Global sound and its (jazzy) tentacles
‘Ear-opening debut. ****’
We’ll bet our bottom dollar that ‘Imarhan’, the self-titled debut by these new generation Touareg musicians, lands in the end-of-year charts of many an open-minded journalist. Just don’t call them an offshoot of audience favourites Tinariwen, even if their DNA is thoroughly interwoven. Tinariwen-bassist Eyadou Ag Leche is namely the cousin of Sadam, the face of Imarhan, plus he also produced the album and wrote along on several songs.
Imarhan – which stands for ‘the ones I care about’ – doesn’t sound as raw as other Touareg bands like Mdou Moctar or Group Inerane. But, because of its pop influences, Imarhan never loses its uniqueness for a moment. Enjoy ‘the funkier groove of Western Africa, the emptier, subtle tones of Saharan traditional folk music and the fire and romance of Algerian Rai music.’
SONS OF KEMET (uk)
Sons of Kemet is certainly one of the most original ensembles of recent British jazz history and so it also rightly bagged an award for ‘Best Jazz Act’ during the highly sought-after MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards. On their latest album ‘Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do’, this quartet brings us stunning jazz, afrobeat, New Orleans vibes and Caribbean folk full of euphoric and trance-like grooves.
The highlights of Sons of Kemet: drummers Seb Rochford (Polar Bear) & Tom Skinner (see too: Matthew Herbert and Mulatu Astatke) and also brass Theon Cross (tuba) plus pivotal figure Shabaka Hutchings (sax). The latter is often mentioned in the same breath as that other jazz revelation: Kamasi Washington.