Charles Mingus and how Cumbia met Jazz



Cumbia has something special. It is a genre that sticks, that resonates and one that has endured for hundreds of years and travelled all over the globe. It has mixed with African influences, with electronica, with Balkan, with rock and even with boundary pushing jazz.

In 1977 one of Jazz’s greatest composers Chalres Mingues released an album on Atlantic simply titled ‘Cumbia and Jazz Fusion’. The album had at its heart two tracks of over 20 minutes each exploring the line between Colombian Cumbia and Jazz. Mingus’ Jazz experimentations are fused with Cumbia rhythms, freestyling piano solos descend into 5 minute percussion extravaganzas, twisting the original rhythms to a whole new level before diving into calls of ‘Freedom! Freedom!’ and back out again – a constant crisscrossing between the two genres.

The album is unique. But how did a jazz great like Mingus end up playing Cumbia in the first place?

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Fresh Electronic Music From Brazil – Hy Brazil Vol 4


Chico Dub has been showcasing the wealth of talent from the Brazilian underground electronic music scene for the past few years, curating Rio’s Novas Frequências festival and Sónar in São Paulo, and releasing four brilliantly diverse compilations of the best new electronic and experimental artists from the country. Each Hy Brazil departs from the same formula: 14 unreleased tracks by 14 new producers across the country. Volume 4 serves up another platter of new producers and fresh sounds, a timely reminder that Brazilian electronic music is so much more than just bossa nova meets drum ‘n’ bass or Rio tinged lounge electronica.

The fourteen tracks span the spectrum of electronic music from Manara’s opener, the driving, piano dripping, percussion heavy Many, Mytho to No Step‘s spacey, dusty marimba led hip-hop, from the UK garage meets acid meets post-tropical sound of Rio Shock to Asshake’s dancefloor ripping trap / baile-funk crossover. What stands out from this release is the diversity of sound coming from these producers and the way many of them are ripping up the rulebooks, splicing styles and genres together at light speed. Once again Brazilian music has become a bubbling melting pot of rhythms and styles. As the spotlight turns to the country for the World Cup and the Olympics, this compilation is a glance into what is happening on the country’s thriving underground scene and shows that Brazilian music is, once more, at the forefront of new sounds and directions.

Hy Brazil Vol 4 is available from bandcamp for ‘name your price’.

Banda Westfalica – Acoustic Tropical Bass


You might know German label Man Recordings for their bass heavy, world club sound, shining a light on the global twists on Kuduro, Baile Funk and Tecno Brega. That’s why last year’s release from German percussion group Banda Westfalica was a bolt out of the blue. ‘Versions’ consists of six acoustic covers of the label’s dancefloor bangers interpreted by a group of German high school students from the small German town of Bünde.

Each Monday afternoon, the Banda - all aged between 14 and 19 – would meet up for music class at Bünde’s school. One day band member Sönke Oberschmidt suggested the band try ‘Carimbo’ by Schlachthofbronx. Soon enough their version was on Youtube, Schlachthofbronx found out about it and so ‘Versions’ was born – tropical bass as you have never seen it before.

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Rhythm and Roots Radio – Volume 16

We are very excited to share with you the very first ever Rhythm and Roots Radio show coming to you from the newly launched Groovalizacion Radio with you host El Búho. The new monthly radio show will bring you the freshest mix of classic roots music alongside new, future tropical rhythms from across the world (with a little leaning towards Latin American music ;) ).

This first episode features the talented Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz and new tracks from Dengue Dengue Dengue, Alsarah and the Nubatones, Castro and more. You can check out the full tracklist after the break.

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Alsarah – The Princess of Nubian Pop


Sudanese singer Alsarah has been dubbed as the princess of Nubian pop and calls herself a self-claimed practitioner of Sudanese retro-pop. Born in Sudan and raised in the US, the singer / songwriter with a degree in ethnomusicology has been making waves over the past few years with her beautifully haunting voice and 21st century interpretations of North and East African music. 

Alsarah and her family moved to the US when she was just 12 years, escaping increasing limits on freedom in her native Sudan and then civil war in Yeman. Her music represents a homage to her musical roots, revisiting the traditional Nubian music of Southern Sudan and Northern Egypt. She first became known globally for her participation in the ‘Nile Project‘, a collaboration between musicians from the Nile Basin that combined music and education to explore the region’s cultural and environmental challenges.

Then last year, in a rather unexpected move, she broke out of the ‘world music’ pigeon hole, collaborating with French electronic producer Débruit to release a critically acclaimed album on British label Soundway Records fusing experimental electronica with her haunting Sudanese vocals.

Alsarah has also combined her music with politics and human rights, releasing a song encouraging Sudanese people to vote ahead of the 2010 landmark elections and being a member of WISE Muslim Women, an organisation working to give a voice to Muslim women. She also took part in the first music festival in Somalia for almost 20 years.

I actually see these endeavors as part of my music. I sing about migration, voluntary and forced, I sing about people the world likes to ignore except when speaking of them in the past, and I sing about what it means to yearn for home. I also sing about survival and love and joy, which is how people continue despite policies that change the course of their existence.

The Guardian, Sept 2013

Next week Alsarah will release the much anticipated debut album from her band Alsarah and the Nubatones via Wonderwheel Recordings. Expect to hear more from this lady!

Road To Essaouira Album

British electronic music duo LV are back with another project exploring the cross over between two musical worlds – this time focussing on the mix between Morrocan Gnawa music with jazz, electronica and hip-hop. Following on from their plunge into the world of South African house, this latest project supported by Italian non-profit Original Cultures, began as a one-off live show in Bologna between LV (as Swamillion) and Italian experimental group the Fawda Trio.


Building on this first step the project team now wants to take it further with a crowdfunded project to send the musicians to Essaouira, Morocco (home to the renowned Gnawa festivla) to record an album. LV are amongst the few forward-thinking electronic music producers pushing themselves out from behind their Macbook Pros to explore new musical avenues and directions. A project worthy of some support, at least to find out what the end product will be!

Find out more via Indiegogo:

FILM: Que Pasa Colombia

Que Pasa Colombia is snapshot of the flourishing modern Colombia music scene. The home of Salsa, Cumbia and Champeta, Colombia has played a very special role in the story of Latin American music. A melting pot of African, European and Indigenous culture gave birth to an incredibly rich and diverse musical heritage. This incredible history is today being rejuvenated by a new generation of musicians and producers, taking the rhythms and traditions from the mountains to the pacific and revisiting them for the 21st century.

This 30 minute documentary is a great look into the scene led by Colombian bands like Puerto CandelariaMojarra ElectricaZalama CrewPernett and Cero39.

The film was inspired and influenced by Canalh’s brilliant Au revoir Colombie Mix, so here is the soundtrack to the film and a great place to start to get into Colombia’s vibrant music scene.

Find out more about Que Pasa Colombia here.


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