Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Les Nubians' New Album Drops Today

Nu Revolution, the new album from Afro-Parisian chanteuses Les Nubians, drops today from Shanachie Entertainment. Les Nubians blend an array of soulful afrocentric elements to create a truly unique sound. Singing in French and English, mixing various African elements with neo-soul, jazz, funk, and afrobeat this album is definitely in a genre all its own. The sisters sing of a Nu Revolution, bringing love to the forefront of society in place of war and negativity.

Les Nubians are touring the US kicking things off Thursday in Philly. They'll be performing material from their new album and spreading their positive message of love and empowerment ten cities from coast to coast. Definitely check them out when they come near you.

21- Philadelphia, PA @ Kimmel Center for Performing Arts
29- New York, NY @ BB Kings

11- Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
12- Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota Jazz Club
13- Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota Jazz Club
14- Chicago, IL @ The Shrine
17- Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door
18- Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door
19- San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi’s (2 shows)
20- San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi’s (2 shows)
21- Los Angeles, CA @ Conga Room
22- San Diego, CA @ Anthology
24- Santa Cruz, CA @ Kuumbwa Jazz Center (2 shows)

In the meantime, check out this dope new video for Afrodance:

Les Nubians - Afrodance from Nice Dissolve on Vimeo.

New Single from The People's Champs

Dig the new single, Family, from Brooklyn based afro-funk ensemble The People's Champs. They'll be throwin down for their EP Release Party May 6th at Piano's. Dig the single until the EP drops.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tony Allen in Toronto this Friday Night

Without Tony Allen, there would be no afrobeat. While, I certainly believe that to be the case, Fela Anikulapo Kuti once said the same thing. The legendary drummer and African musical icon is touring N. America starting tomorrow night at LPR in New York and continuing on in Toronto Friday night at the Phoenix Theater presented by Small World Music. If you can catch him when he comes to a city near you, definitely take advantage of the opportunity. In the meantime, check out an interview I did with him last year:

MGA: My first question is you’re about to embark on a N. American Tour, are there any dates about which you’re particularly excited?

Tony Allen: No, not really.

MGA: So you’re excited about the whole tour?

Tony Allen: I’ll be coming to NY, and Toronto, and then I go back through the states and do the rest of my shows in the states.

MGA: I heard you’re going to be on Jimmy Fallon with The Roots and ?uestlove?

Tony Allen: Yes, in New York.

MGA: Do you have a relationship with ?uestlove or the Roots? Have you played with them before?

Tony Allen: I’ve never played with them before, but I’ve seen them play. You know,` so now we’re going to be working on the same program.

MGA: And you like The Roots?

Tony Allen: Oh yes, ?uestlove is a drummer himself too, so…

MGA: Right. So on your new album, Secret Agent, I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. How would you describe the direction you’re taking your music on your new album?

Tony Allen: Direction? It’s afrobeat I’m playing, you know? And I like different styles of afrobeat. It just comes from evolution.

MGA: Cool, cool. So throughout your career, I’ve heard a lot of your albums, you’ve been doing it for a long time. You’ve always demonstrated openness to new ideas, new sounds and instruments. For instance on Secret Agent you feature an accordion, which is not traditionally seen as an “afrobeat instrument” per se. Could you describe you the way that new sounds inspire you and the process by which you incorporate them into your music?

Tony Allen: Well, you know, it’s music. It’s not the instrument, the instrument doesn’t play itself anyway, you know? The point is the music of the instrument, whichever instrument I put in my music. It’s the sound, it’s soundwise, you know? It’s not a question of which instrument I use, it’s what I compose.

MGA: So if a sound catches your ear, it doesn’t matter what it is, you just want to put it into your music.

Tony Allen: Exactly.

MGA: Cool. So how would you describe how your music has developed and evolved from your first solo album, NEPA, to now, with Secret Agent.

Tony Allen: Ah, I will not try to explain it, I’ve done enough explaining. I’ve done NEPA, I’ve done Afrobeat Express, I’ve done Black Voices, I’ve done Psycho on The Bus, I’ve done Homecooking, Lagos No Shaking, and this one. Every one has its direction, but its still afrobeat.

MGA: One of the most famous quotes that’s most often associated with your name is from Fela Kuti, who said, ‘Without Tony Allen, there would be no afrobeat.’ Could you elaborate on that a bit, and explain how you contributed to afrobeat’s creation?

Tony Allen: Well, that is something that people are not supposed to be saying that, people that have been watching me, people that spoke with me. I’m just doing my job. I’m doing my job, and I’m creating. I like to be creating all the time because I can’t just keep playing the same shit all the time, you know? I have to create something else, whether people are going to take it or not, I’m just going to be moving forward, you know? That’s all.

MGA: What musicians or musical styles were you and Fela listening to when you were coming of age in Nigeria?

Tony Allen: I was playing my music before I met Fela, you know? There is a lot of music in the country, all different types of music. Jazz, waltz, two-step, tango, whatever, highlife, before I met Fela. Then when I met Fela, he said ‘ok, stop playing all those other styles’ and dictating.

MGA: Right, and do your own thing.

Tony Allen: Right.

MGA: So who are you listening to right now that’s inspiring, what are you listening to these days that you find interesting?

Tony Allen: Right now, I’m working with my band, I just finished our latest album, and now we’re taking things on the road, so that’s what I’m concentrating on now.

MGA: Cool, so what other bands or musicians within the genre of afrobeat do you find interesting or inspiring?

Tony Allen: Ah well, there’s a lot of them. Everybody’s doing their own style, so as long as they have the afrobeat, it’s cool. I don’t want to commit myself for anything. They’re all good.

MGA: You don’t want to single anybody out since there’s so many out there?

Tony Allen: No, I don’t.

MGA: What is your take on the Antibals-Bill T. Jones FELA! Production currently running on Broadway in New York?

Tony Allen: It’s afrobeat, so it’s cool. I’ve said before I would not comment.

MGA: Have you noticed any increased interest from the mainstream culture due to the popularity of the play?

Tony Allen: No.

MGA: Really, you haven’t noticed any increased interest?

Tony Allen: Well, when I said I wouldn’t comment, it means that… well you know there’s positive side of things. I can’t analyze everything, but it’s very good to expose afrobeat to people that never know what afrobeat is. I know there’s a positive side of things there, and I just hope it expresses enough to make more spring up.

MGA: Right, right. So in what direction do you see afrobeat evolving as more and more musicians take up afrobeat? Do you think the electronic side of things will take the lead with artists like Wunmi is going to grow, or do you think on the instrumental side of things?

Tony Allen: Well, it’s ok, I just know that afrobeat is music that has to be played by human beings together. I’ve experimented with electronics in my music but not taking out the drums that’s supposed to be played with it, so it depends on what everybody likes, you know? That’s why I don’t like to criticize what everybody’s else is playing. I just know what I’m playing.

MGA: Are there any goals or things you’d like to accomplish by the end of your career?

Tony Allen: The point is I look forward, I look forward. I never preview nothing, with my music. The day I decide, the day is there. If I decide I like something then I do it. There is a song on Secret Agent called Celebration.

MGA: Right, Celebrate Your Life, that’s a great song.

Tony Allen: Celebrate means celebrate everything, not just Christmas, or marriage, or anything it means celebrate all the time. Why should we not celebrate every day? Every day. You see, because every time you can go to sleep and wake up the next day, that’s something to celebrate. Because whatever you do is whatever you do. Simple as that.

MGA: Yea man, I agree 100%.

Tony Allen: Haha, you agree 100%?

MGA: Absolutely. I agree, I think every day should be a celebration.

Tony Allen: Absolutely, that’s the way I look at my life.

MGA: One last question. Your album Psycho On The Bus, I’ve always thought of as the quintessential afro-dub album. Were there any particular dub artists that inspired you to make that album?

Tony Allen: No it was a collaboration. It’s music. It’s afrobeat with a certain production style. You know, I have other things to think about.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hammock House 'Africa Caribe'

What do you get when you take classic cuts of Fania Records' glory days and hand them over to Joe Claussell, one of the dopest Nuyorican house producers alive? Africa Caribe, the new compilation of remixes out May 17, 2011 on Fania Records. This album is extremely danceable, featuring remixes of Fania greats such as Lou Perez, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Mongo Santamaria, and Ray Barretto. Dig Claussell's remix of Santamaria's jam Mambo Mongo:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Club D'Elf-Electric Morocco Land Tour


If you dig deep, entrancing songs, dig this: Electric Morocco Land, the new album from Club D'Elf, the Boston-based ensemble led by Mike Rivard. Featuring Moroccan rhythms, instruments, and musicians, Club D'Elf is a revolving cast of musicians including John Medeski and DJ Logic. Electric Moroccoland includes everything from deep, downtempo trance to danceable groove-laden funk. Rivard, a bassist by trade, was first turned on to traditional Moroccan Gnawan music while studying at The Berklee School of Music. He eventually learned to play the sintir, and fell in love with the music. Club D'Elf has since earned a reputation as an original and signature voice in the Boston music scene. They're touring the Northeast starting tomorrow night at World Cafe in Philly. Def check em out when they come near you:

04/21/2011, Thu Portland, ME Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St. Tix: $10 adv/$15 door/$28 VIP, Doors Open: 8:00 pm, Show: 9:00 pm with John Medeski. Ph: 207.899.4990

04/22/2011, Fri
Cambridge, MA Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass Ave. Tix: $15 adv/$17 door, Doors Open: 7:00 pm, Show: 8:00 pm with John Medeski. Ph: 617.547.0759

04/23/2011, Sat
Newmarket, NH Stone Church, 5 Granite St. Tix: $8 adv./$10 door, Doors Open: 7:00 pm, Show: 9:00 pm with Dave Tronzo. Ph: 603.659.0878

04/30/2011, Sat
Cambridge, MA Mimouna Festvial @ Harvard University, Northwest Labs Bldg, Harvard University 52 Oxford St Tix: $30 Adv./$40 Door/$20 Student, Doors Open: 9:00 pm, Show: 10:15 pm Ph: 617.531.4610.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shotnez-New Collaboration from Members of BBB

Shotnez, the new album/side project featuring members of Balkan Beat Box, is out tomorrow on JDub Records. This album takes the inventive production style and unmistakable energy of BBB and combines them with industrial sounding elements of crime-Jazz and trash rock. Check out the first single, Stolen Goods. If you like what you hear, dig the whole album tomorrow.