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5 albums you should listen to this week

This week the romantic sounds of Youssoupha’s  Neptune Terminus floats into our playlist, as does Sarah Maison’s her EP, Soleils. Meanwhile, Omar Sosa shares his musical discoveries in East Africa with An East African Journey, and Smadj continues his artistic exploration with Dual, a project existing at the intersection between France, Portugal, Turkey and the Middle East. Also, Teno Afrika pays tribute to South African musical history via Amapiano Selections.

Neptune Terminus

The rapper makes his comeback with the release of his sixth album, proving himself to be just as engaged as he was for Noir Désir, which was released back in 2012. In the video for Astronaute,” Youssoupha arrives like a messiah dressed in a space suit. The rapper denounces police violence: “The police here think they are RoboCop.

This album is surely the most personal of his career, as illustrated by the omnipresence of his son on the project: “I talk about it in ‘My King.’ There is always this complex of being a good father. And there, I wanted to pass on this message: ‘Do not try to be like me and do not try to be perfect.’ That’s what transmission is all about, I’m transmitting emotions to you but certainly not a way of being. We each reinvent our lives in our own way.” He also claims to be very relaxed in this album: “I accept that I am not perfect. What was a mantra at the time when I absolutely wanted everything to be right, to make my records, to be an irreproachable person, well there is a new gimmick that comes back in this album and it is: I did not choose to be right. I chose to be happy.” Youssoupha is accompanied by several artists, also advocating happiness, following the example of Imani in “A chaque jour suffit sa peine,” Jok’Air in “Après-Soirée,” Josman in “Collision,” Lefa and Dinos in “Kash” or Gaël Faye in “Interstellar,” in which Youssoupha repeats tirelessly: “Let’s not be afraid to be happy.

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An East African Journey
Omar Sosa

Omar Sosa explores timbres and strings from Madagascar to Ethiopia, Burundi to Mauritius. “I always say that Cuba is a province of Africa,” jokes Omar Sosa, whose new album is a musical journey through seven East African countries in search of commonalities and connections through rich collaborations. He says: “Africa is much more than drums. Africa exports the drum as the main flag of Africa. And yes, that’s great! But Africa has beautiful melodic string instruments.”Accompanied by sound engineer Patrick Destandeau, Omar met and recorded with eight players of traditional string instruments, including the eighteen-string Madagascan artist Valiha, the Ethiopian Krar and the Kenyan Nyatiti.

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Smadj continues to explore the world of electro-jazz, blending Eastern and Western vibrations. In his ninth album, from Portugal to Istanbul, via Montreuil, the artistic director has composed his whole life in exile: “I was born in Tunisia but I grew up in Paris, lived in London or Istanbul, for eight years. Paris again, then Lisbon as well, all punctuated by twenty-five years of travel around music and tours …” Now settled in a village in Bourgogne, a French region, Smadj pays tribute to all these countries, whether it is the Turkish or Armenian repertoires or the Lisbon’s local traditions concerning the Portuguese guitar: “The Muslim imprint is still very important there. The city also welcomes many musicians from its former colonies. I met many African artists from Mozambique, mixed orchestras, kora players…” Oud player, he is also very influenced by Egyptian, Iraqi and Syrian music. This new album is therefore the image of all this fusion: “I like to assemble genres that are opposed. I like to build bridges between opposites.

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Sarah Maison

This EP comes at just the right time, bringing us a little joy in this difficult period. She defines herself as “the amazon who insinuates herself in your drunken nights, the forbidden cherry on your Sunday baklavas; half hallucinated pythia on the heights of the Atlas, half folkloric empress in the shelter of a high Arverne volcano,” while singing about love and its mysteries on “J’avais pas compris.” She says about this new project: “I let my heart speak, I hope you will find comfort and love, it was made in the surpassing of oneself and confidence in life. May my suns light your lantern, in all modesty, no matter where you look and listen.” Bass, oriental strings, flute, guitar and synths blend perfectly in this symbiosis between Europe and North Africa.

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Amapiano Selections
Teno Afrika

Teno Afrika pays tribute to the amapiano with this new album gathering several futuristic pieces that are currently enjoyed by music lovers in South Africa. It walks in the footsteps of South Africa’s youngest electronic music movement, long considered a hybrid subgenre of house music. Teno Afrika explains: “I started following amapiano in 2016 because I wanted to explore how it was produced. It wasn’t taken seriously in our country.Amapiano Selections introduces us to the musical history of South Africa through kwaito and deep-house, by way of jazz and gospel. Lutendo Raduvha, as he is known, has spent most of his life moving between townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng province, immersing himself in the genre.

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