Category Archives: World Music

French MC Sianna slays on Namaste’s “Wat Wat” remix

South African electronic music producers Spoek Mathambo and DJ Aero Manyelo, who recently formed the collective Batuk, have remixed Namaste’s “Wat Wat,” and along with French MC Sianna, have added fuel to the fire of the dance/rap/synth/ mashup. It’s part of Red Bull Music Academy’s 20 Before 16 series.

“Wat Wat” by Swedish punk singer/rapper Naomi Namasenda, or Namaste, was originally recorded with Gnuchi, as part of the talent program Nasa Niva.

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Although there’s plenty of moving parts to this remix that span language and regions, the resulting sound is pretty much electric. These artists might benefit from future collaborations.

Pick up a free download of Namaste’s “Wat Wat (Batuk remix)” at Red Bull Music Academy.

Batuk will release their first music in January. Hear their music below.

Listen to Namaste’s “Wat Wat,” live at East FM.

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Filed under Dance-Synth, DJ, Free download, Rap, Remix, Uncategorized, World Music

AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top” gets a ghostly remake from Susanna

Norway’s Susanna covers AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top,” and she’s stripped that classic rock anthem to the bone.

Susanna’s delicate singing about “one-night stands,” “gettin’ stoned” and “gettin’ beat up” never sounded more isolating and so beautiful. It’s doubtful her version would ever make rock-and-roll-hungry musicians reconsider that roach motel and dive bar, but it’s fantastic to hear AC/DC’s manly music getting stripped bare.

Listen to Susanna’s version on Soundcloud, performed live from Tomba Emmanuelle, taken from a concert with Morten Qzenild and Helge Sten at Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. Susanna is part of Susanna and the Magical Orchestra — their 2005 album “Melody Mountain” reinterpreted songs by Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny, Kiss, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Depeche Mode.

Susanna has also interpreted songs by Dolly Parton, Thin Lizzy and ABBA.

Listen to “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and just see if you can easily float back to the original without being changed in some way.

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Filed under anarcho noir, Noir Pop, Synth pop, World Music

Prince Harvey recorded his album in the Apple retail store; download his tracks for free

Prince Harvey can count the Apple Store and some grit as factors in getting his debut recorded.

According to the Daily Beast, Prince Harvey spent four months off and on in an Apple Store in Soho, New York City, secretly recording his music. He kept his files safe in the trash, which didn’t get wiped out at the end of each day.

prince harvey sometimesLike many others, it was originally not in the cards to record in a retail venue, but Prince Harvey’s computer died, which threw a wrench in his progress. Later, his hard drive was stolen, while making a run to buy squid.

“I just thought, ‘I’m going to die before anyone knows I’m hot,’ ” he told the Daily Beast. It’s pretty great that he was able to accomplish what he needed to despite the constant setbacks.

The album is called “PHATASS” — as in Prince Harvey At The Apple Store: Soho. It will be released July 26.

There’s no denying the world-music, DIY sound Prince Harvey has, but the beats and raps are accessible and relatable. Harvey, from Dominica, recorded his first song at 8, so it’s not like he’s a newbie to the world of hip-hop.

Listen to “Sometimes” and “The New Black,” and you can download and others for free:

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Filed under DIY, Rap, World Music

Nico and Vinz make inspirational sound cool again on “Black Star Elephant”

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Nico and Vinz, with Black Star Elephant, have crafted a pure and primal debut album that rejoices in their chosen path and applauds others’ individuality.

The reach of the singer and songwriter duo—Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery—from Oslo, Norway, had already expanded across several continents when their single “Am I Wrong” hit the airwaves last year. Star Elephant is a continuation of that universal theme of personal exploration.

The album’s ebullience shines through 21 tracks (including brief interludes) of personal stories brought to life through a freshly cut and bright global sound.

Their concept album may be recognized by some as a Graceland for the 21st century—or at least for 2014. It’s more danceable and less subtle than Paul Simon’s album, but its social message of humanity in peril juxtaposed with the beauty of true love quietly mirrors that effort.

On Black Star, African melodies intersect with brass-band accents that cross over to dance beats, drawing a new path in world music. Thumping pop and dance beats remind listeners to find their center, even if it means going against the grain.

Nico and Vinz also made the wise decision to expose all of nature’s imperfections on Black Star. Soothing chants, and sounds such as distant rain or birdsong bring a universality through its sheer honesty. “Thought I Knew” closes out with more conventional music, yet dramatic and gorgeous orchestral points, and the chorus chant of the lovely “My Melody” is symbiotic with funky deep bass.

The myriad influences on Black Star never cry out for space. Nico and Vinz have discovered a neat and trim formula for their songs, but one that’s never constrained to it. The homey, acoustic love song “Last Time” is gently laced together, and the positive message of “Know What I’m Not,” reminds listeners that a personal journey, if not hard-fought, will be meaningless. Similarly, on “Miracles,” the line “You’ll bring home the trophy if you walk it all the way” might land flat in others’ hands, but Nico and Vinz manage to deftly slip it in, avoiding the dangers of having a PSA for a song.

“Homeless” is one of many on Black Star about working life and its chronic struggles, while “In Your Arms” attempts to tackle world injustice. The question “What is high if you don’t know low?” on “Another Day” blends urban rap and dance beats to animate mini-vignettes of children growing up with a TV for a parent.

Nico and Vinz, with their inspirational debut, have skillfully walked the line between being grateful for what you have while still celebrating life’s deficiencies.

Black Star Elephant was released Oct. 14 on Warner Bros.

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Filed under Hip-Hop, New Music, Pop, World Music