1. 1. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou - Volume 3: The Skeletal Essences of Afro Funk

    Once again, record label Analog Africa, go back to Benin to lift the lid on another volume of old afro funk from the great Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou (the so-called 'DNA of Vodou Groove'). With a mixture of rhythms ranging from Jerk Fon, Pop Fon, Cavacha Fon and Jerk Sakpata to Vodoun, Sato, Afrobeat, Bossa and Pachanga, Volume 3: The Skeletal Essences of Afro Funk (Volume 3) maintains the unique blend of funk and Beninese beats highlighted on Vols 1 and 2: 'The Vodun Effect' and 'Echos Hypnotiques'. 'Ecoutes Ma Melodie' is a French language, Bossa Afro which just gets under your skin and turns your spine to mush. The b-line is divine! The rippling guitar and organ, the unstoppable hi-hats and rimshots, the rhythm guitar skanks and the backing choir of saxes: there’s not a note out of place.

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  2. 2. Debashish Bhattacharya - Beyond The Ragasphere

    Guitar legends John McLaughlin and Jerry Douglas collaborate with Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya to explore Beyond The Ragasphere, accompanied by a galaxy of friends including tabla giants Pandit’s Bickram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose and introducing the stunning vocals of his teenage daughter, Anandi Bhattacharya. 

    Via his ever-thirsting passion for travel and touring, Debashish has jammed with a stellar line-up of international musicians. On this album he is joined by jazz guitarist John McLaughlin and Bluegrass dobro legend Jerry Douglas. The Spanish guitarist Adam del Monte peppers his flamenco fire over several tracks, and Jeff Sipe, an American jazz-funk drummer, also joins Debashish on his kit. Tabla accompaniment is variously provided by two of Debashish's childhood friends, the eminent players Pandit Bickram Ghosh and Pandit Tanmoy Bose. Bass vamps are delivered by Mainak Nag Chowdhury, aka 'Bumpy', a friend and student of Debashish. Other collaborators include nylon-string guitarist Nishad Pandey, keys player Raja Raj Narayan and flautist Soumya Jyoti. 

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  3. 3. Kobo Town - Jumbie In The Jukebox

    Founded by Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born. Kobo Town takes the intricate wordplay of classic Caribbean music and runs it through a twenty-first Century filter. In the world of Kobo Town calypso, roots reggae, and acoustic instrumentation meet innovative production techniques, social commentary and indie rock attitude.

    Kobo Town’s second album Jumbie in the Jukebox is released by Stonetree and Cumbancha. The result of the collaboration between Kobo Town and producer Ivan Duran is a striking recording that reflects their mutual commitment to revive the folkloric music of the West Indies by taking it in new creative directions.

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  4. 4. Various Artists - Kenya Special

    Kenya Special is a collection of thirty-two recordings (most of which were only ever released on small-run fourty-five rpm seven-inch singles) that stand out as being different or unique as well as some classic genre standards. From Kikuyu language ‘liquid soul’, Luo benga and Swahili afrobeat to genre-bending Congolese and Tanzanian tracks recorded in Nairobi, Kenya Special sees Soundway yet again taking the less trodden path. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation highlighting how diverse the music scene in Kenya was at the time.

    Spread out over two CDs and one triple LP, Kenya Special is accompanied by detailed liner notes, original artwork and photographs. It follows on from Soundway records much acclaimed African ‘Special’ series that to date has focused on the highlife and afrobeat output from 1970s Nigeria and Ghana. 

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  5. 5. Samba Touré - Albala

    Albala was recorded at Studio Mali in Bamako in the autumn of 2012. In this album, Samba is joined by his regular band members Djimé Sissoko (ngoni) and Madou Sanogo (congas, djembe) and guests such as Zoumana Tereta, the legendary master of the soku (a one-stringed violin) and the fast-rising Malian neo-traditional singer Aminata Wassidje Traore. Additionally, Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds, Dirtmusic, Fatalists) contributes an array of subtle atmospherics on guitar and keyboards, with Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts, Dirtmusic) and Philippe Sammiguel in the producers' seats.
    Meaning 'danger’ or ‘risk’ in Songhai language, Touré's album expresses his feeling towards the cataclysmic situation in Northern Mali, in 2012, being globally reported. He communicates his apprehension of a world crashing around him by adding more gravity to his voice and his lyrics. The undertones of his musical arrangements are more complex and an extra string is added to his electric guitar. Touré takes more musical risks but still manage to compose powerful and meaningful songs 

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  6. 6. Peter King - Shango

    Composer and multi-instrumentalist is a seminal yet under-recognized artist on the Nigerian music scene of the 1970s. Though he recorded nine albums in Africa, the U.S., and U.K., Shango is the only one currently available. Recorded in 1974 and reissued now,  Peter King's Shango is a mixture of hard African rhythms, James Brown-styled funk, jazzed-up horn arrangements, and political messages. From the standpoint of the Lagos scene, the album is a classic of the period rivaling virtually anything that Fela or Tony Allen were putting across at the time. With King blowing deep-groove soul and out jazz saxophone solos above the chants, the music becomes a boiling pot of hip-shaking sexiness and rage.

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  7. 7. Eskorzo Afrobeat Experience - Hypnotic Covers

    Eskorzo Afrobeat Experience presents their first work with a four-track EP: Hypnotic Covers, available on vinyl and digital formats. The band's name can be associated to the syncopated beats of the heart of Africa.Their incendiary blend of danceable rhythms: rock, reggae, funk, soul, Balkan rhythms, Mediterranean, ska or tango makes them one of the most emblematic of bands on Spanish 'latino' and world music scene. They have created a new repertoire of Afrobeat covers of all-time radio hits soon to be available in the audience´s hands. 

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  8. 8. Colomach - Colomach

    Colomach is a very limited vinyl-only re-issue of a truly unique and obscure LP from 1974 released by Soundway records. Performed by the cultural rock band Colomach and led by Northern Togo musician Gneni Mamadou, this record was recorded in EMI Nigeria's state-of -the-art studio and only ever released in Nigeria in tiny numbers.The album is a truly original fusion of traditional music from the arid Sahel region of West Africa (the northern areas of Togo, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and parts of Burkina Faso and Mali) with raw 'garagey' psych-rock that was honed playing alongside similar 'cultural' bands of the era such as Hedzoleh Soundz and Edzayawa.'

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  9. 9. Los Desterrados - Dos Amantes

    In Dos Amantes, Los Desterrados bring a vibrant new life to the ancient music of the Sephardic Jews. Fusing Spanish Flamenco and the fiery Gypsy melodies of the Balkans and Greece with the rhythms of North Africa and Turkey, Los Desterrados have created a rootsy Mediterranean sound that is wholly their own. 
    Featuring traditional instruments such as the cajon and oud with vocals in Ladino, the language of the Sephardic Jews, or Hebrew, the unconventional arrangements and rousing rhythms Los Desterrados are heavily influenced by the music they have all grown up on as native North Londoners – rock n’ roll, jazz, folk, flamenco, funk and soul.

  10. 10. Tony Allen & Abayomy Orchestra Feat. BNegão - Meus Filhos Afrobeat Rework

    Last summer, as afrobeat pioneer and drummer to Fela for over a decade Tony Allen brought his band on a tour of Brazil, one of those rare-but-awesome organic musical collaborations emerged as a cover of Jorge Ben‘s Brazilian funk and samba classic Meus Filhos with Abayomy Afrobeat Orquestra featuring BNegao, now available through Comet Records on 10- inch record. Meus Filhos — which translates to ‘my children’ in Portuguese — is intended to celebrate the cultural lineage of African music in Brazil, and certainly does that legacy justice with its afrobeat rework of the original. While the new track is highly enjoyable in its own right, the ease of translation from one genre to the next should come as no surprise — Brazilian music has long been rooted in the Afrobeat traditions of the home continent, and the South American country boasts the largest population of peoples of the African diaspora in the world.

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  11. 11. Solo Hit - Imoikeme

    Solo Hit is an artist with a very twisted and funky sound, discovered and produced by the legendary musician Victor Uwaifo. Solo Hit’s real name is Ohieirme, which means 'God gave me'.
    He was born in 1954 in Avbiosi, Western Nigeria. His father, Igbuan, was a popular guitar player and his mother composed and sang songs in the local idioms, while she worked at home. 
    Most of the music on Imoikeme is listed as Owan Native Blues or Luleha Native Highlife. It was released on an earlier LP he issued in 1981 when he was still a member of the Titibitis. Recorded at the Victor Uwaifo’s Joromi studio, this unique sound was dubbed by Oba Afro Funk. The sound on all his recordings reflects the way Solo Hit explored the local Edo folklore for rhythms and stories to use in his songs.

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  12. 12. Rokia Traoré - Beautiful Africa

    Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré’s Beautiful Africa will be released on April 2013. Premiered here is the brilliant title track, which finds the Malian singer lamenting the effects of war and conflict on her homeland in her native languages of French and Bambara, while the last verse is spat out angrily in English ('Yet my faith does not know failure'). With a voice that can flit between beautifully soothing to uncontrollably impassioned in an instant, it is a stirring plea for calm which ends with the line: 'Lord, give us wisdom, give us foresight'.

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  13. 13. Various Artists - The Rough Guide To African Disco

    Disco done African style can mean a whole throng of divergent sounds and The Rough Guide To African Disco serves up a hand-picked platter of the continent’s most sensational party vibes old and new. As the 1970s dawned, the all-glittering, all-dancing sounds of disco were reverberating right around the globe. Creative scenesters put their own spin on the disco sound, mashing together the rhythmic pulse of funk, soul and Latin with African grooves; soukous, Afrobeat, township jive and more. Legendary Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphone player Manu Dibango is heard on the driving track ‘Yekey Tenge’ as well as Osibisa, Tony Allen, Mango Groove and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. 
    The bonus disc is a one-off re-issue of Soul On Fire by Maloko. Hear the works of Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and James Brown as they have never sounded before – soukous style!

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  14. 14. Sunlightsquare - Ochosi

    After 18 months since releasing the BBC acclaimed Britannia-Shing-A-Ling, Sunlightsquare unveil the first single from their new and astonishing studio album. Recorded during a long session in Havana, Ochosi offers a rare glimpse into the real world of contemporary Santeria. Producer, composer and band leader Claudio Passavanti sits down with a group of thirty musicians all involved in the cult of Yoruba and carefully carves a modern and amazingly relevant piece of dance music. The London based label also release an incredible documentary videoclip on the making of this track. 

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  15. 15. Various Artists - Movements 5

    Movements 5 is another representative release for this close collaboration between label and musician. as with previous releases in the movements series, volume five features detailed liner notes that include unpublished band photos that may have never seen the light of day had it not been for tramp's mutually beneficial artist/label relationships. the happiness and pride felt in an enthusiastic 'thank you man!' from a seventy-five-year old funk musician could not be counterbalanced by all the gold in the whole world.

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  16. 16. Various Artists - Overdose Of The Holy Ghost

    Overdose Of The Holy Ghost is a compilation made by David Hill, released under Z records. In this selection, David shares his in-depth research on gospel music, which only recently became 'appreciated by fans outside of its original target market, and I’m glad to help it finally reach a wider audience.' The album features The Clark Sisters, Linda Evans, Shirley Caesar and many more. This compilation brings together overlooked gospel gems that have their production rooted in disco and boogie, the sound of the early 80s that followed in disco’s wake. 

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  17. 17. Rachid Taha - Zoom

    The new album is another step down the musical path that saw the Algerian singer marry electric guitars and the Arab oud, but this is also a Zoom into the future. Like every new album of his, he wants to continue writing a story in which he plays the hybrid, fantasy hero who’s one-third Sinbad, one-third John Wayne and one-third Alan Vega. Because, the way he sees it, you conquer the American west by starting in the east. 
    Produced by Justin Adams, Zoom presents Taha in all his generous, inclusive diversity: 'Les Artistes' and 'Zoom sur Oum' are infectious desert-boogie grooves re-routing John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley through North Africa, “Ana” lopes like a Johnny Cash country ode, punctuated by vivid bursts of oud. 'Galbi' recalls the South-western style of Calexico, while 'Fakir' is a compelling Cajun-Arab crossover of rocking squeezebox and swirling guitar.

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  18. 18. Sam Amidon - Bright Sunny South

    Nonesuch Records releases Sam Amidon’s label debut Bright Sunny South on 14 May. Produced by Amidon with his childhood friend and longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club, Vashti Bunyan, R.E.M.) and recorded in London, the record features a band made up of Bartlett and multi-instrumentalists Shahzad Ismaily and Chris Vatalaro. Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also makes a cameo. Amidon himself not only sings but also plays banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album.

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  19. 19. Runaway Orchestra - Runaway Orchestra

    Mr Bongo presents Runaway Orchestra’s self-titled debut album: a collection of ten cover songs that feature the beautiful vocals of Sophie Madeleine (a side project to her solo work) and the folk arrangements of Deft. Across it’s ten tracks, Runaway Orchestra offers the listener carefully crafted covers of classics, with each track delivering a fresh folk twist. Opening with The Turtles 1967 hit, ‘Happy Together’, re-worked as a delicate love song, the track flows with lush string arrangements and Madeleine’s warm and inviting voice.
    Sophie Madeleine is best known as a ukulele-playing singer and songwriter, who takes a joyful DIY approach to her music. Though she started her musical endeavors on the piano, before teaching herself the guitar, it was finding the ukulele that made Madeleine feel most at home. She captivates her large fan base with her soft vocals, her classic 60’s French songstress looks and her hands on, direct to fans approach to her musical work. She is a self declared fan of Pledge Music – an organisation which provides fans and artists the opportunity to work together to make new records and raise money for charity.

  20. 20. Aero Manyelo - Kasi Vibes

    South African house is going electro and Aero Manyelo is at the forefront of it. With Kasi Vibes, the South African producer und Dj takes you right into a typical Township party. People come together, have a drink and doing a braai (having a barbecue). The soundtrack to these parties is house music. Each neighborhood in a Township is considered a kasi: the name used for South Afica black's hoods. And each kasi has its own specific house sound depending on the people living there. Aero Manyelo‘s real name is Eric Manyelo. He is from Ivory Park in Tembisa Township, located in the north of Johannesburg. He is known for adding an electronic twist to the rocky township drums many of us know since DJ Mujava came along with Township Funk.  
    The first track captures the vibe. ‘Rabo dlegha‘ is kasi slang for „Let us get some refreshments to party”. It became a reminder to all people enjoying the extensive party life in Johannesburg not to forget the villiage they come from. 'I hate sundays' refers to a situation Aero Manyelo finds himself in djing on a sunday night. 

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