Navigating the start of 2021
Maybe a Dry January became a Ginuary or your Veganuary struggled to become reality in Lockdown 3? So this Small Corner offers a more upbeat review with new tunes that are guaranteed to put a spring in your step. It’s a foot-tapping, hip-swinging, belly-wobbling collection of new music that is your invitation to dance in your front room, wiggle in the kitchen, or shimmy in the bedroom.
Everybody Get Agenda is the much-anticipated album by Bantu released in September 2020. When a band is hot and on a roll, it seems the album just never tires and that is the case for this Nigerian Afrobeat outfit. It’s poetry of poverty, chords on corruption, metaphors for migration, rhythms against alienation and xenophobia, and its music is driven by a socio-political reflection of not only Nigeria but the continent of Africa. With a guest appearance from Seun Kuti family, it confirms Bantu’s position as ambassadors of the musical beat of Africa as well as the political conscience.
Released last year Captain Planet’s No Visa’ is an album full of styles and flavours from across the globe. The globe-trotting music producer Captain Planet says he plays ‘gumbo funk’, and it’s like a rich internationally spiced sauce that delivers an occasional kick of heat, a flick of sweetness, and always a surprise to the taste buds. No Visa is his fifth album for which he delivers some funky hip-hop, synth-wave, house and reggae while making sure he visits every continent possible to include samples and loops from across the world. There is a nod to the past but also a restless exploration of musical boundaries. It is music without borders, will you join the party?
Omorinmade and For(e)ward continues the Kuti music dynasty. Of course, it is a family name that is familiar, as I have already mentioned Seun with Bantu. Now Made, the grandson of legendary Fela Kuti and the son of Femi Kuti brings a new and unique direction. There is something very infectious as well as it being a mantra for the moment, ‘Free Your Mind’ is the first released track from the album For(e)ward. With such a musically rich bloodline it is no wonder the album delivers. Made said Free Your Mind is inspired by the teachings of his father and his efforts to ensure he understands exactly the situation of black people in Nigeria, Africa, and across the world. There is not a day that goes by that it’s not played on BBC 6 Music at the moment. I just can’t get enough of it to lift my spirits.
If you have missed the regular funk-driven Craig Charles nights at Bootleg this last year, this one is for you. Lexsoul Dancemachine, has long been a favourite of Mr. Charles, but their heritage and nationality may come as a shock. They are from Estonia and bring together a collection of musicians with a passion for punk, jazz, and rock but what it delivers is one of the freshest funk-driven sounds of the moment. Lexplosion II is their third album and the copy I purchased for my funk and soul-loving friend Catherine was a huge hit and now regularly on the player.
Now for an unexpected magical mystery detour to Croatia for an album filled with more flavours than a Mediterranean herb garden. Nemanja’s Cosmic Disco is an Adriatic world music dance floor filled with cumbia, funk, Arab, Istrian and African beats and rhythms to keep you guessing where next. Be sure to wear flowers in your hair, as Luka and his band keep the cosmic mirror ball spinning.
Ayom is a Brazilian-driven international collaboration that includes Italian accordionist Alberto Becucci as well as musicians from Angola and Greece. Jabu Morales percussionist and singer left Brazil and settled in Barcelona and Ayom was born. The album of the same name while still deeply rooted and fuelled by Brazilian music culture and influences, provides an intercultural patchwork of neatly and delicately stitched tunes to warm the heart. Morales vocals dance over the sound of the accordion and lift the spirits with meaning and intention as she sings about her freedom as a woman to do as she pleases and the acceptance of who she is.
It’s a combination of everything that’s new to me the last months, just enjoy and get your dancing shoes on.
Bantu: Everybody Get Agenda – Track on the mix is Disrupt The Programme
Captain Planet: No Visa – Track on the mix is Body Yako
Made Kuti: For(e)ward – Track on the mix is Free Your Mind
Lexsoul Dancemachine: Lexsplosion II – Track on the mix is Carambola Jelly
nemanja: Cosmic Disco – Track on the mix is Cumbia Cosmica
Ayom: Ayom – Track on the mix is Baile Das Catitas
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