I have often found myself surprised by the journeys that writing this blog has taken me upon. Perhaps the most surprising (and most fruitful) has been the exploration of World Music. I have found so much music that is joyous and pure and that I couldn’t have conceived of two years ago.
Speaking of which, if you had told me that I find myself listening to (and enjoying) a Radio 3 program called World Routes I probably would have laughed. But this is the situation I find myself in.
It was through this avenue that I discovered Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré. His music is so striking and I like how it sounds so timeless. Even though this track is taken from his 2008 album Fondo, it sounds like it could easily be centuries old.
Reggae music is something I keep meaning to explore. It is one of several genres (along with maybe Bluegrass, Jazz and Blues) I feel like with some concerted effort I could really get into. To date I have hardly posted anything but that is something I intend to fix in 2013 if possible. If only there were more hours in the day to listen to music!
This is taken from a compilation on Soul Jazz records called Studio One Roots (in this case volume three). I stumbled across it on YouTube a while ago and have been enjoying it since. I have found it’s laid back charm to be a particularly good way of calming a racing mind.
You won’t be looking into the genre too long before coming across Fela Kuti. The Nigerian troubadour is veritable world music royalty and a pioneer of Afrobeat music. He also found time to be a prominent political activist and all around interesting chap!
I really like how this track contrasts most of the other African music I have posted so far. I tend to be drawn to relentlessly upbeat, energetic sounds. This is much more languid and funky, and those horns are irresistible!
While reflecting on my Top Tracks I realised that some of the very best music I heard in 2012 was African, particularly Sorie Kondi and Dark City Sisters. Following this, I intended to squeeze in some more world music posts towards the end of 2012 but lack of research time meant that I didn’t get around to it.
I dedicated myself to listening to as much music from South America and Africa as I could find this week and came across a couple of gems, not least this. Look out for the rest in the coming days and weeks.
This Kenyan number has all the classic ingredients that appeal to me: an irrepressibly upbeat tone, a relentless tempo and that distinctive tinny guitar sound. Not to mention the video! There is something pure and just utterly charming about it. The simple pleasure watching of ebullient people dancing while keeping perfect rhythm fills my heart with joy.
The video and song both remind me a little of another Kenyan band and blog favourite Nguuni Lovers Lovers, who I posted a couple of years ago.
Ombre are another band that my buddy Matt highlighted when I saw him last weekend. My trip to Coventry proved very fruitful musically! They are signed to Asthmatic Kitty Records, which I found to be a mildly amusing name, and this is taken off their recently released album Believe you me.
Is it just me or does the singer here sound a little like Kurt Wagner (of band Lambchop) singing in Spanish?
He played this track during the interview and I enjoyed just about as much as anything I have heard thus far in 2012. It is so pure that it filled me with joy when I heard it. Additionally, the video contains some amazing scenes.
I seem to have been going through a real World Music phase in recent weeks. There is just something so refreshing about it.
Tinariwen are a group of Berber musicians from Northern Mali (which I have been reading is a pretty fractious place at present). This is a remix by London DJ Four Tet, who I posted earlier in the year. It is taken from the 2011 release Tassili.
I don’t think I could have conceived a scenario where I would be listening to music like this before starting off my blogging journey. One of the great things about it is that it has taken me to so many places I could never have imagined going to.
This is just cool. It’s so smooth it and hypnotic I find it simply irresistible.
The other reason this caught my attention is the fact that it features Johannesburg’s Spoek Mathambo, who is lauded by Rupture and Lamin on WFMU. When I did some research into him I found some pretty interesting (not to mention off the wall) stuff. His record label (sub pop) Biography begins “Spoek Mathambo makes the Afro-futurists look old school.” All I can say it wow! He also presents a unique style, hip hop meats hipster. Some days I will be 1% as modish as this:
After a week of classic tracks and artists New Artist Thursday (as always) brings something a little bit different!
Janka Nabay is a native of Sierra Leone and proponent of Bubu music, a frenetic type of dance music from his home country. The Bubu gang are a band of US collaborators (mostly hip NYC residents) and I think the cultural melting pot produces something pretty great, a little like the Owiny Sigoma Band who are a London/Kenya fusion.