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7 albums to discover this week

This week, London-based artist Alewya drops her first project, while Ghanaian rapper M.anifest is on his fifth album. Msaki evokes South African traumas, Kizz Daniel sings about love and Muthoni Drummer Queen talks about culture. Myele Manzanza revisits jazz and Nyege Nyege Tapes explore the traditions of the Buganda kingdom. 

Panther in Mode

Alewya

An exploration into the world of one of the most exciting new artists on the UK scene, Panther in Mode is the debut EP from London-based artist, illustrator and sculptor Alewya. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian father and an Ethiopian mother, on this six-track project the artist blurs the lines between African-derived rhythms and London electronic sounds. The release of this EP follows the release of the singles “Play” and “Spirit_X”.

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Buganda Royal Music Revival

Nyege Nyege Tapes

Tapping into a tradition that dates back to the 14th century, the Buganda Royal Music Ensemble is a revival of a scattered heritage. Throughout the album, we’re introduced deeper to an array of instruments and textures, like the buzzing Bugandan lyre (endongo), the resonant akadinda xylophone with its 21 large wooden keys and Temutewo Mukasa’s restless praise sung with his harp (ennanga), the hand-made gourd trumpet (amakondere), the entenga “drum-chime” and its core set of 12 drums tuned like the amadinda xylophone, or the tightly intertwined melodies of the flutes ensemble (abalere).

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Platinumb Heart : Open and Beating

Msaki

South African singer-songwriter Msaki unveils a dense double project, set in the injustices and the beauty of contemporary her country. Her new album is a sonic condemnation of the Marikana massacre; a South African tragedy taking place in the country’s North-West province in 2012. Msaki uses her voice and her skill as a musician to bring to life and judgement the stories of the past, all while endlessly experimenting with the sounds of the future. As she says it herself in our interview, “if you’re attached to any kind of genre in its purest form, you will hate me because I’m gonna mess with it in all imaginable ways.”

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Barnabas

Kizz Daniel

Kizz Daniel’s Barnabas comes two months after the Nigerian singer released fan favourite “Lie”. The project houses seven tracks in line with the current Afrobeats trends. Producers like Blaise Beatz, Reward Beatz, Young Jon, Roc legion, Philkeyz and Coublon are renowned talents who worked to see that this body of work is worth the hype around the artist.

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Madina To The Universe

M.anifest

The iconic Ghanaian rapper M.anifest pays tribute to his hometown with a fifth studio album, going beyond spatial geography and exploring the hidden places of his mind, heart and soul. From the highlife-infused “Confusion”, which speaks about the beautiful chaos of living in Accra, the sweet and sour “Weeping Clouds”, the loving “Game Over” and “La Vida”, the album is an energetic yet touching portrait of what fascinates, preoccupies and drives the award-winning rapper. As he told us in an interview, it came after he went “back to his creative essence”. 

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Crisis & Opportunity, Vol. 2 – Peaks

Myele Manzanza

Myele Manzanza‘s new record was primarily recorded with a crew of New Zealand expats based in Europe. “We had a concert booked in Poland and when there was a lift of the lockdown last year to travel  we knew it was now or never. Because one of the band members lives in Helsinki and another one lives in Berlin – Berlin became the most logical place to rehearse, convene and record the album. In terms of the music I’d initially written five or six tunes with that band in mind but I was getting a bit of writer’s block.  Then after a while I thought “I’m not going to overthink this – I’m going to allow time for the four of us to just play. I might give a little music direction like start in A minor – Play! and then something might happen in the last 15 seconds before a jam evolves off”, he told us in an interview. 

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River

Muthoni Drummer Queen

Muthoni Drummer Queen’s new album takes its name from the artist’s constant evolution, faith and thirst for experience. “A lot of cultures believe in the idea of going back to the roots, like water forming a natural cycle, coming down from the mountains to form rivers, oceans, and then evaporating back to where it came from,” she says. “But I believe that we never really leave our source, that it is embedded in us, that we carry it wherever we are.” To bring this new project to life, she has enlisted the likes of Swiss production duo GR! & Hook. It is a partnership that has been going on since 2013 and lays the foundations for a mix between electronic sounds and organic African music. 

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