From A to Zimbabwe

At last it has come full sphere – after more than 6 years of traveling around the planet we have now explored the music from every nation on Earth (if you want proof, click the Past Episodes tab and scroll waaaay down). It has been an amazing feast for the ears, every week bringing new surprises, and I must say that I’m a bit sad that there are no more nations to discover on this here planet (maybe hiding somewhere in a cave where the google doesn’t see?).

But as each nation is a world in itself, there is still so much to learn. Heck, a lot of new music can happen to a country in 6 years! So get ready for round 2, the sophomore journey around the world. It may end up being a bit different this time, but no less magical I reckon.

matemaipromo1

The Matemai Mbira Group have the biggest darn mbiras in Harare

First! Our maiden voyage to Zimbabwe, uncovering mbiras of many shapes and flavours, zimdancehall, new wave, reggae, hip hop, classic zimrock, and punk…

Upcoming Summer Vibes))

Just passing by to share a couple of the summer’s most anticipated African releases.. (well, it’s sort of winter down there- but these are definitely meant for a global audience).

South African DJ Nozinja, creator of a style dubbed ‘Shangaan Electro‘, makes futuristic dance music without compromising any African authenticity.  In another world, he would be as big as Michael Jackson (but so far barely 1000 likes on facebook?!).  Here’s the delightful new video, from his forthcoming debut on Warp Records:

Congolese electric trance orchestra Kasai Allstars release double album ‘Beware the Fetish‘ in late June..  an intoxicating mix of several African cultures, this is music unlike anything else in the solar system.  Visitors will come from Neptune to hear them play..

Considering their ingenuity, it’s rather ridiculous these artists aren’t more popular.  Help spread the good groove to brew in open minds!

 

A Mandolin and Electronic Heartbeats

Dear friends, I have fallen hopelessly behind on these posts.. but the show has skipped nary a beat!  From this week’s radio broadcast, a performance by our good friend Brandon “Blocktreat” Hoffman:

We preview tracks from his forthcoming album Stuff Gets Bent, and talk about bears, beat-making, and bear attacks on beat-making machines.  {{Listen here}}

Also, a short trip to the highest nation in Africa: the Kingdom of Lesotho!

Hear here!

Africa's Clint Eastwood

Africa’s John Wayne

The Batswana Groove

Welcome to the new mecca of heavy metal…

Gaborone, Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana

Against the odds, the African nation of Botswana has not only become a successful and peaceful country in the half-century since achieving independence, but has also developed a thriving heavy metal scene.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But still, with the care and precision it takes to cultivate the classic metal lifestyle, it seems more like an honorable religion than the devil’s music.. doesn’t it?

Other Batswana sounds are less Norwegian and more South African.  Seeing as Gaborone, the capital and largest city of Botswana, hugs the border of South Africa, many of the styles from down south are now firmly entrenched in the soundscape of Botswana– most notably Kwaito and electro-hip hop.

Hear these and much more on our BOTSWANA SPECIAL!

And hear the weekly Global Mix right ova here.

Ritmos ya Ngola

We have grown familiar with the sensation of biting into unexpected musical delicacies.  Even so, this trip caught us off guard.  The richness of musical experiments being cooked up in Angola throughout the 60s and 70s, as the south-western African country was wriggling its way towards independence, was a bittersweet beauty to behold.  With hundreds of years of Portuguese influence, and groovin’ musical neighbors like Zaire (now the D.R. Congo) setting powerful precedents, Angolan musicians  were ripe to develop their own hotpot of dance styles.  Though very few Angolan musicians achieved recognition outside the country, the local scene thrived and supported its own artists.

Our feature on Angolan music is slanted heavily towards this time period, when garage rock, semba (a cousin of Brazilian samba), kizomba (upbeat marimba big band), and a myriad of other styles were helping to articulate the struggle for freedom, and create a sense of hope for the people.  The years between 1975-2002 were plagued by civil war, and the music industry suffered as many artists were killed or forced to leave the country.  But Angola is now home to one of Africa’s most dynamic hip hop scenes, as well as a style of frenetic electronic music known as kuduro that has taken the lusophone world by tropical storm.

Also on the show: Evan Catalano, a blue-haired punk rocker from Nelson-based band Thus Far, who discusses and debuts songs from the band’s new EP… recorded last week!