The Villain I Never Was
20-year-old Konongo rapper Black Sherif releases a highly anticipated first album, The Villain I Never Was. This project drops after an impressive run of hits, such as “Second Sermon” and its official remix featuring Burna Boy, the heart-felt “Kwaku The Traveler” and more recently the introspective “Soja”. With The Villain I Never Was andits 14 tracks, Black Sherif delivers on every promise. He’s versatile, from singing to rapping with his unique voice. He switches seamlessly from choir-drill on tracks like “Wasteman”, to emotional reggae on “Don’t Forget Me”, produced by London. This first project is a very personal deep dive into Black Sherif’s mind, and a great demonstration of the Ghanaian act’s range and potential.
A new face of the London house scene, TSHA has been turning big heads from Annie Mac and Bonobo to The Gorillaz breaking through with a string of singles in 2019 and 2020 like the deep house “Sister” or the poppier “OnlyL” featuring NIMMO. TSHA quickly began to incorporate sounds from the African continent in her work, at first seduced by Queen B’s The Lion King: The Gift original soundtrack, and taking a peculiar interest in Malian music. The single preceding her new album “Capricorn Sun” featured the songbird of Wassulu Oumou Sangaré. This project is a cohesive collection of uptempo sounds like “Power” and melancholic, nostalgia-inducing songs that feel like a 2000’s drama soundtrack in the best way possible.
Star Feminine Band
“We are Star Feminine Band, we are musician sisters. The music is our job. We are strong”. From the introduction of their second album In Paris, the seven young girls of the Star Feminine Band make sure you get it right. Urrice, Sandrine, Marguerite, Julienne, Grace, Bénie and Anne range from only 12 to 19 years old, but their music is mature and its themes even more so. Throughout the album’s 10 songs, they discuss women and children’s conditions in Beninese and African society at large. They sing in French, English, and the local languages of Benin, more specifically their native city Natitingou. With lyrics like those of “Le mariage forcé” (“Forced marriage”) and “L’excision”, they confidently deliver their messages. They also excel instrumentally, jamming on the bass, guitar, drums, keyboard and more. The mix of smooth rock and traditional East-african sounds is lively and impressive.
Sun Ra Arkestra
After a more than twenty years hiatus, the Sun Ra Arkestra marked a prolific return: Swirling, the Outros Espaço project with Brazilian act Rodrigo Brandão and a joint album with Egyptian percussionist Salah Ragab. With this new project Living Sky, the Arkestra pays homage to its founder Sun Ra, as well as Pharoah Sanders. The legendary free-jazz saxophonist who died in September. This album is led once again by Marshall Allen, 98 years old and the last founding member of the group. Allen also composed 3 of the 7 tracks. As always, the Sun Ra Arkestra offers a brilliant and spiritual free-jazz performance, recorded in the Rittenhouse Soundworks studios in Philadelphia.
South-London DJ and producer Hagan grew up on the voices of highlife legends Pat Thomas and Edo Taylor, and Ghanaian gospel resonating in church. He documented the electronic music movement on the local scene. So it only makes sense that he drew inspiration from his memories in Ghana to create the many layers of his new album Textures. This 11-track gqom and house fuse tells many stories. Hagan told PAM the origins of the third song “Royal Jama” : “if you watch the Ghanaian football team you will see that before they play they come together and they play rhythms to kind of hype themselves up. […]So I used a sample of this on that track”.