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9 new albums you should listen to this week

This week holds innumerable surprises. Between new albums and reissues, from Djibouti to Norway, through Egypt and Peru, we have concocted a treasure trove of a list.

Something Else
Mr Eazi

The Nigerian music giant returns with the much-anticipated EP, Something Else. He explains: “This project was inspired by Kel P and Killertunes, who kept coming to meet me in Accra until I finally recorded ‘The Don.’ And that opened the door for me to go back into the studio.” The single “The Don” is a true exploration of Mr Eazi‘s growing success. He says: “I spent the whole year working on building emPawa Africa and turning into Don Eazi, the tycoon.” This new EP promises a return to the smooth fusion of Afrobeats and highlife.

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With Love
Omar Khorshid

The WeWantSounds label have re-released the album With Love by one of the greatest guitarists of the Arab world, Omar Khorshid, an artist who played with the likes of Abdel Halim Hafez, of the “fourth pyramid of Egypt” as well as Oum Kalthoum and Farid El Atrache. Here, we are able to rediscover a true monument in the history of fusion. This cornerstone of pan-Arab music includes humorous arrangements, sounding as modern as ever decades after its release. His unique playing style seems to reflect his life as an immigrant, having left Egypt in the early 1970s following political unrest, to settle in Lebanon, before moving to Syria in 1978.

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Saturday Night – South African Disco Pop Hits – 1981 to 1987
Various Artists

Entitled Saturday Night – South African Disco Pop Hits – 1981 to 1897, this is an irresistible pop and disco compilation from the Cultures of Soul label, paying tribute to many South African artists and hit tracks.  Brenda & The Big Dudes grace the record twice on “No No No Senor” and “Love Action.” Supa Frika is also present with “Let’s Get On It” and “Love Satisfaction,” a track imbued with his signature, irresistible romanticism. Margino contributes “Holiday” and “You and Me,” which at times recall the character of Afro-electro. Others  honored include: Black Five, Soundburger, Vukamai and the Hot Soul Singers, promising us “Good Vibes” from start to finish.

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Ol’ Burger Beats & Vuyo

Ol’ Burger Beats, the master of lo-fi in Norway, is once again teaming up with rapper Vuyo for their new album, Dialogue, following the success of their 2020 EP All Yours.. The latter creates a symbiosis between hip hop, jazz and soul, aiming to sublimate Vuyo’s soft rap, which blends in sharp social critique. Their interplay is full of reflections on current debates, in the era of Black Lives Matter. They  expose the considerable number of Black men murdered on “Brothers,” while mocking certain paradoxes in “Summer of George,” where Blackface is evoked: “You see I’m so not racist that I don’t see racists.

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The Peruvian QOQEQA transports us to the land of Afro-Latin polyrhythms via electronic music, exploring the sounds of his ancestors: “This album is a consequence of my Peruvian roots, the coast, the Andes and the Amazon jungle.” He adds: “On this record, you can hear African patterns on ‘Omega,’ ‘Qoqeqa’ and ‘Puntea,’ Andean influences on ‘Latido,’ ‘Tutume’ and ‘Ama,’ tribal and Amazonian textures on ‘888,’ ‘CalaXucla’ and ‘Kshanti,’ and a modern mix with dembow on ‘Kilo’ and ‘Momposina’.” This album represents a second wind for electronic music.

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Super Somali Sounds from the Gulf of Tadjoura
4 Mars

The label Ostinato Records plunges us into Djibouti’s with the release of the 4 mars group’s album, entitled Super Somali Sounds from the Gulf of Tadjoura. The name of these artists echoes the date of the founding of the Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progrès Party (RPP), which is still in power today. This party considered music as necessary in order to achieve independence, thus placing artists under the wing of the state. The recordings of this album were all made in the studios of the Djibouti Radio Television Broadcasting (RTD), but also during live performances at the national theater. It is therefore a real historical gem, revealing the little-known past of Djibouti.

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Conflict of Interest

The rapper Ghetts continues his campaign on the British music scene, praised by many media outlets, including The Guardian. The artist is perceived as one of the most important grime talents and notably refused, at the end of the 2000s, to integrate pop into his sound. This would have prevented him from achieving higher success, but we are now in a new era. With his album Conflict of Interest, Ghetts asks us to accept our contradictions: “At first I was trying to present just one version of myself — But then I got halfway through the album and realized that I’m a very conflicted human being. I had a real moment of clarity where I realized that all these different qualities make you who you are, from anger to joy to pain. This album helped me learn to embrace that.”

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O céu é velho há muito tempo (variations)
Lucas Santtana

The Brazilian singer and composer Lucas Santtana has released a soothing EP of bonus tracks from his latest album. A reflection on the links between intimacy and the social situation in Brazil, this artist leads a meditation on sublime political songs that are full of poetry. Faithful to the tradition of the tropicalists, Lucas Santtana develops a soft and positive ethical stance in guitar-voice, and places his love as well as collective resistance in opposition to the hatred of Bolsonaro’s government. His title “Uma (Criança)” gently evokes the joy of the arrival of a child in the world, while “Logout” encourages women to free themselves from the weight of social networks.

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Destination: Known/Paradise

Dam-FunK is back with its two-track EP Destination: Known/Paradise, released on its own label, Glydezone Recordings, which was founded in 2016. This master of funk unveils “Destination:Known,” a seductive track that lulls listeners with soft percussion while kicking up the energy on “Paradise.” This track offers an exquisite mix of funk and jazz, reminiscent of the rhythms of the 80s, although he defines his style as “modern funk.”

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