Crown Ruler debut is South African smasher

focus-zulu-crown-rulerNew Australian label Crown Ruler has delivered the goods with Focus’ Zulu EP.

Sello Mmutung and Keith Hutchinson produced this in Johannesburg around 1983 originally as a six track album on cassette. Jeremy Spellacey at Crown Ruler – a renowned collector,  DJ and promoter – provides some great insight with the releases liner notes:

“Keith Hutchinson, who co-produced the skeletons which would develop into Sello’s personal sound vision, explains: “Sello; it would be nice to say I know him well. We met in Universal Studios on the day of recording… I had no idea what I would be playing or co-composing – really in the deep end. I was there for just one day laying track after track… After I left Sello went it alone, adding saxes, percussion and vocals. What else happened – I don’t know.”

Zulu includes the original version of the much coveted Picnic (Moger), later covered by Starlight and Ray Phiri side project, Kumasi.

Pre-orders are being taken at Crown Ruler and the release is also distributed by Rush Hour.

Soon on Left Ear Records: I’m An Arabian Knight

Australia’s Left Ear Records are planning the reissue of this cult record – Shahara Ja’s I’m An Arabian Knight.

This great video of the late 1980s oddity gives us a taster. The label has so far reunited us with the Yoruba Singers, Brother Resistance, Starship Commander Woo Woo, Andre Tanker and Leong Lau.

More at Left Ear Records.

Inspirational Afghan women’s orchestra honored

This is Zohra – the first and only all female orchestra in Afghanistan. They are all students at the National Institute of Music (ANIM) and have been honored with a special award.

The Freemuse Award is given to an individual or an organisation that “has worked for freedom of musical expression in a remarkable way”.

Afghanistan’s musical scene suffered enormously in the last decades of the 20th century due to war, exile of musicians and policies of ruling forces such as the Taliban. Women’s access to education, employment and social rights also suffered tremendously meaning that these musicians are inspiring others in a hugely symbolic way.

Dr Ahmad Sarmast revived and promoted musical education in Afghanistan and drove the establishment of ANIM in 2010. Today, 65 out of 200 students are female aged between 14 to 20 years.

The Freemuse Award will be presented at a concert with Zohra in Geneva tomorrow (Wednesday 25 January, 2017) by Freemuse co-founder Marie Korpe.

Full concert here:

And press conference:

More at http://freemuse.org/archives/13407

From Mali – a rare modern take for Awesome Tapes

Out today, ANOTHER treasure from the Awesome Tapes From Africa label. This sounds wonderful.

Awa Poulo is a singer of Peulh origin from Dilly commune, Mali, near the border with Mauritania.

On the LP Poulo Warali: “She and her band combine the hallmarks of Peulh music—warm flute floating over cross-rhythmic n’goni (lute) riffs and resonant calabash gourd hand percussion—with broader Malian sounds like lightly-distorted guitar and a heavier, rollicking inertia. This is a relatively rare example of Malian Peulh music played in a modern, cosmopolitan context, reflecting the mixed society of Dilly, where Bambara, Soninke and Peulh-speaking people live among each other.”

More information and to buy at https://awapoulo.bandcamp.com/album/poulo-warali

World Treasures Music end of year review

Click here to listen to the World Treasures Music review mix.

A number of artists’ passing will make 2016 memorable. A champion of world treasures at the legendary New York venue, The Loft, was David Mancuso, who was mourned widely in the music world after his death aged 72. Sun Palace’s Rude Movements was remastered and released a month before the sad news and the UK duo feature in the 2016 review mix.

rip-david-mancuso-72There were numerous releases and reissues that could of made this review, some selections are based on themes that seemed to nuance the music of the year. Invisible City Editions released one of the standout reissues with V.O’s Mashisa – though the thirst for South African sounds was also generated by DJ Okapi’s compilation for Cultures Of Soul. DJ Okapi, the Mr. Bongo Soundsystem, Nick The Record and the Invisible City duo championed the sounds of South Africa worldwide in hugely appreciated sets. Benjamin Ball’s Flash A Flashlight was another top record.

Another vault of treasures were released under the ‘tropical’ tag. Sofrito, DJ Sotofett, Analog Africa, Don’t DJ and more labels and artists reissued and produced work that was defined in this guise. The compilation of the year was Digital Zandoli. Syn Ka’s LP was also a hugely well received reissue.

digital-zandoliThe biggest reissue in some respects was the Shadow LP, Sweet Sweet Dreams. The Pasteur Lappe and the Cape Verde compilations were some of the best offerings from Africa, along with Aleke’s grail.

shadow-beerAlso from Africa – PMG, Africa Seven and Soundway compiled huge collections of rare material. Kenya was a particular focus this year for its music. Afro7 released Kenyan gold too.

Electronic music is represented on the mix by Bedouin Records, DJ Nature and Mark Ernustus. The DJ Katerpillar story for Awesome Tapes From Africa is another highlight of the year. Mood Hut was a superbly produced label with esoteric sampling and a vibe.

Latin sounds are represented by Mr. Bongo and a beautiful Colombian reissue of rare gems.

Ambient tunes came via the latest collection on Light In The Attic and close this mix (tracklist below).

adele1) Adele Sebastian – Prayer For The People (PMG, 2016, Desert Fairy Princess LP reissue)

2) DJ Nature – Serengeti Run (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

3) Pasteur Lappe – Mbale (Africa Seven, 2016, Pasteur Lappe compilation)

4) Yta Jourias – Adome Nyueto (Hot Casa, 2016, Togo Soul 70 compilation)

5) The Group NSI – Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Moin Za Fe An Moin (Hevenly Sweetness/Diggers Digest, 2016, Digital Zandoli compilation)

6) Sun Palace – Raw Movements (BBE, 2016, remastered and unreleased versions compilation)

7) Ahmed Fakroun – Soleil Soleil (PMG, 2016, Mots D’Amour LP reissue)

8) Odion Iruoje – Alhaja And Obiageri (Soundway, 2016, Down To Earth LP reissue)

9) Njoroge Benson – Nyniukia (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

10) African Vibrations – Hinde (Soundway, 2016, Kenya Special Volume 2 compilation)

11) Francis Njoroge – Dai (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

12) João Cirilo – Po D’Terra (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!)

13) Bitori – Cruz Di Pico (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – Legend Of Funaná: The Forbidden Music of The Cape Verde Islands)

14) Claudio – Bonom Chinois (Strut, 2016, Soul Sok Sega compilation)

15) VO – Mashisa (dub mix) (Invisible City Editions, 2016, reissue Mashisa LP)

16) Formation Boyz – Jungle Anthem (Gqom Oh!, 2016, Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban compilation)

17) DJ Katapila – Sakawa (Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2016, Tiroto LP reissue)

18) Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Jigeen (Ndagga, 2016, Yermande LP)

19) Steve Monite – Only You (dub mix) (Triassic Tusk Records, 2016 S/T compilation)

20) Blue Heron’s Tribute 2 PH – Hymn To A Whale Taker (Mood Hut, 2016, Disco Mantras Vol. 1)

21) Kinetic Electronix – Low Moves (Mood Hut, 2016, Music For Beings 2x 12”)

22) DJ Nature – LF (mix 1) (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

23) Shadow – D’Hardest (Analog Africa, 2016, Sweet Sweet Dreams LP reissue)

24) John Heckle – Alexandria (Bedouin Records, 2016, Tributes To A Sun God12”)

25) Hieroglyphic Being – The Papyrus of Ani (Bedouin Records, 2016, The 42 Laws Of Maat 12”)

26) Banda Black Rio – Mr. Funky Samba (Mr Bongo Brazil7 series, 2016, 7”)

27) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus – Yoyo (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

28) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus– Boom A Ya (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

29) Nilamaye – El Nazareno (Bongo Joe, 2016, Las Flore Del Sol LP)

30) Suzanne Doucet & Christian Buehner – Shivas Dance (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)

31) Deuter – Spirales (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)