Following the success of Arabesque and Latinize, Gut Records bring you the third album in this superb series, Africanize, the future sound of modern Africa. Of course, we are talking about the continent of timeless traditions and proud ancestral histories dating back to the dawn of time. But today more than half of Africa's 650 million people live in towns and cities - and this changing way of life is also reflected in the new face of African music.
Calling an African album a dance record is like saying a fire is hot or a circle is round. Africa has always been a host to exotic rhythms, beaten out on taking drums and other ancient tribal instruments. But today those rhythms are expressed not only in traditional styles but also on electric instruments and digital samples and all the other manifestations of contemporary state-of-the-art recording. Modern Africa is quite simply the world's most dynamic musical continent and the dance floors of Dakar and Lagos, Johannesburg and Nairobi are among the most exciting on earth - as you will hear on this album.
Unsurprisingly, African music has also provided a rich and fertile seam for western DJs and re-mixers. At its best the meeting of the traditional and the cutting-edge results in an exhilarating collision of irresistible cross-cultural sound. Hence the Afro-beat of Nigeria's Femi Kuti is remixed by the Roots from modern urban America. Algeria's Hamid Baroudi is dramatically reinterpreted by DJ krush and Madala the king of the Zulu guitar, is given a makeover by Bristol duo Smith and Mighty.
Leftfield, those British dance floor techno pioneers, have also been profoundly influenced by the beat of Africa, as you will hear on Afro-Left from their seminal Leftism Album. There's the remarkable Afro-Celt Sound System, bold global fusionist and festival favourites who acknowledge no boundaries. Papa Wemba is the master of Congolese soukous, perhaps the most infectious dance music on this earth. From Mali comes Salif Keita, One of Africa's greatest ad most soulful voices. Then when you want to chill out there is the supple, gently swaying beauty of Wasis Diop's magical duet with Lena Figabe.
Prepare to abandon your prejudices and preconceptions. Africanize is here and now and African music won't ever be the same again.
"Africanize" will be released on Gut Records on November 19th.
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