“Never has Asa’s voice been so precise and emotionally pure.”
She still has all the melodic grace she’s always been known for, but this time, it’s more troubling than ever.
Her songs say much more than the emotions of Bukola Elemide, known as Asa. Her songs say a lot about our melancholy, our dreams, our thoughts and our reflections. It almost feels like they’ve have been part of our lives even before Asa wrote and sang them.
Asa is Nigerian but was born in Paris. She became an artist in Lagos, fueled on old-school Soul, and was signed by a French label. She’s clearly one of the most exciting artists to have emerged in the last decade. She’s highly in-demand by festivals across the world and radios (with taste!) are giving her a special place on their playlists. She’s a whirlwind, she’s happiness, and she is a craze.
Asa’s life is part of her songs as much as our life is part of her songs. The inexhaustible subject that is love, the spiritual calling, the need to party or to simply share a cup of tea with 2 friends …
“I’ve matured”, says the soon to be 37 year-old artist, in total control of her art and her emitions.
The energy, the weakness, the jubilation, the despair … A glorious summit !
Mr Eazi (Nigeria)
Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade (born 20 July 1991), better known by his stage name Mr Eazi, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is the pioneer of Banku music, a fusion sound he describes as a mixture of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian chord progressions and patterns. Mr Eazi relocated to Kumasi in 2008 and enrolled at KNUST, where he began booking artists to perform at college parties. He showed interest in music after recording a guest verse on “My Life”, a song that gained traction and became a popular record at KNUST. Mr Eazi released his debut mixtape, About to Blow, in July 2013. He gained an international audience following the release of the 2015 single “Skin Tight”. His second mixtape, Life Is Eazi, Vol. 1 – Accra To Lagos, was released on 10 February 2017. In March 2018, several outlets reported that Mr Eazi signed a record deal with Diplo’s label Mad Decent. Mr Eazi signed a licensing deal with Universal Africa, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.
Blinky Bill (Kenya)
Bill Ochieng Sellanga was born at the heart of the Rift valley in Nakuru in 1982.
The East African urban stage prodigy grew up in Nairobi nerdly passioned by books of all kinds but his ears didn’t miss out the clubbing ambiance of Matutus (the Kenyan buses), his mom’s religious chants nor his father’s vintage Congolese sounds.
It is only later when he entered high school that he got involved in music by directing the school’s choir with no training whatsoever following his instincts. It was the moment when the creative teenager realized his dimension as an artist.
After entering the University of Kenyatta with a sports major he met a few talented and dreamy happy campers and together they launched “Just a Band”. The name expresses their will to simply be a humble group sharing their good music. Being a collaborative experience, that very unique project was like a revolution in the local musical landscape.
The fist album untitled “Scatch to Reveal” came out in 2008 with a strong electro house sound sparkled with funk and hip hop and an owned-up spirit like Gorillaz, Daft Punk or Basement Jaxx. Then in 2009 came out “82” – as all the members were born that same year – whose singles “Ha He” and “Huff + Puff” became viral hits; the second one was selected to appear as soundtrack on Netflix series Sense 8. The third album called “Sorry for The Delay” was then released in 2012 sealing for good Bill’s fate as he decided to focus on music.
In 2013, Just a Band had the opportunity to perform to the Red Hot + Fela Live project along with prestigious from the continent and the US such as tUnE-yArDs, Questlove, Spoek Mathambo, TV on the Radio, Tony Allen, Angélique Kidjo, Childish Gambino…
Bill chose to go solo after that experience and went on and took part in different programs and residencies (1beat in the USA, Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, Tedx in Rio De Janeiro) before releasing his first EP “We Cut Keys While You Wait” in 2016, a project allowing him to define his own sound and explore new universes. He also is currently working on album of African remixes for Goldlink, his own production label.
While he grew up to the Kenyan Urban Sounds (such as those from the Ogopa Deejays label) and to what his family would listen to (Tabu Ley Rochereau, Franco, San Fan Thomas, Sello “Chicco” Twala…), the musician takes his inspiration from international references: Michael Jackson, Chic, Stevie Wonder and that funk and disco era, and of course what 2Pac and Puff Daddy did – “California Live” being a real revelation for the young student of Nairobi always found of quality productions and keen of new sounds.
Bill is a crazy and productive experimenter who doesn’t approach music as a frame but rather a key to push one’s limits and to enjoy the freedom of endless creativity. He has become the kind of perfectionist producer to defend tooth and nails the integrity of his musical research backing up the level of his writing.
“Everyone’s Just Winging It And Other Fly Tales’, his first international album will drop Fall 2018. The title evokes the idea that human beings just float through life trying their best through successes failures and that life is no quiet journey…
The album is sparkled with spontaneous and rich collaborations among which Sampa the Great, Petite Noir or Nneka; but also Kenyan personalities such as Muthoni Drummer Queen, Sage…
His stage name refers to an Australian cartoon he used to watch as a kid – Blinky Bill, a brave little environmentalist koala. This nickname has been following him since his teenage years.
It will have taken time, success, an unstoppable creative will and strong work discipline for the dreamy little boy who faced the opposition of his parents and siblings towards his artistic dreams, to make himself a spot onstage in a country generally hostile to that kind of path and offer the world his first internal production.
Dobet Gnahoré (Ivory Coast)
Africa has its internationally acclaimed female voices and the voice of Dobet Gnahoré has made its mark there. With “MIZIKI”, the voice of the multi-talented Ivorian singer resonates African sounds mixed with samples of electronic music, a subtle blend revealing a musical style which echoes her own character – freedom. The freedom to make a fifth album in which modernity feeds on tradition and heritage. Inspired by her travels all around the world (more than 800 concerts since 2004), Dobet shares a new and hitherto unsuspected side of her personality. It took four years to compose “MIZIKI”, probably her boldest, most personal album and one which pays homage to the two principal causes she supports: a rich, generous and unified Africa and the strength of African women. In her words and on stage, Dobet, the standard-bearer of a new generation of daring and determined Africans, celebrates the valiant and kind woman.
Songwriter, composer and performer, Dobet entrusted the production of “MIZIKI” to Nicolas Repac (Arthur H, Mamani Keita, Republica Ideal de Acapulco). This album is the result of the fusion of their two identities: Dobet loves the music of Africa (Yemi Alade, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie) but is equally enthusiastic about Björk or Christine and the Queens… a fact which Nicolas Repac clearly took on board. Faithful to the languages of Africa – Côte d’Ivoire has 72 dialects – for this album – possibly her best yet – she concentrates on Bété, her mother tongue. Dobet Gnahoré has definitely reached a turning point and has left labels behind to express her frankest and most sincere emotion more precisely. “I want to make people dream while remaining a free artist”. Mission accomplished, enchantment and melody in the lead. She was born far from the city and at the age of six in Abidjan she once again met her father, a recognised master percussionist who had helped set up the village of Ki Yi M’bock where he then lived. Place of a Utopian experiment, we work from five in the morning, studying music, dance and theatre, everything needed to become a complete artist. People of all nationalities meet there and African stars come to breathe and emulate its atmosphere: Ray Lema, Youssou N’Dour, and Lokua Kanza are frequent visitors. Dobet soon realised that here was where she would learn about life. She attended school in that unique place and learned through working and watching. Her meeting with the guitarist Colin Laroche de Féline did the rest, leading her to singing and taking her to France in 1999.
Inspired by exceptional encounters such as Angélique Kidjo and Lokua Kanza, Dobet started modelling and fashioning her voice, described as “rather special, very strong, capable of expressing the highs and lows …” and came to the attention of the Belgian label Contre-Jour for which she made four albums. After several tours in the United States (where she performed at Old Town School of Folk Music and University of Washington) and performing all over the world, she confesses “When I’m not travelling, I get depressed”. In 2010, through the voice of India Arie who changed her song “Palea” to “Pearls”, she won a Grammy Award. In the same year, the Guardian newspaper described her performance as “the WOMAD festival’s best act”. The girl from Ki Yi M’bock continued her ascent with “MIZIKI”, for the first time affirming her role as a composer. Starting with the melody, she delivered little musical phrases which went straight to the heart. “I compose alone because I want to marry my creation so as to give it to the public”. Not descending into dance music and not forgetting tradition, but with Nicolas Repac’s support, she issued an album which is more electronic with its samples and sonorities. The roots of “MIZIKI” lie in the “ball of fire” which burns within her. Her words are simple, direct and therefore universal. “Akissi“ speaks of the rebel she will always be, “Miziki“ of her love for music, “La clé“ [“The key”] of a lost love (and a new one found), while “Education” is essential for emancipation.
Granmah is a Mozambican reggae/dub/pop band. They have played in music festivals such as, AZGO, Tofo Earth Festival, Ocean Festival in Mozambique as well as We Heart Dub, Park Acoustics, Zakifo and Route 40 in South Africa. Granmah has also played at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in 2015. In 2014, they won Best Alternative Song at the Mozambique Music Awards. In December 2015, Granmah released their album available in stores in Mozambique and on Itunes, Amazon and Google Play. They sold out their CD launch show in February of 2016 in Maputo (at the French Cultural Center-CCFM). In 2016 the band´s vocalist was the voice of Coca Cola’s Portuguese version of the Taste the Feeling (Saboreia a Sensação) anthem and was also a New Artist in Coke Studio Africa, having performed alongside Rema and 2Baba. Granmah recently released a digital live DVD (available on their Youtube page). In the month of July, Granmah embarked on a mini tour in Portugal and the United States.
Lindigo (Reunion Island)
Charismatic lead-voice Olivier Araste has taken LiNDiGo on tour for nearly 20 years now. Their 6th album, Komsa Gayar, was released in December 2017. Through their powerful rhythms and their exhilarating energy on stage, they aim at having Reunion’s popular culture recognized worldwide*. Hence, their rebel maloya** borrows sounds from Madagascar, Western Africa, Jamaica, Brazil or more recently from Cuba, which brings a touch of rumba to the latest EP. This results in a joyous and inspiring line, that will make you dance and smile for sure.
Even if Lindigo look persistently to the past, their approach is neither locked in nostalgia nor caught in the shackles of sterile memory. Such strong foundations give momentum; such roots build up the future. Which is surely the reason why Lindigo appeal so much to the younger generations… And on stage the jubilation of their performance is inevitably contagious, delighting the audience.
* REUNION ISLAND is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island. In this insland the creole (mix of French, Portuguese, English with Malagasy and African languages is the main usual language and so the one used traditionally for the maloya.
**MALOYA is one of the two major music genres of Réunion, usually sung in Réunion Creole, and traditionally accompanied by percussion and a musical bow. Maloya is a new form that has origins in the music of African and Malagasy slaves and Indian indentured workers on the island, as has the other folk music of Réunion, séga. World music journalists and non-specialist scholars sometimes compare maloya to the American music, the blues, though they have little in common. Unlike the blues, maloya was considered such a threat to the French state that in the 1970s it was banned.
Lindigo perform more then 1000 times in their carrier with each year an average of 40 concerts in their French Island of La Reunion and about 25 concerts worldwide.
They represent the young generation of maloya, the traditional music and dance from Réunion Island wich is part of the UNESCO Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Maia & The Big Sky (Kenya)
Maia represents a vibrant new colour to Kenya’s contemporary musical landscape. Born and raised in Nairobi, Maia’s sound weaves funk, folk & jazz all sprinkled with Swahili spice. Her enigmatic shows range from solo acoustic soul, to high-energy dance-laden sets accompanied by her full band. Her songs sing of love, life, new political horizons in Kenya, the plight of women across the world, and personal introspections of both the joy and solitude in not belonging to any single culture or community.
Maia’s lush vocals in both English and Kiswahili and hypnotic stage presence take you on a journey of power, love, politics and the strength of women. She blends the sounds of Kenyan coastal rhythms with soul, folk and Jazz creating a familiarity and warmth that transcends continents.
Maia has shared the stage with artists such as Keziah Jones, James Blunt, Habib Koite, Thandiswa, and Mafikizolo, and has toured in the USA, UK, Australia and East Africa. Festival performances have included Africa Utopia (UK), HIFA (Zimbabwe), Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), Woodford Folk Festival and Perth Festival (Australia), Blankets & Wine (Kenya), Visa for Music (Morocco) and Mafrika Music Festival(NYC).
She has earned herself two African Academy Awards for her song ‘Uko Wapi’ and has just completed her Self – titled album. Maia & the Big Sky.
TRC – Tune Recreation Committee featuring Mandla Mlangeni (South Africa)
In celebration of the beautiful yet troubled continent, the Tune Recreation Committee is primed to make a grand offering with the launch of their sophomore album Afrika Grooves with the Tune Recreation Committee. This multi-faceted presentation to be showcased in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Zanzibar will focus on collaboration and musical exchange between three Standard Bank Young Artists For Jazz; Afrika Mkhize (2012), Mark Fransman (2008)and Mandla Mlangeni (2019). The TRC will present original works by the band members in various forms and guises.
By bringing together the best of what South African music has to offer, Afrika Grooves with the TRC is a springboard towards building and strengthening intercultural dialogue with other musical and artistic communities at large. The TRC features Clement Benny on drums, Nicholas Williams on bass, Reza Khota on guitar and Mandla Mlangeni on trumpet. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Fransman will join as special guest in selected performances on accordion, bass clarinet and tenor saxophone. The unit, whose debut album “Voices of Our Vision” made the New York Times’ “Best Albums Of 2017” list also performed to rousing applause at the 18t h edition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
‘Led by the trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni, this alliance of young South African musicians delves into the country’s syncretic cultural heritage — then ventures beyond. You hear Balkan folk, American funk, West African high life, South African free jazz. Most of all, you hear five bristling improvisers dancing together, modeling a kind of thoughtful communion.’ New York Times
Bandleader Mandla Mlangeni says about this exciting collaboration: “The focus of the endeavour is one that aims to build a documented heritage resource that challenges notions of colonial bias and seeks to expand a narrative of musicians, composers and artists through their own perspectives. Ours is an attempt to create a sustainable platform and network that caters for composers and musicians in a pairing of creative partnerships and collaborations with multi faceted artists.”
The band’s itinerary will see them traverse Cape Town and Johannesburg with performances at The Jazz In The Native Yard Sunday 20 January, the Olympia Bakery on Sat, 26 Jan, Jazz In The Native Yard on the 27t h, Jan Hanks on the 29t h, the Drawing Room on the 30t h, the Roving Bantu Kitchen on 2 February at Ginz On Dynasty on the 2n d which will be a ‘By Invite Only’ performance.
Buhlebendalo (South Africa)
Buhlebendalo Mda aka Buhle: is a Soweto-born gender activist and only female member of the multi award winning, internationally acclaimed and double platinum selling South African A cappella group THE SOIL. Buhlebendalo co-founded The Soil more than 10 years ago when she was still at high school and has always loved music and the attention that comes with it.
For Buhle, The Soil completes her life puzzle: it‟s her second home and has travelled the world showcasing her talent and representing South Africa in big stages with the group.
Buhlebendalo’s life long dream has always been to release her SOLO ALBUM and collaborate with all musicians she admire including Madala Kunene, Simphiwe Dana to mention a few. She describes herself or her music as soulful or “Jazzy fizzle”, which is considered to be a mixture of all sorts of genres from which she has created her own soulful or “Jazzy fizzle”. To Buhlebendalo all genres do it for her, as they tend to match her every mood. Buhlebendalo is due to release her debut album as a solo artist in August 2019.
Isabel Novella (Mozambique)
Isabel Novella (Mozambique) is Native Rhythms’ first Pan-African offspring. Since her signing to Native Rhythms label, Isabel has found resonance in the world and pop music space both in her home country and everywhere else, including South Africa – a country fast becoming her second home.
Is Isabel Novella the new Afropolitan voice from Mozambique? Well judging by the warm reception she has received locally and abroad there is no doubt that Isabel will be a regular feature at world and pop music festivals around the world. Before returning home in Mozambique, Isabel had an enviable opportunity to perform in over 40 concerts and festivals in Europe before even the release her first own solo album, released in April 2013.
In South Africa, Isabel has graced high profile jazz concerts and festival, including the prestigious Road to Joy of Jazz a precursor to the Standard International Joy of Jazz Festival, Ugu Jazz Festival south of Durban, East Comes Alive Concert and the Annual Buyel’ Ekhaya Pan African Festival, performances at the Atlantic Music Expo, Cape Verde, Azgo Festival in Mozambique,
Composing music and singing is one of her biggest passion in life. She writes her lyrics in Portuguese, English and Chopi/Shangana (Mozambican languages) and her music can best be described as a balance between Soul, Pop, light Jazz, and World music.
Isabel Novella will be releasing her second solo album, Metarmophosis in April 2019.
Alibombo is more than just experimental music. This musical proposal that reaches us from the mountains of Medellin transforms into the chance to believe in other musical universes; It is the frontline, the antithesis of the academy, the jam. And well, not all songs must have an intro, bridge, pre¬-chorus, chorus and Ending! That ́s why Alibombo transgresses and from there artistic rebelliousness they teach music about music, sound about noise, and the complexity of taste and enjoyment. Their debut album is titled Desafinado (Out of tune) and if it sounds like it or not, doesn’t matter. What is really relevant is the concept, the sharpeness, the live energy and the musical experimentation outside of any criteria already established. The band respects music from noise, with the premise of being out of tune. The instruments are their own, no one else has them, and with them they propose another universe, maybe hard to understand for some, and revolutionary, suggestive and Attractive for others. How can we read the new music of our time? Maybe one of the answers is inside the sound of this band. Welcome to their musical Journey!
In Alibombo’s music any element can be an instrument, that’s why we can appreciate the sounds of a bike tire, The percussion of trash cans, The basses of PVC tubes and even the scratches of a Jacket Zipper, but besides this, what has established their current sound, is the chance to apply electronic processes to all their instruments; There are two musicians on stage (Lucas Jaramillo & David Colorado) who create their own beats at real time, recording different loop layers, that makes a party where you can dance to a cumbia, porro or currulao, and transition without hesitating to a Drum&Bass, House and Funk, accompanied by a loud esthetic and the weird sound of Alibombo.
Kommanda Obbs (Lesotho)
Kommanda Obbs has skillfully mastered the sound of Basotho from the Mountain Kingdom by fusing the urban contemporary ‘hip-pop’ beat and groove synched with his distinct, unavoidable growling yet melodic voice. He oozes confidence with a visible and commanding stage presence and an inviting personality that is always ready and eager to give a memorable performance when called upon to do so.
Fresh from sharing a stage with Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley at Zakifo Music Festival (Johannesburg and Durban), Kommanda Obbs drop his new single, ‘Mabelebele’ this week, also soon to be released across all social and electronic media platforms
He oozes confidence, a visible and commanding presence with an inviting humility: his name is Kommanda Obbs – the son of the Basotho. Waiting to exhale and eager to unleash his distinct and unavoidable voice Kommanda Obbs is completing his full album to be released early in 2018. He is already roaring in the hip-hop scene and his voice audible across the airwaves.
With his growling yet melodic voice, Kommanda Obbs, has introduced a unique sub-genre style of rap music, which he calls TS’EPE and fast becoming a movement on its own.
Signed to Native Rhythms Records, Kommanda Obbs (born Obatia Chapi) – the ethnic rapper, activists, musician and master lyricist can stand his own in showbiz. He has worked with prominent artists and musicians and featured on a SAMA winning album “Step Child” by Maleh on a song called “Tselane”, and also on Tumi’s album “Return of the King” on a song called “Hlasela Dithuta”. He has just finished a collaboration with one of Nigeria’s rising stars, a singer-songwriter, Eme aka May Owen, for his upcoming album, which is currently completing.
Velile Sithole, Managing Director of Native Rhythms Records, said: “Kommanda Obbs represents everything native and Afrocentric and is completely aligned with our values as a company. A true Pan-African artist, Kommanda Obbs is definitely destined for great things to come and we are excited for having an artist of his caliber in our stable”.
TBC (From Sacred Heart College, South Africa)
Amadou & Miriam – Mali | Asa – Nigeria | Vusi Mahlasela – South Africa | Oliver Mtukudzi – Zimbabwe | Ishmael Lo – Senegal | Femi Kuti – Nigeria | Baaba Maal – Senegal | Habib Koite – Mali | Ladysmith Black Mambazo – South Africa | Eric Wainana – Kenya | D’Banj – Nigeria | Doet Gnahore – Cote de Ivoire | Yuri de Kunha – Angol | Awadi – Senegal | Professor – South Africa | Tumi and the Volume – South Africa | Nkulee Dube -South Africa | The Parlotones – South Africa | Wonderboom – South Africa | Maya Kamaty – Reunion Islands | Hagar Samir – Egypt | Waje – Nigeria | Vaudou Game – Togo | Songhoy Blues – Mali | Mapumba – DRC | Chiwoniso – Zimbabwe | Zonke – South Africa | Nakhane – South Africa | Mystro – Nigeria | Maleh – Lesotho | Mahotella Queens – South Africa | Tribute Birdie Mboweni – South Africa | The Soil – South Africa | Kinobe – Uganda | Ringo – South Africa | Lesego – South Africa | HHP – South Africa | Lira – South Africa | Soweto Gospel Choir – South Africa | Gang of Instrumentals – South Africa | Gang-be – Benin | Vuvuzela Orchestra – South Africa | Uju – South Africa | Toya – South Africa | Ghorwane – Mozambique | and many more
The Bassline Fest is a founding member of IGODA the first African Festivals tour circuit. IGODA is a Zulu word that means “knot” or “to bind together”. It is a unique and innovative concept that brings together the finest music festivals within primarily Southern Africa to create one of the first touring circuits on the African continent. IGODA enables the festivals in the circuit to have a wider diversity of artists and a better audience experience and an ease of opportunity for artists and fans to travel across the continent sharing their music.
• Jozi, South Africa •
• Maputo, Mozambique •
• Malkerns, Swaziland •
• Durban, South Africa •
• Saint-Pierre, Reunion Island •
• Kampala, Uganda •