March 21 2011
A new week here on Sound Travels and I just got some music to share; things of the past week and something I only just discovered. Either Way, it all made it into the set today and this what you heard...
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo "Pardon" Cotonou Club
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo are a band you should know more about and are arguably West Africa's beast kept secret. In a perfect world, people would already be familiar with their amazingly funky sound as much as they would know where the tiny nation of Benin actually is. As much as I have been annoyed by this fact, the year has been good for this legendary group. Analog Africa released a retrospective comp a little while ago that repackaged some of their biggest tunes, and re-introduces the band to new audiences that can hear what we've been missing for so long. Add to that their first trip to perform in the US, which happened last year at John Jay College. Then last week, I got a link for this little release; I assumed it was more of the same vintage at first. But as it turns out, the only vintage on this bottle is the band as these songs are all new. Not often do you find a band this old (and steady) still working the sound that they pioneered decades ago. Not to say they haven't grown, but could you have blamed them if their brand of funk had aged, gotten slower and mellowed. But nooooo, these cats got a trick bag full funk for real and the new stuff is as good or better than what's on the lp's in the cellar. Peep it...
Maciré Sylla "Massa feat. Jonas" Talitha
Maciré Sylla sings mainly in the Soussou language of her native Guinea, while the majority of singers in Guinea come from the griot class (a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician) and sing in the Malenke language. By giving a modern treatment to music and lyrics of Soussou origin, this “non-griot” of Basse-Côte in Guinea, enjoys an astonishing success in her country by being from both sides of the social spectrum, the city and the countryside; her aim is to make a fusion of those worlds. Her sound is eclectic, and brings in influences from reggae to electric pop music. Traditional instruments such as the Fulani flute and Mande guitar, combine with Macire's soulful voice and mix beautifully. And here in this song, strikes that balance beautifully...
Iness Mezel "Amazone" Beyond The Trance
Iness Mezel, a Berber Algerian singer and songwriter with a keen sense for writing songs that balance emotion with reason,songs inspired by relationships and the struggles in the world around her. And it's evident on her new album, Beyond The Trance, that she's onto something. "Amazone," the song I played today, is about women struggling for their independence, to make choices about their lives and get education. And even though I speak no Amazigh (the language of the Berber people,) I can feel that sensibility in the spirit of her music. Hope you can too...
Danay Suarez "Yo Aprendí" Polvo de Humidad
Even though Buena Vista Social Club helped shine the spotlight on traditional Cuban music, Cuban music has nevertheless remained mysterious. Mysterious in the sense that though the world went wild for these obvious musical geniuses, one gets the sense that there's a lot more in the pond to fish for. In particular, what's up with the "now" sound. I can tell you now (as I've only just discovered this,) that future hasn't been embargoed, but is alive and from one listen to Gilles Peterson's new find, Danay Suarez, apperently doing fine. With Latina hip hop on the rise with new artists like Ana Tijoux and Ceci Bastida winning over audiences with their gifts of gab, this year may be a banner year for the newest on my radar; Danay Suarez.