of Africa. Since then he has recorded musicians in Senegal and Zambia in addition to his own music deeply influenced by his contact with Africans and African music.

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