Innovative Rousing Worldly Sounds
SOUNDTRACK BY MILES CLERET (Soundway Records) (uk)
SOUNDWAY RECORDS (uk)
Active since ’02 and – along with Honest Jon’s (see: Damon Albarn) and World Circuit – they are the UK trendsetters when it comes to non-Western music. It began involuntarily with a trip by label boss Miles Cleret to Ghana. He returned with piles of 45’s and immediately compiled his first collector: ‘Ghana Soundz: Afro-Beat, Funk & Fusion in the 70’s’. More than 10 years later: his releases (meticulously compiled, exhaustive liner notes and superb packaging) have become indispensable. The focus may well be on West Africa but the musical pallet now sweeps across afro-beat, funk, highlife, ethio-jazz, calypso, cumbia, latin-jazz and disco. Soundway also recently signed contemporary resplendent talent like:
IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE (uk)
‘Sounds as if Grace Jones and James Murphy are playing Ghanaian highlife for their lives’ (NME)
Behind Ibibio Sound Machine you will find British/Nigerian singer Eno Williams. Their self-titled debut is an exciting amalgam of African highlife (Ghanaian music with pop influences), afrobeat, gospel, electronica and African psychedelica. The Guardian praised the album with a **** review and Jools Holland was quick to invite them to his show. Live, Ibibio Sound Machine turns out to be a 9-member band.
Batida is easier to get your tongue around than Pedro Coquenão. The producer/radio-maker/film-maker considers Lisbon to be his homebase but was born in Angola. In fact, he actually mixes rousing electronica with samples of Angolan music from the ’60s and ’70s. His albums ‘Batida’ (’12) – also the name of his popular radio show – and ‘Dois’ (‘14’) struck a chord in the hearts of both Damon Albarn and Stromae. The latter took Batida along on tour for a few support shows and Albarn invited him to his Africa Express project and, all in one go, had him re-mix track ‘Heavy Seas of Love’. Actually a 7-member ensemble live.