Category: Afro Caribbean Music

New Video: French Genre-Defying Act Jahlover Releases a Summery Club Banger

Jahlover is a unique and emerging French that boldly and defiant defies genre and sonic boundaries — and although they’re primarily a reggae act, their sound features elements of several different genres and styles including zouk, salsa, hip-hop, Afrobeat, rumba, rock and pop. Interestingly, as a result of their globe-spanning sound, the act’s lyrics are written and sung in several different languages. While being commercially accessible, the act’s overall objective is to use their music for just and righteous causes — to promote justice and equality for all, preserving and protecting Mother Earth and of course, to be anti-racist. So overall their goal is to spread positive messages of love, peace, understanding and kindness to all. 

The French act’s latest single “Do You Feel (Ressens Tu) is a breezy and summery banger centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling percussion, stuttering beats and sultry vocals singing lyrics in English and French, plus an old-school spoken word section delivered in a baritone reminiscent of Boyz 2 Men — and as a result, the song manages to further cement their globalist, Pan African sound while being remarkably upbeat. 

Denzel White · KILLA DEM (feat. AshtnMrtn)

Denzel White is a Brooklyn-born, Elmont, NY-based singer/songwriter, who can trace much of the origins of his musical career to growing up in a musically inclined West Indian family of DJs and emcees, who played a diverse and eclectic array of music. Being surrounded by music inspired a young White to join his high school choir, which helped him develop and hone his own craft as a vocalist.

While attending Binghamton University, White was approached to Join The Koyas, a local jam band as their lead singer. The septet quickly took the campus by storm, performing at a number of school events before winning the school’s Battle of the Bands two years in a row. Upon graduation, White and the members of The Koyas traveled to New York for a handful of live shows, including opening slots for Dwele and A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg.

The Koyas split up in 2011. Each of the band’s individual members went on to pursue different creative pursuits with White eagerly starting a solo career. For inspiration, the Brooklyn-born, Elmont-based singer/songwriter studied the work of Patti LaBelle,  Luther Vandross, and Maxwell, eventually cultivating his own vocal styling, which blends contemporary elements with old school soul.

His debut effort, 2015’s Lehkz, Allen Ritter and Mike Urena co-produced The Prequel found the Brooklyn-born, Elmont-based artist establishing a concrete artistic vision, with the material centered around pieces of his life story — primarily his fears and feelings that would otherwise be left unsaid. Since the release of The Prequel, White has released a handful of singles including 2016’s “Get To You” and 2017’s “Alright,” which has amassed over 150,000 streams. His latest track, “KILLA DEM” is collaboration with AshnMrtn centered around an infectious hook sultry Dancehall riddims, twinkling synths, wobbling low end and swaggering vocal turns from the duo that manages to be summery, club banger with a contemporary, radio friendly production.

 

New Video: Phillipe Blaze Releases an Intimate Look at Guadeloupe in New Visual for “DLO”

Phillipe Blaze is a Guadeloupe-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and composer, whose family moved to France when he was small.  Spending much of his life in France, Blaze’s musical career can be traced back to the 80s: he participated in Paris’ reggae and rock scenes before relocating to Nantes. Eventually, Blaze wound up returning to Guadelope and while there he discovered the traditional music of the island — Zouk and Gwo Ka which is played with a big drum, locally known as ka. 

After working with the island group’s biggest names, Blaze released his first bit of solo material in 1996; however, by the following year, he founded JÒD LA (which in French means today) and through the release of three albums, the act honed and developed Gwo Ka Evolutif, which meshes the 7 rhymes of traditional Gwo Ka and Western instrumentation — i.e., guitar, piano, bass, sax, etc. Since then, Blaze has gone solo — and his latest single, the 13 song Eritaj features 8 compositions and 5 songs, including the album’s latest single, “DLO.” Centered around shimmering and looping guitars, propulsive polyrhythm and fluttering flute, the track is a breezy bit of Afropop influenced Tropicalia. 

The recently released video offers a glimpse of daily life on the Guadeloupe island group — but there’s a decided focus on the importance of water in our daily lives. 

Live Footage: Burna Boy Performs “Anybody” for Vevo CTRL

  With the release of 2013’s Leriq-produced full-length debut L.I.F.E., which featured attention-grabbing singles like  “Like to Party,” “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey,” Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer/songwriter, born Damini […]

New Video: Up-and-Coming Angolan-Portuguese Global Dance Music Artist Pongo Releases Pastel Colored Surrealist Visuals for Sultry “Chora”

Pongo is an up-and-coming Luanda, Angola-born, Lisbon, Portugal-based pop artist. As a child, the Angolan-Portuguese pop artist’s family was forced to feel Angola to escape a lengthy and very bloody civil war that decimated their homeland. Pongo and her family eventually settled in Lisbon, where she’s lived ever since. 

The Angolan-Portuguese pop artist got the attention of the acclaimed, Portuguese act Buraka Som Sistema, an electronic dance music act that specialized in a sound that meshed tech beats with zouk, a rapid-fire  musical style from Martinique and Guadeloupe and kuduro, an up-tempo dance music genre from Angola that blends elements of soca and samba, in what was dubbed zouk bass and progressive kuduro. In 2008, Buraka Som Sistema released their smash hit, “Kalemba (Wengue Wengue), a single that went on to sell 10 million copies and eventually landed them a MTV Europe Award for Best Portuguese Act. Adding to a growing international profile, the track received co-signs from the likes of Diplo, Hot Chip and Shakira.

Released last year, Pongo’s solo debut Baia EP was a genre-blurring, globalist affair that found the Angolan-Portuguese artist pairing Portuguese lyrics with a sound that meshed elements of Angolan kiduro with Western styles like techno and bass. Released just before her appearance at this year’s Great Escape Festival, the expanded edition of the Baia EP features a new track, “Chora.” Deriving its title from the Portuguese word for “cry,” Pongo’s latest single meshes dancehall, soca and trap within a slick production consisting of glistening bursts of steel drum and snares, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and self-assured and vaguely trap and hip-hop inspired vocal delivery from the Angolan Portuguese artist. The Baia EP expanded edition also features remixes of “Chora” by 20syl, who has remixed and re-worked material by King Krule, Schoolboy Q, and Rihanna — and a remix by Anoraak, which will be released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune next month.

Created by French direction and production duo Rush Hour, the recently released video for “Chora” is a pastel-colored, Dadaesque, pan-African dream, centered around a stunningly beautiful, up-and-coming, global star. 

New Video: Thievery Corporation Side Project The Archives Set to Release a Reggae Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron was a singer/songwriter, poet and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his influential work between the late 1960s and early 80s, which meshed jazz, blues, soul and funk with spoken word and poetry. Lyrically, his work focused on the sociopolitical issues of the Black community, delivered in a style that sort of resembled rapping; in fact, much ink has been spilled on how Scott-Heron’s breakthrough works Pieces of a Man (particularly, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” ) and Winter in America, have had a momentous influence on contemporary music, particularly on hip-hop and neo soul. 

Sadly, during the last decade of his life, Scott-Heron battled drug addiction and as a result  had several stints in and out of prison; however, he managed to remain to be a remarkably prolific artist, writing and recording when he was able. Just before he died, the legendary and influential poet and musician released the critically praised album I’m New Here and finished work on a memoir, which was published posthumously. Interestingly, before he died, he went into the studio and recorded extremely stripped down versions of some of his best known and beloved material, accompanied on piano with no overdubbing or extra studio production that was largely unreleased and unheard until XL Recordings released the material as Nothing New on what would have been the legendary artist’s 65th birthday.  

Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton along with Darryl “Trane” Burke started The Archives as a quest to explore the roots of reggae music. The project’s 2012 self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim. Seven years have passed since their debut, but Burke and Hilton have teamed up to co-produce reggae tribute album celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron and his longtime collaborator Brian Jackson that will be released through Hilton’s new label Montserrat House. So what’s the connection between reggae and Gil Scott-Heron, you may be asking? Well, Scott-Heron’s father Gilbert was a famous Jamaican soccer player, who wound up being the first Black player in Scotland’s Celtic League, so the album in some way celebrates the influential poet’s Jamaican heritage, while highlighting his still relevant reflections and thoughts on social justice and chance. “Like Gil’s compositions, reggae contains elements of jazz and soul,“ says Hilton. “It’s the perfect backdrop to Gil’s revolutionary pan-Africanist lyrics.” The album also will feature contributions from Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka; R&B soul singer Raheem DeVaughn; percussionist Larry McDonald, who was once a member of Scott-Heron’s backing band Amnesia Express; Addis Pablo, the son of reggae legend Augustus Pablo; Kenyatta Hill, the son of Culture’s Joseph Hill; and Brian Jackson, Scott-Heron’s longtime collaborator. 

Released on 1971’s Pieces of a Man, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” may arguably be one of the most heartbreaking and chilling depictions of the hopelessness of life in the Black ghetto and the toll it takes on the song’s narrator and his neighbors. Centered around a brooding and strutting 70s singer/songwriter soul arrangement, the song fits in perfectly with its time, recalling What’s Going On-era Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers — but with a restless bitterness and disillusionment that should feel unsettling to those who are sensitive to the plight of their fellow humans. Seeing its release on what would have been Scott-Heron’s 70th birthday, The Archives first Gil Scott-Heron tribute album single “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” is a shuffling and brooding reggae version of Scott-Heron’s famous track, featuring Thievery Corporation’s St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands-born vocalist Puma Ptah. And while putting a subtle spin on a familiar and well-known song, The Archives manage to retain the song’s still-relevant emotional weight — it’s bitter, disillusionment and frustration. While many Americans — particularly, Whites — may think reggae is all good times and smiles by the beach, reggae has always been protest music, describing the deplorable conditions, frustrations, hopes and dreams of some of the world’s proudest yet poorest people. Let both versions remind you of the dashed hopes, expectations and dreams of those in the South Bronx; Jamaica, Queens; Baltimore; Chicago’s South Side; Gary, IN; Newark, NJ; Camden, NJ; Ferguson, MO; and countless similar places across the country. Isla

The recently released video is split between footage of Puma Ptah walking through the abandoned apartments and dirty alleyways of the hood, and Ptah with the members of The Archives recording the song in the studio and performing it. 

New Video: Introducing the Afro-Caribbean Sounds of Charlotte Adigéry

Charlotte Adigéry is an up-and-coming Belgian-Martiniquais singer/songwriter and her forthcoming David and Stephen Dewaele-produced EP Zandoli is centered around storytelling, her mother’s critical lesson of rhythm’s relationship to musicality, the importance of a sense of humor in a difficult work, and more important, her ancestors musical traditions. 

The EP’s opening track and latest single is the propulsive and trance-inducing “Patenipat,” a track built around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a chanted chorus “zandoli pa the ni pat,” a Creole mnemonic that translates into “the gecko didn’t have any legs.” (A zandoli is a commonly found lizard across the Caribbean that’s frequently found climbing the walls of homes across the region.) Interestingly, while based around contemporary electronic music production, the song draws from the Afro-Caribbean tradition, recalling rhythmic drum lines and dance routines  — with the participants moving towards a religious ecstasy.

Directed by Joaquim Bayle, the cinematically shot visuals draw from religious ceremonies with Adigéry and all of the participants driven by the propulsive rhythms of the song.