6 albums you need to hear this week

In this week’s selection: Ezra Collective’s London jazz, Japanese traditions revisited through cumbia by Minyo Crusaders, K.O.G highly energetic album, Ekiti Sound creates the soundtrack of the new diaspora, Kwesi Arthur raps about life in Ghana and Sahel Sound is back with some retrofuturistic music from the Sahara.


Ezra Collective

You Can’t Steal My Joy

London quintet Ezra Collective is one of the most exciting bands of the new English Jazz scene. Drawing from Afrobeat, Latin music, as well as from Hip-Hop and Grime – their unique blend and inclusive approach to music has seen them break out way beyond the thriving UK Jazz scene. Following their acclaimed debut EP, their first album, You Can’t Steal My Joy matches its expectations. It features friends and fans, among which Loyle Carner, KOKOROKO and Jorja Smith (on the song “Reason In Disguise” released last year), as well as a cover of Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place” and a tribute to Fela Kuti.

Stream the album here.


Minyo Crusaders
Echoes From Japan

Echoes From Japan, debut album from Tokyo based big-band Minyo Crusaders is much more than a proof of concept. They manage to blend japanese traditional min’yō music with cumbia, afrofunk and ethiojazz in an unexpected and refreshing way. The idea of this unforeseen mix comes from guitar player Katsumi Tanaka: “To Japanese People, min’yō is seen as a traditional music and thus, intellectuel. But it’s actually popular music, work songs, songs for dancing and drinking. I wanted to give these song their literal meaning of songs for the people.”

Stream the album here.

 


K.O.G
Wahala Wahala

Under the guidance of the outrageously talented Ghanaian force of nature Kweku Sackey, aka K.O.G, and the whirlwind of energy that is Jamaican rapper Franz Von Song, the Afro-fusion 8-piece band K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade deliver an infectious, high-energy West African grooves drawing on afrobeat, soul, funk, rock, hip hop and reggae which has fast gained recognition in London and all over the UK. K.O.G’s signature mix of high-energy songs, raps and operatic vocal effect.
With a backdrop of African rhythms that include electric brass, thunderous percussion and sharp-edge guitar, ‘Wahala Wahala’ takes possession of the body as the words excite the mind. Racism, rejection, inequality, exile – the subject matter is always serious but the delivery irresistibly upbeat and rhythmic, guaranteed to get the feet moving because in every pain, there is also joy. It’s music from our soul telling stories how we were told growing up and merging grooves and African rhythms to exhibit the spirit of AFRICA in relation to where we are in the diaspora”, says K.O.G.

Stream the album here.


Ekiti Sound
Abeg No Wex

Ekiti Sound’s debut album Abeg No Vex is a starkly original record, built up of layered musical histories, fragmented and unified all at once, cohesive in its celebration of difference. “It’s a way of paying tribute to where I come from,” Leke says. “It will help circulate this name which represents the energy that my parents gave me.”

Leke’s adopted name is a nod to the Nigerian state, where his father was born. His family repeatedly moved back and forth between the UK and Nigeria, most often between their two capitals, London and Lagos. He’s continued to be based between the two, laying down roots in both cities as an adult, working as a sound editor both for Nollywood, the booming film industry in Nigeria, as well as for the UK’s esteemed Pinewood Studios

Abeg No Vex clatters the bass frequencies of UK soundsystems – from drum & bass to dubstep and funky house – with the styles and traditions of Nigeria. Ekiti Sound spearheads a new musical dialogue between London and Lagos.

Stream the album here.


Kwesi Arthur
Live From Nkrumah Krom Vol II: Home Run

Fast-rising Rap sensation and youngest Ghanaian artist to have a BET nomination Kwesi Arthur released his much anticipated debut album studio, Live From Nkrumah Krom Vol II: Home Run. A 9 track album which features, Mr Eazi, Shatta Wale, Nasty C, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and production made by MOG Beatz, KaySo and Uche.
Kwesi was discovered through the Tema-based music platform Ground Up Chale,
which gives people access to studio time and support. “Ground Up is my foundation,” he says to Okayafrica.
Kwesi raps in both English and Twi (a dialect of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana), his music is a reflection of his life and to ghana’s history and Nkrumah heritage.

Stream the album here.


Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla

Terrouzi

Terrouzi is a standout entry in synth music from the Sahara, a future vision of Mauritania WZN. Indulging the digital keyboard for all its plastic sounds, accompanied with the thump and clash of programmed electronic drums, Ahmedou’s style is difficult to place. Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla plays instrumental electronic keyboard in a style known in Mauritania as WZN, or in Arabic simply “music.” Born into a musical family tradition (his father is a renowned tidnit player from Traza), today Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla is one of Mauritania’s most premiere keyboard performers. With Terrouzi, Ahmedou leans heavily into outernational pop music, creating anachronistic pieces that veer from 90s slow jam R&B, to bass heavy boom bap and minimal trap.

Stream the album here.


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