In this week’s selection: Elza Soares’ dirty samba, Sampa The Great debut album, an unreleased album of Ghana highlife star Ebo Taylor, Ahmad Jamal’s new album and much more to hear this week.
Sampa the Great
Sampa The Great creates a sense of home on her debut album – “The Return”. A characterful record, its reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. Built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, it’s an assured statement, the product of meaningful musical connections and of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends.
Tireless advocate of the women’s rights, and loud activist for the Afro-Brazilian culture, legend Elza Soares released her 34th studio album with Planeta Fome via Desk Records. The new album features notable artists from Soares’ native country, such as veteran rapper BNegão and rising artist Rafael Mike. On the single “Libertação” the diva invites Brazilian vocalist Virgínia Rodrigues and afro-futuristic band BaianaSystem.
Under Frustration Vol.2
The multidisciplinary Tunisian collective Arabstazy dedicated to the inter-connection between heritage, identity, culture, and digital arts in the Arab world, returns with the second volume of the compilation series Under Frustration, released by InFiné & Shouka. This project led by Mettani imposes itself as a manifesto of a nouvelle vague of the Arab underground futurism, by representing its diversity and deconstructing the occidental stereotypes which fantasize about a culturally homogeneous Arab world.
If Fela Kuti was the king of Nigerian Afrobeat, then Ebo Taylor, 83 and still playing hard, is the king of Ghana Funky-Highlife. No doubt whatsoever. The long-lost, previously unreleased 1980, album Palaver is now reedited by BBE Music under record label collection Tabansi. Agreed on a one-album session to be released exclusively on Tabansi, while on a club tour of Nigeria with his regular touring band, Ebo bumped into Chief Tabansi of Tabansi Records, but for reasons that no-one (including Ebo) can now fully recall, the master tapes got shelved in a dusty backroom in Tabansi’s Onitsha HQ.
Featuring three original compositions alongside three duets with long-time collaborator the bassist James Cammack, Ballades also includes also a solo version of “Poinciana”, recorded between takes during the session for Marseille. Jamal’s new album is a French-inspired love letter to his past, the legend said. With over a career that stretches seven decades, the pianist continues to deeply mark his time.
Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda
Made from tracks recorded in the ’00s, Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda explore the birth of electronic acholi dance music in Northern Uganda. The compilation’s tracks were originally recorded between 2003 and 2008 in various studios in the two cities, and feature renowned acholi vocalists including Otim Alpha, Bosmic Otim, Jeff Kornodo and Zing Zang & City Boy.
Soundway Records reissuing the second album in the trilogy from the in-demand New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and producer. Originally released in 2013, ‘Curiosities’ blends jazz with disco-tinged neo-soul, reggae and classic afro-beat in effortless manner – and joins the dots between the more downtempo first album ‘Melodies’ and the disco, electronic, club-ready sound of his third album ‘Harmonies’. The album also features a dub-funk cover of Pharoah Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan”, with vocals from Lisa Tomlins.