Tag: world music

New Video: Gabriel da Rosa Shares a Swooning Meditation on Loneliness

Gabriel da Rosa is a Cruz Alta, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. Growing up in rural, southern Brazil with a radio DJ for a father, de Rosa was exposed to a wide variety of music from his his homeland. But it wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles that he began curating Brazilian records and DJ’ing himself.

da Rosa wound up bonding with Stones Throw Records‘ label head, founder, artist and DJ Peanut Butter Wolf over their shared love of Brazilian music. The Brazilian-born artist began writing his own bossa nova, inspired by traditional bossa nova but with a contemporary edge with Pedro Dom, a musician, who has worked with some of Brazil’s best, internationally known artists like Seu Jorge, Rodrigo Amarante, and Latin Grammy Award-winner Ian Ramil.

The Brazilian-born artist signed to Stones Throw earlier this year, and the label released his debut single “Jasmim parte 1” earlier this year, a song that details the enchanted feelings of first meeting someone, but having doubts whether the connection with actually last. As de Rosa puts it, “the song is about “wanting to remain in an eternal fairytale.”

da Rosa’s second and latest single “Bandida” is a swooning and swaying, wine-drunk Bossa nova rooted its creator’s thoughts while in solitude and centered around strummed guitar, the Brazilian-born artist’s heartbroken and weary delivery, a mournful saxophone line paired with the genre’s traditional shuffling rhythms. As da Rosa explains, the song came about after an idle night spent in, drinking wine and strumming his guitar. “The wine and my guitar brought out some bittersweet thoughts — all day, I’m surrounded by amazing people, real friends and acquaintances, but at the end of the day, I’m alone,” he says.

Directed and edited by Eric Coleman, the accompanying video is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white, and feature the Brazilian-born artist and his backing band performing the song in a little club, as the wine-drinking crowd gently sways and sings along, recognizing a bit of themselves in the song’s bittersweet meditation of loneliness.

New Video: Montreal’s Naomi Shares an Accessible and Infectious Banger

Naomi is a Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist, who after studying theater, first made a name for herself when she began to land roles on both the small and big screen by the time she turned 14. She also went on to study dance at École de danse contemporaine de Montréal

As a dancer, the Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist has appeared in and/or choreographed music videos for RihannaMarie-MaiCoeur de Pirate and others, as well as for local dance performances. While she was establishing herself as an actor and dancer, the Montreal-based artist quietly developed a passion for singing — without fully giving herself permission to explore it fully. Interestingly, Coeur de Pirate’s Beátrice Martin saw star potential in the Montreal based multi-disciplinary artist and took her under her wing. 

Encouraged by Martin’s mentorship and encourage, Naomi began to realize that she was never far off from making her own music. All that she needed was a bit of a push.

She signed with Bravo Musique, an acclaimed, local tastemaker label, and then began writing her own original material. Since then, she has taken a bold leap into a career as a pop singer and artist. Her first two singles “Tout à nous” and “Zéro stress” have received airplay on WKNDRouge FMArsenal, POP, CVKMand several other regional radio stations across Quebec.

Now, as you might recall, the rising French Canadian artist has also released two more singles this year:

  • The club friendly, Rowan Mercille and Naomi co-written “Semblant,” which I wrote about earlier this year. Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering trap-meets-Carribbean beats paired with her sultry delivery and an infectious hook, “Semblant” is a remarkably self-assured summertime banger, that also reveals a bonafide superstar in the making. 
  • Pas le temps de jouer,” a slickly produced and self-assured banger centered around shuffling reggaeton-meets-trap beats, glistening synth bursts paired with the rising Canadian artist’s sultry delivery and her seemingly unerring knack for crafting a big, razor sharp hook. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Pas le temps de jouer” is an accessible, summertime bop that will help launch a bonafide superstar into the stratosphere.

Naomi’s latest single “Okay Alright” is a sultry, genre-defying, bop centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, bursts of strummed guitar and rumbling low end paired with the rising French Canadian’s sultry vocal delivery singing the song’s verses primarily in French and the song’s infectious hook in English. “Okay Alright” continues remarkable run of slickly produced, accessible club bangers, with the English hook seems to have the rising Montreal-based artist reaching for a bigger, global audience outside of the Francophone world. And she does so while retaining the elements of her sound and approach that have won her audiences at home.

Directed by Élise Lussier, the accompanying video for “Okay Alight” stars Naomi and a collection of friends at an abandoned summer camp site, have water gun and water balloon fights, dancing the day and night away, and goofing off. The fun that they have is infectious. And it should remind you of easier, warmer, carefree days.

New Video: JAMBINAI Teams Up with K Pop Legend swja on a Brooding and Forceful Ripper

South Korean outfit JAMBINAI — currently founding (and core) trio Bongi Kim (haegum — a Korean fiddle-like instrument), Ilwoo Lee (guitar and piri — a Korean flute, made of bamboo) and Eun Young Sim (geomungo, a Korean zither). Jaehyuk Choi (drums) and B.K. Yu (bass) — can trace its origins tow hen its founding trio met while studying traditional music at Korea National University of Arts. Kim, Lee and Sim bounded over a mutual desire to present traditional music in a new way, “to communicate with the ordinary person, who doesn’t listen to traditional Korean music,” Ilwoo Lee, JAMBINAI’s principal composer and songwriter explained in press notes.

JAMBINAI’s approach manages to eschew several generations of Korean modernists and post-modernists and leans much closer to Western styles with Korean instrumentation — with their sound drawing from Western classical music, jazz, jazz fusion, post rock, prog rock and experimental rock. The then-trio further established their unique headbanging take on traditional Korean music with 2010’s self-tiled debut EP and 2012’s full-length debut, Differance.

While their sound and approach does manage to shock Korean audiences, the band has seen critical and commercial success: Differance was nominated for Best Crossover Album and Best Jazz and Crossover Performance at the 2013 South Korean Music Awards, and won Best Crossover Album. The band used the album’s success as a springboard for several critically applauded, international tours as a quintet.

2016’s Hermitage was released through Bella Union Records, The album featured “They Keep Silence,” a song that sonically brought  Tool and Ministry to mind while tapping into a seemingly universal feeling of anger and isolation — especially those, who are growing both impatient and suspicious of the forces that are influencing and controlling their daily lives.

For the South Korean post rock outfit, the past couple of years have been the best of times and the worst of times: The outfit released their third album ONDA back in 2019. Just a few months later, in February 2020, the quintet won Best Rock Album and Best Rock song for album track “ONDA” at that year’s South Korean Music Awards. Of course, the pandemic struck in March 2020, throwing a monkey wrench into both people’s lives and their plans.

The band’s latest EP Apparition is slated for a Friday release through Bella Union. The EP reportedly captures the depth and range of emotions that the band has felt and experienced over the past couple of years, from anxious lockdowns and the disappointment of thwarted plans, to the thrill of renewed creativity, hunger and hope. “After ONDA we saw 2020 as a new opportunity to work on a bigger stage,” JAMBINAI’s Ilwoo Lee recalls. “I personally wanted to release a new album and tour to exhaust the energy of ONDA and find new inspiration, but it didn’t work out that way. We didn’t find enough energy to make a full album yet, so for now we are releasing four songs.”

The EP’s title is derived from Lee’s perception of the band,. “JAMBINAI have been making intense music for an intense group of devotees in invisible places,” he says. “Overall, I have tried to express a message of comfort to everyone living in a difficult time due to the pandemic and what’s going on in the world.” 

The EP reveals a band that’s more energized than ever, making up for lost time and momentum: Their appearance at the Seoul 2018 Winter Olympic Games Closing Ceremony set up the forward momentum that produced ONDA. Their South Korean Music Awards wins upped the ante for a prospective follow-up. Even after winning the Asia category at the 2020 Songlines Awards, they felt that the thrill and force of new music and performance would be the only thing to really count. By the end of 2021, they had started to record the material that would become Apparition — but they managed to be be busy: They released four acoustic performances. They collaborated with Soojung Baek’s boutique Craft Codes to combine two of her seats “that seemed to match our music the best,” Lee says.

The urge to create has pushed the band’s core trio creative energies into new territories: In September, JAMBINAI’s Lee worked as a metro of the traditional Gyeonggi Sinawi Orchestra for performances in Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Just last month, he collaborated with PAKK at London’s K-Music Festival. And he wrote the music for the first season of the BBC’S Korean-set crime podcast, The Lazarus Heist. The band’s Kim and Sim co-wrote the music for a modern art piece in South Korea’s National Museum of Contemporary and Modern Arts. Sim also released a solo album back in 2019 — and wrote and performed the music for a piece by choreographer Jinyeob Cha earlier this year, Kim also currently DJs for a Korean traditional music broadcast.

The band’s core trio, along with Choi and Yu will embark on a tour in may 2023, “and when there’s an empty space, I want to make a new album,” Lee adds.

Apparition‘s latest single “from the place been erased,” features guest vocals from K Pop legend swja (also known as sunwoojunga), who has worked with 2NE1, Blackpink and a little known outfit by the name of something like BTS. swja’s ethereal and achingly delicate delivery i paired with a brooding and expansive arrangement that alternates between dreamy and atmospheric passages and stormy power chord-driven sections that rip hard. Sonically, the song is a seamless synthesis of trip-hop, shoegaze, doom metal and post rock — with Western and Korean instrumentation that captures intense emotion: unease, frustration, anger and hope within a turn of a phrase.

“I thought swja’s voice would go well with our music,” says Lee, “so I asked her for help. I am honoured that she willingly participated. Despite our heavy and strong sound, she understood its inner emotions.”

Directed by Jinho Park, the accompanying video features swja and the members of JAMBINAI performing the song together in intimately shot footage paired with some gorgeous and trippy lighting.

New Audio: Vincent Bugozi Returns with Sultry “African Fever”

Vincent Bugozi is a Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and bandleader. Along with his backing band, Bugozi specializes in a genre-defying and crowd-pleasing take on Afro Pop that meshes elements of of Afrobeat, reggae, Afro-Cuban music and pop among others. The Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and his backing band aim to combine the sounds of different cultures to connect people through music and an energetic live show — and help bring positivity and unity in a world that desperately needs it. 

Bugozi and company will be releasing their latest album AFRICAN SEBA! later this year. Inspired by Tanzanian Tinga Tinga art, AFRICAN SEBA! sees the act drawing inspiration from an eclectic array of sources and collaborating with a collection of musicians from the United Kingdom and European Union, while still deeply rooted in the sounds and styles of Africa. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon the “big themes” — love, sorrow and joy. Interestingly enough, the album will be his first multilingual album. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • Tinga Tinga,” a breezy, genre-smashing banger featuring skittering dancehall-meet-trap beats, 80s Quiet Storm soul-like saxophone and twinkling keys paired with Bugozi’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, razor sharp hook. Pulling from a variety of sounds and styles across the African Diaspora, the song manages to be a wildly accessible bop that will get a lounge or a club rocking and grooving.
  • Bossa Nova” is a slickly produced, seamlessly mesh of elements of Afro-pop, reggaeton and Bossa Nova that further cements Bugozi and company’s unerring knack for catchy hooks.

“African Fever,” the latest single off AFRICAN SEBA! continues a remarkably run of crowd-pleasing bops featuring elements of dancehall, Afropop, Afrobeats and contemporary electro pop centered around a sultry, dance floor rocking groove. If this one doesn’t make you want to get up and move, then something is very wrong with you.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays LohArano Performs “Mangina” at Le Club Rodez

Antananarivo, Madagascar-based JOVM mainstays LohArano — Mahalia Ravoajanahary (vocals, guitar), Michael Raveloson (bass, vocals) and Natiana Randrianasoloson (drums, vocals) — formed over seven years ago. And since their formation they’ve developed a unique, boundary pushing sound that sees the band pairing elements of popular and beloved Malagasy musical styles like Tsapiky  and Salegy with heavy metal. 

LohArano’s sound and approach represents a bold generation of Malagasy young people that honors and respects the traditions and practices of their elders – but are also inspired by contemporary Western genres and styles.

Over the past few years, the Malagasy metal trio have been extremely busy:

  • Their self-titled EP featured “Tandrroka,” a mosh pit friendly ripper, featuring rumbling, down-tuned bass lines, thunderous drumming, scorching guitar riffs and Ravoajanahary’s feral Karen O-like vocals. 
  • They quickly followed up with their full-length debut LohAmboto, which featured the System of a Down-like album title track “LohAmboto,” another mosh-pit friendly ripper that saw the band gently refining and honing their sound.
  • The JOVM mainstays closed out last year with their first European tour — and it included a set at  Trans Musicales in Rennes, France, which the band filmed and released as a concert film. The concert film features their debut single Andrambavitany,” the aforementioned “Tandrroka” and “LohAmboto,” as well as material off their full-length debut performed with a feral intensity. 
  • This year, the Malagasy JOVM mainstays along with their label Libertalia Music released a five-song live EP recorded from their Trans Musicales set last year. The EP featured “Ts’Izy,” an explosive synthesis of metal, nu-metal and hip-hop that channeled Rage Against the Machine — but while being decidedly African.

During the band’s headlining European tour last year, the band stopped at Rodez, France-based Le Club Rodez, where they filmed live footage of the band performing “Mangina,” an expansive song centered around alternating quiet and loud sections. The quiet, dream-like sections featuring glistening guitars and Ravoajanahary’s plaintive delivery. The loud sections sees the band at their furious, mosh pit friendly ripping best. Structurally and sonically, “Mangina” sees the trio pairing shoegazer-influenced textures with Metallica-meets-punk rock riffage.

Live Footage: Mysterious French Act Makoto San Perform Cinematic “Kibō”

Mysterious French electronic music act Makoto San have developed a unique sound that pairs bamboo and Asian percussion — like Japanese taikos, Balinese Anklun, Indonesian gendér and others — with electronin production.

“Kibō,” the cloaked French act’s latest single is a hypnotic and cinematic club banger centered around glistening synth arpeggios and layers of organic, chiming and clinking percussion. “Kibō” strikes me as the sort of propulsive song that would accompany an extended chase scene through a crowded, hyper-modern metropolis.

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,” which will be released digitally and physically on November 18, 2022 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. Here in the States, we haven’t gotten to Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving but that’s besides the point. The song is a much-needed and infectious burst of fun and hope.

“‘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.” 

Los Bitchos will close out the year with a number of festival dates, along with select dates opening for Franz Ferdinand during their October and November UK tour. They also will open for Pavement in London. December will see the band playing across the UK and European Union. All tour dates are below.

Tour Dates: 

Oct 15 Leeds, UK – Live at Leeds ‘In The City’ 

Oct 19 Manchester, UK – O2 Victoria Warehouse – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Oct 20 London, UK – Alexandra Palace – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Oct 21 Cardiff, UK – Swn Festival Weekend 

Oct 24 London, UK – The Roundhouse w/ Pavement 

Nov 5 Brighton, UK – Mutations Festival 

Nov 10 Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Nov 12 Glasgow, UK – The Great Western Festival 

Nov 13 Kortrijk, BE – Sonic City Festival 

Dec 2 – London @ Heaven^ 

Dec 7 – Berlin @ Silent Green* 

Dec 8 – Amsterdam @ Paradiso Noord* 

Dec 9 – Luxembourg @ Rotondes* 

Dec 10 – Bern @ ISC Club* 

“Los Chrismos” Headline Tour Dates w/ support from: 

* – Takeshi’s Cashew 

^ – audiobooks

New Video: Rising French Artist Gaumar Shares a Defiant, Feminist Anthem

Gaumar is a nomadic French singer/songwriter, who started her career as the eldest of a sibling group that toured across France. After graduating from the Cours Florent Music School, the young and rising French artist released her full-length debut in 2019, an album that received attention and praise from its songwriting, which saw her meshing elements of contemporary pop, hip-hop and French chanson.

Her debut album also featured “Yellow,” a song that won the audience award at the Festival du Clip Emergent de Lyon. She then signed a contract with Live Nation. Adding to growing profile, she has opened for Deluxe, Jessy J. Hall and Oates, L.E.J., Patrick Bruel, and a lengthy list of others.

The young and rising French artist’s latest single “Follow” is a slickly produced bop featuring glistening synths, a woozy bass line and skittering trap beats paired with an anthemic, sing-along worthy hook. The production serves as a silky bed for Guamar’s boldly, self-assured delivery, which sees her alternating between spitting fiery, staccato bars in French and sultry, pop hooks in English.

But at its core, the song is a defiantly feminist tribute to all women — in particular, a mother, sister, friend or even better half, who can guide you, accompany you, hold your hand through the difficult times or with a simple look can make you understand that everything has a meaning. As the French artist explains, the song is inspired by strong personal experience, and yet is rooted in universal experience.

Directed by Théo Massart and Joshua Gopee, the accompanying video for “Follow” is an incredibly cinematic visual that follows the young and rising French artist trekking through a difficult pass in the French mountains by herself. Essentially, the French artist forging a path for herself — and in turn, for others.

Bruno Capinan is a Salvador, Brazil-born, Toronto-based queer, non-binary singer/songwriter and performer, who released their third album Tara Rara earlier this year through Lulaworld Records in Canada. Tara Rara, which translates to “rare desire” in English sees Capinan drawing from and highlighting their Brazilian roots with a strong focus on gender and racial justice, rooted in the Brazilian-born, Toronto-based artist’s experiences as a Black, non-binary person. The album features an orchestra of seven string musicians, 90% of whom are BIPOC and LGQBTIA+, including some of different generations and different cultural backgrounds.

Tara Rara‘s latest single, the breathtaking and effortlessly beautiful “Meu Preto” is arguably the most quintessential and classic samba song on the album. Featuring strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling Latin rhythms, a gorgeous and cinematic string section paired with Capinan’s expressive vocal delivery, full of aching and desperate longing.

Translated into English as “A Song About Two Black Lovers,” the song’s narrator laments the distance between them and their lover, while hoping for a reunion.