A selection of our favorite albums and EPs released this week.
With Blick Bassy, KOKOROKO, Duke, Jerico, Fuse ODG and R2Bees.
Photo credit: Justice Mukheli
Four years after releasing “Akö”, the singer and songwriter Blick Bassy Presents “1958”, a tribute album to Ruben Um Nyobé, leader of the independentist movement in Cameroon who was executed in 1958 by French Colonial Forces.
In this poignant album, Blick brings up the hero and proves he is able to reinvent himself, straying further from the bluesy sounds of his former album and heading towards more subtle sounds, full of grace and inventiveness. An album to thaw the heart and sharpen the mind. Although its focus is specific, its themes – the bondage of neo-colonialism, the need for heroes, the relevance of history and the search for true identity – are universal.
He uses a wide palette of emotions, going from softness to rage, to convey his noble political message. 1958 urges the new generations to reconnect with their culture and History, to be able to shape a future for themselves that is actually fit for themselves. The release of the album was accompanied by a spectacular music video shot in South Africa.
One year after the release of their debut track “Abusey Junction”, that went over 20 million plays on Youtube, the Londoners issue their first EP KOKOROKO.
Lead by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, the band is formed by leading lights from the London jazz community. It draws as much from the nightlife energy, the musical influences of West African Pentecostal churches, than from references such as Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas, Fela Kuti and Tony Allen. Throughout its 4 tracks, the project offers a broader vision of the band’s singular universe, deeply inspired by soul and afrobeat. It takes its roots in West Africa and incorporates it in a very london’s jazz aesthetic.
At the crossroads between traditional music and electronic sounds, prolific label Nyege Nyege Tapes keeps on exploring new musical scenes by releasing Uingizaji Hewa, Tanzanian producer Duke’s new album. Part of Pamoja Records, Duke bears the flag of Singeli, an insanely fast-paced music style, going over the 200 BPM line.
His productions have a pronounced DIY feel, sampling diverse sources going from advertising jingles to his studio’s ambient sounds. The project features several MCs, as it is common with Singeli, among which MCZO, Dofo Lizzi, Pirato MC and Kashiwashi.
Newly recruited in Canadian collective Moonshine, Jerico unveils his first EP Run That. The 23-year-old Haitian-Canadian DJ, producer, and vocalist, is being recognized as one of Montreal’s most promising young artists. He blends Pan-African rhythms with underground Electronic music and Haitian Creole vocals in an unique dancefloor-oriented combination. Warm syncopated drums nicely balance sharp digital synth riffs, with destructured Baile Funk influences.
Run That features four tracks drawing on Jerico’s vivid memories of Kompa dancing as a kid growing up in the suburbs of Montreal.
New Africa Nation
After becoming the first Ghanaian to win a Grammy earlier this year, Fuse ODG is back once again with his new album New Africa Nation. Building upon his debut album’s achievements, the project features several collaborations, among which Damian Marley, Stefflon Don and Ed Sheeran.
The album confirms Fuse ODG as one of the flag bearers of the Afrobeats sound, with a pronounced pop sensibility.
Le duo ghanéen R2Bees dévoile leur troisième album studio, intitulé Site 15. Les quinze morceaux du projet comptent sur la collaboration de pointures du continent africain, tels que King Promise, Burna Boy et Wizkid, avec qui ils ont déjà collaboré par le passé. Cet album, qui commémore les dix ans du projet musical des deux artistes, distille leur mélange de hip hop, hiplife et d’afrobeats. Ils célèbre également cette décennie avec un deal avec Universal Music Group. Originaire de Tema, le groupe constitué de Faisal Hakeem et Rashid Mugeez avaient été nommés aux BET Awards en 2013.