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Native Sun Rises

24 Sep

Last week saw the official launch of Native Sun’s debut album ‘Indigenous Soundwaves’. The event took place in Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch and the crowd, rather like the music that was being celebrated was a fusion of different cultures all under one roof.

Womatt award winning singer songwriter Bumi Thomas kicked off proceedings with three beautifully mellow tunes which settled the previously rowdy crowd into contented listening. Other support acts got the cogs of the crowd’s mind turning with performances of thought provoking poetry and music filled with wise words and beautiful melodies. By the time Native Sun took to the stage everyone was ready to receive Mohammed Yahya’s lyrical wisdom, and enjoy Sarina Leah flawless vocals.

The duo, who describe their music as ‘the music that would be created if J-Dilla met Fela Kuti’ wowed the audience with their incredible stage presence and inspired with the creative rapport that so obviously exists between them. Sarina’s sumptuous tones and the smooth classic hip hop vibes chilled the venue and added to the relaxed atmosphere.

Aside from the music there were also stalls selling handcrafted African jewellery, and natural skin care products, all products were responsibly sourced and environmentally friendly.  This is  something which is very dear to Native Sun, who are ‘closet hippies’, taking care of the environment that we live in and ensuring that we are not damaging the world that our children will be brought up in is all part of what they stand for.  Yet you needn’t take my word for it you can check them out for yourself . I’ve put a couple of video links below so you can form your own opinions of Native Sun, and if you’re anything  like me, you won’t be wanting this sun to set for a  very long time!

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EL – ‘Most Beautiful Girl’

3 Apr

A quick search of the internet revealed that the noun ‘EL’ was the term for the father of all Gods in an ancient civilisation, and though it is not clear whether this has in any way inspired EL’s stage name, it is clear he is working very hard to set himself out as the father of all things hot, and trendy as far as tracks coming out of Ghana right now are concerned.

His latest offering entitled ‘Most Beautiful Girl’ may not seem to be any different in terms of the title, but musically it is by far the most organic sounding track EL has blessed us with and its simplicity is its strongest point.

 The mellow guitar, toned down beat and his honesty in bearing all about his approach to relationships makes for interesting listening. His auto-tuned voice on the chorus breaks up the song nicely, giving it a nice variety as he talks us through his descent into the depths of love with this most beautiful woman.
If you’re looking for a nice chilled out track to relax to, look no further people because this is it. The lack of synths and heavy kicks is more than refreshing, though it is somewhat surprising that he’s having to stress he wants this girl to be his as it seems more than likely he has hundreds of ladies throwing themselves at his feet!

FiF & Kukua Bee – ‘Azonto Slow Mo’

29 Mar

If you already know how to dougie and you’re a huge lover of the Azonto movement, then you’re in for  a treat with this one. The super bumping beat of ‘Azonto Slow Mo’ is sure to get you bopping your head and shaking those hips.

The rythmic claps and kicks ensure that the song grabs you from the first, and then of course there’s the simple but extremely catchy chorus. Fif and Kukua Bee provide simple memorable lyrics encouraging the listener to get off their backside and start their slow mo azonto. Their flows are fitting and though it could be said that the lyrical content is basic that is not the issue at hand.

As Fif himself admits people call the dance the african dougie, so its not lyrical content that counts but the dance that goes along with this bass bumping tune. The video isn’t here yet so we’ll have to make do with freestyling until the masters themselves provide us with the visual instructions on how exactly to azonto in slow mo.

MNEK ‘Get Along With You’ (Kelis refix)

27 Mar

When Kelis released her debut album ‘Kaleidoscope’ back in 1999 I was completely in love with ‘Get Along With You’. The delicate strings, her emotion filled voice and of course the dark haunting video, which got its fair share of air time on MTV.

Now over a decade letter one of London’s young rising stars is back with a refix of the track and he has certainly done a great job of bringing it up to date. Using string synths and a fairly heavy beat in parts, MNEK has reworked this track into something of a synth pop spectacular. The track still maintains the same sad sorrowful feeling which is an achievement in itself with the dramatic alterations to production, but it is perhaps his sometimes gritty vocal that adds a believable sense of pleading to the song.

It is so rare for some one so young to rework a song so well, but it just goes to demonstrate this 17 year old’s great talent’s. If this is what he can do with a track that was out when he was 5 it will be very intriguing to see what he will be offering up with his own album next year.

Click the audio box below to have a listen to MNEK’s fabulous re-work

EL – Turn The Lights Down

5 Mar

This track has been around for a while but seems to have been overlooked in the sudden boom in love for Afrobeats and Azonto dancing.

EL sets himself apart from other Ghanaian artists on this one, as well as showing himself to be truly versatile. He made the Azonto banger Obuu Mo and follows it up with a completely new school hip hop/ r&b track.

The production is flawless, the beat is minimalist with a melodic fast paced synth fading in and out, while the heavy hitting kicks that set in during the chorus help the track to climax. EL comes with a flow to match the incredible production, and his singing adds yet another element to the track. The choice to have very smooth and slow verses, contrasted by the loud and up tempo chorus makes the track reminiscent of Drake’s style, which is a true feat for an artist that is equally at home rapping in pidgin English and his local vernacular.

The video for the track is very well shot and has several things going on yet manages to stay simple and in no means over complicated. EL’s swagger is unmissable in this one, with his dapper shirt and trilby hat, he’ll have plenty of offers to turn down the lights…but the question is ladies are you a fan of toblerone?

Liquideep ‘Still’

1 Mar

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Continuing the house theme from the last post, Liquideep’s track Still is a great feel good house tune, with a sweet message and an infectious melody.

Liquideep is a duo formed of Ziyon a singer/ songwriter and producer and Ryzor a DJ. Together they create lush house tracks with infectious melodies and catchy hooks.

‘Still’ has been around for a few months now and has all the top DJs going mad for it, not to mention filling dance floors as soon as its played. DJ Edu has played it a few times on his ‘Destination Africa’  show on 1xtra.  The tune has an unmistakable light hearted feel created by Ziyon’s fervent and clear vocals reverbing over the the synths and kicks. There is a real summery vibe about it, so for those of us who live in sun starved England its a great one to put on and imagine partying in South Africa’s warmer climate!

Click below to watch the video.

Farewell Whitney Houston

14 Feb

Not even halfway into the second month of 2012 and we’ve lost another phenomenal voice!

Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverley Hills hotel bath tub in the early hours of the morning on 12th February.

The whole music industry has been left in shock at the sudden death of the woman whose voice was one of the most incredible instruments and whose sound defined a generation. Although she had not achieved anything like the level of success she had in the late 80s and early 90s, she had made a seemingly successful comeback. Her 2009 release ‘I Look To You’ received a mixed bag of reviews but overall the feedback was more positive than negative. Although she had been criticised about some off key live performances.

News of her death has been a sudden blow to all, celebrities and non entities alike are all flocking to pay make tributes or pay their respects in various ways, with the organisers of the Grammy’s setting the standard by organising a tribute to the star in the 11th our.

Jennifer Hudson sang an emotional tribute at the Grammy’s, you can watch it below.  Although she’s gone her incredible voice will be sorely missed!

Jennifer Hudson’s Tribute At The Grammy’s