Tag: world music

Led by creative mastermind and founder Dave Aju, the Los Angeles-based outfit, Dave Aju & The Invisible Art Trio will be releasing their forthcoming fifth album Glossolalia February 23, 2023 through Broken Clover Records.

Aju reassembled a notorious cast of collaborators and characters to write and record an album during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the strangest and most uncertain periods in contemporary memory. While most of human life was in the cycle of shutdowns and reopening, Aju and his collaborators went to work in the Atwater Village, Los Angeles-based G-Son Studios, where Beastie Boys recorded Check Your Head and Hello Nasty.

The seven-song album continues Aju’s long-held reputation for boldly stringing together a myriad of musical styles and influences together in such a fashion that easy categorization and comparison, as well as attempting genre references feels futile, if not impossible. However, throughout the album’s seven songs, there are clear, visceral expressions of political provocation, hope, anger, fear and joy over twisted, dance floor friendly grooves in a lockdown era where Aju’s imaginary collective dance floor fills in the temporary absence and songs sung in complete gibberish feel almost normal.

Equal parts timely anti-establishment and uplifting call-to-action, Glossolalia reportedly serves as a decidedly coarse yet crucial reminder of the possibilities in collaborative and devoted noise-making, ass-shaking and alternative world-building during global disarray that’s beyond stylistic, nationalistic and linguistic barriers and diving lines. The album forces the listener to just focus on when the music truly delivers, how we physically respond — especially together.

Glossolalia‘s latest single “Aquamarine Dream,” feat. The Rennix Sisters is centered around a sinuous, dance floor friendly groove, tweeter and woofer rattling thump, twinkling keys, DFA Records amounts of cowbell, group laughter and gibberish lyrics, the genre-defying bop is rooted in elements of Latin music, electro funk, electro pop and world music thrown into a blender and mixed into a puree of sorts. The end result is a dance floor friendly jam that sounds beamed straight from the world of The Sims or from the 28th Century.

New Video: Le Ice Shares Woozy Banger “Whap”

Le Ice is a rising Laval, Quebec-born and-based emcee. He started rapping when he turned 12 — and when he started, he knew how to stand out with a unique, sharp flow. By the time he was a teenager, the Laval-based emcee left his family home, and was on the streets, hustling to survive. His experienced helped forge a steely mindset and an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit.

Over the past few years, Le Ice has made a name for himself in the Montreal Francophone hip-hop scene with collaborations with the likes of Lary Kidd, Mike Zup, Raccoon, Shreez, and Tizzo. Building upon a growing profile within both Montreal and the rest of Quebec, the rising emcee has made the rounds of the provincial festival circuit with stops at Francos de Montreal, Metro Metro, Osheaga, and LVLUP among others.

Released last year, his full-length debut Jta l’eau pour un boute was well-received by the public, and has helped position Le Ice as an artist to watch.

His latest single, the Gavin-produced “WHAP” pairs skittering trap triplets with tweeter and woofer rattling thump, a woozy and pitchy Middle Eastern-like vocal sample, shimmering synth arpeggios and glitchy video game noises with the Laval-based emcee’s self-assured, razor sharp flow and an enormous hook. Simply put, it’s a banger.

Directed by Le Ice, the accompanying video features the Laval-based emcee and his crew at a house party, with strippers, making it rain — with American dollars, no less.

New Audio: Oakland’s Orchestra Gold Shares a Lysergic Single

Oakland-based psych outfit Orchestra Gold is rooted in the decade plus-long collaboration between Malian-born vocalist Mariam Diakite and Oakland-based guitarist Erich Huffaker. The duo first met in Bamako, Mali back in 2006. At the time, Huffaker was very busy: he was working for a nonprofit, studying djembe and dunun (drums) and immersing himself in the city’s burgeoning music scene when he had met and befriended Diakite. The duo recognized a deep and profound musical connection, which led to Diakite relocating to the States to start a band — Orchestra Gold.

Since then, the Oakland-based psych outfit specializes in a kaleidoscopic sound that meshes Malian folk with psych rock and elements of Afrobeat and soul: Diakite delivers heartfelt and thought-provoking lyrics in her native Bambara language over a trippy and funky soundscape featuring swinging rhythms, funky brass and scorching guitar riffs. The outfit’s goal is to transcend national and musical borders while being a healing force.

Orchestra Gold’s third album Medicine is slated for a January 20, 2023 release. The album reportedly sees the band firmly continuing their pursuit of spreading and healing and community through music. Medicine‘s latest single “Koniya (No Benefit to Envy)” features shuffling rhythms, scorching feedback and distortion-driven riffs serving as a lysergic and sinuous bed Diakite’s gorgeous vocal. The end result is a song that arches upward towards the cosmos while rooted in earthly matters.

Red Hot has been producing great music to promote diversity and equal access to health care since 1990. The first project was the Cole Porter tribute Red Hot + Blue, quickly followed by Red Hot + DanceNo AlternativeStolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, and Red Hot + Rio. Over the past 15 years Red Hot produced two successful projects with Aaron and Bryce Dessner – Dark Was The Night and Day of the Dead – along with a tribute to Arthur Russell and several other projects. 

Yesterday, was World AIDS Day. And to commemorate the occasion, Red Hot reissued their acclaimed Fela Kuti tribute, Red Hot + Riot, which featured contributions from D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, the late Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baaba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, the late Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp and many others 20 years after the compilation’s original release. (On a personal note, 20 years ago I was interning at FHM Magazine. I received a press copy of Red Hot + Riot Fela Kuti tribute, and that album was my introduction to both Fela and to Afrobeat.)

The 20th anniversary reissue is remastered and features two hours of bonus material, including a previously unreleased cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baaba Maal accompanied by the late and legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko, and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman. The original release had to be heavily edited to fit the time limit of a physical CD, and the reissue also features a wealth of bonus material, including extended versions of many album tracks, along with early mixes, acapallas, instrumentals, and much more.

And lastly, the folks at Red Hot have released the album on digital streaming platforms for the first time ever.

Just to refresh your memories a bit: Fela Kuti was — and still is — one of the most important African musicians, bandleaders and activists of his time. Sadly, Kuti died at age 58 in 1997 of causes related to HIV/AIDS, two years before Red Hot began the project.

The idea for the Red Hot Fela tribute came from Questlove during sessions for Red Hot’s Gershwin tribute compilation, which featured a collaboration between The Roots and the late and legendary Bobby Womack. Questlove suggested that Red Hot do a cover of Sly Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin On but they couldn’t secure the rights.

The ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, along with a love of Fela Kuti’s work transformed the project into what we now know. Red Hot secured the rights to Fela’s music, as well as his master recordings, which allowed for both covers and sampling. Questlove kicked things off with a superstar session at Electric Lady Studios covering “Water Get No Enemy,” with a band led by D’Angelo and Fela’s son Femi Kuti, along with members of the Soultronics — James Posner, Pino Pallodino and the aforementioned D’Angelo and Questlove — and Femi’s backing band Positive Force. Nile Rodgers, Macy Gray and Erykah Badu joined the session, although Badu’s vocal didn’t make the final mix. Red Hot producer Beco Dranoff brought in legendary Brazilian artist Jorge Ben Jor to the session a bit too late to join in, but he recorded the basic track of what would become “Shuffering and Shmiling” in another room at Electric Lady overseen by producer Andres Levin.

Red Hot spent the the next two years recording material around the world and at the Fun Machine studio that Andres Levin built in the SoHo office of Funny Garbage, the digital design company co-founded and run by Red Hot’s co-founder and creative director John Carlin. Coincidentally, the Baaba Maal session for Trouble Sleep,” the first session at Fun Machine was on September 10, 2001. 24 hours later, the World Trade Center, which could be seen from the studio windows was attacked. It was a tragic and tumultuous time, but the recordings continued and by the end of the year, there was a joyous celebration of Fela’s music and life about to be released.


The 20th anniversary of Red Hot + Riot is a cause for celebration, but also a sober reflection on the continued devastation of HIV/AIDS, particularly as Sub-Saharan Africa is disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic: Sub-Saharan Africa currently accounts for 71% of people living with HIV, a devastating reality where 75% of global HIV-related deaths and 65% of new infections occur. I think these numbers will give you a better sense of HIVs impact on Sub-Saharan Africa: Of the 38.3 million people living with HIV worldwide, 27.3 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa. 7.8 million of the 27.3 million infected people are in South Africa, including 6,.3 million young adults and children. 11% of the global population is in Africa but it accounts for over 71% of the global impact in terms of infections and mortality.

The stigma around men who have sex with other men, women’s lack of resources and agency and the vilification of sex workers and drug addicts halt all progress that can be made to aid the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Frequently, ignorance is used to distance the culture from undesirable and uncomfortable topics like intimate partner violence, sex education, the LGBQT+ community and women’s lack of agency and access to proper care.

Tragically, young women and girls bear the brunt of the impact from cultural silence and their pain and misfortune is passed onto future generations. The HIV/AIDS epidemic’s root is the intersection of structural and cultural setbacks in awareness, acceptance, understanding and treatment. 

Red Hot celebrates the 20th anniversary reissue by sharing the expanded album’s first single, “Sorrow Tears and Blood,” off the bonus material, a joyous yet righteous, pan-African Diasporic take on the original that sees its talented crew of collaborators — Bilal, Zap Mama and Common — seamlessly meshing elements of jazz, neo-soul, hip-hop and Afrobeat. As Black folk — hell, as people — we need to be concerned with what’s going on in the Motherland, the very cradle of all of us.


New Video: Los Bitchos Share a Joyous and Seasonal Visual for “Los Chrismos”

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bitchos — Australian-born, Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguayan-born Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Swedish-born, Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — can trace their origins to meeting at various late-night parties and through mutual friends. Inspired by their individual members’ different upbringings and backgrounds, Los Bitchos have developed a unique, genre-blurring and retro-futuristic sound blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: 

  • The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. 
  • The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. 
  • Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. 
  • And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos.

“Coming from all these different places,” Los Bitchos’ Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

Los Bitchos’ Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! was released earlier this year. Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishing their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality. 

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. 
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 
  • Pista (Fresh Start),” a slick and trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock featuring looping guitars and dance floor friendly Latin rhythms. 
  • The Link Is About To Die,” a trippy party friendly groove featuring looping and glistening guitars, twinkling synths and shuffling rhythms.

The rapidly rising JOVM mainstays will cap off a momentous year with two singles “Los Chrismos,” their first-ever Christmas themed composition and “Tipp Tapp,” both which were released digitally and physically earlier this month on a flexi disc bundled with a red vinyl re-press of their debut album. Co-produced, by the band’s Serra Petal and Javier Weyler, the two new tracks were recorded at 5db. 

The first single of the batch, the Christmas-themed “Los Chismos,” is a celebratory party, starting romp with cheers and shouts, centered around a dexterous and looping guitar line, atmospheric synths that’s one-part cumbia, one-part psych rock and 100% unadulterated joy. Considering the continued strange and uneasy state of our world over the past couple of years, “Los Chrismos” is a much-needed joy and hope bomb.

“‘Los Chrismos’ is our ‘80s nostalgic Christmas dreamland. Shoop-shooping down the slopes into a cosy chalet strewn with fairy lights, join us for a glass of bubbly and a cosy Christmas party full of festivities!” The band shares. “We can’t wait to get dressed up and play this song on our Chrismos tour.” 

Directed, shot and edited by Tom Mitchell, the accompanying video continues the 80s vibes of the song: We the women of Los Bitchos skiing down the slopes before meeting up for a meal and bubbly in a cozy, chalet complete with fireplace, seasonal lights — and the exchanging of gifts. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the video is a playful and nostalgia-inducing walk down memory lane.

New Video: Fabien Gravillon Shares a Breezy, Swooning Bop

Paris-born singer/songwriter Fabien Gravillon specializes in Zouk, Kizomba and Afro pop — but in his native France, he may be best known as an actor, who starred in the hit French soap opera Plus belle la vie.

After the release of his debut album through Because Music, Gravillon went to Los Angeles and appeared in several videos by internationally acclaimed artists including Macklemore and Patrick Stump‘s “Summer Days,” Collapsing Scenery and others.

He also participated in several projects filmed at Fox Studios in Hollywood and for The Jim Henson Company. Interestingly enough, inspired by animation and by his experience as a voiceover artist, Gravillon decided that his music videos should be cartoons. . .

“Bonita,” Gravillon’s latest single is sleek and swooning, genre-defying bop featuring skittering, reggaeton beats. glistening synth arpeggios and Gravillon’s sultry and vulnerable cooing (in French and Spanish) paired with a two-step inducing hook. While being slick and modern pop song, “Bonita” is a sweet and old fashioned plea of devotion and love.

The animated video features cartoon version of Gravillon and the song’s titular Bonita on a romantic date that’s sweet in its old-fashioned feel.

Michael Odokara-Okigbo is an emerging Nigerian-American singer/songwriter and producer, who writes and performs under the moniker Michael O. His latest single, the Harvey Mason, Jr. co-produced “Japa” derives its title from the Yoruba slang word “to flee,” a reference to the many Africans across the continent, forced to seek out a better life in the West. The song is also a story of survival — and a story about the foundation and creation of America.

Featuring skittering African-inspired beats, glistening and atmospheric synths, bursts of strummed guitar and a razor sharp hook paired with Odokara-Okibgo’s sultry yet plaintive deliver, “Japa” is a breezy and slickly produced bop rooted in a deeply universal message of survival — and hope. We should all remember that folks everywhere are struggling, and many are resorting to the most difficult decision imaginable: picking up their entire life and going someplace they’ve never known for the hope of a better life. Many of our — and here, I refer to those in America, Canada, the UK and so on — ancestors have done the same.

“Japa” will appear on Odokara-Okibgo’s forthcoming EP, slated for release next year.

Odokara-Okigbo is also the founder of NKENNE, the first African language learning app. Founded to create solidarity and as an avenue for the global African Diaspora to connect to their roots through language and technology, the Nigerian-American artist and producer has won the 2022 Gorham Saving Bank Emerging Business Award. He has also received a grant from MusiCares COVID-19 relief program, which has helped him jumpstart his app and his EP.

New Video: Paris’ Premier Métro Shares a Slow-Burning, Nostalgia-Inducing Bop

Rising Paris-based synth pop outfit Premier Métro — Dimitri, Sébastien, Alexandre and Enzo — specialize in a nostalgia-inducing, synth driven sound that seemingly draws from 80s pop, Flavien Berger, The Weeknd, and others.

Interestingly, with a handful of singles under their belts, the French quartet landed slots at We Love Green last June — and an appearance on Culturebox. Building upon a growing profile, the quartet’s latest single “Pour Quelques Secondes” is a slow-burning. hook-driven bop centered around glistening synths, thumping beats paired with ccihgl plaintive vocals that capture the few minutes that a performer or a band will feel like gods while performing on that stage. But it also scans as a bittersweet ode to fleeting youth.

Shot on an iPhone, the accompanying video follows the band in post-show glow, goofing off, getting on a metro and heading to karaoke spot before the phone finally dies.

Live Footage: Larry & Joe Perform “Caballo Viejo”

Larry & Joe is a new duo that performs a fusion of Venezuelan and Appalachian folk music on harp, banjo, cautro, fiddle, maracas, guitar, upright bass and whatever else they decide to throw into the van. The duo features:

  • Joe Troop, a North Carolina-based Grammy-nominated bluegrass and old-time musician, who spent over a decade in South America with his acclaimed “latingrass” band Che Apalache. With the pandemic, Troop got stranded in his old stomping grounds and as a result, his primary project was forced into hiatus. Troop shifted into action, working with asylum seeking migrants.
  • Larry Bellorín, a Monagas, Venezuela-born, North Carolina-based Llanera music legend, and asylum seeking migrant. Bellorín works construction to makes ends meet, and writes and performs music in whatever spare time allowed.

Currently based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Troop and Bellorín are versatile multi-instrumentalists and singer/songwriters on a mission to prove that music has no borders, that music is the universal language. Their work is a distinct blend of their musical and cultural inheritances and traditions paired with storytelling about the ways that music and social movements coalesce.

The duo’s debut single is a subtle re-imagining of “Caaballo Viejo,” one of the most beloved and popular Venezuelan songs of all time. The song features the duo on their primary instruments: Bellorín on harp, Troop on banjo and vocals. While featuring a wildly different yet gorgeous arrangement, that gives the song a bluegrass twang, the Bellarín and Troop rendition is still centered around a timeless and deeply human heartache and longing that somehow effortlessly translates in every language.

The duo is playing a show at River Spirt Music, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY on January 28, 2023. For tickets and other information, check out the link: https://cliveshows.com/events/rsm-larry-joe/

Andrea Aguilar is a Venezuelan-born, New York-based signer/songwriter, arranger and visual artist. Growing up in a deeply musical family, Aguilar started writing her own songs when she was just six. Around the same time, she developed an interest in the visual arts, and specializes in acrylic painting.

As a singer/songwriter and musician, Aguilar’s work draws from dream pop, alternative pop and electro pop. Her work is frequently sees her expressing raw emotions through melancholic metaphors, dreamy atmospherics paired with ethereal melodies.

Last year, the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in composition and music business. To date, Aguilar has collaborated on a number of projects as a singer/songwriter, co-producer and/or illustrator, including with her own music: Each song of hers features a cover with her artwork, along with videos directed and edited by her.

Aguilar’s second and latest single,”Pociones,” is her first Spanish language song. Centered around the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist’s beguilingly ethereal delivery paired with glistening and atmospheric synths, a propulsive backbeat and a soaring, euphoria-inducing hook, the swooning and”Pociones” brings to mind JOVM mainstays Still Corners. While seemingly rooted in a wistful and aching nostalgia, the song evokes the sweet feeling of being in love, as though a spell has secretly been cast on the listener.