This beautiful record from Letta Mbulu is finally getting a reissue thanks to the tireless team behind Be With Records (Shout out for those Ned Doheny releases as well – I owe you guys some drinks). In an album that meshes a South African combination of disco, 80s soul and pop this track ‘Down By The River’ stands out. Its got a particular tropical flavour and has become quite the favourite of mine. One for a warm day and a nice alternative to the slightly harder edged funk of tracks like Nomalizo. The poor streaming version doesn’t do the track justice so make sure you pick up your own copy of the vinyl before its too late.
Today’s tune is refresh by the classic ‘Gyae Su’ by Ghanaian highlife legend Pat Thomas. Its a beautiful version full of flowing guitars and tropical sun flecked with horn stabs that recall the Afro-funk sounds of his collaborator Ebo Taylor. A perfect record to start the summer off with and now streaming in full thanks to the lovely people of Hype Machine before its release next week. How nice.
Rising from the remnants of Staff Benda Bilili comes a Mbongwana Star and a new downright funky sound. Congolese music mainstay the finger piano has been distorted into the driving groove being this six minutes of dub and psychedelic chanting. An exciting taste of an exciting album coming out on World Circuit.
Afro-Electronic French Soundsystem and Label collective Mawimbi, DJ and release tunes which blend together afro-centric musical influence with a more modern club sound. Think flavours of ghetto house, modern highlife and shamanic techno.
Tiefaly is a edit of Malian Super Djata Band’s track by the same name by label founder SSCK. It’s a cheerful homage to the important tradition of the Malian orchestra and updated so you’ll get away with playing it at house parties. Win win.
Make sure to check out their free ‘taster’ release MWB 000 before their first official records drops next week.
London based Strut Records are in the midst of releasing some superb compilations of the often overlooked music that came out of Apartheid South Africa. Next Stop Soweto 4: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco, & Mbaqanga 1975-1985 is the fourth and latest instalment. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that this is my favourite one so far. Disco (afro or otherwise) and Mbanqanga is all music to my ears at the moment and with a compilation like this you know, with a bit of digging, each track will open up a deep vein of music to get into.
Take a listen to the stream of Kabasa’s rock heavy ‘Unga Pfula A Chi Pfalo’ or hit up you’re favourite record shop/spotify app to check out the whole compilation. Saitana’s politically charged stomp ‘1,2,3’ is a particular highlight for me.