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abril 03, 2020

The Touré-Raichel Collective - The Tel Aviv Session - 2012

VieuxFarkaTouré, often called "the Hendrix of the Sahara" (from Mali, son of the great AlíFarkaTouré) and IdanRaichel (from Israel), two virtuosos of music from such disparate environments, have joined their creative forces to give life and form to a improvisation masterpiece, The Tel Aviv Session (2012).
The collaboration was forged after a chance encounter at an airport in Germany. The great friendship that arose between them led them to play together at the Tel Aviv Opera House in November 2010. After that extraordinary concert, Vieux and Idan joined Israeli bassist Yossi Fine and Malian calabash instrumentalistSouleymaneKane, and spent time playing together in a small private studio in Tel Aviv. The resulting sessions, conceived in acoustics, spontaneously, entirely improvised, dazzling with beauty, could only be described as magical. By then, TheTouré-RaichelCollective had just been born.
The eleven tracks of the album stand out for the beauty of an intuitively basted sound. Although the phenomenon of the fusion of musical styles is one of the features of current music, collaborations do not always end in sound understanding. However, this project is understood from the mutual respect for the musical roots of each one. Raichel is stripped of the lush pop arrangements that characterize his music, improvising with chromatic chords from Touré's guitar chords. For its part, the rhythm section plays a vital role in the hypnosis that this album produces.
Singer Cabra Casey, an Israeli of Ethiopian origin and a member of TheIdanRaichel Project, sings and writes the lyrics in the Ethiopian Tigrit language of the song "Ane Nahatka." Another member of TheIdanRaichel Project, YankeleSegal, plays the Persian tar in "Kfar". Mark Eliyahu, who immigrated to Israel from the Russian Republic of Dagestan, adds the sound of kamanche (Azerbaijani violin) to "Alem." The French virtuoso of the harmonica FrédéricYonnet adds his interpretation to the bluesy sound of "Touré". And Vieux adds his vocals to the song "Alkataou" in conjunction with his friend bassist Patrick Ruffino.
In short, a musical jewel where transculturality triumphs.

Tracks list:
01. Azawade
02. Bamba
03. Experience
04. Alkataou
05. Hawa
06. Kfar (feat. Yankale Segal)
07. Touré (feat. FrédéricYonnet)
08. Le Niger
09. Ai HoudeBakoi
10. Ane Nahatka (feat. CabraCasay)
11. Alem (feat. Mark Eliyahu)

marzo 30, 2020

Freshlyground - Nomvula - 2004

Behind the famous "Wakawaka" by Shakira (official song of the 2010 World Cup) is Freshlyground, one of the South African fusion bands with more international projection, representative of today's multicultural South Africa. Nomvula (2004) was his second work, his most successful album together with Ma´cheri (2007).
Formed in Cape Town in 2002, the Freshlyground members are originally from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Freshlyground incorporates traditional elements of South African music (such as Kwela and African folk), soul and jazz, as well as indie rock. The lead singer is ZolaniMahola, who with her distinctive voice contributes to the band giving a very personal sound; SimonAttwell (flute, mbira, harmonica and saxophone), Peter Cohen (drums), Kyla-Rose Smith (violin and choirs), SeredealSchepeers (keyboards and percussion), Julio "Gugs" Sigauque (guitars) and Josh Hawks (bass and chorus) They contribute to this cross-cultural proposal that celebrates the life and positive spirit of humanity, a universal pop of African roots.

Tracks list:
01. I Am The Man
02. Nomvula (After The Rain)
03. Manyana
04. Vanish
05. Zithande
06. I'd Like
07. Doo Be Doo
08. Things Have Changed
09. Buttercup
10. Human Angels
11. Father Please
12. Mowbray Kaap
13. Touch In The Night

marzo 27, 2020

Cheb i Sabbah - La Kahena - Les Voix du Maghreb - 2005

La Kahena is one of the most celebrated albums by Algerian artist and DJ Cheb i Sabbah that was a turn towards its North African roots (Arabic, Jewish and Berber - Amazigh-), masterfully illustrating the enormous cultural diversity of North Africa.

Cheb i Sabbah (or DJ Cheb i Sabbah), is the stage name of HaimSerge El Baz, a Jew of Berber descent (Amazigh) from Constantine, Algeria, where he was born. Having moved to Paris in the 1960s and subsequently settled in San Francisco, he became a DJ almost by chance. It was in his search for ways to find rhythms for dance floors when he dared to mix African, Asian and Arabic music, in a context in which the so-called "world music" began to have a wider diffusion, outside of the fields and specialized media.

Having published four CDs with great adaptations of traditional musicians and classical training to the new sounds of the dance floors, he decides to return to his homeland and collect new original materials for his most ambitious and original project, La Kahena (2005).

Recorded in Marrakesh, San Francisco, New York and New Delhi, with contributions from fusion musicians such as Bill Laswell, Richard Horowitz, KarshKale or Mercan Dede, eight artists from the Maghreb from diverse backgrounds participate in the eight tracks: Cheba Zahouania, B'Net Marrakech ("The Girls of Marrakech"), BrahimElbelkani, Ouled Ben Aguida, KhadijaOthmani, Michal Cohen and Nadia. Cheb i Sabbah adds his own "DJ science" making it an absolutely original and innovative project. A great mix of vocal and persuasive rhythms of the Maghreb.

Recently, in 2012, Samaya: A BenefitAlbumforCheb I Sabbah has been published, in which great artists of global music participate (KailashKher, Natacha Atlas, KarshKale, TransglobalUnderground, Mercan Dede, Azam Ali & Loga RaminTorkian ...) contributing themes and Exclusive remixes to raise funds and help Cheb and Sabbah in their fight against cancer. It can be obtained at Amazon and Amazon Spain

01. esh 'dani, alashmshit: whydid i followhim?
02. Sadats: saints of marrakesh
03. touratoura
04. I - alla al 'hbab: blessed be my friends II - hajti fi gurini: longing for my lover
05. madhassalhin: praising of the saints
06. I - alkherilladoffor: peace is found behind wounds II - ad izayanugass: what will happen will happen
07. imninalou: if the doors are locked
08. jarat fil hub: love'schalice

marzo 18, 2020

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate Continue Their Musical Quest for Common Ground New album Monistic Theory released May 13th on Cumbancha. 

"African, funk and rap influences combine in an energetic performance that ends with a powerfully political surge. They have developed into a tight, attacking unit, in which the virtuoso kora work is integrated into sturdy playing from the band. Exuberant virtuosic fusion."- The Guardian 

Recently released in May, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate’s electrifying second album, Monistic Theory, derives its title from the concept that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system. It's an apt philosophy for this boundary-crossing collaboration, one that brings together two musicians from vastly different backgrounds in search of the commonalities that are uniquely revealed by artistic expression. 

Joe Driscoll has gained fame over the last decade for his unique blend of folk, funk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate, from Guinea, is one of the most innovative and virtuosic players of the kora, the 21-stringed West African harp. When these two seemingly disparate artistic forces are combined, an incendiary musical reaction takes place. "Our styles are totally different but complementary," Driscoll explains, "It's like putting baking soda and vinegar together." 

Joe and Sekou first met in 2010 at a festival in Marseille, France and this explosive combustibility was evident in their jaw-dropping live shows and energizing debut album, Faya, which was released by Cumbancha Discovery in 2014. Performing as a quartet, backed by drums and bass, Joe & Sekou have performed at hundreds of festivals and venues across Europe, North America and Africa, earning rave reviews whenever they set foot on stage. 

It hasn't always been an easy ride. Music may be their common language, but that doesn't help much with the day-to-day communication needed for touring, recording and promotion. Visa issues have provided a harsh reality check to their utopian vision more then once. Add to that the fact that Sekou's homeland was a victim of the Ebola crisis for over two years, making anyone traveling with a Guinean passport a target of excessive scrutiny. Once, when driving across the border from Canada into the US, the band was detained by border agents in HAZMAT suits, refusing to let them enter the country until they were cleared by medical personnel. A group of spirited, creative people stuck together in a small van for long stretches of hard touring will do more then anything to put the unifying power of music to the test. 

Yet no matter what happens behind the scenes, the minute Joe &Sekou get on stage or in the studio, all of the travails of daily life in the music industry fall away and magic erupts. While their personal histories and personalities are quite different, there is an undeniable music-umbilical connection that connects these two brothers from another mother. When Joe &Sekou make music together, there is a chemical reaction that is impossible to explain and even more difficult to restrain. 

Joe & Sekou's sophomore album, Monistic Theory was recorded at the Cumbancha studios in Vermont during one of the coldest winters on record. While the weather outside was frightening, the studio was ablaze with Kouyate's scorching kora licks, Driscoll's lyrical acrobatics and the potent rhythmic underpinning of drummer Jimbo Breen and bassist John Railton. After years of presenting their high energy, broadly appealing show to stages across the world, the ensemble had settled into a deep groove. This dramatic evolution and solidification of their musical interaction is clearly evident on Monistic Theory, which features a selection of tight, catchy, and funky songs. 

The album opens prophetically with the sound of trickling water and the voice of Oren Lyons, a Native American author, activist and Faithkeeper from upstate New York, near Joe Driscoll's hometown of Syracuse. "Water is life, water is the foundation of life. It is life. We are water," muses Lyons. From there it's off to the races of the instrumental opener "Tamala," as SekouKouyate's fingers fly effortlessly across the kora like water trickling over rocks in a mountain stream. 

The album's second track, "Just Live" finds Joe Driscoll waxing poetic on his philosophy of life. "Now history's a mystery with the ages unsung / We've forgotten all of their myths, even our mother tongue / Some folks learn to compete, others love to create / Some could eat until content, and yet they leave a full plate … So keep your minds in the moment, the moment in the mind / Open the doors, raise the blinds, cause it's about time / Just live." Rarely has there been such a head-bobbing life lesson. 

"Tokira" is Monistic Theory's sing along anthem, the song that will have lighters held high at future concerts. With "Tokira" Sekou reveals he is not just a kora virtuoso, he's also a talented songwriter with a gift for crafting a great melody. Driscoll's lyrics give the song added poignancy, as he reflects on what his 10-year old self would think about where life has taken him so far. 

Other highlights on Monistic Theory include the jaw-dropping kora playing on "Barra" and the inspirational and timely call for unity on "Rising Tide," on which Driscoll sings over a children's chorus, "When we realize / There'll be nowhere to hide / They can't divide once they see we're all one tribe." Driscoll continues to provide words of wisdom on the dreamy jam "Badiya," reminding us "Whether you break or bend / Whether you fade or mend / The only true salvation is love in the end." 

The album ends with a live, instrumental cover of the Stevie Wonder classic "Master Blaster," although you've surely never heard it played quite like this before. Recorded in front of packed house at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse, New York on a hot summer night, the track demonstrates the remarkable musicianship and unstoppable groove of this astonishing pairing. 

There's been a lot of water under the bridge for Joe &Sekou after over five years of collaboration, and neither of them could have predicted that night they met in Marseille that they'd still be making music together this far downstream. "I met Sekou, and I said, 'Hey, man, let's work on this for a while.' It was one of those 'follow the river' things, and I went with it," Driscoll recalls. With Monistic Theory, Joe &Sekou reveal that their odyssey is far from over, and if their fans around the world have anything to say about it, it’s a voyage that will continue for years to come.

1. Tamala 03:31 
2. Just Live 03:29 
3. Tokira 04:16 buy track 
4. Monistic Theory 03:59 
5. Batafa 03:49 
6. Barra 04:21 
7. Rising Tide 03:33 
8. Wama 04:34 
9. Badiya 04:17 
10. Master Blaster (Live) 03:47