"African Thriller", the first single from Rocky Dawuni's forthcoming Branches of the Same Tree (out March 17th, 2015) embodies a unique and accessible "Afro-Roots" sound: a sumptuously funky blend of soul, pop, Afrobeat and reggae grooves. With his internationally recognized charisma and reputation as a dedicated activist, Rocky is a galvanizing performer and now he wants you to remix his celebratory track!
The “African Thriller Remix Contest” is your opportunity to express yourself through Rocky Dawuni’s music in whatever genre of your choosing. All are encouraged to enter and winners will be selected directly by Rocky. Be as creative as you can and transform Rocky’s music!
In his own words: "My song 'African Thriller' represents a cultural fusion of musical styles and challenging boundaries. I believe it lends itself to exciting and interesting sonic interpretations."
This month, the electrifying video for “African Thriller” features DJ and Producer Jeremey Sole's remixed version of the song. Sole, an acclaimed host on Los Angeles' taste-defining radio station KCRW has previously remixed tracks for Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Thievery Corporation and Quantic among others. Watch the video here.
All details including prizes, rules, submission guidelines and deadlines can be found con the contest's page here....read more
Akory, the new album from Madagascar's Razia Said, explores the political and environmental challenges facing her native land. Out now in Europe (out in North America on January 20th).
Akory, which means “What Now?” in the Malagasy language, was produced on four continents over the last four years and sees Razia diving even more deeply into her Malagasy roots. Featuring a more stripped-down approach than her acclaimed debut album, Zebu Nation, Akory is full of upbeat songs with vibrant melodies and soulful collaborations with a number of Madagascar’s top musicians, including Regis Gizavo, D’Gary, Rajery and Teta. Keeping her focus on the connection between the environmental destruction and political dismay in the country she calls home, Razia delivers an album full of soul, energy, and urgency that reaches into her most private thoughts and emotions. While the album does not pretend to answer the question raised by its title, it argues that we can change our current path and work together towards a more positive future.
Cumbancha will release Akory in Europe on November 10th, 2014 and the rest of the world on January 20th, 2015.
Cumbancha recording artist Rocky Dawuni has released his new music video for the hit single "African Thriller" in partnership with Entertainment Weekly. The timing of the video launch occured just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, and the video draws inspiration from that momentous event. At a time when news about Africa is dominated by the Ebola crisis, "African Thriller" offers a positive message celebrating African strength, unity and indomitable spirit. Follow this link to view the video on EntertainmentWeekly.com....read more
In her new song "We Are Here," Keys calls on artists to build bridges and promote peace
Raichel’s newest collaboration with Malian Muslim artist Vieux Farka Touré, The Paris Session, out tomorrow, September 30
Video of Keys’ "We Are Here," feat. Raichel and Amr as part of the Global Citizen Festival, Live on NBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfgiqFme-Fs&list=UUGwuWQ_oCQfQ4lPASPbCvYg
Israeli pianist, singer and composer Idan Raichel, along with Palestinian singer and qanun player Ali Amr, came to New York over the weekend to perform with Alicia Keys, Saturday, September 27, in Central Park as part of the Global Citizen Festival. The event featured artists including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Sting, No Doubt and Carrie Underwood, and appearances by numerous global dignitaries and world leaders. For an audience of 60,000, Keys, Raichel and Amr performed “We Are Here,” a new song Keys wrote to unite her audience in a global effort for peace, and to encourage young people to play an active role in making the world a better place. Raichel has crossed boundaries throughout his career, collaborating with artists of different cultural backgrounds, religions and national origins, including Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in the Touré Raichel Collective, whose new album, The Paris, Session is released by Cumbancha tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 30)....read more
The follow-up to "The Tel Aviv Session," one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent memory, "The Paris Session" reunites Israeli pianist Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in a cross-cultural masterpiece that defies expectations and easy categorization.
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The formation and success of The Touré-Raichel Collective, the band led by Israeli keyboardist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré—icons in their own countries and abroad—is a reminder of the unique power of music to bridge geographic, ethnic, political and religious differences. As a follow up to their acclaimed 2012 debut, The Tel Aviv Session, the group will release a new album, The Paris Session, September 30 on the Cumbancha label. The Touré-Raichel Collective will tour the U.S. this fall; please see below for an itinerary.
Although a collaboration between an Israeli Jew and a Malian Muslim has unavoidable political implications, what inspired Touré and Raichel to work together was not the potential to make a statement; they simply connected as artists and friends seeking to find musical common ground.
They met for the first time by chance, in 2008 at the Berlin airport, where they expressed mutual admiration and a desire to get together and play. Touré’s father, the late great Ali Farka Touré, was one of Raichel's musical heroes and inspirations. Raichel invited Touré to Israel, where they assembled a few musicians and convened an unscripted, improvised jam session. The chemistry between Touré and Raichel was instant and profound. They assumed the name The Touré-Raichel Collective and used the material from that first gathering as the basis for an album, The Tel Aviv Session, which found poignant, musically beautiful common ground between the artists’ cultures.
Due to popular demand, The Touré-Raichel Collective has undertaken multiple international tours and performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages. In June of this year, Touré returned to Israel to join Raichel's band The Idan Raichel Project in a performance at Masada, an archeological site of immense significance in Jewish history.
Since they recorded their first album in Tel Aviv, the plan was to make the follow-up in Bamako. But for reasons of logistics, cost and security the artists met in France instead. For three days Raichel, who produced, and Touré sequestered themselves at Studio Malambo in the outskirts of Paris where they were joined by a number of special guests. While The Paris Session is the result of the same freeform approach that was used in the first album, this time around they decided to feature more songs with vocals, a wider range of instrumentation, and appearances by musician friends such as Senegalese artist Daby Touré on bass, Israeli trumpeter Niv Toar, Malian singer Seckouba Diabate and others. Touré and Raichel have honed their interplay over the course of multiple tours together, but the album possesses the same spontaneous, heartfelt magic as its predecessor.
One highlight of the recording is a rendition of the song “Diaraby,” written by Ali Farka Touré and featured on his landmark collaboration with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu. Raichel says that there was a period of six or seven years during which he had listened to the song nearly every day. Upon sharing a stage with Vieux for the first time, Raichel suggested they play the elder Touré’s song together, and doing so brought tears to Raichel’s eyes. He describes feeling “a big, big circle from Ali Farka Touré in Niafunke to me in Tel Aviv, then going back to Ali’s son.”
More broadly Raichel says of his collaboration with Touré, “I’m a musician from Israel, and I will always make Israeli music. And Vieux Farka Touré for me represents the spirit of Mali. I think world music artists by definition are people who reflect the soundtrack of the place they come from. I think that this collaboration between Mali and Israel—and remember we don’t even have diplomatic relations between the two countries—creates a new imaginary island located somewhere between Bamako and Tel Aviv.”
Touré says, “Idan comes from Israel, he’s Jewish. I come from Mali, I'm a Muslim. This project shows the point where there are no real differences between us. Working on these recordings we learn a lot about each other. If music is indeed a universal language, you can't just say it, you have to demonstrate it.”
It all works, first and foremost, because Touré, Raichel and their guests manage to make singular music. Reviewing The Tel Aviv Session for NPR’s All Things Considered, Banning Eyre wrote, “If Raichel and Touré had planned a collaboration, it's hard to imagine that they could have topped the casual charm of this impromptu encounter.” Hosting the Collective on WNYC’s Soundcheck, John Schaefer called the debut recording “one of the year’s most surprising and infectious world music releases.” Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli has described the collaboration as “not so much cross-cultural exercise as an exploration of common ground.” Relix called is "as close to perfection as one could imagine," and Songlines raved in its four star review "There's something very pure of spirit about this album. Although the album grew out of jam sessions, the end result is architecturally robust and infused with strong emotive melodies. A delightful, soulful debut album that exudes optimism." That same optimistic, and adventurous, spirit simmers through The Touré-Raichel Collective's second album. Despite its unassuming spontaneity, the engaging interplay on The Paris Session exemplifies the unifying power of music.
The Touré-Raichel Collective U.S. Tour Dates
Check www.cumbancha.com/events for updates
November 7 - Northridge, CA - Valley Performing Arts Center
November 8 - San Francisco, CA - Nourse Theater
November 9 - Grass Valley, CA - The Center for the Arts
November 11 - Phoenix, AZ Musical - Instrument Museum
November 12 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
November 14 - Ogden, UT - Peery’s Egyptian Theater
November 15 - Seattle, WA - Meany Hall
November 18 - New York, NY - Symphony Space
November 19 - Frederick, MD - Weinberg Center for the Arts
November 20 - Fairfield, CT - Quick Center for the Arts
November 21 - Toronto, ONT - Koerner Hall
November 22 - Albany, NY - Swyer Theatre at The Egg
November 23 - Bethlehem, PA - Zoellner Arts Center...read more
Akory, the new album from Madagascar’s Razia Said, explores the political and environmental challenges facing her native land. Akory, which means “What Now?” in the Malagasy language, was produced on four continents over the last four years and sees Razia diving even more deeply into her Malagasy roots.
The follow-up to The Tel Aviv Session, one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent memory, The Paris Session reunites Israeli pianist Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in a cross-cultural masterpiece that defies expectations and easy categorization.
"African Thriller" embodies Rocky Dawuni's unique "Afro-Roots" sound, a funky blend of soul, pop, Afrobeat and reggae grooves that have made him a household name in his native Ghana and earned him a wide following across the globe. Jeremy Sole, a DJ, producer and host on the taste-defining Los Angeles radio station KCRW, remixed the single version of "African Thriller". Sole has previously remixed tracks for Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Thievery Corporation, and Quantic, among others.