Here’s our pick of 2018.
Not listed in any particular preference – except for top spot!
A collection of artists that inspired, releases that enthralled and live performances that wowed us.
Thank you Africa and beyond!
Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo
Label - Shanachie
The official album launch was at Rough Trade East in London, 'Fatou' performed solo. Beauty, charisma and gratitude filled the space and time.
Her voice ranged from soulful to rasping, emanating belief in her songs and a bright future for the youth of Africa.
Playful with the audience between songs, she always had 'something to say'- the album title.
Fenfo is a polished and elegant cocktail of Afro-pop, funk and blues, that has been sipped and savoured many times over the last few months.
Samba Touré - Wande
Label - Glitterbeat
After the first listen, the album felt like I'd owned it for years. Honest blues and reliably Malian. Samba Touré is in a mellow mood.(mostly)
Full of spacious cool blues riffs and crisp rock 'n' roll rhythm guitar whilst at the same time the talking drum and Soku fiddle keeping the sound back on African sand and soil... wonderful stuff.
KASAI MASAI - Sunshine Music
Label - Tribal Connection
London's very own Congolese Soukous band, their melodic guitar rhythms and riffs radiated throughout summer - remember the heatwave?
Irresistibly danceable at live performances, Kasai Masia is quintessentially THE feel good African band.
Label - Kravenworks
World Music? What's that? Well, how did I get HERE?
Early '80s Talking Heads were a unique group, new wave and funk intertwined
with rhythms and sounds that were 'foreign' - unknowingly for most, an introduction to Afrobeat.
Angelique Kidjo’s version is naturally more African, it's also more Afrobeat with plenty of horns.
Whilst always keeping the original songs recognisable, it's Angelique Kidjo’s powerful optimistic voice that transports this album 40 years.
Label - Hive Mind Records
From the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, singer, songwriter and musician Moulay Ahmed Hassani
blends Moroccan and North African genres with synths and a polyrhythmic drum machine .
A back drop for Ahmed’s trademark – an awesome sounding psychedelic deep reverberating microtonal guitar!
A captivating compilation of a unique talent, barely heard outside of Morocco until now.
Khalab – Black Noise 2084
Label - On the Corner Records.
Every time I play this I become entranced, maybe its the Spirits of the African field recordings.
Wall to wall with deep bass, lo-fi, synths, jazz and tribal rhythms. Tenesha The WordSmith voice torments - colonial hauntings.
Khalab, seamlessly interweaves Moses Boyd and Shabaka Hutchings widley acclaimed hallmark jazz around the Afro-futuristic soundscape.
Play it again and I detect another loop, sample or voice - was it there before?
You can't begin to decipher this. It's just brilliant.
Dur Dur Band of Somalia - Volume 1 & Volume 2
Label - Analogue Africa
The Dur Dur band are cool.
The opening track Ohiyee encapsulates their style, fuzzy wah-wah guitar, Hammond organ sound and deep bass.
Female and male vocals oscillate between the funk, soul and disco grooves fused with traditional Somalian beats.
Mid 1980’s Mogadishu was enjoying a golden era and the Dur Dur band were spearheading the music scene and had released 2 albums by 1987.
As Somalia descended into a war-torn landscape by the ‘90’s.the original tapes had thought to be lost and forgotten.
Analogue Africa has done a brilliant job in rediscovering and remastering the Dur Dur sound.
Manou Gallo - Afro Groove Queen
Label - Contre Jour
This is Manou Gallo at the peak of her career.
All time great Bootsy Collins means heavy on the funk
and world-renowned saxophonist Manu Dibango makes this a real classy affair.
This doesn't take anything away from Manou Gallo, talent abound