Usually people put out a mix before their tour to promote upcoming shows… Well, I’m putting one out after — many excuses as to why — most importantly because I wanted to share a part of my set that got some interesting reactions from crowds this past month touring the U.S.
Almost everywhere I played, I dropped an extended set of songs in a 6/8 time signature, which was either met by enthusiastic cheers to a new rhythm in the club, or dancing bewilderment by crowds probably used to moving in 4/4. So in part to highlight some of the exciting developments in dance music led mostly by producers of the Lusophone World, and also to allow people to practice their moves at home, I present to you my new mix-tp3 — Six Over Eight:
So why did I do this mix, and why has this time signature become a central part of my sets? Well, 6/8 and 12/8 are often associated with Africa, even to the point of become a central motif in many stereotypical depictions of the continent as a whole. However, beyond the superficial engagements with what is probably the world’s most (or 2nd most?) culturally diverse continent, this rhythm does seem to be a universally African thing. Traveling from Algeria to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between you can come across it. I’ll let Fatoumata Diawarra illustrate my point for me:
The rhythm has also made its mark on the folk and popular music of the African diaspora – in Asia, the Caribbean, and South America (however not so much on the music of North America, exceptions being innovators like Coltrane or Michael.) So when I came across a series of producers experimenting with 6/8 in Rio Funk circles I got quite excited. As I prepared for my tour, it became a key section of my traveling set, both as a way to explore the music of the place I’m currently living in, and to integrate that place into my larger mission of repping contemporary African sounds in the world.
While this mix is not totally representative of the range of output from funk circles in Rio, this is my take on a couple of the exciting micro developments in that scene, as well as in a couple of other scenes from around the world. Starting out in Congo with 1) Patcheko’s “Tshaku”, we had to start out with what is perhaps the most influential music nation across the continent, and include one of its most exciting innovators. Making what I can only describe as (dare I say?) future rumba, with a mix of Hip Hop, Rumba, and pre-Rumba Congolese rhythms, this song is perhaps the most exciting thing I’ve heard to come out of Congo in awhile. My mix then runs through a series of 6/8 Funk tracks from Rio that I was initially hipped to by London based DJ/blogger Bumps: 2) Toca O Tambor posted by Ary DJ, 3) Loucuridade das Embrazadas a montagem or medley by DJR7 who’s become my favorite funk producer since starting to follow the scene, 4) the super prolific Victor Falcão’s “Menina Do Cabare,” 5) DJR7’s “Mamatorizaçao Do Dom Dom Dom” by MC Pedrinho and MC Kalzin, and finally 6) Mr. Jamaika’s “BumBum Tremer” produced by Victor Falcão.
Then Portugal enters via producers such as 7) Dotorado who made the “Moche” beat for T-Boyz, 8) PutO MarciO and his “Afro Guetto Beat 2014,” and 9) Principe Discos powerhouse producer, DJ Nigga Fox’s “Hwwambo” who rounds out the cast. Lisbon has an amazing, yet-to-be-genrefied community of producers who you should read about now, if you’re not hip to them yet! 10) Quantic’s latest single, “Duvidó” featuring Pongo Love of Buraka Som Sistema fame, melds the sounds of the Pacific coast of Colombia with Angola inflected vocals also via Portugal. This track blends with 11) Captain Planet’s homage to the Maya (Olmec anyone?), which then takes us back to Brazil with 12) Byano DJ’s “Putaria Mexicana” – a sex lyric Funk track referencing Tribal Guarachero from Mexico. Portugal returns via 13) SR Mala, who’s track “Senta” serves as a transition back across the ocean to land on UK-based Angolan/Portuguese producer 14) SPDeville‘s intro track from his album IAMDEVILLE. “Into Darkness Indi Print” is an amazingly heavy track that barely has a kick or a snare, but you can still feel the weight of the percussion through the synths… DJ Drama for real!
From the respite of drums we head east to end up in what is the latest (and for me most surprising) trend in Rio Funk circles – Passinho do Romano!
From what I gather this is the adaptation of North African, Levantine, and Eastern European sounds to create a rhythmic style and dance that straddles the Atlantic, and has already caught on with Mr. Neymar. 15) DJ DN de Caxias samples Nicki Minaj to introduce the rhythm with his montagem “Mixagem Da Sentada,” 16) DJR7 comes back with Embraza No Romano with MC Crash, and 17) Byano DJ rounds us out with the jaw-dropping “Passinho Arabe” which sounds like something that should have been made by DJ Figo and crew. While Passinho do Romano, Passinho Arabe, and the related Passinho do Alibaba also engage in Orientalist imaginings, for me it is still an exciting (perhaps subconscious) musical connection displaying many of Brazil’s cultural roots at once, Kibbeh anyone?
And if Brazilian Orientalist fantasies aren’t your thing, let’s go the other way… here’s an Algerian take on a Brazilian pop tune that hit it big internationally made especially for the Algerian football team — who coincidentally will be playing their opening World Cup match in a Brazilian city with a large(?) Arab influence, Belo Horizonte:
And finally, here’s some photos and video from the shows during my trip around the U.S. Thanks to all those who came out!
Marcus of 88Nine’s Sound Travels‘ night in Milwaukee has an enthusiastic Sunday night crowd (however this is only a blurry picture of the DJs)!
Playing air guitar…
and waving flags in Austin with the Peligrosa crew in Austin:
The guy on the far left is not having as much fun:
Apparently neither is DJ Manolo:
Off to NY… where I went on stage alongside DJ Underdog at Celebrate Brooklyn (photo via @okayafrica):
Click on the pic to see the vid (via @coffeewithlkofi)!