In this week’s selection: Samthing Soweto highly anticipated album, Rachid Taha’s posthumous album, the reissue of Nahawa Doumbia’s debut album and much more to hear this week.
In the past few years, Samthing Soweto’s visibility grew beyond live music enthusiasts to the whole country when he started collaborating with house producers such as Sun El Musician, Black Coffee, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Mobi Dixon for massive December hits. Called Isphithiphithi, his first album consists of 13 tracks, with DJ Maphorisa, Kabza de Small, Mlindo The Vocalist and MFR Souls for the main features. It looks like the album is a major milestone for Samthing Soweto’s career and solidifies his name in the music industry.
Tales Of America
J.S. Ondara offers a unique take on the American dream on Tales of America, his debut album. Ondara grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, listening to American alt-rock and making up his own songs for as long as he can remember. From a stockpile he says is hundreds of songs deep, Ondara chose 11 for Tales of America. The entirely acoustic Tales Of America was produced by the Grammy-nominated Mike Viola, also known for his work with Jenny Lewis. It includes an appearance by Californian artist Madison Cunningham and a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’.
Je suis Africain
Rachid Taha died at age 59 from a heart attack on the night of September 11-12, 2018, as he was putting the finishing touches on this album. Je suis Africain is the posthumous album from the legendary Algerian singer Rachid Taha, its highlights for the last time the king of “rock-chaâbi” diving deep into his roots as usual. With boundless energy, he wrote the ten songs of the album with Toma Feterman for his eleventh solo album.
Gyedu Blay Ambolley & Zantoda Mark III
Originally released in 1980, Control is an extremely hard-to-find Ghanaian LP from legendary musician Gyedu-Blay Ambolley. Made of tough highlife, funk and boogie moods, Control is a treasure of Ghanaian culture. Nowadays, Ambolley is still actively touring, keeping these vibes alive. This is the third Gyedu Blay Ambolley LP that is reissued on Mr Bongo, following on from his seminal ‘Ambolley’ and ‘Simigwa’ recordings.
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol.1
Recorded when she was barely 20 years old, La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol. 1 looks back to the beginning of Doumbia’s long career when her voice was remarkably strong yet still developing. Accompanied by her future husband N’Gou Bagayoko on acoustic guitar, whose style echoes the nimble runs of traditional kamele n’goni players. The stark simplicity of this highly intimate recording—the audible room acoustics, the occasionally in-the-red vocals—do not obscure the mature strength of her voice.
Kenke Corner EP
Taken from Philantropiques, released on March 29th on Heavenly Sweetness, Kenke Corner EP is a collection of few tracks remixed by guests like Canadian producer Poirier, Mozambique-native singer Samito or afro-disco french band Voilaaa. A dancefloor-oriented EP that embodies quite well Guts’ approach of blending influences.