Salem Tradition - "Kabare" (Alma Negra rework) (5:15)
Lindigo - "Tany Be" (Alma Negra dub) (8:55)
Review: For the latest excursion on their eponymous label, the Alma Negra crew is in full remix mode, in turn reworking tracks from contemporary Maloya combo Lindigo and lesser-known French Afro artist Salem Tradition. Their vocal and dub interpretations of the former's "Tany Be" are particularly special. While the dub is little more than a killer spaced-out percussion track with added delay-laden vocal and instrumental snippets, the "remix" is a near perfect fusion of woozy, spacey deep house and traditional maloya - all half-chanted vocals, snaking sax lines and warm bass. Those looking for heavy and druggy, kick-drum driven tribal Afro-house vibes should head straight for the remix of Salem Tradition's "Kabare", which is little more than loads of drums with an evocative vocal atop.
Roger Damawuzan - "Loxo Nye" (Pushin Wood remix) (5:39)
Napo De Mi Amor - "Cacatchoule "Berceuse Bassari"" (3:04)
Sewavi Jacintho - "Miade Dua" (5:35)
Review: Hot Casa's latest must-have release is a veritable smorgasbord of Togolese treats. It focuses specifically on obscure soul music made in Togo in the 1970s, with two hard-to-find original cuts being joined by two contemporary re-edits of similarly obscure classics. The EP opens with Bosq's smooth, dancefloor-focused tweal of Yta Jourias's breezy, horn-heavy tropical soul workout "Adome Nyueto", before Pushin Wood takes over and adds a little contemporary electronic bounce - and some particularly colourful synths - to Roger Damawuzan's "Loxo Nye". Over on side B, Napo De Mi Amor's "Cacatchoule Berceuse Bassari" is a fuzzy soul shuffler rich in bright, Juju style guitar solos, hazy vocals and Hammond organ stabs, while Sewavi Jacintho's "Miade Dua" is a sweatier and heavier concoction powered by loose-limbed drumming and sun-kissed instrumentation.
Review: Kaleta's first full-length collaboration with the Super Yamba Band, 2019's "Medaho", was something of a slept-on treat: a fiendishly psychedelic Afrobeat affair that was every bit as heavy, colourful and vibrant as you'd expect. Here, one of the album's standout tunes gets the remix treatment courtesy of long-serving, party-starting musical fusionist Bosq. The Ubiquity and Soul Clap stalwart delivers vocal and instrumental passes of "Jibiti", both of which make great use of Kaleta's vocals and Super Yamba Band's fuzzy, Fela Kuti-style horn lines. Bosq's groove is closer in feel to Afro-disco than the original album version, though the bassline, organ stabs and vocals are pure Afrobeat gold.
Review: First up: Tito Puente (AKA The Musical Pope) with an epic live version of "2001 Space Odyssey". Recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1974 it's never been pressed to 45 during its highly sought-after 41 years. Flip for the hard jazz sounds of Sahib Shihab and "Om Mani Padme Hum" is riddled with thundering percussion and lightening crack pianos. It has flutes so frenetic they'd make Ian Anderson blush and takes its name from an ancient Sanskrit word. Biblical business.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: London-based Japanese DJ/producer Koichi Sakai debuts with an EP that boasts a fine cover of one of Santana's most percussive moments, "Jingo" - a track later re-imagined as disco gold by Salsoul artist Candido. Sakai's version, featuring vocalist Afla Sackey, is a little more laidback, summery and Afro-centric than either of those famous versions, with a thickset analogue bassline being overlaid with jaunty guitar riffs and lashings of sweaty percussion solos. Over on side B, you'll find two versions of the deeper and sweeter "Wono": a languid, percussive and Afro-centric take by Osunlade and a Pocz remix that joins the dots between Balearic electronica and Afrobeat.
Review: Another week, another must have edition in Mr Bongo's essential Brazil 45s series. This time round they've offered up a genuine rare-as-hen's-teeth gem: Sonia Santos's 1974 single "Marraio", a fiery slab of samba-funk fusion laden with rousing horns, shuffling beats and busy bass. It's brilliant all told, and well worth the admission price on its own. Of course, the flipside from Marcia Maria is also superb. A little less hard-to-find but still rare, 1979's "Oh! Man" is a more relaxed and groovy MPB affair that joins the dots between jazz-funk, soul and samba. It's undeniably sun-kissed and celebratory, like much of Maria's work in that period.
Review: When Congolese musician Albert Siassia moved to Paris in the early 1980s, it wasn't long before he joined forces with a local reggae band that he re-christened Tokobina ("Let's Dance" in the Lingala language, fact fans). Together, they released a handful of inspired but now notoriously hard-to-find records, from which two of the tracks here are taken. There's "Mama Africa", an unashamedly positive dancefloor workout full of glistening, South African style guitars, dub disco grooves, bustling, rumba-influenced percussion and Siassia's headline-grabbing vocals, and "Pointe Noire", a superb chunk of new wave/Afro-disco fusion that's arguably even better than the EP's title track. The other two tracks have never before seen the light of day on any format, having been rescued from long forgotten demo cassettes. Of these, it's the Congolese reggae sweetness of "Sangi (Demo Mix)" that hits home hardest.A killer first release from a new label brought to you by one of the Sofrito Crew Hugo Mendes
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues with aplomb... On their eighth outing we find the hugely prolific 60s/70s troubadour Wilson Simonal paying homage to the legendary Jorge Ben with two exemplary cover versions. Whether it's on the soft big band emphasis and teasing fills on "Zazueira" or the upbeat, feel-good swinger "Silva Lenheira" there's a raw clarity to Wilson's vocals that instantly endure; the way he pushes his voice to the very edge of breaking on the high notes and a rich, clear delivery, he's the consummate soulful showman.
Samba Du Scujonamentu (Danilo Braca & Bahia Alegria remix) (5:05)
Samba Du Scujonamentu (Danilo Braca instrumental Saudade Bossa mix) (5:26)
Samba Du Scujonamentu (Eld Russell Reggae Basement mix) (5:56)
Review: A true product of 2020, Dino Simone wrote and recorded 'Samba du Scujonamentu' during Italy's early lockdown as a "lucky charm" of hope and positivity. Now the track enjoys a swathe of remixes that take this heartfelt ditty in new directions, from the easy groove of Massimo Berardi's version to the tender, soul stirring musicality of Danilo Braca and Bahia Alegria's Latin-influenced take rendered across three distinct mixes. There's also Simone's light-hearted original to enjoy, plus Eld Russell's swirling, heavily treated 'Reggae Basement Mix' for those who like things dubby.
Djidjo Vide (feat Elikeh - Jose Marquez remix) (8:06)
Lift It Up Again (6:21)
Review: Given the struggles the World has faced this year, the escapist hedonism of the Sol Power Allstars - a jubilant, floor-friendly fusion of African, Caribbean, South and North American influences - feels like a much-needed shot in the arm. They're at their celebratory best on Sol Power Sound's tenth release. Vocalist Massama Dogo and guitarist Frank Martins lead the line on impressive opener "Va Se Da", a contemporary slab of Afro-house goodness. The accompanying dub, a tougher, sweatier and more bass-laden proposition, makes the most of the previously buried horns courtesy of LA band Jungle Fire. On the flip, Jose Marquez provides a suitably spacey, percussion-rich, Afro-synth style rework of classic Sol Power cut "Djidjo Vide", while "Lift It Up" is a sleazy slab of trippy Afro-acid with added hazy horns.
Review: Beastie Boy Mike D Edit has decided to rework Malian artists Idrissa Soumaoro and L'Eclipse De L'I.J.A. and their track 'Nissodia' - from the 1978 album Le Tioko-Tioko - for this new one on Brighton label Mr Bongo, the second time it has landed on the label, having previously been on The Original Sound Of Mali in 2017 Both tunes are pumping, full flavour Afro jams with screeching melodies and big, jangling, angular guitars all powered by funky beats. Each one is guaranteed to light up any cultured dancefloor.
Review: Time Capsule's latest dive into lesser-known Japanese musical culture doesn't focus on dusty old music from the dim and distant past, but rather relatively obscure music made between 2008 and 2016 by artists specializing in "Island music" - a kind of hard-to-pigeonhole and stylistically eclectic sound with a defiantly tropical twist. This eclecticism makes for great listening and some genuinely unusual and entertaining musical fusion. For proof, check the hybrid jazz/reggae/jazz-funk flex of Speak No Evil's self-titled opener, the reverb-laden, bottle-neck Balearic blues of Aqatuki and the dub disco-with-surf guitars of Altz. Best of all, though, is probably the dubby exotica of Keichi Takanka, who delivers two contrasting versions of the same track ("City of Aleppo" and "City of Dub"). Top stuff!
Review: The latest missive from the Imagenes camp sees Los Charley's Orchestra rework two tracks from Manana, a Spiteri side project that released one jazz-fusion/samba disco album in 1981. Both "Amor" and "Disco Samba" are taken from that obscure but inspired set, and are here given "vocal" and "instrumental" revisions from the Los Charly's boys. All four revisions hit the spot from start to finish. We're particularly enjoying the spacey synths, low-slung dub disco grooves, fluttering vocals and well-placed delay effects of their "Amor" versions, though many DJs may gravitate towards the rolling, AOR disco bounce of the duo's more celebratory remixes of "Disco Samba".
Review: Kalita Records has thus far proved adept at sniffing out obscure, overlooked classics and reissuing them. Their latest "flip" is as rare, little known and hard-to-find as they come: a one-shot 1985 Caribbean boogie cut from Bahamian musicians Stirling March (now a minister and gospel singer) and bassist Rocky Rolle. "Under Cover Lover" is bright, breezy and sun-kissed, with jaunty synthesizer lead lines and hammered-out piano parts dancing above a tasty groove that fully showcases Rolle's boogie bass skills. Stirling March's lead vocal is superb too, with the Bahamian slickly delivering the loved-up lyrics with aplomb. The flipside "Instrumental" version is typical of New York style boogie dubs of the period, with more attention on the drums, bassline and ricocheting vocal snippets.
Review: Afro-funk combo Supergombo previously impressed with a pair of sweltering albums, but it's been three years since their last essential audio missive. This return to action is therefore more than welcome. They're in fine form too, with brilliantly named A-side 'Alien Felines From Beyond The Galaxy' offering an excitable and smile-inducing fusion of spacey, far-sighted Moog synthesizer solos and the Lyon-based band's usual horn-fired, Afrobeat-inspired grooves. Flipside 'Flows' draws on Ghanaian Highlife influences as well as Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, with glistening Ebo Taylor style guitars, snaking sax solos and fiery horn motifs rising above another insatiably infectious groove. It's good to have them back!
Susuansu/Nana Bue Me/Yewo Adaagye/Krokrohinko/M'anoma/Moma Yen Sore (15:36)
Review: Essential Hi-Life & Afro-Funk from Ghana! The legendary K. Frimpong's fantastic rare second album recorded in 1975 at Ghana Films Studio. As a prolific songwriter and singer, this is reissue of his 2nd album, a modern fusion of Hi-life and the traditional beat called Ahyewa. The excellent background is given by the Super Complex Sounds band which makes the Ahyewa beat suitable for specialist dancefloors.A must have vinyl of percussive Afro-Funk & modern Hi-life . Remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, pressed on Deluxe Replika format, fully licensed to the Alhadji Kwame Frimpong Family.