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12 new albums you should listen to this week

12 new albums you should listen to this week

Every week, we highlight significant new releases available on streaming services. This week’s selection includes albums from Urban Village, Poly-Rythmo Orchestra, Estère and more.

Udondolo
Urban Village

The long-awaited album of the young quartet from Soweto is a concentrate of South African’s history music. Imbued with zulu tradition, the songs of Urban Village carry within them the experiences of the black South African people, forced to leave their provincial hometowns to work in the mines of Soweto. The result is a sprawling music composed of zulu guitars, indie folk, isicathamiya-inspired choirs and jazz, all carried by a striking spiritual energy in homage to the asphalt of their ancestors.

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Archetypes
Estère

Her third album spread a world of sound that unfolds at the intersection between R&B, folk and electronic music. It marks a style that she named Electric Blue Witch-Hop, and one that took shape on her second album back in 2018, entitled My Design, On Others’ Lives, which gave her the chance to open for her idols Grace Jones and Erykah Badu. This third album is thus an invitation to explore the Archetypes, images and models of our collective imaginations as told by the storyteller Estère. Love, death, motherhood, fear, childhood and sexual desire …

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Amazigh EP 
Prace

For the avid followers of the ever thriving Dutch music scene, Joram Kroon’s Prace project is no secret. Driven by the desire for collaboration between local producers and musicians, Prace’s sound design brings together the real and digital worlds. Gnawa music then takes on the appearance of club music and combines both past and present. Electronic music recorded live with musicians from Morocco, and Prace’s hypnotic trick is played.

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Mel Malonga

Member of the magic opera of the Vol du Boli and artistic director of the Mamans du Congo, Mel Malonga releases his first solo album around one word: (listening), which translates one of the deepest images of his motivation as an artist, entertaining and awakening consciences. Through a return to the source of Congolese rumba and his heritage across the Atlantic, the singer and musician retraces the history of music in his home country, a way for him to keep his musical heritage alive with young Congolese musicians, whom he continues to train in Brazzaville.

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ZIK ZAK
Ancient Astronauts

The duo of German DJs and producers is once again teaming up with still emerging singers, rappers and musicians from the African continent to create an organic mix of hip-hop and reggae. These artists prove once again on this album of travels and chance encounters, that the important thing is not the dropping but the landing. The sound quality is far better than a big name stuck on the cover.

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Ayra Starr 
Ayra Starr 

She represents the young Nigerian generation, as much in her lyrics as in her musical influences. The new Mavin Records recruit offers a spectacular debut through this song for lonely souls, oscillating easily between afro-pop, alternative R&B and trap. On the five tracks that comprise this first opus, Ayra’s neo-soul voice reveals a whole range of emotions, from the sadness of a break-up to the joy of a new beginning.This kaleidoscope of influences affirms Ayra’s global approach to music, and at just 18 years of age she is looking forward to a multi-faceted international career.

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Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1
Gilles Peterson et Stuart Baker

The list of new musical genres that emerged during this period is as long as is the title of the compilation. Yet that takes nothing away from how rich and fascinating a treasure it is. Compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker on the Soul Jazz label, the collection explores the new styles that emerged in Cuba during the 1970s, including jazz, funk, tropicalia, disco and salsa. These are genres that Cuban artists experimented with at their own pace, giving rise to new and inspiring musical forms.

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Samā’ī
Azmari

Azmari is a musical odyssey where ethiogroove, dub, psychfunk and oriental sounds are expertly fused, inspired by artists such as Okay Temiz, Mulatu Astatke, Cymande, Fela Kuti and The Heliocentrics. An Azmari, literally “the one who praises” in Amharic, is an Ethiopian singer-musician, comparable to the European bard or the West African griot, often accompanied by a masenqo – a one-stringed violin – or a krar, a type of lyre. This debut album is a long desert crossing, sending the listener back to a higher state of consciousness.

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Al Najma
Tawsen

The young Belgian musician concludes his trilogy with Al Najma (the star), bringing together earth and sky. After Al Warda (the wave) and Al Mawja (the flower), Tawsen lets himself be guided by romantic melancholy in a style that flirts easily with reggaeton, afro, dance and trap, without ever deceiving his listener. Unclassifiable and unpredictable like the “Weather,” which doesn’t prevent him from expressing his unconditional love and being present on a date, even when it rains. 

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Hikikomori Blue
Spoek Mathambo

The South African global music producer is back with Hikikomori Blue on his own label Teka Records. A journey to the heart of different musical styles from South Africa and the world, in a global atmosphere. The artist’s latest project is a meditative album on the healing properties of bass dub music during difficult times. The title, Hikikomori Blue, refers to the social phenomenon of Hikikomori, the modern day hermits (which literally means “pulling inward, being confined” in Japanese).

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Vol. 4 – Yehouessi Leopold Batteur
Orchestra Poly‑Rythmo

Gilles Peterson’s label has been exchanging treasures with the great Beninese label, Albarika, and has unveiled one reissue from 1978, when the band was at the height of its power. For many DJs and dancers, this album has long been consecrated thanks to the incendiary track “Aiha Ni Kpe We,” an Afrobeat recording that elicits dancing from all listeners. Get ready because this is only the beginning of an exclusive licence deal with the Albarika label.

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La voix de la rue
Warped

His tone of voice and his poet’s pen bring a breath of fresh air to Guadeloupean reggae. Author, composer and performer, Warped is an artist who sings about life on universal themes as well as on more serious subjects such as racism, the people who manage to get by, or the situation in Guadeloupe, his native land where he has his musical heritage. With a saxophonist father, a drummer father and DJ cousins, there is no doubt about the musicality of his melodies.  

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