Sheer Sound: A World Music Six Pack

2009-07-07 15:55
Sheer Sound: World Music Six Pack
1. Staff Benda Bilili - Tonkara
Four senior singer/guitarists sitting on tricycles, occasionally dancing on the floor of the stage, arms raised in joyful supplication, comprise the core of this Congolese band of Kinshasha treet musos, backed by a younger, all-acoustic rhythm section pounding out tight beats. Over the top of this are weird, infectious guitar-like solos performed by a 17 year-old prodigy on a one-string electric lute he designed and built himself out of a tin can! "Tonkara" is taken from their album Tres Tres Fort. Listen to full song.

2. Tony Allen – Secret Agent
Tony Allen has long been acknowledged as Africa's finest kit drummer and one of the continent's most influential musicians. Together with Fela Kuti (with whom he played for 15 years) Allen co-created Afrobeat - the hard driving, horns rich, funk-infused, politically insurrectionary style which became such a dominant force in African music and such an influence worldwide. "Secret Agent", a majestic slice of hardcore roots Afrobeat, is Allen's debut for World Circuit and his first release since he became a founder member of The Good The Bad and The Queen (alongside Damon Albarn, Paul Simenon and Simon Tong). ‘Secret Agent’ is the title track from his new album. Listen to full song. Buy the CD.

3. Konono No.1 - Masikulu
Konono No.1 draw on traditional trance music, to which they incorporate heavily-distorted sounds generated from DIY amplification, which makes their music a sonic cousin of some extreme forms of experimental rock and electronic dance. Founded in the 70's by Mingiedi, Konono No.1 features three electric likembes (thumb pianos), megaphones, hand-made microphones and percussion built from old car parts. Off their critically-acclaimed debut CD, Congotronics. Listen to full song. Buy the CD.

4. Hector Zazou - Zannat
The ever-innovative Zazou offers a fresh take on classical Asian music, in which the musicians' inspired performances are enhanced by his subtle reprocessing of the original sonic elements (no supplementary electronic sounds having been used). The album was recorded in Mumbai with a core group of four musicians: Toir Kuziyev (tambur & oud), Milind Raykar (violin), Ronu Majumdar (flute) and Manish Pingle (Indian slide guitar). Guest players include Spanish flute player Carlos Nuñez, Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, flamenco pianist Diego Amador, Hungarian violinist Zoltan Lantos and percussionist Bill Rieflin (currently with R.E.M.) Off In The House Of Mirrors. Listen to full song. Buy the CD.

5. Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara – Sahara
Off the new album Tell No Lies. The sound of a nation with no borders, a place that needs no passport, no visa. This is where the deep roots of African music nourish the raw electric groove of rock and roll, where Gnawa spirit rhythms come up against Chicago distortion, where snaky N'awlins rhythm has a West London howl, and a Sahel Wail. Listen to full song. Buy the CD.

6. Oumou Sangare – Wele Wele Wintou
Taken from the critically-accalimed Malian songbird's latest album Seya which sees her attain a new level of sophistication, maturity and variety, all underpinned by her trademark funk-driven Wassoulou sound. Oumou's huge natural range and sense of rhythm is both remarkable and effortless, by turns deep and powerful or soaring and sensuous. Her music is bold, seductive, funky and vibrant. Recorded in Bamako, and co-produced by Nick Gold, Oumou Sangare and Cheick Tidiane Seck. Musicians on the album include fellow World Circuit artist and kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté, the great guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, afrobeat legend Tony Allen, Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun and Magic Malik on flute. Listen to full song. Buy the CD.
From fiery Afrobeat and avant-garde Congolese trance to bewitching Malian vocal ballads, new Asian classical jazz fusion and more. Listen to exclusive audio streams of the full tracks.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.