Simone Trabucchi appears to be involved in pretty much all things cool and underground in Milan. He started booking punk shows in a basement at 16, and soon began putting out his favorite bands on his label, Hundebiss Records. He has released his own trippy electronic music under the moniker Dracula Lewis, and is also part of the art duo Invernomuto together with Simone Bertuzzi. Their film Negus uses Lee Scratch Perry’s ritualistic bonfire in Trabucchi’s hometown as a starting point and then sets out to investigate Italy’s dark past as a colonial power in East Africa. The same theme was also the spark for Simone Trabucchi’s new musical project, Still, which can only be described as maximized lofi dance hall, a collage style party music with italo synthesizers and no shortage of surprise moments, owing to an impressive line-up of guest singers on the album I, voices from the Afro-Italian diaspora. From rudeboy chant to sexy soul to spoken word, it’s a sumptuous feast for the senses.
Kamelen N’goni, or “Young Person’s Harp”, is a stringed instrument that has gained wide acclaim after being used by artists like Oumou Sangaré. Among its younger virtuosos, Abou Diarra stands out in particular. After his father’s death, he left his hometown and went on a long journey through the Mandinka region in West Africa, his instrument the sole companion in his travels. Sangaré walked 4000 kilometers and visited everything from sleepy villages to the big city of Bamako to collect both ancient folk songs and contemporary pop music. Abou Diarra’s own compositions are characterized by this eclectic approach. On the album Koya, named after his mother who also sings on the record, Mandika and Wassolou traditions are mixed with vibrations from both reggae and jazz. Bluesy harmonica notes howl along with cascading melodies from his Kamelen n’goni. With a gentle tenor voice and calm narrative style, Abou Diarra sings songs about travel and exile.
She grew up in Munich, but Bao-Tran Tran (aka mobilegirl) recently relocated her headquarters to Berlin, where she has established herself as a dj focusing on danceable polyrhythmics as well as fat four-on-the-floor kickdrums. Meanwhile, she’s also performed live on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Japan with her own music, which might be described as R&B infused techno sounds meet Last Ninja on grandfather’s old Commodore 64. But let’s not forget her glittering string sounds, puffy synth melodies and the furious drums on her hit track “Forever”… and more. mobilegirl’s debut EP Poise was released on Staycore after she made a much acclaimed remix on for Dinamarca, one of the founders of the Stockholm label/collective.
One of Mali’s biggest stars since three decades: Grammy-winner Oumou Sangaré is known for repeatedly reinventing the wassoulou, the popular African music style with ancient roots in the southwest of Mali. It’s a music loaded with stories and messages, often performed by female artists. In the case of Oumou Sangaré, the songs have often dealt with matters concerning women’s rights, criticising polygamy and forced marriage. It was none other than Ali Farka Touré who encouraged the label World Circuit to pay attention to singer and composer Sangaré, then only a teenager. The company signed her in 1990, and agents in Europe, Asia and Africa took notice of the new sensation. Suddenly, the young singer and composer found herself on what seemed like an endless tour. But Sangaré is not the type of artist who releases an album every year, and other projects were calling her. She formed a family, started a hotel with a stage where she also performed, and launched her own car, the Oum Sang. In spite of all this, she regularly returned to music. Recently, she worked in Paris and Stockholm, resulting in the phenomenal comeback album Mogoya (released on NoFormat). Here, wassoulou music is reshaped into a global dance music of the future. To top it off, she is joined on her new album by none other than afrobeat legend Tony Allen on drums.
Brace yourself to be knocked out by a frantically beautiful experimental punk attack from Yogyakarta. Zoo’s dual drummers slam meaty beats that make the hardest hardcore seem wimpy by comparison. Topped off with an electric bass drenched in effects that resemble a complete ensemble of stringed instruments, Zoo boasts a rhythm section featuring members from underground Indonesia’s various punk and metal projects. At the core of Zoo’s sonical lava flow stands Rully Shabara, the versatile vocalist who switches seamlessly between doomsday growls, whispers, screams and operatic vibrato vocals. Shabara is known as one half of Senyawa, a duo combining traditional Indonesian elements with experimental noise. Formed in 2004, this ceaselessly morphing project proves a powerful vehicle for Shabara and other members to create a narrative about the awakening of a post apocalyptic society, one album at a time.
PUSTERVIK | 9TH OF JUNE | KL 20.30
GERLESBORG | 10TH OF JUNE | KL 16.30
1970’s Nairobi became a magnet for musicians from far and wide in Africa. It wasn’t long before the city was home to both the continent’s best studios, vinyl presses and hundreds of thriving stages for live music. Dressed to the nines in platform shoes and backed by three singers, exhilarating guitars and a brass section, Orchestre Les Mangelepa became a recognized musical phenomenon in the Kenyan capital. The group took the ongoing rumba revolution to the next level by fusing the grooves from their native Congo with the Benga sound from Lake Victoria and Chakacha from the coast. They’ve proudly played the best clubs and toured over large parts of the continent.
Despite their epic success, Orchestre Les Mangelepa is only now making their live debut outside of Africa. Their 2017 album Last Band Standing evidences a group arguably more explosive than in the olden days of Nairobi. The golden age of Rumba is alive and well, and this band is here to prove it.
Describing her work as reduced, slow blues music, Ellen Arkbro affords her compositions the time they require to blossom; the longest to date lasted 26 days! Electronic sounds, walls of abstract electric guitar and sumptuous sculptures of overtones vibrate in the air… somehow, it seems only logical that Ellen Arkbro has drawn inspiration from minimalist artist LaMonte Young’s Dream House, as much as from shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine.
Throughout Arkbro’s music, a love for the physics of sound weaves itself in and out of waveforms both harmonious and dissonant. Her latest album For Organ and Brass came out in early 2017 and was created in part using a German church organ from 1624, with meantone temperament (a different tuning than the today’s standard). The record features organ and brass instruments merging to form a rolling ocean of sound to dive into. At Clandestino Festival, Ellen Arkbro will play on the slightly more modernized Masthuggskyrkan organ, inaugurated 1914, the same year as the church for which the instrument was named.
During her youth in Zimbabwe, Stella Chiweshe stirred up a tempest of emotions when she learned to play the thumb piano mbira. This sacred instrument was considered a musical no-go for women, and was featured in popular ceremonies that British colonial masters attempted to eradicate from the nation’s native culture. However, Chiweshe fell in love with the instrument and persuaded a relative to teach her to play, practicing in secrecy and performing at forbidden parties. Soon, the artist gained further acclaim by combining singing and mbira with Western drumkit, funky electric bass and a marimba which blended magically with the thumb piano. Her band Earthquake blew up in Zimbabwe after releasing her album Ambuya?, a comprehensive introduction to the euphoric side of Chiweshe’s extensive repertoire. On her latest offering, Chakandiwana, we hear the work of a mature musician with meditative calmness and melodic sensitivity.
Sudan Archives is a 24-year-old self-taught violinist, singer and producer. The Ohio native grew up to a soundtrack of gospel in a strict Christian environment. Unhappy with her overly anglo name – Brittney Denise Parks – her mother nicknamed her Sudan. After leaving home, Sudan moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at a music college. As if preordained, it was in her exploration of Sudanese music that Sudan Archives finally found a way to play violin that felt natural to her, a pentatonic sound full of attitude which, in her ears, had very little in common with Western musical ideals. Armed with only a violin, loop station and microphone, Sudan Archives recorded a sensational debut EP informed by a rich array of influences including Sudanese violin music, West African rhythms, electronic music and R&B. In addition to her own songs, she has remixed Kanye West and brings us a clever interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta,” entitled “Queen Kunta”.
Through their mega-sexy performance art and music, this Johannesburg duo is fighting to change the lives of black LGBT people in South Africa – and across the world! Fela Gucci and Desire Marea pull any audience into the vibrant dance performance that is their live show. With wigs and lofi video projections, they make a gesamtkunstwerk-ish experience out of their electronic dance music, gqom, a kind of bare bones house music that is created in South Africa’s townships and distributed via authentically DIY methods, like taxi drivers who play the latest productions for customers on their way out for a night on the town. FAKA themselves call their extraordinary creation gqom-gospel “laments for cock.” When not performing their own music, FAKA are resident dj’s at Cunty Power, a club that wants to be a safe and fun party zone for queer, trans and non-binary night owls in Johannesburg. The world outside of Africa became aware of FAKA when Mykki Blanco interviewed them in his South African documentary Out Of This World. At the end of 2017, FAKA released their second ep, Amaqhawe, and it has since been clear that they are determined to make sure plenty of ass – not to mention worldviews – will be shaken to its foundations.