Review: Brazil 45s hit the quarter century in their run and show no sign of stopping. It's an all-girl affair on this one as two hugely popular and prolific singers take a spin under Mr Bongo's spotlight. Elizabeth (often known as Elizete) lays down a steamy samba flavour that gets raunchier as the track develops. Elza, meanwhile, gets busy on a Bossa tip as a carnival of percussion and horns go toe-to-toe with her sharp, sexy staccato vocals. Powerful.
Review: El Mero Guero Sonidero is a fairly well known DJ on the Californian cumbia underground, though this seems to be the Bay Area resident's debut single release. As with many cuts on Discos Mas, "Cumbia Chulita" offers a suitably 21st century take on the Colombian genre, with traditional elements - accordions, vocals, hand percussion - sitting side by side with hip-hop vocal samples, intergalactic synth lines, heavy sub bass and shuffling drum machine beats. His love of dub delays, wild synthesizer lines and spoken vocals comes to the fore on spaced-out B-side "Saludos Desde Oakland", which is pretty out there despite the presence of a relentless cumbia riddim.
Review: vKeen Africa 45 followers should recognise Eshete's name as he's appeared on the series before. Mr Bongo call him the Ethiopian James Brown and the Abyssinian Elvis... And they're not far off. This 74 rarity shows him crooning and crying at full pelt over a solid funk groove that's powered by piano and guitar. Flip for an equally rare vocal track from fellow Ethiopian Girma. Recorded in 69, full focus is squared on the lavish organ leads while the horns provide a soft but sturdy backdrop.
Quitate El Sosten (Javi Frias extended disco edit) (6:56)
Quitate El Sosten (James Rod rework) (5:50)
Gozame Ya (Mr Absolutt feat Beauty Spot Excited version) (6:25)
Review: Cosmic Records Store is a brand new label with just a touch of mystery around the team behind them. If this launch release is anything to go by, there's a touch of class, knowledge and connections too. Celebrating the phenomenon that is the Muse Of Transition, Susana's allure is compounded by her political sexuality in the wake of Franco's demise. Sultry, silky and playful throughout, CRS have enlisted three key Spanish editors to join the party as Mr Absolutt, James Rod and Javi Frias all add groove extending, dubbed out magic to the originals. We can't wait to hear what Cosmic Record Store have up their sleeves next...
David Tapfuma - "Magamba" (Esa Zimtronix Direct mix) (5:19)
Review: This compilation style outing from Southern African music enthusiasts Nyami Nyami is billed as "an ode to the music of Zimbabwe past and future". Side A boasts cuts from two Bulawayo-based "Kwela" outfits: a terrific, heavily percussive future dub interpretation of Bulawayo Kwela's "Mysterious Africa" by The Comet Is Coming producer Danalogue, and the sparse, sun-kissed acoustic bliss of Elliot Phiri's "Nomalanga". Turn to the flip for two versions of Hararre-based David Tapfuma's beautiful "Magumba". There's the original version, where Tapfuma sings over a solo mbira melody, and a superbly glassy-eyed, synth-heavy 21st century club version by Auntie Flo collaborator (and hugely talented producer) Esa Williams. As good as the rest of the EP is, his version is worth the admission price on its own.
Review: DJ Gandharva and Von Yodi's long serving Budabeats label is always a trusted source for razor sharp disco digs and more esoteric sounds from the four corners of the earth, and they continue their recent leap to vinyl with this stunning selection of jams from the southern hemisphere. Letta Mbulu's Soweto funk gets a little edit treatment from Petko Turner, while BeTe takes on Camila Costa's gorgeous Ponto Das Caboclas for a perfect sundown reflection led by tender acoustic strumming. Chillum Trio work up a sweat over Ebo Taylor's "Odofo Nyi Akyiri Biara", creating a certifiable party burner in the process, and then Birdhouse completes the package with the irrepressibly funky "Berimbao".
Review: Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul unleashes two more once-rare gems on 45: recently spotted on The Man From Unkle soundtrack, tropicalia fusionist Tommy Ze gets fuzzy and frenetic with "Jimmy Renda Se". With its deep cut, loose string riff, rhythmic Q&A vocals and occasional strings, it's one of many reminders of how out there Tommy was. Flip for the equally unique and alluring "Kizumbau" where Eduardo and his troupe let us imagine what life would have been like if The Doors and Babe Ruth were Brazilian and collaborated.
Review: Last year, long-serving "global pop" innovators Deep Forest (now a solo project by co-founder Eric Mouquet) returned to action with a collaborative album co-penned by fellow "Worldbeat" veteran Daniele Gaudi. Here Moquet presents the first solo Deep Forest set since 2015, a breezy and sun-kissed set inspired by the music of Brazil. What you get is a dreamy and effortlessly melodious blend of indigenous rhythms, electronic instrumentation, dreamy chords, heartfelt vocals (in this case largely in Portuguese), ambient atmospherics and slow-motion synth-pop sensibilities. There are few surprises, but then you wouldn't expect them: after all, Mouquet is a master at producing this kind of accessible pop. If you're a fan of Deep Forest, you'll love it.
Review: Cameroonian legend Victor Edimo's rare and collectable Decca Nigeria album Thank U Mamma enjoys its first reissue since being released in 1981. Five tracks tight but crammed full of vibes, this is one of the funkiest, sunniest and most vibrant albums to come out of Lagos in the early 80s. From the blissed, bless 'thank you' vocal loop of the title track to the blazing feels of "Marina Drive" to Victor's signature freak bass licks on "You", this is such a beautiful album from start to finish.
Review: A veritable French fusion institution; classically trained Cameroon musician Eko Roosevelt Louis was responsible for a catalogue of exciting jazz funk, disco and afrofunk records throughout the 70s and remained active touring Europe until the 90s when he returned to Cameroon to inherit the role as tribal chieftain from his grandfather. Released in 1979, Funky Disco Music was his third album and packs some of his most powerful compositions. The triumphant title track says it all; laidback, charming and full of positivity it sets the scene for the whole trip. Highlights include the rock-tinged soul chugger "Une Chanson Sans Paroles", the highlife uplift of "Doi Da Manga" and the smouldering showstopper finale "Emen Ango". Dig deep and enjoy... Africa Seven promise more Eko reissues in the near future.
Ritmo Realidad (feat Celso Pina & Alika Y Nueva Alianza) (3:22)
Huepaje (feat El Rama) (3:30)
Che Revolution (feat La Dame Blanche) (3:40)
Que Te Vaya Bien (feat IMS) (4:09)
Camino Sin Fronteras (3:51)
Feliz Naranja (3:04)
Oka Dale (3:19)
Buen Dia, Buenas Noches (3:13)
Review: Despite being based in the frequently snowy surroundings of Malmo, Sweden, El Hijo De La Cumbia is one of the hottest producers of "nu-cumbia" around. "Genero Genero", his first full-length for ten years, is said to be the product of a decade spent "travelling the world, learning and absorbing new styles and rhythms". These varied influences and inspirations can be heard throughout the LP, which supplements his usual nu-cumbia rhythms and vocals with sounds and instrumentation more often found in tango, reggae, Afro-jazz and heavy dub releases. It's a blend that makes for alluring and entertaining listening, suggesting the album will hold up to many repeat listens.
Review: Moroccan musician Abdou El Amari was arguably one of the first composers to combine traditional North African music with contemporary Western styles. Amazingly, he only ever released one album: 1976's much sought-after Nuits D'Ete Avec Abdou El Amari. Original copies of that set are notoriously hard to find (if you do score one, it would cost you nearly a grand) making this reissue something of a surprise treat. It's a set of "Arab electronics" - a curious mixture of intoxicating organ motifs, Middle Eastern rhythms programmed on dusty early drum machines, quirky synthesizer melodies, and copious amounts of hashish-inspired tape delay. Even all these years on, it still sounds utterly bonkers, and is well worth further investigation.
Review: First issue of this previously unreleased Oriental psych monster from the 'organ king of Casablanca and second part of Abdou El Omari's Nuits-trilogy combining traditional rhythms with spaced out modern sounds. This album contains heavenly compositions for the Moroccan diva Najma Samih and some moody instrumentals in a similar vein to the first album. A very curious mixture of traditional Middle Eastern Music with lounge, and even rock music style drumming on several tracks. High quality pressing. Artwork and label design by Pieter Heytens.
Review: From their Jeri Jeri roots, Hard Wax maverick Ernestus's Senegalese drum ensemble work elevated to Ndagga Rhythm Force in early 2015. Sprinkling our collections with beautiful cosmic dub tech ever since, the troupe bring the 12"s together for a full album adventure. From the instantly distinctive percussive layers and thin glimmers of highlife guitars on "Lamb Ji" to the intense rolling drums and yearning vocals of "Jigeen", climaxing with the hi-hat-snapping "Yermande", the detail, soul and richness of this project is near matchless.
Review: First time reissue: Christy Essien's fourth album from 1979 is a remarkable piece of work in so many ways. Well-chiselled songs, laced with Christy's signature poetry, a rich afrobeat fluidity runs throughout the arrangement flickering between soft-focus island style ("Respect Your Man"), salubrious foamy funk ("Take Life Easy"), powerful soul ("Understanding") and synth-rippled dancefloor soul ("You Can't Change A Man") Madly she was only 19 when she made this record! No wonder she's known as Nigeria's 'first lady of song'.
Review: Released deep in the throes of her tenure as Nigerian pop's 'First Lady Of Song', "Give Me A Chance" is the fifth album and the first reissue since its 1980 by the late great Christy Essien captures just why she became such a universally loved artist; Essien can tap any type of groove and make it her own. From the country blues of "Give Me A Chance" to the warm reggae bubbles of "Ife" via the afrodisco of "Rumours" and all fusions in between, the combination Christy's powerful presence and super tight band made this one of her best albums.