Nana Benz du Togo
A phenomenon straight out of Togo, Nana Benz is a five-member group: Kasanku, Lady Apoc, Parus, Toto and Izealedu. They take their name from the “nana benz”, the businesswomen of Lomé’s market who like to drive Mercedes. Born of an almost chance encounter during a music workshop, the group has succeeded in creating a new sound thanks to a powerful artistic cohesion. The result is AGO, an album infused with voodoo culture, a deeply ecological tradition linked to nature. The group’s soulful electro is accompanied by homemade percussion made from pipes and suitcases, giving rise to organic sonorities that diffuse their almost esoteric sounds. The album was partly produced and written by Peter Solo, member of Vaudou Game, and a big name in Togolese music. A vibrant album well worth the detour.
After the crazy Yagana EP, the band Pigeon vanished into thin air. But the group disappeared, only to reappear this June with the Backslider EP. The project features spaghetti western visuals to accompany the Afro-disco of these five endlessly inspired artists. The five-piece band, led by Guinean singer Falle Nioke, explores new musical avenues, integrating jazz and no-wave with disco rock. Mandinka, English and French, there’s no stopping the group, and the EP still exudes the DIY ambience typical of this jam session band. Let Pigeon’s hypnotic keyboards and groovy guitars project you into their world.
Ghanaian artist Amaarae is back with her second album, Fountain Baby. An album driven by Amaarae’s angelic, lascivious voice, which has enabled her to shine locally despite the dominance of Afrobeats and Drill in Ghana. Foutain Baby is a sumptuous mix of alté, R&B and pop, which doesn’t hesitate to veer towards baile funk, dream pop, or even rock with the tumultuous “Sex, Violence, Suicide”. Let your soul soar to the rhythms of the koto (flat Japanese harp), the dundun (Mandingo percussion) or the kora on this futuristic Afropop album. A nebulous album in tune with a youth seeking alternative forms of expression.
MUGOGO! Album 2
FlexFab & Ziller Bas
Make way for modernity with MUGOGO! 2, the follow-up to MUGOGO released in 2022. The dynamic duo of FlexFab and Ziller Bas deliver an album rich in energy and sharp drops. Everything from modern African club music to electronic beats and rap. The Swiss beatmaker and Kenyan rapper serve up an explosive cocktail of club music sprinkled with infectious bass and glitch-core. Ziller Bas gives a fine demonstration of Kenyan bass music with his deep vocals and meticulous rhythms. But the album also welcomes guests to add a new musical dimension, as on “Matso”, where Teddinho adds a baile funk touch to the duo.
Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy
A short detour to northern Ghana to listen to the incredible O Yinne!. Yes, Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy are back with a second album. Not gospel, but frafra-gospel, a blend of the traditional sounds of the frafra people and gospel. But there’s more to O Yinne! than that, with touches of synthesizer, reggae and rolling West African rhythms rounding out this Afro-futuristic nugget. A fine testimony to the musical heritage of Frafra’s capital Bolgatanga.
Taa! Our Language May Be Dying but Our Voices Remain (Botswana)
Gonxlae, Xhashe, Qoba, Keba, Ntebogang, RUDY, Kagiso, Dottore, Txao, Tsaa, Qasa, Duxwa
Taa! Our Language May Be Dying but Our Voices Remain is a magnificent album, but more than that, it’s a sublime project to preserve a rich cultural heritage in musical form. Producer Iann Brennan traveled to Botswana as part of Glitterbeat’s Hidden Musics series to record songs in the Taa language. This language has 112 sounds, making it one of the richest languages in the world, but with just 2,500 speakers, it’s a dying language. The album is above all composed of shamanic chants, prayers and mantras repeated in a ghostly atmosphere. These repetitions convey complex thoughts as much through the lyrics as through the jangling sounds of Taa. Accompanied by the sweetness of kalimbas and a few percussive notes, Taa! Our language May Be Dying but Our Voices Remain is a musical gem, but also an important trace of a language of rare complexity that should be preserved.
Tribal Progressive Heavy Metal
Normal Nada the Krakmaxter
A detour to Lisbon and its underground scene with Normal Nada the Krakmaxter’s Tribal Progressive Heavy Metal. Nada, or Teteu, his real name, is an artist who wears many hats. Sometimes designer, sometimes producer, but also historian, his projects are polished from start to finish to produce a whole of which he is the master. The artist explores the Angolan structures of kuduro and tarraxinha, giving rise to a style known as “meta-kuduro”. Tribal Progressive Heavy Metal is a raging album, a patchwork of trap, bass music and heavy metal, but also a tribute to the music of West Africa. The result is unique and personal, but without forsaking that touch of madness that sweeps bodies away with disconcerting ease.
Vibe Till Thy Kingdom Come
Seyi Vibez doesn’t rest, having already released 3 projects in the last 7 months, and returning with two albums this month, including the phenomenal Vibe Till Thy Kingdom Come. Last year, Seyi exploded onto the scene, and with this new album he proves that this is just the beginning. The Nigerian artist with his distinctive voice offers us an album of street amapiano. His style bridges the gap between amapiano fuji and Arabian notes like on the track “For the Gods”, a refreshing ensemble combining seyi’s old love for fuji and his talent for amapiano. With Vibe Till Thy Kingdome Come, Seyi Vibez demonstrates the extent of his range, his captivating delivery at the service of productions blending modern and traditional elements. This soulful music is undoubtedly just the beginning of the Nigerian artist’s ascent.
We The Beautyful Ones
South Africa is bursting with talent, and Kwela proves it this month with We The Beautyful Ones. The member of Joburg’s flagship jazz collective, Kwani Experience, is releasing his first solo album, and it’s safe to say that the quality is there. Kwale’s music fuses his influences of afro-pop, indigenous music, praise poetry, hip-hop and electronica. He continues to push the afro-funk sound of Kwani Expérience, but with a refreshingly personal approach. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t work with other talented artists on this album, including the brilliant South African guitarist Sibusile Xaba on several tracks. An afro funk and experimental jazz project that, once again, proves that Soweto is teeming with brilliant artists.
Work Of Art
Ahmed Ololade continues his ascent, after Mr Money With the Vibe, which climbed to the top of the charts in the USA, making his mark again with Work Of Art. It’s an album on which he takes the opportunity to thank the heavens for having reached his current position, a tribute he expresses not only through his lyrics but also through his music, which is lined with gospel harmonies and punctuated by touches of organ. But it’s also amapiano that takes a place of honor on Work Of Art, with the characteristic bass omnipresent, declaring his love for the South African genre on the heady “Amapiano”. Asake’s Afrofusion sound is a meeting of Nigerian Afrobeats, dancehall, fuji and deep house synths. An album with an ideal sunny hue in which Asake talks about love and his relationship with success. Summer can start!