Words: Angel Mel.
Artist: Gilles Peterson
Title: Sonzeira Bam Bam Bam
Label: Talking Loud/ Virgin EMI
More info: Gilles Peterson’s a long standing love affair with the Brazilian culture is one that has been well documented. The relationship between the man and the music, has been told via five albums, which have all been dedicated to shining a light on different aspects of Brazilian music heritage. Sonzeira is the sixth successor in line. Loosely translated, Sonzeira is Portuguese meaning a ‘cool or stunning sound’. In order to create that ‘cool’ sound, a whole host of Brazilian glitterati, musicians, living legends, songbirds, and percussionist, were carefully woven in to the tapestry of the album.
‘Sonzeira’ is a history lesson not in a traditional sense, rather like Show & Tell. It is an invitation to explore deep into the heart of Brazilian history, from the torrid days of slavery, where the spirit was kept alive through the beat of tribal drums. Layer upon layer of musical influences, the seductive sound of the Bossa Nova, Samba celebrating the diversity of life, melodies demonstrating the longing of a lost love, haunting growls expelling the daily oppression and poverty all rise up to create ‘Sonzeira’.
The heart of the album is based around the works of the late composer and songwriter Ary Brosso’s, Aquarela Do Brazil, Brazil Pandeiro and Nana. Like dropping a pebble in water the influences then ripple outwards.
Many characters were instrumental in making this history lesson come to life, the angelic voice of Emanuelle pacifies the percussion fuelled frenzy of ‘Xibaba’. Emanelle’s adaptation of the Jazz Funk classic by ‘Southern Freeez’ of track of the same name, sent shivers of delights down the spine, with its alluring hypnotic Bossa Nova groove.
The intoxicating gravel tones of Elza Soares as she pulls you closer into the meaning of ‘Aquarela do Brasil. A talent only matched by the exquisite Mart’nalia’s version of Sarah Vaughan Jazz rarity ‘Mystery of Man’, which incidentally was written by Pope John Paul 2. Mart’nalia learned how to sing the song in English, giving the song an added depth of texture. ‘Bam Bam Bam’, is a gluttonous feast of percussive extravaganza. So rich is this album with all nature of instruments, some in which I have never heard before. Instruments from all over the African continent were left in Brazil, to be played and loved by their masters and mistresses. Listen out for the stunning flute solos played by Fin Peters. When the deep spiritual percussive pulls at your very heart strings, you may be listening to genius of maestro Nana Vasconcelos.
Having listened to ‘Sonzeira’ on continuous loop, I am comforted by it’s sheer of joy and it’s depth of meaning. You could listen to this album a thousand times and still discover something you may have missed previously. I get the sense that everybody involved in creating this project put their heart and soul into it. This is a work of art, it is the embodiment of ‘Sonzeira’.
Artist: Magic Number
Title: Song For Sophia
Label: Numb Records
More info: There are times when the soul yearns for something soothing. When the world rushes along at break neck speed. Every once in a while there comes a long a song, that forces the listener to stop and take note.
Magic Number fronted by Bass Guitarist Ross Hillard, made a brave move, he took a 180 degree turn away from the current ‘House’ grooves and directed his attention straight into the arms of the sweetest Be Bop Jazz inspired tune I’ve heard in years. Ross arranged and orchestrated the song with precision, knowing exactly how to deliver this delicate package. Vocalist Angela Armstrong serenades then pacifies the soul to point of complete surrender. In a digital electronic age, to hear real instruments played by people who have mastered their art, is like receiving a refreshing ice cold glass of water on a sweltering hot day.
This is a classic stop the world I want to get off tune, something we should all take the pleasure to enjoy.
Title: Aquarian Moon Deluxe Edition
Label: Yoruba Recordings
Release date: March 2014
Listen / Buy: SoundCloud
More info: Aquarian Moon was originally released by BBE back in 2006. Now re-released in 2014, several new tracks have been added to this Deluxe edition.
Osunlade is a man that needs no introduction, revered and adored by his dance floor believers, known to many as the ‘Black Messiah’. With a style that is fluid as the water that flows from the Aquarian star sign. Osunlade latest offering is an ode to his beloved adopted home Santorini in Greece, each track is a unique love letter detailing the many ways in which it has become his spiritual home.
Sculptured and shaped like wood made by the skilled hands of an devoted artisan. Rich, with a bounty of ethnic percussive elements which are the roots of the tree. At the core, Osunlade never loses sight of the importance of a his spirituality, to invoke the listener into experiencing a shared existence. Like the branches of an oak tree, each track holds it’s own by thrusting outwards an array of musical influences in it’s garden of earthly delights. The track, ‘Aquarian Moon’, fuelled by the beat of bongo drums, hand claps, melodic strums of the guitar and rhythmic slaps of bass; while ‘Twophish’, is a funk infused flute fest. ‘Circles’, is a beautifully orchestrated piece, with a broken jazz components. ‘Sokinsikartep’, is a track that is deep as it is wide, an electronic pounding thunderous storm, while ‘Casablanca Soul’, is the polar opposite, the sweetest sounding horn sections, fingers tips that skip across the piano keys in sheer delight, happiness in a love letter.
The Age of Aquarius is believed by some to herald in a time of peace and harmony, if this is true ‘Aquarius Moon’ would be the place that we all gather together in love and appreciation for the places we call our spiritual home, where ever that may be.
Artist: Phil Weeks
Title: You Want My Love
Label: Robsoul Records
More info: The return of the B Side. ‘You Want My Love’, is the flip side of the newly released Deeply Soulful driven House track ‘Searching4love’, by Phil Weeks and unmistakable songstress Ladybird for Robsoul Records. Searching4love has all the right ingredients to make the dance floors quiver with delight. However it’s the B Side that has caught my attention. Like an inquisitive Mynah bird, with a love for all that sparkles and shines. Sampling the dance floor classic by Creative Source ‘You Can’t Hide Love’, and transforming it into a raw thumping glitter ball inspired disco tune. Don’t be fooled by the haunting sound of the flute, which compliments the fast paced chorus which in itself sounds like an unusual instrument, the funky drummer has been let loose and is running riot with the groove of the guitar.
If I look into my magic 8 ball, I predict ‘You Want My Love’, is going to get a lot of heads nodding this summer.