Listen to music from 2016 that exemplifies the work of some of the most provocative musicians in the world today. Go back in time too, and hear stimulating sounds from the last few years, as well as some far-out 1970s tracks from current compilations. Watch live videos of potent performers on today’s world music scene…
See Peter Solo & Vaudou Game play their high-energy Afro-Funk live…
Listen to this playlist (& follow on Spotify) — The Interstellar Space Echo Crossing The Atlantic…
Astonishing African Music Becomes Genre-Bending Funky Hybrids
Afrobeat Gone Global
It begins with some far out Danish Afrobeat that uses the foundation of Nigerian music to blast off into outer space with some Afro Funk power. Check out AddisAbabaBand and their 2015 debut on Spotify because they do a great job of blending Afrobeat, Jazz, Funk, and Rock to create something zesty & unique.
The Liberators on the always reliable Record Kicks label come through with some heavy, Funk flavored Afrobeat grooves.
Wild, 1970s African Diaspora Compilations
Next up is “Let’s Stay Up Vikings” — an Afro-Caribbean groover with some wild wah-wah, jazzy horn section, and relentless rhythm. The Vikings de la Guadeloupe are Afro-Caribbean superstars of the 70s. They mixed various styles of music — Kompa, Kadens, Funk, Reggae, Salsa and Disco — to make some sensational tropical music. A recent compilation on Heavenly Sweetness Records showcases their impressive style, Les Vikings de la Guadeloupe – Enko on Ti Tou.
Now listen to my favorite song on Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed! — José Casimiro’s “Morti Sta Bidjâcu.” It’s a recent compilation of wild, rhythmic, synth-heavy music from Cabo Verde. Analog Africa has invented a far out tale to explain this far out music…check it out.
“Hey Man, What’s That Sound?”
The next three tracks focus on the African thumb piano, the mbira, and/or its cousin the kalimba.
Nomo, on Ubiquity Records, used the kalimba heavily to give their music a haunting, hard to categorize modern world music vibe. They’re heavy on the horns, percussion, and kalimba to create something truly astounding. “Crescent” comes from 2009, so I hope Nomo starts making new music again.
Watch Elliot Bergman from Nomo make his own kalimba…
In this Spotify playlist, listen to the enchanting, “Lord Bougainvillard.” It starts out with that exotic mbira sound, then morphs into a groovy Afrobeat song with lots of soulful organ groove and funky flute.
The inimitable, Funk Ark, get in on the mbira fun with “Road To Coba.”
And, Big Mean Sound Machine is in here too, with my favorite song on their 2017 album, Runnin’ For The Ghost, “Van Chatter.” On this song, they mix in some mbira thumb piano sounds and astonishing guitar playing that makes this track more reminiscent of Congolese Rumba than the modern Afrobeat they usually play.
Mbongwana Star give us “Suzanna” from their album, From Kinshasa. This song comes heavy with African rhythms, catchy chorus, Congolese guitar groove, and an amplified mbira — all mixed with trippy electronic elements.
Watch a really unusual video of Mbongwana Star that reinforces the interstellar, modern African theme of this playlist…
West African Music Takes Sail to The New World & Back
Their self titled album came out on Glitterbeat Records in 2016. Read more details on the project’s fascinating story at Afropop Worldwide. Hear the spine-tingling song, “Bade Zile,” in this Spotify playlist.
Family Atlantica opens the doors of perception in their psychedelic trip through Afro-Venezuelan sounds on “Puerta” from their phenomenal 2016 album, Cosmic Unity, on Soundway Records. It made the Funkish Top 10 albums of 2016!
Malian Music Making Waves Across The Sea
I love how Toubab Krewe masterfully mixes Malian music with American roots music. Here, they rock out on “Bani” as they show off their African percussion skills.
Africa Supplies The Funk
Ocote Soul Sounds has a fascinating 2016 single, “Not Yet,” collaborating with Quantic. They show us the Afro-Latin side of things here, on a lovely flute Funk groove.
English band, Lakuta, gives us the rousing “Pique” from their outstanding 2016 debut on TruThoughts, Brothers & Sisters. With members hailing from Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Malaysia, Spain and the UK, Lakuta is a truly global mix of musicians who draw on influences from Jazz, Funk, Soul and world music — you’ll hear all these influences in this sensational song.
Vaudou Game closes out this Spotify playlist with their stupendous single for 2016 on Hot Casa Records, “Tovi Novi.” They pick up where their dope debut, Apiafo, left off — with high-energy, funky African music that brilliantly bridges traditional and modern music from Africa. Read this interview with front man, Peter Solo, from AfroPop Worldwide to learn how they make their impressive Voodoo Funk.
I hope these intoxicating, genre-bending grooves get you to dig deep for more of this eclectic, funky world music…and encourage you to follow the amazing artists in this compilation.
What’s your favorite song in this playlist? Let us know in the comments below…