Fémina – who channel blissed-out soul with a message, on new LP ‘Perlas & Conchas’ and new single ‘Plumas’ – are recorded and produced by Quantic

Fémina need to be checked out live if you can, but their forthcoming material is essential listening. They are an Argentinian female trio whose soul music is fused with hip hop and Latin folk influences. Their Perlas & Conchas LP is out next month and has been recorded and produced by British DJ and musician Quantic. It’s a beautiful work. Check out this enthralling live show by Fémina:

Originating from the beautiful mountain town of San Martín de los Andes, in the southern region of Patagonia, the group sings in Spanish about gender equality and race, challenging the divisive rhetoric in the mainstream media in Argentina and beyond.

After their debut in 2011 with Deshice De Mi, their sophomore album Traspasa (2014) notched up nearly six million plays on Spotify, featuring the song Buen Viaje. Since then Fémina have been critically acclaimed by everyone from Rolling Stone, Billboard and KEXP, to Iggy Pop. He repeatedly featured Fémina on his BBC 6Music radio show and they were invited to his home in Miami while on tour in the US. It laid the vital groundwork for their collaboration on the new album with the rock legend.

The title Perlas & Conchas translates as ‘Pearls and Shells’ and is a reference to the process through which a pearl is created: “from a speck of dirt, encased in a shell, which turns into an object of wonder,” the trio explain. The word ‘concha’ is also often used in Argentina to refer to the female anatomy.

Made up of Clara Miglioli and the two Trucco sisters, Sofia and Clara, the trio grew up together sharing a love of 1990s hip-hop imported from the US – as well as the occasional Spanish-speaking rapper from Mexico or Spain. When they started the seeds of Fémina, they were one of the few all-female groups on the BA scene.

Sofia and Clara Miglioli moved to Buenos Aires in 2004, intending to pursue careers in theatre and dance, where they first started the group. They made music with Koxmoz – a group in the city’s then small but close knit hip-hop scene. Sofia’s younger sister, Clara ‘Wewi’ Trucco, joined in 2008 and this is when they took a sidestep in their musical style. Instead of raps over hip-hop instrumentals, they began drawing on vocal harmonies and playing live instruments such as the ronroco from Bolivia – a process that led them toward their unique style: a combination of soul, hip-hop and traditional Latin American folk music.

The UK’s Quantic and his deep musical knowledge helped bring to life the many and varied ideas which came out of their sessions together, realising their vision for an “obra completa” – a complete work, an expansive, cohesive collection of their different influences.

“The idea from the beginning was to get together and experiment, the four of us,” Sofia says. Quantic’s previous credits include the Quantic Soul Orchestra (Tru Thoughts) and inter-generational Colombian supergroup Ondatrópica (Soundway). 

The artists say their influences range from surrealist poetry, to the writings of 19th Century essayist Henry David Thoreau.

The diversity of the music they’ve produced can be heard in tracks such as Brillando, with its meditative, harmonised vocals, to Resist, where a rumbling, trap-tilted beat is given extra emotional heft by Iggy Pop’s vocal. On Arriba, traditional influences are fed through a funk-influenced groove, and on Plumas, they wear their electronic influences on their sleeve with the drive of a drum machine.

The single Plumas is out on March 22nd.The album Perlas & Conchas is out on April 5th. Both are released through Fémina Music.

‘Too Slow To Disco’ series turns to Paris to compile new tracks that fit the nouveau-disco and AOR sound

 

From Marc Cerrone, Daniel Vangarde to Space and Patrick Juvet – and in more recent times, Air, Daft Punk, Saint Germain, Phoenix and Sébastien Tellier – the French sound and style is world renowned. Now a new Too Slow To Disco compilation presents 17 current French artists who are producing lazy disco, Balearic vibes and that AOR sound (such as L’Impératrice, pictured above).

The scene is found at late night DJ sessions and gigs at Paris hotspots – like Baron and Le Pop-In. The labels (Partyfine, Tricatel, Cracki, Profil De Face) feature the various collaborations and productions. Prime players L’Impératrice are led by the “empress of French Disco”, Flore Benguigui.

Their debut album – and a tribute to the night Matahari – is getting a UK release in late April and their live show at Heaven, in London, is on May 2nd.

The Too Slow To Disco series has previously been compiled by the likes of Ed Motta. The next instalment is out in May.

Blick Bassey’s ‘1958’ album challenges France’s history of Cameroon and celebrates anti-colonialist leader, Ruben Um Nyobé

Blick Bassy has released his politically charged new album, 1958, following his acclaimed album Akö of 2015. 1958 is a defiant tribute to the heroes who fought and died for the independence of his native Cameroon and is a beautiful selection of songs – sung in Bassa, his ancestral language.

The album focuses on Ruben Um Nyobé – the anti-colonialist leader of the Popular Union of Cameroon (UPC) – who was shot dead by French troops on 13th September, 1958, two years before the country became independent. 1958 is a beautiful blend of Blick’s distinctive voice and guitar, cello (Clement Petit), trumpet and keyboards (Alexi Merrill) and trombone (Johan Blanc) and is co-produced by Blick and Renaud Letang (Manu Chao, Feist, Saul Williams, Lianne La Havas, Charlotte Gainsbourg).

Blick was born in Cameroon and now lives in France.  His music first took shape with the award-winning band Macase. The song Kiki from Akö was used to launch the iPhone 6 in 2015.

Um Nyobé, like Blick, was from the Bassa region and ethnic group: “…in school we studied the French version of what happened,” Blick says. “The way I learned it in the books was that they were agitators, troublemakers. Which is wrong. He was in this movement hidden in the mountains, organising the Cameroonian People’s Union, and the truth about what happened has never been out.

“The emancipation of Africa interests no-one else.  People fight for their own interests and they’re right to do so.  It’s up to us Africans to defend our interests on our own.”

The album is out now on the label, Tôt ou tard.

Ethiopian artist Gili Yalo – joins forces with Grammy nominated music producers Niles City Sound – on new EP ‘Made In Amharica’

Check out this poignant and touching video that promotes Gili Yalo’s new Made In Amharica EP – a mix of Ethiopian desert psych meets Texan blues rock.

The screenplay of the video is built on a real history of Gili Yalo’s cousin, who got sick after moving to Israel from Ethiopia. The family decided that someone had put a spell on him and the only way to cure him was to go back to Ethiopia and find his shirt that was stolen.

The story reflects the thread of losing identity and being disconnected from your roots – and only by getting back to your culture, and exploring your own heritage, can you get back to your balance. The film is directed by Nadav Direktor, on location in Negev Desert, Israel.The Made in Ahmerica EP is available now digitally and will get a vinyl release in May. It compliments the announcement of Gili Yalo’s WOMAD 2019 performance this coming July. For the EP, the Ethiopian born and Israeli based musician collaborated with Niles City Sound – the Grammy nominated musicians and studio based in Fort Worth Texas, where the producers and musicians helped Leon Bridges hone his particular slant and sound.

Gili Yalo’s love of singing came about through hardship. As a five-year-old, he escaped the Ethiopian famine on foot as part of an exodus of Jewish people, often known as Operation Moses. Music made the journey more bearable. Eventually settling in Tel Aviv, Yalo surrounded himself with funk, soul and dub. On his debut album in 2017, all those sounds come together with a large helping of Ethiopian groove.

“The title is a word play,” Gili says. “Amharic is a language of Ethiopian people. I wrote this song in English and sent to a friend of mine in Ethiopia to have it translated. I wanted to create a song about the concept of living without borders. That is the thing that occupies my mind.”

The music is released through Dead Sea Recordings.

Jeremy Spellacey’s Crown Ruler returns with ‘Boomerang’: a slab of unreleased disco-funk from Miami’s Aaron Broomfield

Boomerang was first recorded in 1979 when the Broomfield Corporate Jam leader was attempting to go solo. It was the first cut Aaron Broomfield recorded under his own name – first, at the family band’s home studio, Kilimanjaro, and then later at professional studios in Los Angeles and Miami – but it was never released.

“I always wanted to be able to share Boomerang with my fans some day – I didn’t release it back then because I thought the time wasn’t right,” Broomfield explains. “It was so different to what was considered commercial then and felt ahead of its time.”

Broomfield had two test pressings made before he shelved the project. It was the find of the one remaining record by digger Arun Brown (the other perished when Broomfield’s Kilimanjaro studio was damaged by a fire in 1996) that set in motion its release today.

Jeremy at Crown Ruler says: “The jacket boasts a written essay by Broomfield himself, telling the story behind the song. The wax features two versions of Boomerang, of which both were meticulously restored and re-mastered by celebrated Australian sound engineer, Dan Elleson. Head to side A for the “test press” version, a cosmic, starry-eyed chunk of elastic Miami disco-funk where the Broomfield family’s killer instrumentation – all rubbery bass, deep space synths and crunchy Clavinet motifs – arcs around the sound space like a boomerang in flight. The vocal arrangement, in which Aaron Broomfield’s conscious lyrics come through loud and clear, brings it home. On the flipside, you’ll hear how dynamic the band was through the “Demo Version” – a relaxed, loose and spacey groover that sounds as ahead of its time in 2018 as it would have when it was recorded in 1979.”

Sensational reissue of modern soul gold via Athens Of The North: ‘In Togetherness’ by Judy Pollak (featuring 33 1/3)

Judy Pollak’s heavenly voice and the steady playing of 33 1/3 can now be enjoyed on vinyl, thanks to the Athens Of The North team, with the reissue of ‘In Togetherness’.

Check out Judy’s exclusive interview (from a while back with World Treasures Music) when we first heard about this much needed reissue. Click here to read the interview.

Judy is also a keen animal rights activist and has a charity that looks after cats in need. Click here to find out more.

Latin American cosmology inspires the new album ‘Siku’, by Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz

A focus on ancestral Latin American cosmology has always featured in the music of Nicola Cruz. The Ecuadorian searches into the roots and rituals that are found in the origins of Andean and African culture, so heavily influential in South American identity. His latest album Siku continues this retrospective study and explores the rhythms and oral aspects of Latin American heritage, as well as by adopting traditional instruments and utilising them for a new musical purpose.

The siku is a wind instrument of Andean origin and is highly symbolic in ancestral rituals. It is made up of two separate, complementary parts – the arca and the ira, and is a symbolic representation of duality, which is an essential element (some say) of an indigenous world view. On his album – Siku – Nicola Cruz combines instruments, such as the sitar, the siku, and the balafon with hints of electronica. He draws influences from samba, cumbia and rhythms of African, Andean and Hindu origin and combines them with his unpredictable style and charm.

Cruz’s first record – Prender el Alma (2015) – “explored the development the consciousness and spirituality, and how they connect with music”. These themes certainly continue to the present day with his latest work. Siku is onZZK Records and is out now.