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Something a Little Different: Kasai Allstars

“In the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic”

Believe it or not, the opening line of this post is actually the title of Kasai Allstars’ debut album, described as featuring ‘some of the wildest and most unusual sounds on the planet‘.

Kasai Allstars are a collective of Congolese musicians, bringing together disparate sounds from the five ethnic groups, or “tribes”, of the Kasai region. You can listen to their album here (if you have Spotify) or alternatively, head to your online music retailer of choice as it’s well worth getting hold of a copy.

As you may have guessed from the regularity of my posting here, I’m not currently interested in writing big long articles so I’m trying a new approach to this blog. Listening to music is all about interpretation, and for those interested in exploring these sounds more deeply, there are far more authoritative and interesting people out there.

So, from me, it’s time for something a little different… Check back for more soon.


Africa Brasil Mix

This may be my first post since July (?!), but bear with me because the first VariousNoises mixtape is finally finished and available to listen and download!

Inspired by Jorge Ben’s classic album Africa Brasil, this is a mix all about the shared rhythm, energy and soul of funk influenced music coming from both sides of the Atlantic in the 1970s as well as the legacy of artists such as Jorge and Fela Kuti.

I’ll hopefully get some more mixtapes up on the new VariousNoises Mixcloud page in the not too distant future so make sure you check back soon, I’ve also put this one on SoundCloud so you can listen without even leaving the blog.

Africa/Brasil mix by VariousNoises

Hope you enjoy it, there’s plenty more from the featured artists to check out on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube etc. Unfortunately I couldn’t find room for a Fela track (songs clocking in at 10 minutes plus aren’t great in a mix) so here’s the excellent ‘Colonial Mentality’ to make do with for now.

Head over to the Downloads page for more free mp3s.

Image credit: JAIRO BD on Flickr


South Africa’s Farewell

As the World Cup final kicks off in Johannesburg, regardless of the result on the pitch, the tournament will certainly be remembered as one of the most interesting and vibrant off it.

From the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert (featuring the likes of Tinariwen and Amadou & Mariam) to the record amounts of media coverage, the lively music of South Africa (and the continent beyond its borders) has been a welcome addition to the spectacle.

With the World Cup’s first venture onto African soil, South Africa’s culture and history have been on show alongside the football. Those who feared the tournament might not even have taken place have been proved wrong and the whole world has been treated to a truly special event.

In celebration of everything we have seen over the past month, here’s a Spotify playlist featuring everything from Hugh Masekela to the Mahotella Queens.

No musical tribute to this World Cup would be complete without K’naan’s ‘Wavin’ Flag’, a tune so good that it deserves a place in a playlist of South African music despite its singer being from Somalia.

Although it was a shame to see the home team go out early in the competition, South Africa have proved they are a country capable of hosting a modern global event on this sort of scale and, best of all, done it in their own spectacular style.