Heart of Light


“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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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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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

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).


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.


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)