Afro-House Explorations

After a welcome winter hibernation, Rhythm & Roots is back and what better way to start 2013 than with the soulful, fresh, warm sound of Afro-House. Over the past month or so my playlists have been dominated by mixtapes, bootlegs and soundcloud sessions pouring over the offshoots of house music that are flourishing in Angola and South Africa. After a lot of digital crate digging I have put together a mix that celebrates some of my favourite Afro-House tunes, whilst also incorporating some influences from further afield akin to the sound and rhythm. So, a bit of context…

South African House

Unlike other parts of the world, in South Africa, house music is not confined to the dancefloor but has become one of the country’s dominant sounds, leading sales and making stars of its biggest names. Resident Advisor recently celebrated the SA House (centring on Johannesburg) as part of the “Real Scenes” mini-documentary series – a great introduction to the scene.

South Africa has not only become a global mecca of house music but has also managed to formulate its own diverse scene with its own diversity of sound. There is the upbeat, snare driven house sound epitomised by DJ Mujava‘s international breakthrough Township Funk, the deeper, soulful style from producers like Black Coffee, Black Motion and Culoe de Song and then the smash hit, lyrical, Kwaito-hereditary sounds of big name producers Professor, Oskido & DJ Clock.

Angolan House

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Meanwhile, the past few years have also seen a house music explosion in Angola, drawing inspiration from the South African scene and offering stiff competition to the Kuduro sound that has, historically, dominated the country’s electronic music scene. As Benjamin Lebrave, who offers a fascinating insight into the rise of Angolan house via This Is Africa, noted in July after a visit to Angola:

“A genre that was practically absent just three years ago during my last visit can now be heard virtually anytime, anywhere.”

Many Angolan producers such as DJeff and DJ Silyvi lean towards the deeper side whilst also emphasising rhythmic richness and incorporating traditional vocals samples. New producers are constantly appearing on Soundcloud with fresh sounds in a genre that continues to spread and diversify. It will be interesting to see two how these scenes now evolve and how they will feed back into electronic music globally.

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Sunday Songs

Here in Amsterdam the sun is shining and summer is finally here (at least for a weekend). To celebrate here is a little playlist of some sunny, Sunday songs:

Makina – Potro


The fourth release from future looking Latin American netlabel Antartek comes from Amsterdam based Argentine born producer Makina. Potro (which translates as horse) consists of four prime cuts of ‘Ghetto Folk/House/Pisco Sour/Cumbia'(!) Makina takes house music foundations and layers them with slices of chicha guitar, cut up cumbia rhythms and even a drop of swaggering moombahton. The tracks have groove and are made for the dancefloor, following on from Antartek’s previous releases from Daniel Klauser and Matanza. Have a listen to the EP below and then go and download this along with all of the label’s EPs for free here!

Makina – Potro EP

Floating Points in Brazil

This is a great little video interview with UK house/soul/funk/everything producer, DJ and Eglo Records boss, Floating Points, conducted in a São Paulo record store a month or so back. You can see, and indeed listen to some of the records FP purchased from via the Eglo website.

Angolan House

Just read a great little piece from FADER by Benjamin Lebrave (the man behind Akwaaba Music) on the recent House music trend taking over Angolan clubs. Lebrave writes that Angolan producers like DJ Djeff and DJ Delany, inspired by the South African House scene, have been pushing their Kuduro and Semba productions into Afro-House territory. This has led to a uniquely Angolan take on the genre, including the country’s own musical heritage and as Lebrave notes, creating Angolan House. Here are some musical picks:

Banane Mavoko (Delany Duvall LostMind Remix) – Black Motion

Os Modelos ft Cabo Snoop – Hoje Vou te Pegar

Djeff & Maskarado – Elegom Bounsa (Akwaaba Music)

Renato Xtrova – Yele Oh (Original Mix)

Djeff Afrozilla ft. Gary Sinedima – Piluka (Soul Vocal mix)

Sunday Mashup – Auntie Flo vs Los Mirlos

Auntie Flo, otherwise known as Glaswegian Brian D’Souza, has been making waves over the past year or so with his take on tropical/afro-house and DJ sets at the Highlife club night. His previous tunes ‘Goa’ & ‘Highlife’ were the first releases from club turned label Huntley & Palmers which was followed by this tune ‘Oh My Days’, backed by South African house producer DJ Sdunkero’s ‘Choosing Love’.

Todays mash-up takes the Alejandro Paz remix of ‘Oh My Days’, slows it down and, keeping with the recent Peruvian theme on the blog, blends it with some classic chicha c/o Los Mirlos.

http://official.fm/tracks/303261?size=small

Real Scenes: Bristol

Bristol has played an important part in the history of British electronic music, from the early days of trip-hop pioneers Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack, to the city’s role in the emergence and divergence of UK bass music. Online electronic music magazine Resident Advisor yesterday revealed a new series of videos about influential music scenes around the world. First up for the treatment is Bristol and its booming scene.