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5 albums to discover this week

This week, Jeshi immerses himself into his childhood, Khaid refreshes the afrobeats scene, Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch combine kora and harp in the service of a common vision, an album to showcase the sounds of Africa's first DIY modular synthesizer and Alpha Blondy's return with socially-motivated message.

Universal Credit

Jeshi

Jeshi made a name for himself with his three EPs Pussy Palace, The World’s Spinning Too Fast and BAD TASTE (released in 2016, 2017 and 2020 respectively). The British artist now unveils his first album entitled Universal Credit. In this thirteen-track project, the artist immerses himself into his childhood in London. He deals with various poignant themes, such as addiction, financial worries and grief. Nigerian artist based in London Obongjayar (who also recently released an album) is featured on several tracks, including the single “Protein” in a must-see clip directed by Will Dohr released last month. These are promising artists who can stop at nothing, as Obongjayar states in “Protein”: “Can’t nobody stop me I’m on go“.

Listen here.

Diversity EP

Khaid

Lagos-based newcomer Khaid releases his first EP Diversity which includes six tracks via Neville Records. It features his second single entitled “SKI” unveiled last month. Halfway between trap and afrobeats, it’s a worthy successor to his debut single “With You”, also included in the new EP, which shot the 17 year old into the spotlight last January. Self-described “Shleet” (meaning “fresh blood doing new things”), a term he helped coined in the title of the same name with fellow Nigerian artist 9jaroom, Khaid is the new young exciting artist to follow closely.

Listen here.

Echo

Seckou Keita, Catrin Finch

Almost ten years after the release of their first album Clychau Dibon in 2013, Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita reunite in a third album entitled ECHO. It follows SOAR released in 2018 and celebrates, once again, this extraordinary partnership that combines two cultures, two traditional instruments and different musical genres in the service of a common vision. ECHO is “ what continues to travel through space and time even after the last note has been played, or the last word has been sung”, according to Seckou Leita. “With this album, it feels like we’ve reached our place, musically and creatively“, says Catrin Finch.

Listen here.

The Afrorack

Afrorack

Back in 2019, an article was dedicated to Brian Bamanya’s Afrorack, Africa’s first DIY modular synthesizer. The inventor has now released his first album named after his creation via Ugandan label Hakuna Kulala. In his debut album Afrorack, Bamanya introduces polyrhythmic structures found in some African musical traditions thanks to his synth sequencer. It is especially noticeable in “African Drum Machine”. Different layers of sounds can be distinguished, between the oscillators and the drums, to give shape to hypnotic new rhythms. It most certainly is the result of Bamanya’s work on algorithmic music and euclidean rhythms he already mentioned back in 2019. In “Osc”, this same frenetic rhythmic intensity typical to East Africa’s sounds can be found.

Listen here.

Eternity

Alpha Blondy

Ultimate Ivorian reggae star returns with his 20th album entitled Eternity, four years after the release of Human Race. Composed in his recording studio in Abidjan, the album is the result of three years of work amidst the pandemic. Still working with the same musicians, Alpha Blondy highlights the beauty of the union between the sounds of the drums, the rhythm guitar, the kora, and the balafon. As usual, Alpha Blondy tackles social and contemporary issues in this new project. In “Excision”, he sings about the atrocity of female genital mutilation (which still affects more than 200 million girls worldwide according to Unicef’s latest report). In “Pompier Pyromane” , Alpha Blondy denounces the United Nations’s inaction. In the song “Immigrés”, he warns the migrants against the danger of dying while crossing the Mediterranean sea…

Listen here.

This week we also listened to:

  • Mama Weja by Raz & Alfa  
  • Baile & Bass by Vhoor
  • Kele-le by Various Artists
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