“With original copies of the Kenya installment going for over €100 on Discogs and future editions planned, Highlife’s World Series project has some pretty serious wind at its back. Recorded by Esa Williams and Auntie Flo (AKA Brian D’Souza) during the 2014/2015 DoaDoa Music Conferences in Jinja, Uganda is the last of three editions that were originally planned, and features collaborative tracks with local musicians…
Makadem, one of the musicians featured on the Kenya release, recently told me how Esa’s club-honed production abilities could make traditional African instruments interesting to young Africans, and this EP sounds like another winning example. Santuri’s “Min Kula (Esa 12″ Mix)” is just about the highlight, with a glow added to the busy foreground of horns, percussion and overlaid chants. Christopher vs Swahili Alley’s “DoaDoa14” is the jazzy, Rhodes-washed vehicle for a passionate male vocal. The voice that leads both versions of “Africa Ni Leo” by Bantu Clan and Sarabi is even more of an earworm, though the “Extended Mix” and Behr’s quietly ominous remix deliver a less clubby second half on this varied package. Where the World Series will go from here is unknown, but given the first three installments, it’s hard not to be excited at the prospect of more.
Salaam – Makadem
“The Santuri team had contacted ‘Kenya’s Fela’ – a hugely talented Benga renegade called Makadem who’s Nyatiti playing and intense vocal presence had caught Santuri’s interest some months before. The team went to work building an outdoor pop up studio (Kitete Studio) on a campsite overlooking the beautiful Lake Naivasha – which became the focus for some interesting experiments. Ambrose and I started constructing rhythm tracks, and Makadem dived right in – improvising Nyatiti hooks (a traditional and instantly recognisable precursor to the guitar) and developing the lyric to Salaam, the basis for this track was finish within an hour.
So, Santuri’s collab with the The Highlife World Series team in Kenya has already created an international stir with the efforts from last year – and many of these same people are back together again for the Airtel Sondeka Festival 2015, workshops and performances.
You know how the West went from landline phones to chunky mobiles then smart phones over a number of years – but Africa went straight to mobile skipping the whole phone line thing – well I think this is it in music – catapulting the traditional / orginal sounds into 21st century.
Can’t wait for the gems that are going to come through from the workshops to performances at Sondeka and hopefully other musical products which come from that.
Exciting times …
#AirtelSondekaFestival #SanturiOnSafari #wearetheones