Keleketla!: Keleketla! (Ahead of Our Time/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Keleketla!: Keleketla! (Ahead of Our Time/digital outlets)

Given the geographical and cultural diversity here – from the late Tony Allen and the Watts Prophets to South African artists from Soweto, West Papua highlands' singers Benny and Maria Wenda and kicked off by Johannesburg's Rangoato Hlasane and Malose Malahlela with UK electronica dance artists Coldcut – the surprise here isn't that it sounds like a Womad dance party in your lounge but that it works so well.

The glue of course is the groove and the percussion of Allen – with nods to Afrobeat – as well as the urgent saxophones from the likes of Antibalas, Shabaka Hutchings and Tamar Osborn over the top of hyperactive, tickling guitar parts by Miles James and Sibusile Xaba and the rock solid Afro-funk bassist Gally Ngoveni.

Add loops and scratching, vocalists deployed with sensitivity and you have . . .

image004A boiling gumbo of catchy songs with real hooks and memorable choruses which sometimes touches the slippery juju guitar'n'vocal interlock from West Africa (Shepherd Song), passages of township jive, contemporary London jazz, electronica, declamatory and politicisied Afrofuturism spoken word (The Watts Poets on Freedom Groove, with Antibalas) and more.

It's not all party-time: Broken Light (with jazz flute!) and 5&1 at the centre offer breathing space and the dramatic instrumental Swift Gathering at the end comes with delicate piano (Joe Armon-Jones) and strings arranged by London-born Eska Mtungwazi (who is someone to check out, her soulful debut from last year is here)

Keleketla!-- on the Ahead of Our Time label and meaning “response” – might be a one-off album and the logistics of these or other similarly-inclined artists following it up might be too difficult.

But right now it stands as an enjoyable, intelligent and important cross-genre album which glows with passion and pleasures.

.

You can hear this album on Spotify here but it is also available on double vinyl which your local record store can order through Border Music, Auckland.



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Singer-guitarist Lo from Senegal is a man whose music observes no boundaries: on previous albums he's brought a warm Cuban sound into the context of African juju guitars, had Pee Wee Ellis of James... > Read more

Alice Coltrane: Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Alice Coltrane: Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Although well-known in jazz circles for albums such as A Monastic Trio, Ptah the El Daoud, Universal Consciousness and others under her own name on the Impulse label, the pianist-composer Alice... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ZOOGZ RIFT: Speaking more than Frankly

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ZOOGZ RIFT: Speaking more than Frankly

Because his music and career was so diverse, heretical and dispirate, few would try to follow in the footsteps of Frank Zappa. He seems to have spawned no progeny. With one notable exception:... > Read more

JIMI HENDRIX (2000): A slight return to the Experience

JIMI HENDRIX (2000): A slight return to the Experience

To fully appreciate the impact Jimi Hendrix had, you need to forget the decades of myth-making and t-shirts since his death. Try to imagine the music world in 1966. When Jimi... > Read more