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Single of the Week
Baaba Maal and Seckou Keita’s paths have crossed many times over the past 25 years at festivals and shared stages. They have developed a mutual respect and love for each other's music and have been talking about a collaboration for a while. They finally used the quieter time offered by the pandemic to realise their wish with HOMELAND - arriving with us on 25th June 2021.
At the start of 2021, Seckou set himself the ambition to release a series of Pan-African collaborations throughout the year and beyond, with the aim of releasing an album in a few years. In February 2021, Seckou released his first single ‘Elles Sont Toutes Belles’ featuring the popular Senegalese singer, Aida Samb. Now, Seckou brings us HOMELAND, the second track recorded with the legendary singer Baaba Maal.
The thinking behind these collaborations started last year as Seckou was coming back from his tour in Australia, New Zealand and Dubai. Like everyone else, Seckou found himself confined to his Nottingham home with surreal feelings: confusion, disillusionment and fear.
It is not unusual for artists and others to move from their small towns, rural areas and sometimes their own country to pursue their careers. Whilst the Covid pandemic was a difficult time, like many others, Seckou took this opportunity to take stock and reflect on what was really important to him. Family and home came first. So, at the end of 2020, Seckou travelled back to Senegal to return to his beloved birthplace and wrote this tribute song. There he re-connected with the legendary singer Baaba Maal who immediately accepted his invitation to collaborate.
While Seckou praises life in the green and lush Casamance (southern Senegal), for Baaba Maal, home is Podor, a former river stop-over located in the heart of the historic region of Fouta-Toro in northern Senegal, a semi-desert region on the border of Mauritania. Seckou and Baaba both sing about the simple joys and beauty of everyday life.
HOMELAND celebrates things many take for granted, as simple as food, the intimate connections to the elderly, children playing in the streets, a general joyful spirit, and the exceptional natural, and still preserved landscapes that surround them. Both musicians carry a sense of respect and somehow nostalgia for tradition but through their music acknowledge, one note at a time, the inevitable changes, conveying a spirit of hope, that we will all be drawn to contribute to make the world a better place. And while Seckou is descended from the griot lineage, who traditionally played and sung for kings and queens, he shows that his heart and music resonate with everyone who hears it.
This feeling is carried by the small contradictions that make life beautiful and infused into the music: traditional kora is mixed with more contemporary musical sounds and programmed beats brought by some of Senegal's top musicians. HOMELAND is rocked by soft Sabar rhythms which gently break into warm reggae vibes and Seckou’s gentle singing throughout gives space to the powerful and inspired voice of Baaba Maal - who, yet again, shines as one of the most recognisable and leading voices of the continent.
The single is available through Seckou Keita Music on 25th June (click on single cover above).
Bev Lee Harling returns with her first solo recording in almost a decade. Having won the hearts and musical minds of DJs across the board with her 2012 debut LP, Barefoot In Your Kitchen, which BBC 6Music's Gilles Peterson made his Album of the Week, this gifted singer, violinist and composer brings us the first single to be taken from her sophomore long-player.Having swapped the busy streets of North London for the calmer shores of Hastings in Sussex to bring up her young family, it's fair to say that Bev's priorities might have changed somewhat over the past few years, but the music was never far away.
Her new environment, and musical family (including multi-talented partner Frank Moon) added plenty of fresh inspiration to her recordings, and we're very excited to share her new album, entitled Little Anchor, with you this Autumn.The album is in some senses a travelogue, a 9 year journey of a creative woman navigating the landscape of parenting. Each song is a snapshot taken at a different location in time, in a world where finding balance between creative freedom and motherhood is still a struggle. Between the unexpected joys of parenting, grapples with mental health and feelings of inadequacy, and fighting for every second of creative time while slowly accepting a life very different to the one that existed before, this unedited family album emerged bursting with quirky childhood memories, dark musings and celebrations of musical passion and legacy.Dirty Dragonfly was inspired by a very unconventional, and very brief, holiday encounter, as Bev explains:"My first time away from being a mum, I travelled to see my sister in Spain and I had an outpouring of musical ideas while I was there. Total bliss - just me, a beat up old guitar, a lot of hand claps and a laptop. I went swimming in an outdoor pool and got stalked by a very beautiful, but very persistent dragonfly. Every time I swam a length, it would be waiting for me at the other end of the pool. I really enjoyed being able to take the time to interact with the nature that was around me… even if it was a bit creepy."
The song perfectly evokes this brief yet significant meeting with the kind of tongue in cheek sense of humour we've come to expect from Bev, complete with aforementioned layered vocals, handclaps and fuzzy guitar work. Enjoy this first dip into the always unpredictable, experimental and playful world of Bev Lee Harling.
Matters are proud to announce the release of their debut single 'A Beginning' lifted from their upcoming album 'We Aren't Just' planned for later this year.
This is the debut project from the multi-instrumentalist and composer Jonny Enser. A solo project emerging from his work as a key contributor to the UK afro-jazz pioneers Nubiyan Twist, Jonny has gathered some of the most talented forces contributing to the London Scene drawing from projects such as Nerija, Noya Rao, Allysha Joy's and Emma-Jean Thackray's bands to create a kaleidoscopic project of united musical visions.
Jonny is deeply influenced by Spiritual Jazz, with undercurrents carrying grooves from the roots of the Blues to West Coast beats. This is particularly prevalent in ‘A Beginning’ , a track that explores both time and space and lets the listener sink into the music. This track was written when he "finally found a space to express myself fully” , after 10 years of navigating the Jazz, Pop and Brass Band scene this is a place he can fully exhibit his creative work. Matters' debut album ‘We Aren’t Just’ delivers a sound that “is at once known and not known” drawing from a long musical legacy steeped in spirituality, while combining the group’s interpretations to create something new. The project comes with an Artistic Manifesto that naturally occurred as the project formed : “Project and propel tradition, there lies the intersection between experience and heritage.
Free the mind to find divine inspiration, life lies in all things” For such a recently formed band, the musicians create the feel of an ensemble who have performed together for years. Jonny sums up the project succinctly; “This is Celestial Blues, wrapped in contemporary global grooves. Matters simply defines all things and all thoughts. Inspiration can occur from anything. Each member of the project is a huge spiritual influence for me. They have found me through years of hard graft in the industry.” This record is one of diverse sounds and influences fusing under his innovative production to create a compelling and unique sound in today's UK jazz landscape.
The first single, 'A Beginning', is out now.
Sunken Cages is the moniker for Ravish Momin, an Indian-born drummer, electronic music producer and educator. For the past decade, Momin has been experimenting with enhancing his acoustic drum sounds with electronic ones, and has crafted a unique electro-acoustic approach. He triggers sounds and textures, layers live-loops and manipulates them ‘on the fly’, to blur the lines between composition and improvisation. While rooted in Indian folk and Black Music traditions, Sunken Cages is also influenced by the street sounds of South African Gqom, Angolan Kuduro and Egyptian
On the Corner have taken a deep dive into the murky waters where ancient percussion are jolted through history with a high voltage shock of experimental electronics. Across the territory of ‘When the Waters Refused Our History’, Sunken Cages channels his own journey and that of the world of his ancestors and adroitly breaches the porous frontiers being pushed by the cosmic adventures-led On the Corner.
"Stay Moving" is the first track on "Nomad", the debut EP from New Zealand hip hop artist Sense Offence. It is a song about fighting mental health issues / addiction and coming out on top over an old school boom-bap style beat. The bars are deep, insightful and full of wordplay and intricate multi-syllabic rhyme schemes, while the hook is catchy and uplifting.
For more showcasing the man's talent - accompanied by visuals - go to his YouTube page: under SENSE OFFENCE.
.“Pat Kalla & Le Super Mojo propel us into a whirlwind métisse of Africangroove and Caribbean funk, Afro-disco, Afrobeat, Makossa ... (Their music) dances with the musicality of political poetry, all expressed through a storyteller's Creole."
'Hymne à la Vie', Pat Kalla's second full-length LP out on Heavenly Sweetness is not only as the title has it, a hymn to life, it's also a fine showcase of his band, the "Lyon-based groovers," le Super Mojo and a select group of guests from West Africa (DjeuhDoah, Doctor Lass).
Parisian singer Lieutenant Nicholson joins DjeuhDoah to perform a touching duet on the closer and West Indies singer/songwriter - and fellow Heavenly Sweetness artist - David Walters shines on the LP in a lilting pop-funk number drenched in a luxurious groove. Add to this the delicate, sophisticated production pallette of the DJ/producer Guts - another Heavenly Sweetness labelmate - and you have a release of subtle, satisfying power. Throughout his multi-decade musical career, the singer/songwriter and MC born Patrice Kalla N'Galle (his Cameroonian father named him after the assassinated Congolese political leader, Patrice Lumumba) has created music that responds to his African heritage in strikingly creative and innovative ways.
A musician of considerable history and versatility, Rão Kyao has performed music from Fado to Jazz during his career. The first Portuguese artist to reach platinum sales with his collection 'Fado Bailado' back in 1983.
Here, the self-taught 'bamboo' flautist takes on a rather special topic, seemingly close to his heart. An hour-long tribute to Mahatma Ghandi which provides a suite of glowing compositions expressed through a team of fine Portuguese musicians.
The LP begins with the uplifting 'Respeito pela Natureza' (Respect for Nature). Amongst other highlights are Kyao's instrumental version of Gandhi's favourite devotional song (Bhajan), 'Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye Je' and 'Regresso as Origens' (Return to the Roots).
In Rão Kyao's words:
"Gandhi was always ahead of his time; a futurist. His philosphy is exactly what we need nowadays."
An engrossing listening experience has now arrived.
For years it was believed that José Mauro was dead. Rumours on blogs and comment sections circulated that the mysterious Brazilian genius had either been killed in a road accident, or been ‘disappeared’ by Brazil’s military junta in the 1970s. But following Far Out’s 2016 reissue of José Mauro’s debut album Obnoxius, the label heard word that José Mauro is in fact alive and well, living a quiet life on the outskirts of Rio.
After years of trying to track him down (with many twists and turns along the way), Far Out Recordings is overjoyed to finally present, with the blessing of the man himself, the long-awaited release of José Mauro’s forgotten masterpiece A Viagem Das Horas, featuring three previously unreleased and unheard tracks from the original studio sessions.
Recorded in 1970 at Odeon studios in Rio de Janeiro: the same time and place as all the music he ever recorded, José Mauro’s A Viagem Das Horas wasn’t released until six years later, when label owner and producer Roberto Quartin licensed the tracks to fellow Brazilian label Tapecar, who curiously released the album with several tracks already released on Obnoxius. Finally, over half a century on, A Viagem Das Horas will be released with three never before heard tracks, “Rua Dois”, “Moenda'' and “Variação Sobre Um Antigo Tema”, as Mauro and Quartin had originally intended. Out now.
The next release to come from the Toy Tonics crew takes one more step into a futuristic sound that connects Broken Beat, House & Neo Soul. Da Real EP is a production between Martinique born, France based dancer and music producer Fényan and Kosmo Kint, a soul singer raised in New York who now bases himself in Berlin as part of the Toy Tonics family.
Fényan & Kosmo Kint met shortly after Kosmo Kint's first release on Toy Tonics, the magical ‘Get Lost EP’ with french producer Mangabey, 3 magical and unique pieces of music inspired by the UK Jazz sound and break-beat which turned heads.
Fényan's rhythms are special, the groove is unique making you dance differently - it could be down to his dancing background, when he’s not producing he travels around the world teaching dance with his own dance company and regularly judges at dance battles worldwide. Besides dancing, he’s been producing beats since the age of 19 on his MPC, influenced by the great names of deep jazz and fusion, but also inspired by the music from his home country of Martinqiue: Zouk, Biguine, Bélè, which you can feel through the programming of his beats.
Kosmo Kint has lived in Berlin for three years. He came from NYC where he sang in Soul bands, hanging out with musicians and also writing music for other artists. He’s one of the many artists that have made the move from the Big Apple to Berlin recently. He joined the Toy Tonics crew almost 2 years ago to work on new styles between House, Soul, Disco and R&B.
In Da Real EP the pair create a sensual and delicious selection of 3 original works, the EP also includes 2 remixes from Jerome Syndenham (remix + instrumental version). Kosmo’s light and airy vocals paired together with the skipping grooves and beats from Fényan complete this tasty EP, perfectly aligned for the forthcoming summer season.