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5 albums to discover this week

This week, Linda Ayupuka channel traditional Gurenɛ-language, Frafra ceremonial music, Noori & his Dorpa Band unleash Beja power, Chrisman experiments with Angolan sounds, Gav & Jord provide an oddly satisfying mix of industrial techno and experimental island noise and Mzvee celebrates her musical career.

God Created Everything

Linda Ayupuka

As a dutiful church goer and devout Christian, Linda Ayupuka started singing at the age of four in the children’s choir at the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, later becoming the band’s director. She soon became in-demand, performing with the children’s choir or with her 40-50-piece women’s fellowship choir at many religious ceremonies, be it weddings or funerals. But as her producer, Francis Ayamga, known for his reinvention of Kologo music (a two-stringed traditional Frafra instrument from Northern Ghana) with rap, reggae and electronic sounds, later said, Linda Ayupuka is more than your typical gospel singer. Her high pitched voice also lends itself quite well to disco. Together, they set out to record God Created Everything, a mashup of gospel, disco and savannah sounds, produced with all the D.I.Y vim of Balani Show, Nyege Nyege Tapes and the Awesome Tapes roster. It includes eight highly charged exchanges of polyrhythmic dancefloor beats where Linda and Francis channel traditional Gurenɛ-language, Frafra ceremonial music with rapid fire tempos and hypnotic drum loops, referencing an international palette of dance styles from Malian DJ-led Balani Show street sound and electro-acholi to modern dancehall/RnB.

Listen here.

BEJA POWER!

Noori & his Dorpa Band

Drawn to their hypnotic Sudanese grooves and Naji’s impeccable, airy tenor sax, Noori and his Dorpa managed to catch the interest of Ostinato Records via TikTok shortly after the November military coup which set off country-wide protests in Sudan. Not unlike Enas, the young percussionist who was the focus of the short film Gidam, Noori has decided to put his music in the service of his people, the Bejas. Largely unknown, Beja (pronounced Bee-Jah) culture has been completely marginalised under the harsh rule of Sudan’s former strongman, Omar al-Bashir, who managed to stay in power in Sudan for over thirty years. Despite his ousting in 2019, the situation has changed little. Noori believes the unleashing of Beja music would form the most potent act of resistance. That is the reason why, with his one-of-a-kind tambo-guitar, he released his album Beja Power! which is his contribution to the cause.

Listen here.

Malika

Chrisman

Congolese producer Chrisman, who’s a resident in the Nyege Nyege crew in Kampala, Uganda, unveils his album Makila, named after his late grandfather,via Hakuna Kulala which follows his EP Ku Mwezi released last year. In this new project, the MC merges together different musical genres with tarraxinha inspired electronic sounds, taking a detour from his previous work where he mostly explored gqom and trap influenced afro house mutations. The title-track sees him experiment with Angolan kuduro, kizomba dance and gqom. It produces an eerie atmosphere and a music seemingly slowed-down with the addition of the bells and rattling percussive sounds. The same sinister, otherworldly feeling stays throughout the album, like in “Angels of Kivu” with its likembé melodies.

Listen here.

Writings ov Tomato

Gav & Jord

Gavin Blair and Jordan Chung, both members of the Kingston-based label Equiknoxx have teamed up under the moniker Gav & Jord to produce Writings ov Tomato via Mal Recordings, lead by Equiknoxx supporter Jon K., for their second ever release. Wanting to take a detour from the rigid dancehall sound Gav & Jord have become accustomed to, they decided to experiment with new sounds. The result of which is this purely instrumental eight-track album, an oddly satisfying mix of industrial techno and experimental island noise.

Listen here.

10 Thirty

Mzvee

Ghanaian singer Mzvee drops 10 thirty, released ten years after her debut in 2012 with the girl band D3 on her thirtieth birthday. “10 years.. 10 solid tracks!! There’s something in there for everyone”, she wrote on Instagram, before thanking the other artists featured in the album which include Harmonize, Kwesi Arthur, Bella Shmurda, Kofi Kinaata, Yemi Alade, DJ Henry X, Stonebwoy and Tiwa Savage. In this album, the singer seems satisfied with her achievement thus far as a musician. Through tracks influenced by hip-hop, bongo flava, Afrobeats, highlife, and amapiano, she explores themes of contentment, love, and self-care: “about finding peace within and finding joy in the midst of all the world’s mayhem”.

Listen here.

This week we also listened to:

  • Happy Hour by Hollie Cook
  • BIG Daddy (Vol.1) by Naza
  • World Citizens by Mr.Dutch and Kida Kudz
  • Éléphant d’or by Fababy
  • Fire by Candy Bleakz
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