Heart of Light

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“Heart of Light” – the last words uttered publicly by democratically elected first president of newly independent Congo Patrice Lumumba at his inauguration address, 3 months before his murder by Belgium and CIA, because he dared to oppose the Western forces of oppression and planned to keep the wealth of the Congo for the Congo.  Freedom and hope was killed in 1961, with disastrous consequences that last until today, but The Heart of Light can never die…

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Rumba traveled back to Africa via Cuba and Haiti in the 40s and 50s, later developing into Soukous, arguably peaking in the 60s and 70s, and lived on well into the 90s with a more streamlined and modern sound. This mix is only a tiny slice of this glorious sound from the later periods: 4 on the floor, with enough bass for modern dance floors.  Excluded are examples from the ocean of older, incredibly varied recordings, of supreme beauty and artistic merit but many of which sadly have poor sound quality, as the best musicians in the world were, and are, often recording under the worst conditions and with the worst equipment.

Despite being the biggest African music export in history, African Rumba is still criminally under exposed in the Northern Hemisphere.  Yet this music is crucial, and should be very important to anyone interested in Dance Music, anyone interested in Pop, in Rock, in Soul,  in Jazz, in Funk, in Reggae, etc.  Objectively speaking, in terms of raw musicianship, in terms of composition and arrangement, and if we break down the rhythms and melodies to mathematical patterns and study them, these highly evolved structures are perfectly designed and executed in every way.

I grew up with Industrial Noise, Punk, and Metal, and it wasn’t until my late 20s/early 30s until i was emotionally mature enough to appreciate amazing sounds like this. Please leave your cynicism at the door and embrace this music, for the truth is, something Africans have known all along, that ultimately the most powerful revolutionary force, of which the powers are afraid, is not anger — it is love.

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01 Sam Mangwana – Liwa Ya Niekesse
02 Orchestra Makassy – Kufulisika Sio Kilema
03 Papa Noel – Bel Ami
04 Kosmos Moutouari – Liberte
05 4 Stars – Mayanga
06 Kanda Bongo Man – Ebeneza
07 Mpongo Love = Femme Commerçante
08 Unknown – Zoum
09 Sam Mapangala – Dunia Tuna Pita (We’re Just Passing Through the World)
10 Kanda Bongo Man – J.T.
11 Bilenge Musica Du Zaire – Wazazi Wangu
12 Empire Bakuba – Nazingi Maboko
13 Alain Kounkou – Soukouss Grands Effets
14 Nyboma – Maya
15 Elali – Mawa (Ngai Mawa)
16 Synthez – Virée aux Antilles
17 Fifi Map – Libala Ya Bomwana
18 Africa Maestro – Na Decide
19 Bicko Tchéké – C’est chic
20 Kanda Bongo Man – Sango
21 Meiway – Nanan
22 Luambo Lwanza Makiadi & L’Orchestre TPOK Jazz (Franco) – Casier Judiciare

NGOMA 14 – DRUM

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This edition in the Ngoma Mix Series focuses on new 125 bpm African Electronic Dance Music.  As i have argued in the “Real Roots of Kwaito” piece for This Is Africa, American and European Disco, House, and Hiphop were crucially influential in the beginning stages of development of post-Apartheid South African urban music, but since then SA House and Kwaito have matured and grown into its own skin, much more an extension of indigenous rhythm cultures than related to “Western” dance music.  For example the beat patterns in these tracks are distinctly different: the constant off-beat high hats found in the US and Europe are almsot entirely absent; and with much more rich and developed rhythm elements and very different emphasis, this music should probably be thought of as simply new African dance music, with not much to do with what is traditionally known as “House” or “Techno” at all.  

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Selections come mainly from South Africa and Angola, with lots of percussion, many balafons, a touch of jazz, some diasporic elements from Cuba and Colombia, couple tunes made in Spain, and a  shot of Nigerian Pop at the peak.  This is the first part, relatively bright in feel:  stay tuned for DRUM 2 – the dark side.

01 Dj Shimza & Cuebur Ft 340ml – Let The Sunshine (Reprise)
02 Invaders Of Africa – Impi Yamakhanda
03 Culoe De Song – Tsonga Song
04 Pro Tee – Thee Broken Keys
05 Dj Small Jon – Return Of the Drum
06 Black Motion feat. Nqobi  – Second Thoughts
07 Dr Ada T feat. Muzaic – Ewe
08 Jason Cheiron – Primal
09 Monocles, Slezz – Umba Kayo (Dj Alpha Kazu Dub)
10 Mbuandje – Mbuandja (Reprise) + Zozo – Totos Dance
11 Pablo Fierro – Agua (Nuevayorkquinas Mix)
12 Pablo Fierro – Sandulivi
13 Kosha Roots – Revival
14 Homeboyz Muzik – Samburu (Jungle Drums Original)
15 Dj Ad feat ZB E PJ – Patagoloza
16 Heavy K feat. Sarah Webster- The Gun Song (A Lesson Twice Learned Edit)
17 Lvovo – Original
18 3G Music – Vagabos
19 Pinto Dos Santos – Ma’e
20 Dj Kapiro & Mad Aksoul – Akanela (Oliver Twist Theme) + Estelle ft. D’banj – Oliver Twist (Remix)
21 Big Nuz – Rockafella
22 Franklin Rodriques – Para Na Wey
23 The Busy Twist – LDN Luanda
24 Dj Satellite & Dj Patrick – Malembe, Malembe
25 Boddhi Satva feat. Mangala Camara – Nankoumandjan (Dekalstrumental Mix)

Sonic Liberation Front

Made this for ultra cool international / art / architecture / concept / urbanism / fashion / music / design organization Platoon: United rhythms towards a borderless future: African House and European Acid, Hungarian Folk and Korean Pop, Cumbia Electro and Arabic Techno, Avant Jazz and Street Bass – international beats for dance floors and head space – against prejudice and xenophobia.  DOWNLOAD:  mediafire

Exclusive Mix for Bomb Diggy

Bigup Bomb Diggy crew out in Amsterdam for inviting me to contribute to their mix series.

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This one, a continuation from Northern Tropikal, takes us right up to the electro apocalyptic edge of the meaning of “tropical”; yet all selections, no matter how cold, synthetic, or mechanical, are driven by a prominent sense of polyrhythm, and use drum patterns derived from African percussive traditions. With a few Angolan tracks and a South African MC rounding off the mix with actual motherland sounds, Bombcast 19 seeks to express the musical and political feelings of this place (Europe) at this time, while pointing to a borderless bass future: at least 1 good thing we can all look forward to in the surely fucked up years to come.

 

NGOMA MIX 13 – Juju-Juke

Ever since drums were banned on most slave plantations in N. America during the 1600s, after the masters discovering that the slaves organized revolts with their talking drums, the expression of poly-rhythms in N. American popular music has primarily been through use of the voice.  This is the reason music in the US is typified by the simple 1-2 “dupple” rhythm, in contrast to more complex beat patterns in South-America or the Caribbean (which kept their drums).  Thus the evolution of all subsequent Afro-North-American music was profoundly shaped, from Blues to Funk to Disco:  kick on the 1, and snare on the 2; all the way down to the late 20th Century – complex poly-rhythms in hiphop is produced with rap, and the drums remain a skeletal, minimalistic boom-bap, as if just to mark time.

Now in the 21st Century a renewed sense of rhythmic complexity returns to  Afro-North-American dance music in the form of Juke/Footwork in Chicago: interlocking 2s and 3s form intricate beat structures, unmistakeably related to many forms of percussion styles in the motherland (but still often keeping that N. American hard snare on the 2).

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This NGOMA volume demonstrates this reconnection, after centuries of separation, between African tradition and Afro-Diaspora:  between Nigerian Juju/Fuji music and Chicago Juke/Footwork, between Ethiopian dance styles and Detroit Ghetto-Tech, between Iberian trad-modern street sounds and American R’n’B/Pop, between Afro-Punk and Club Music, between Congolese Mbira workouts and Hiphop, between Ghanaian and Senegalese drumming and Urban Bass Pressure.   Let us pump up the volume and remember the power and spirit of rhythm which survives every hardship, cruelty, and oppression, and rejoice in the timeless Music Of the Drums.

big thanks to Keith Jones for knowledge passing, Itzi Nallah, Sonic Diaspora and states side massive for making the Juju-Juke tour possible, my B-girls Jessi and Maya for support.Juju-Juke Tour kick off in Belgrade

I have played this set a few times now during the Serbia, Germany, and US East Coast tour  a few weeks ago, and crowds have gone completely BONKERS as the energy went straight through the roof: 500 screaming people and massive MOSH PIT at 3AM during Mikser Festival Belgrade; club crowd which refused to leave, clapping and hollering for 20 minutes after lights went up and sound was turned off at The Shrine Chicago.  I guess the world is more than ready for 160 BPM Afro-Footwork pressure!!!

and here is that adrenaline fueled misanthropic juke edit of South African punk rockers Koos by itself (download and drop into your set if you are wo/man enough :D):

NGOMA Mix 9 – الخلود

NGOMA 9 focuses on North Africa and the Middle East: on the other side of the Sahara, African rhythms become more angular, colder; and the tones deeper, ominously darker, in what we in the west call “minor keys”.  Mostly comprising of killer classics from several different eras and regions, sometimes re-fixed and mashed up: Egyptian darbuka meets Kraftwerk, Palestinian electric oud spiced with Afro drums, Israeli folk music with the moonbah treatment.  Also included are some relatively contemporary groups like the unique pan-Arabic electro-dub outfit Checkpoint 303, as well as diasporic sounds like Algerian expat Hiphop made in France.

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Algerian and Moroccan Rai is central to this mix, including Cheikha Rimitti’s huge hit Ana Ou Ghzali, and 2 awe inspiring pieces by Cheba Fadela which were re-issued by Factory Records (Manchester) in 1986.  Songs by Hassan Houssini, Reda Taliani, and Cheba Zahouania in a more traditional desert tribal style are more energetic, and make up the ecstatic frenzied peak.  Rai is an immersive experience: once you are in the grips of this music and its trance-like states, it is a force which will not let go, but keeps spiraling, like the dervishes, for ever — music non stop.

The Arabic title means “Eternity”, and it describes both the timeless quality of these grooves, as well as the mystical feeling they sometimes encompass: transcending the here and now, and touching, if for but a few fleeting moments, something outside our human limitations, constant and without end.

01 [Morocco] Nour Eddine – Talaa Albadrou Alaina (The Full Moon) (intro)
02 [UK] Muslim Gauze – Afghans (Rev. V.01) (transition)
03 [Palestine/Tunisia] Checkpoint 303 – Hawiya Dhay (Dj Zhao Afro Drums edit)
04 [Egypt/Germany] Hossam Ramzy + Kraftwerk – A Step in Time (Dj Zhao Non Stop Edit)
05 [Israel/France/Unknown] Ora Sittner & Youval Micenmacher – Debqà Rafiah + Peter Bucci, Sammim – Hay Consuelo (Obeyah Edit)
06 [Algeria] Cheikha Rimitti – Ana Ou Ghzali
07 [Egypt/Germany] Hossam Ramzy – Fallahi Rhythm (Desert Rhythm) + Furesshu – Tel Aviv
08 [Morocco] Oriental Angel – Jammin With the Snake
09 [Thurkia/Unknown] Harem – Darbouka Solo + Band Apach – Desert Energy
10 [Lebanon/Australia] Wadih Mrad – Da3 El Hawa + Sampology – Piggy Bank (Gnucci Swick Remix)
11 [Unknown] Unknown – Saida
12 [Iran] Yasmin – Kalil I Hila
13 [Lebanon] Said Mrad – Esmerim
14 [Algeria] Najim – Raha Walete
15 [Algeria] Rohff ft Mohamed Lamine – Trop D’energie
16 [Algeria] Reda Taliani – Partir Loin
17 [Morocco] Rayan & Rima – Dana Dana
18 [Algeria] Cheba Zahouania – Yana Yana
19 [Morocco] Hassan Houssini – Eleil Eleil
20 [Algeria] Cheba Fadela – Ateni Bniti (Part One)
21 [Algeria] Cheba Fadela – N’Sel Fik
22 [Algeria] Warda Djaou – Lamouni
23 [Morocco] Nour Eddine – Talaa Albadrou Alaina (The Full Moon) (outro)