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Me and My Friends album out 6 December 2018


Album release: 'Look Up' by Me and My Friends
Release date: 6 December 2018
Label: Split Shift Record
More info: Band website

Me and My Friends have released their new single, 'You Read My Mind', as they gear up for their new album release next month.

The track premiered at Folk Radio who admired the"...beautiful plucked cello and Latin-inspired strings". Read the full piece here.

  • Listen to 'You Read My Mind' via YouTube

Sparkling guitar lines, an addictive vocal hook and a bouncy, syncopated groove, 'You Read My Mind' is a playful tribute to vintage Ghanaian highlife greats such as Pat Thomas, Ebo Taylor and K. Frimpong. At the centre of the track is a gorgeous plucked cello solo, which slowly builds into a euphoric crescendo, as the band create a version of the highlife style which is wholly their own.

The band have been touring the UK throughout the autumn, upcoming dates include a newly announced show on Thursday 6th December at Rich Mix in London.

Nick Rasle, songwriter in Me and My Friends, told Folk Radio UK:

'We had been toying with using plucked cello as a lead line for a while, as we felt it's such an underused texture - more melodic than the double bass, and more meaty than the violin or viola. As we played the groove, more and more ideas kept coming to Emma, so we decided to make it the focus for the track, and place it centre-stage'.

The track is an exploration of rhythmic and melodic ideas over a modal theme, an approach inspired by early 70s music from Ghana and Nigeria.

'You Read My Mind' is a typical example of the Me and My Friends sound: unashamedly drawing from a specific genre, yet remaining unplaceable in time and space; a dance track filled with gentle, lilting melodies and supremely uplifting vocal harmonies; a catchy single in opposition to the tradition of pop songwriting.

Me and My Friends play soulful, poignant, and gloriously danceable music, subtly referencing many styles, including vintage Ghanaian highlife, Jamaican roots and Afro-Brazilian folk. The UK-based quintet create a timeless sound with a global outlook, performed with an infectious energy, and the result is instantly recognisable, highly original and truly genre-defying.

On their new album ‘Look Up’, coming December 6th via Split Shift, the elegant voice and West African finger-picking guitar style of songwriter Nick Rasle is cradled by stunning vocal harmonies and the evocative combination of cello and clarinet, all underpinned by a rhythm section with a deep sense of groove. ‘Look Up’ draws heavily on early 70s acoustic soul, as well as the modal ‘Ethiopiques’ of Mulatu Astatke and the minimalism of the Penguin Café Orchestra.

Built on deceptively simple, yet richly satisfying grooves, the songs explore timeless themes of friendship (‘Another Lifetime’), commitment (‘Promise Me This Much’) and nostalgia (‘High As The Sun’). Having worked in a volunteer kitchen on the Greek island of Lesbos at the height of the refugee crisis in 2016, Nick Rasle recounts a tale he heard over and over on the haunting roots reggae track 'Good Life'. Drawing on the determination of the people he encountered to feel hope, to look forward and to be acknowledged, the song is a call for empathy and understanding in our increasingly intolerant society.

From the title track ‘Look Up’ with its energetic afro-beat, addictive melody, and jazzy breakdown, to the atmospheric ‘All Of This I Know’ that has clear influences from avant-garde British folk, the album takes the listener on a journey through many genres and cultures.

Me and My Friends released their critically acclaimed second album ‘Hide Your Way’ on Soundway Records in 2016. After support from the likes of Songlines, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and BBC 6 Music in the UK, the group also had recognition from nu-jazz DJ, Will Holland, as the album headed up Quantic’s ‘favourites of the year’ mix.

On ‘Look Up’, Me and My Friends have refined their signature sound into one that travels through many styles and influences and yet remains with you in a wholly unique way.

  • "This is enough to brighten up any day...features beautiful plucked cello and Latin-inspired strings" - Folk Radio UK

  • “Unusual instrumental forces create a sublime fusion that combines pastoral dreaminess with the heat of reggae, highlife and Afrobeat sounds” - Songlines Magazine

  • “A life-affirming sound” - Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4

  • “They’ve got joy written through them” - Alex Lester, BBC Radio 2

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Sarathy Korwar new album out 9 November 2018


Album release: ‘My East Is Your West’ by Sarathy Korwar
Release date: 9 November 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Off the back of his critically acclaimed Ninja Tune debut ‘Day to Day’ and his lauded collaboration with Shabaka Hutchings and Hieroglyphic Being on A.R.E. Project in 2017, indo-jazz percussionist, producer and composer Sarathy Korwar and his newly formed UPAJ Collective are now ready to release their debut record, ‘My East Is Your West’.

Made up of estimable Indian jazz and classical musicians that share Sarathy’s passion for jazz and Indian music, UPAJ collective consists of 10 members including the likes of adroit Indian musicians such as Aravindhan Baheerathan (bansuri), Jasdeep Singh Degun (sitar), Aditya Prakash (vocals) and B C Manjunath (percussion) alongside John Ball (santoor and tabla) and respected jazz musicians including Tamar Osborn (sax and flute), Alastair MacSween (piano), Jesse Bannister (saxophonist), Giuliano Modarelli (guitar) and Domenico Angarano (bass).

Recorded live at Church Of Sound in early 2018, the new album sees Sarathy and his fellow musicians explore and challenge the concepts of ‘East’ and ‘West’ and the intersection at which western jazz meets Indian music. Led by Sarathy in a seated circle facing one another, the ensemble guides the audience through a selection of homages that explore Indian ragas and talas with smatterings of western harmony and hypnotic jazz. The result is an a truly contemplative 10 tracks traversing fervent percussion, meditative passages of ambience, raw improvisation and traditional Indian music, which is as beguiling as it is edifying.

Throughout the history of contemporary jazz many artists have had a fascination for Indian music, leading to records which are now considered to be quintessential spiritual jazz milestones. However, whilst most popular spiritual jazz from the 60s and 70s set out to explore the music, culture and religion in foreign continents, the material sometimes only incorporated certain elements of these cultures and what East meant to, or was perceived as, by those particular artists. Importantly, these musicians were also only at the start of a narrative that has become more complex as time has gone on with a greater accessibility to different music and cultures and with many more people studying Indian music and contributing to Indo-jazz.

On ‘My East Is Your West’ Sarathy balances the scales for the current and future generations, providing insight and criticising the sometimes-simplistic adoption of “Eastern styles”, whilst also building on the narrative of what ‘East’ is, and equally challenging listeners to consider where ‘East’ is. Speaking about the album Sarathy says, “For this album, the musicians play the songs of notable jazzers and Indian classical musicians who have all been interested in this cross-cultural musical exchange in the past. But this needs redefining, as the narrative has moved along considerably since these songs were initially recorded in the 1960s-70s. Although great recordings, many of which are considered classics, their nod to any non-jazz traditions of music today seem tokenistic and express a deep-rooted orientalised view of Indian music and it's music makers.

'Eastern music', much like the term "African music' are still ubiquitous and are indicative of how the UK sees, hears and consumes a lot of music that is from afar. This album (and it's title - My East Is Your West) attempts to question notions of what and where 'East' and 'West' is, in the disturbingly common and casual use of these terms whilst talking about music and bringing together both jazz and Indian classical music with a shift in the power dynamic.”

With every record Sarathy releases his music becomes more exploratory and insightful, delving into his personal influences, which also inspire much of the music in the jazz scene that surrounds him. At a time where UK jazz is being heralded for its progression, innovation and far-reaching appeal to people from varying backgrounds, ‘My East Is Your West’ is an essential record that explores cultural and musical diversity in way that will continue to be relevant for years to come.

The title ‘My East Is Your West’ is taken from artist Shilpa Gupta’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale, 2015 and is used with her permission. Featuring liner notes from jazz writer, radio presenter and editor of Straight No Chaser, Paul Bradshaw, Sarathy Korwar’s new album is available to pre-order now on 3xLP, CD and digital platforms from Gearbox Records.

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Duane Forrest 'The Climb' new album due 21 July 2017

Album release: ‘The Climb’ by Duane Forrest
Release date: 21 July 2017
Label: Traaxx Music
More info: Artist website

The traveller’s experience is one envied by many. Throughout his life Duane Forrest, the newest artist to be signed to Traaxx Music, has been in the thick of many cultures, and now residing in Toronto, has previously had the luck to have lived in Mexico, Honduras, and Puerto Rico amongst others. Perhaps then, it is no surprise that his life and Jamaican heritage, has allowed Duane to so naturally weave the styles of Bossa Nova, Jazz, Reggae and Soul to create an organic warming sound.

A rough neighbourhood in a Toronto government housing complex could have lead to a different path in life except from the blessing that has saved so many before him, music. From a young age his appetite to delve deeper into the world of the arts has drawn him to many instruments, and techniques that have built and built into the ‘ Apple in the Tree’  series. The concept grew from an experience Duane had during a spiritual trip to Mexico, upon encountering a glimpse of love when it was least expected. The experience struck a chord when, “One day she told me this story. "I'm an apple in the tree, in this tree there are many apples within reach, even some on the ground are easy to pick up, but for me you'll have to climb..." Needless to say this stuck with me. Also the woman that she was, the confidence etc stuck with me. What she brought out of me also was very important. So I wanted to tell that story, that journey.”

Through the profits and influence of his music, Duane has recently founded a non-profit charity called 'Genesis Community of the Arts'. Genesis equips and sends teachers in the arts to marginalized places around the globe. Currently, Genesis has teachers placed in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, Choloma, Honduras and Panajachel, Guatemala. The goal of Genesis is to give marginalized people around the globe education in the arts, some for the first time. They are granted this opportunity through classes in music, dance, and visual arts. The hope is that through Genesis, they will discover something beautiful: creativity, much like the story of Duane’ s journey.

“My music is about my personal growth as a man, what that means, and how that looks as I interact with a woman. The ups and downs. This album is called 'The Climb'. It's about the work, the hard work it takes to rise to a place where perhaps I could be with the woman of my dreams.” Duane’ s heartfelt words are matched by the intimate hushed tones that swirl along throughout ‘The Climb’. For Duane, the release is an important one mentally. “I wrote most if this music after going through some hard times so it's very personal. Learning to be OK and happy with myself before moving into a relationship with others. And then there are my hopes and dreams there as well.”

Press reaction to date

“...soulful solo acoustic music. He sounded like Dave Matthews... with just a touch of jazz as his fingers flew over the fretboard of his guitar”- L.A. Beat

"Toronto's smooth operator warms the vibe with bossa nova, jazz and soul" - Vancouver Sun

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Yazz Ahmed album 'La Saboteuse' due 12 May 2017

Album release: ‘La Saboteuse’ by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 12 May 2017
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

Bahraini-British performer, Yazz Ahmed, is transforming what jazz means in 2017. This trumpet and flugelhorn-playing artist has worked with Radiohead, These New Puritans and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, experiments with electronic effects, and combines sounds from her shared heritage to author a new narrative for the genre.  

Part of the new wave of artists credited with stirring up the sound, including Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal, Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming, Yazz Ahmed is thrilled by the possibilities of making something new. “I feel like I’m a part of modernising jazz and connecting it with audiences today,” Yazz says. “It’s exciting.” 

Her new album ‘La Saboteuse’ is a deep exploration of both her British and Bahraini roots. Ably assisted by musicians including Lewis Wright on vibraphone, MOBO-winning new jazz kingpin Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet and Naadia Sherriff on Fender Rhodes keyboard, it’s composed of undulating rhythms, Middle Eastern melody and Yazz’s sonorous trumpet lines. The record sounds like the passage of a desert caravan, bathed in moonlight.  

The theme of ‘La Saboteuse’ is the sense of self-doubt that Yazz feels when she is creating, personified in a female saboteur, an anti-muse that spurs her into action. “Giving ‘her’ a name has really helped me to identify those negative voices we all get,” she says. “I know what it is and I know how to combat it.” 

‘La Saboteuse’ will be released in four chapters incrementally, unravelling the story, before the full version is available. Each chapter has its own cover, with beautiful illustrations by Bristol artist Sophie Bass. “I feel really touched, nobody’s created art from my music before, it’s really special,” Yazz says. 

Yazz spent her early childhood in Bahrain, her paternal homeland, before moving to London with her English mother at the age of nine. There, she became fascinated by her grandfather’s trumpet playing, and vowed to learn the instrument herself. “My grandfather, my mum’s dad, was a trumpet player, and I was quite taken by him, inspired. I wanted to learn the trumpet at school.” Jazz became her chosen form of expression, because “I loved the spirit of the music, the freedom. There’s a lot of joy, mystery. I connected with it”. 

Yazz’s sound is unique. Her take on jazz weaves in Arabic melodies to evocative, cinematic effect. “I love the sounds of Arabic music. The traditional folk singing is so heartfelt, elemental and passionate. I absorbed it as a child, but only in the past few years has it come to the surface in my playing and writing. I want to embrace my culture and my British jazz heritage, the music my grandfather played to me.” 

Jazz has traditionally been a male-dominated sphere, though Yazz is challenging that notion. To start with she found it a hindrance, but has been empowered by a new wave of women musicians. “There are more female jazz musicians and attitudes are changing,” she says. “People see that women can play just as well as the men. But there are still areas that haven’t caught up with the rest of society. It’s getting better, but we can do more.” 

Future-facing and fascinating, Yazz Ahmed is part of a glimmering new constellation in the jazz firmament. And her next project is destined to take her further into the stars. “I’m planning to write a piece inspired by the ever-changing structures of the universe,” she concludes. 

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Yazz Ahmed new album 'La Saboteuse' due 12 May 2017


Album release: 'La Saboteuse' by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 12 May 2017
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website
Yazz Ahmed has been making serious waves in the Jazz world after storming onto the scene with a commanding performance at Ronnie Scott’s with her quintet in 2010. With her next release ‘La Saboteuse’ Yazz looks set to join an pioneering group of artists such as The Comet is Coming (Leaf Label), Kamasi Washington (BRAINFEEDER), Yussef Kamaal (Brownswood) and Naim Records’ Sons Of Kemet who are flipping the jazz world on its head and breaking through to the forefront of the UK music scene with a vibrant and exciting approach to their art. 

Yazz has performed with creative goliaths including Lee "Scratch" Perry and Max Romeo as well as touring worldwide with These New Puritans and laying down the Flugelhorn on Radiohead’s ground-breaking ‘King of Limbs’. Her second full length release ‘La Saboteuse’ explores the creative process and the demons that can exist within. Yazz’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding. 

Naim Records have teamed up with emerging Bristol illustrator Sophie Bass Illustration to craft a stunning visual aesthetic for ‘La Saboteuse’. Sophie’s work explores human nature and our sensual relationship with the world we occupy. Through an exploration of her Trinidad heritage Sophie developed an appetite for native art and the mythology and symbolism encompassed within, these themes are beautifully displayed in Sophie’s unique, culturally rich and symbolic style.  

With 'La Saboteuse' Naim Records will break away from the traditional model of release with the album being dropped as four chapters across streaming services in early 2017. Each chapter will have an individual cover crafted by Sophie which when combined will form the gatefold cover housing the heavyweight double LP. The vinyl and CD will be released concurrently with Chapter Four and the digital release of the full album, all landing in May 2017. 

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Esteban Alvarez album 'Tico Groove' due 3 March 2017

Album release: 'Tico Groove' by Esteban Alvarez
Release date: 3 March 2017
More info: Artist website

World-class Steinway pianist Esteban Alvarez has written music for a variety of ensembles, orchestras, and chamber groups in his time– from the Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Caribe Club and the Escazu Folk-Music band to the Baylor Jazz Ensemble and many more. Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Esteban has studied under a number of jazz greats (including the likes of Chris Potter, Dave Brubeck, John Abercrombie and Jonathan Kreisberg – among others) going on to write songs for the National Peace Program of Costa Rica, and the Organization of Costa Rica & Nicaragua. These songs received special awards by Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Laureate and President of Costa Rica at that time. Esteban has travelled to Guatemala, Qatar, and Nepal to perform in national music festivals and speak about peace and education.

Esteban was first nominated as a 'Steinway Artist' back in 2013. The Steinway Artist Roster is a list of the most accomplished and discriminating artists in the world. Some of the names in this list include Lang Lang, Diana Krall, Arthur Rubinstein, Duke Ellington, Keith Jarrett, and others of this calibre. As a Steinway Artist Esteban has performed solo concerts in China, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Central America, and the USA. Esteban has also appeared in private shows for the Ferrari club and Formula 1, featuring John Legend and other artists.

Esteban’ s latest album 'Tico Groove' features Ignacio Berroa (Dizzy Gillespie’ s drummer) and Lynn Seaton (Count Basie’ s bassist). The album seamlessly blends elements of traditional and Latin jazz, whilst also incorporating Costa Rican folk and world rhythms and phrasings, meeting in a place that sits somewhere between an almost nostalgic hark back to Esteban’ s hometown, whilst also taking influence from its guest musicians who put their own distinctive mark on the album. 'Tico Groove' is the sum of the many parts that make up both Esteban’ s culture and musical identity, blending his jazz and world sensibilities with the sound of the many other artists and indeed cultures that he has come to work with and previously studied under.  

Speaking on the forthcoming record, Esteban said “This album is my attempt to share the love for my culture and my identity as a 'Tico' (Costa Rican) to other parts of the world. The concept of 'Tico Groove' was to create a bridge between our most organic folklore, and some of the most influential elements of jazz and world-music under my original music arrangements. All this was possible through the monumental experience and knowledge of legendary drummer Ignacio Berroa (former drummer for Dizzy Gillespie), who not only captured the concept of this music but also gave to it an unmistakable Latin jazz flavour. In the same way, world renowned bassist Lynn Seaton 'sealed' this project with the authentic jazz 'old-school' sound. Indeed, nothing but a privilege to make music with these gentlemen.”

Esteban was also recently nominated 'Good Will Ambassador' and guest Artist to the International Peace Foundation, based in Hong Kong. In 2016 Esteban co-founded Music Peace Project (MPP), a non-profit organisation that brings local and international musicians together to assist in humanitarian relief efforts around the world by making and selling music. The organisations first project is called 'Austin for Peace' and 100% of the album’ s net sales will be given to UNHCR for Syrian refugees. Some of the musicians featured in this project are Ignacio Berroa, John Patitucci (world acclaimed bassist), Tamela Hedstrom (Costa Rican singer), and the Wesley Intergenerational Choir.

'Tico Groove' is as consummate as it is divergent in its style and unfolds in an almost musically autobiographical sense, creating a superlative summation of Estebans musical career to date. With various other projects lined up for 2017, 'Tico Groove' provides the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with Esteban Alvarez signature style.

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Omar Rahbany album 'Passport' due 10 March 2017

Album release: 'Passport' by Omar Rahbany
Release date: 10 March 2017
More info: Artist website

An album that took three years to make, with over 180 collaborators from 12 different nationalities, of which include Grammy award winners and critically acclaimed artists, ‘Passport’, by Omar Rahbany, unfolds over 59 minutes. The forthcoming album, ‘Passport’, breaks down barriers between cultures and countries, having travelled across world to complete it. Heavy jazz and classical influences are fused with Arabic and Lebanese overtones throughout the album, meeting in a place where there are no divisions, culturally, linguistically or artistically.  
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1989, Omar comes from a rich musical lineage. His grandfather, Mansour, and great-uncle, Assi, known colloquially as the Rahbani Brothers, forged Lebanon’s musical identity with their distinct and innovative pieces. Similarly, Omar’s childhood was infused with a rich variety of artistic mediums; his father is a playwright composer and lyricist whilst his mother is famed for her professional dancing.  
Omar’s debut album sees him carrying his heredity forwards, whilst innovating and developing his sound. With a deep interest for the German concept of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (a total work of art) - an idea that only stimulated his burgeoning creativity - his interests widened to include film and choreography. Omar’s vision of uniting these various aesthetic elements to form one total work of art soon became more pronounced, leading him to compose his first musical at the age of nineteen. 
In many ways ‘Passport’ takes forward the idea of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, the record is a genre all of its own. Omar makes use of the wide variety of the musical tools at his disposal, setting the album apart as an entirely unique body of work. The songs are complex, deeply textured and cinematic, they are as infectious and as diverse as they are accomplished. 
Speaking about the album, Omar says, “After a three year journey to perfect every note on Passport, and to achieve the overarching vision of the album, we are now ready to share it with the world. The successfully enriched sounds of Passport are attributed to the 180 talented individuals that took part in making it, all unified by one vision.” 
The socio-political situation in the Middle East has also been a big influence on the new album. Most of the world’s ruling civilisations, at one time or another, have left their mark on the city of Beirut. This fact, combined with the effects of globalisation and the internet, has created a city, and indeed a country, which is torn between three languages, eighteen religions and one history that no one can seem to agree upon. This is a nation that undertakes a constant struggle to find its ‘absolute’ identity. 
Understanding his own position within this debate has become a personal mission for Omar. Speaking about the impact this has had on the new album he says, “The melting pot of cultures I grew up in, the double-edged sword that shaped me as a person, the confusion, the creativity, the struggle itself is my identity. I am a citizen of planet Earth and my nationality is that of a human being. This is my PASSPORT. And I’m certain that this view is shared by everyone that contributed to the making of the album.” 
Mixed at Real World Studios (Manic Street Preachers, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Beyoncé Knowles, Ludovico Einaudi and more), and with every single part of the album written and composed by Omar himself, the album features over 180 guest musicians. Guests on the album include fourteen-time Grammy Award winning producer Steve Rodby (bassist for the Pat Metheny Group), Keith Carlock (drummer for Sting and Steely Dan), Wayne Krantz, Karim Ziad, and Cuong Vu (trumpeter for the Pat Metheny Group), along with accompaniment from the Kiev City Symphonic Orchestra. 
The completion of such an ambitious project is owed to Omar’s distinct, original sound and technical proficiency. In many ways this album is an artistic passport, a tool in which the listener can travel freely across a multifarious range of styles, genres and experiences and can submerge themselves in the unknown.

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Afro Celt Sound System new album ‘The Source’ out 29 April 2016

Album release: ‘The Source’ by Afro Celt Sound System
Release date: 29th April 2016
Label: ECC Records
More info: Band website

Afro Celt Sound System mark a 20th anniversary with their first studio album in 10 years. Festival dates and major UK tour in November 2016! 
With sales now topping one and a half million albums and two Grammy nominations to date, Afro Celt Sound System celebrate their 20th anniversary with a stunning new album, ‘The Source’.  
This European and African based collective have been a ground-breaking force in music ever since they started, along the way finding kindred spirits across international talent and forging a reputation for exhilarating shows. Afro Celt Sound System have an accomplished catalogue of albums, dating back to their 1996 debut, Volume 1: Sound Magic and continue their adventures on ECC Records, with the band’s first studio recording for a decade: ‘The Source’.  
As its title suggests, all 13 tracks on ‘The Source’ summon the original Afro Celt energy, while simultaneously yielding fresh and creative inspiration. Grammy-nominated multi-instrumental founder and producer Simon Emmerson recalls the creative spark that occurred from his early-’90s work with celebrated singer and guitarist Baaba Maal in Senegal, and a meeting of minds with Dublin-born musician Davy Spillane. It led to a jam session of African and Irish musicians laced with electronic beats at Peter Gabriel’s Real World’s studios in Wiltshire (with the surreal backdrop of the likes of Johnny Depp, Kate Moss and Iggy Pop milling around), from which Afro Celt Sound System’s debut album took flight.  
‘The Source’, is perhaps the most expansive and exuberant Afro Celt Sound System work to date. Its track-listing brings together core members Simon Emmerson, Guinean vocalist, kora and balafon virtuoso N’Faly Kouyate and charismatic dhol master Johnny Kalsi, along with long-standing collaborators such as Davy Spillane and Emer Mayock on uillean pipes and whistles, Moussa Sissoko on djembe and talking drum, and members of Scottish folk fusion Shooglenifty (who contributed to the very first Afro Celt album). 

There are also welcome newcomers to the family, including the gritty, witty rhymes of Gaelic rapper, musician and language activist Griogair (an exponent of 'ghetto-croft', with a nod to his off-grid base in the Scottish Highlands), and the hauntingly soulful delivery of Armagh-born vocalist and flautist Rioghnach Connolly (Realworld), who leads Beware Soul Brother, inspired by a homage to legendary Nigerian poet Chinua Achebe, with a powerful song about what happens when something you love is stolen.  
‘The Source’, is very much a collaborative effort, embracing devotional harmonies (notably the exquisite sound of Guinean female quintet Les Griottes, who contribute to songs including opener Calling In The Horses), with protest songs, rockabilly guitars (Desert Billy) and powerful electronic rhythms.  
The Source was recorded at various locations across Europe, including Davy Spillane’s own studio by the Cliffs of Moher, an experience which the band liken to a Game Of Thrones quest ('Go and seek out the wise man on the remote cliffs'). The adept mixing skills of David Bottrill and Mass are credited for their “alchemical art” in bringing the album’s varied elements together.  
One of the most celebratory numbers is The Magnificent Seven, a stirring reunion with the mighty Dhol Foundation, with the vital percussion spurred along by a vocal chant which translates as 'courage' in Kouyate’s native tongue of Mandinka. The Source also rounds things off in spirit-soaring style, with Kalsi Breakbeat.  
‘The Source’ features artwork by Jamie Reid, highly regarded artist, best known for his designs for the Sex Pistols including the 'Anarchy in the U.K.' poster—a ripped and safety-pinned Union Flag and the God Save the Queen single.  
The new album’s characteristic energy will certainly translate to Afro Celt Sound System’s latest live sets, which kicked off 2016 in style with a sell-out show at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival. In the summer of 2016, Afro Celt Sound System are due to play key festivals throughout the summer and a major UK in November 2016 to be announced shortly.  
Formats: CD / Double vinyl with USB featuring exclusive bonus tracks & additional media / Digital. 

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Världens Band Transglobal Roots Fusion new album due out 30 October

Album release: 'Transglobal Roots Fusion' by Världens Band
Release date: 30 October 2015
Label:  Brick Lane Records
More info: Band website

Fourteen musicians, seven countries, three continents, one band. Världens Band perform folk and roots music from their native countries in a coadunation of cultures in a style which they have branded as ‘transglobal roots fusion’. Swedish melodies meet Scottish reels, English guitar accompanies Indian classical song, Galician pipes play Balkan melodies and the Senegalese kora blends with Mediterranean rhythms. The result is a unique and exciting blend of culture, personality and style. 

Formed in 2012, Världens Band is made up of; BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners, Newcastle-based band Last Orders, BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award nominees Rura and Swedish Folk Award winners Kolonien; alongside winner of the All India Radio Competition Carnatic Devotional singer Charu Hariharan, rising star of the Senegalese Griot tradition Abdou Cissokho and Mediterranean singer Navah Elbaz. Världens Band showcases music from all around the world, performed at its best. 

All experts in their native traditional music, the musicians first joined forces in Stockholm to share the folk music from their separate countries and to create new sounds under the guidance of Swedish folk legend Ale Möller. They have since carried out three highly successful tours of Sweden, playing at various major folk festivals and one UK tour where they created an enthusiastic following after playing at the Sage, Musicport and at the SOAS concert series amongst other venues. 

In coming together not only do Världens Band create what is probably the definition of world music but they also exhibit how music can unite and create a common understanding across socio-political and cultural borders. They are a seemingly impossible group that always had the potential for possible conflict with religious and political differences; by using music as their universal language and common ground, they have blossomed into an explosive orchestra that aims to challenge norms and prejudices.

‘Transglobal Roots Fusion’ is due out this autumn and follows on from their successful 2014 live album – ‘Världens Band Live at Nataraj Records’. To coincide with the new release the band will also be embarking on an enormous two month EU/UK tour starting in October 2015. Världens Band is an invitation to a fierce dance for change, and we highly recommend that you accept that invitation.

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Dengue Fever to release new album, "The Deepest Lake", in February

The Dengue Fever - The Deepest Lake

Album release: "The Deepest Lake" by Dengue Fever
Release date: 2 February 2015
Label: Tuk Tuk / Proper
More information / listen on: Dengue Fever website

“Not content to merely providing glorious pop-tunes in easily digested song-wrapped packets, Dengue Fever choose the high road of cultural exposure, forcing the hand of the listener in a bid to fully comprehend their art.” – Pitchfork

It’s been close to four years since Cambodian rock band Dengue Fever released a full-album of new material, but that all changes on 2nd February 2014 as ‘The Deepest Lake’ is finally ready to announce.

For long-time fans, Dengue Fever’s sound remains in-tact but ‘The Deepest Lake’ finds Dengue Fever expanding their trademark psych/surf Cambodian pop sound with African percussion, vocals that would make Exene and John Doe proud, sweeping melodies and extended psychedelic jams of songs that often time out after five or six minutes. The band made a conscious decision to head into their home studio looking to expand their sound by following their instincts to explore jams that came out of demos. The result showcases Dengue Fever’s musically adventurous side while still remaining faithful to their otherworldly sound.

“The Deepest Lake is probably our most challenging record to date”, said Dengue Fever Bassist Senon Williams. “We are entering our second decade together as a band and wanted to explore some ideas we’d experimented with in the past to try and capture a more expressive sound. Musically we went with a more raw approach while vocally Chhom Nimol came through with her signature power, intimacy and passion”

Dengue Fever’s last full-length release was 2011’s Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy Records). Since that time, the band has been busy forging headfirst both creative outlets and business opportunities. In 2012, the band formed their own label, Tuk Tuk Records, struck distribution agreements with MRI/RED for North America and Proper Records for the rest of the world. In the past two years they have reissued four of their albums with bonus tracks, released a tour-only E.P., launched a wildly successful Pledge Music campaign and toured extensively in Mexico, Brazil, Asia, Europe and the United States.

In the last four years, members of Dengue Fever also joined Toms footwear and eyewear on a Giving Trip to help Cambodians in need, co-headlined a tour with Syrian musician Omar Souleyman and found their music licensed by Vice News, CSI: Las Vegas, The Hangover 2, Matador, True Blood, Broken Flowers and numerous documentaries.

An extensive tour in support of ‘The Deepest Lake’ will be announced later this month. 

Previous praise

  • “…one of the hottest bands around” – NPR
  • “Enormous fun” – The Guardian
  • “Breathing new life into a forgotten era of psych-pop” – Dazed & Confused
  • “…the world's premier Cambodian psychedelic rock band” – MOJO
  • “Not content to merely providing glorious pop-tunes in easily digested song-wrapped packets, Dengue Fever choose the high road of cultural exposure, forcing the hand of the listener in a bid to fully comprehend their art.” – Pitchfork

More information

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