shirley tetteh’s nardeydey mixes alt-pop and post-punk
Even among all the young talents on the rise from London’s incredible new jazz scene, Shirley Tetteh stands out as a true don. She is a guitarist of high renown, and a key member of the spiritual-jazz big-band Maisha and the all-star, all-women’s ensemble, Nejira. But on “Speedial,” her first single under the name Nardeydey, Tetteh also reveals herself a fabulous alternative pop singer-songwriter.
Though Tetteh says “Speedial” is under the influence of jazz progressives like Ornette Coleman and Kurt Rosenweinkel, it could not be easier on the ears if it tried. Over an inviting mix of rolling percussion, and a guitar riff detuned and jagged enough to be classified post-punk yet melodic enough to be full of Afro-pop sweetness, Tetteh addresses a partner not sitting in front of her: “I wish I had you on the speedial/just press a button and your person appears,” she sings as matter-of-factly as you like, intimating a complex modern relationship.
Yet by the time we reach the chorus, and Tetteh’s voice ascends to a strong insistent falsetto, and the vibe has become more passionate and elemental. “So I’ll sing to thunder/dance my rain/I will sleep with the fire,” she sings — before returning to her phone, “don’t wait for me.”
It’s a masterful turn-of-perspective, one that the songwriter and singer pulls off with comfort. And it makes us very excited to hear more. With all the other stuff Shirley Tetteh has got going on — both Maisha and Nejira also have albums scheduled for 2018 — it’s fascinating to wonder what the rest of the Nardeydey project will sound like.
hope in humanity is restored in this alt. pop-rocker’s ‘gta’-inspired single
Partially inspired by the wild west that was GTA, The Skins alum, BAYLi is taking on the media’s obsession with violence and the system that spoon feeds us violence and vitriol. Not only that, but violence seems to have become part of our everyday lives in the news and in our schools. Countering the intensity of this imagery with a surprisingly comforting melody, BAYLi juxtaposes lyrical intention with hopefulness. “It’s starting to feel like life is a really bad video game,” BAYLi explains about the inescapable barbarity of modern everyday life. “I think we need to try and disconnect as much as possible from this constant violent imagery because it’s desensitizing us to the loss of human life.”
future funk ogs bad rabbits turn the tables with their #timesup anthem “f on the j – o – b”
It’s the rare song that can make your skin crawl at the same time it makes your body move. But Bad Rabbits have always been a rare kind of band. Easily one of the best live bands out there, for their first new song since 2013, the band shreds their corporeal form for an animated alter-ego. The band adopts the inner monologue of an office creep who harasses his coworkers and pays the consequences. It’s a smart and chilling inversion of the band’s usual future-funk, that highlights the line consent draws between sexy and monstrous.
Singer Fredua Boakye intended it as a statement of solidarity with women who experience workplace harassment, saying “The song and the video shame and mock the men who feel entitled to sex just because they are attracted to a woman. The narrator in this song is the guy that Mimi deals with every day at work. To the douchebags that sexually harass women, your time’s up. To women, we just want you to know that we support you.”
video premiere: treat your senses to folk-soul singer mariama’s dreamy “raindrops”
With lush synths shading in the lines drawn by Mariama’s evocative voice, and the dense imaginative video by Nando Nkrumah, “Raindrops” is a feast for the senses. The Paris-based singer’s latest single builds from a downbeat song of heartbreak to the moment when you wipe off your face and watch the clouds begin to clear. Her rich voice traces a jazzy melody over retro synths and a spare beat. Nkrumah ties it together with a visually ambitious video which tracks a continuous zoom past the heartbreak.
It’s about “Love, sweat and tears,” Mariama tells AFROPUNK. “Raindrops belongs to the TEARS part of the album. The song describes a state of confusion, loneliness, sadness, but in the midst of these dark feelings, there is always a voice that speaks to us – pain also has its “raison d’être”. It can tell us what’s wrong with our lives and where we need change – provided we listen to it. If one manages to face unpleasant feelings without trying to stifle them or run away, a crisis can become a new beginning. It takes rain, so that the flowers can blossom again. Ultimately it all depends on our attitude. There is a quote that says: Some people feel the rain – others just get wet.”
“Appartenant à la partie TEARS de l’album la chanson décrit un état de confusion, de solitude, de tristesse. Mais au milieu de ces sentiments sombres, il y a toujours une voix qui nous parle – la douleur aussi a sa raison d’être. Elle peut nous indiquer ce qui ne va pas dans notre vie et où on a besoin de changement – à condition qu’on l’écoute. Si on arrive à faire face aux sentiments désagréable sans essayer de les étouffer ou de fuir, une crise peut devenir un nouveau départ. Il faut la pluie, pour que les fleurs puissent s’épanouir à nouveau. Finalement tout dépend de notre attitude, il y a une citation qui dit: some people feel the rain – others just get wet (certaines personnes sentent la pluie – d’autres sont justes un peu mouillés).”
Mariama’s forthcoming full length LOVE, SWEAT and TEARS is due out in Fall 2018.
Director: Nando Nkrumah
Cinematographer: Jennifer Günther
Dancer: Kristina Kunn, Abine Leao Ka, Nnandi, Saliou Diouf, Ekaterina Thor, Jessica Trommenschläger
Styling: CHANG13°, Denise Kynd, Eva Nkrumah
Makeup: Anam Mahmood, Marcel Wiesmann
Visual Effects: Jonas Dörschel, Nando Nkrumah, Cordula Croce
Catering: Linda Jalloh
On-Set Photography: Gamajan Ganesh
Producer: Lichtblick Studio
video premiere: west african singer-songwriter angelique kidjo re-imagines talking heads’ “once in a lifetime”
Really excited for today’s first premiere, the jubilant cover of Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime” by the fantastic Angelique Kidjo. The surrealistic video opens in a world of workplace monotony that’s quickly broken up by blasting horns, an intense West African groove, and the ecstatic vocals of Angelique, transforming the lifeless scene into a raucous bacchanal sanctioned by Angelique’s joyous proclamations. Frankly, Talking Heads never sounded so good or interesting and lucky for us, the track is just a preview of Angelique’s reclaiming of the Talking Heads entire ‘Remain in Light’ album, out June 8. But for now, check out the epic video for “Once In A Lifetime,” below!
“In the 1970s, under the dictatorship in my home country of Benin, it was really difficult to find music to listen to from the rest of the world,” Angelique Kidjo. “When I went into exile in Paris in 1983, I discovered so much new music, and among them was the song “Once In A Lifetime”. Initially, it felt strange to me. People said it was Rock and Roll, but it felt African somehow. When I performed in New York in 1992 at SOB’s, David Byrne was the first American artist to come see my show. Many years later, I discovered that Brian Eno and The Talking Heads had been influenced by Fela Kuti and studied John Miller Chernoff’s book African Rhythm and African Sensibility about the power of African music.
“Once In A Lifetime” was released at the start of the Reagan presidency, and you feel the anguish and anger in its lyrics. I feel the same tension in today’s political climate. Bringing “Once In A Lifetime” back to the African continent, with the help of superstar producer Jeff Bhasker, Black Panther’s percussionist Magatte Sow and guitarist Dominic James, feels so right today. Luc Besson helped me find the right energy for the video when he introduced me to the diverse young community of the students of his Film school at La Cité Du Cinema in Paris. The young Antoine Paley, with the help of the students, directed the video like a celebration of the strong and eternal spirit of African music.”
watch: janelle monáe drops two (2!) videos for new singles off upcoming album
Janelle Monáe’s new singles from her upcoming album ‘Dirty Computer’.
She goes full hip-hop in ‘Django Jane’ single & video, while ‘Make Me Feel’ is a funky joint with a video directed by Alan Ferguson (Solange’s husband!)
alt-r&b singer mélat digs deep on her massive collaboration with jansport j ‘move me ii: the present’
The best artistic collaborations are the ones that are bigger than the sum of their parts, where the collaborators don’t just work well together, but bring out the best in each other. That’s definitely the case with alt R&B singer Mélat and producer Jansport J. On their latest collaboration, the unwieldily titled Move Me II: The Present, the two are like raspberries and chocolate. Or french fries and chocolate. Or anything and chocolate. Mélat’s melting soprano swirls around J’s beats, each taking turns pulling focus.
The record is rich in hooks and textures. Whether singing about some late night regrets (“4AM, Call Me I’m Up”), a new boy (“Beautiful Black Boy”), or police violence (“Worries (Revelation 8:3)”), the duo digs deep. Jansport J’s sun-stained soul samples keep Mélat’s soaring voice grounded while giving her room to fly when the song calls for it. Nodding to MC Lyte’s classic “Lyte as a Rock,” the closer “Too Good To Last,” saves the biggest hooks and most inventive beat for last. With a sober eye towards a relationship, Mélat recognizes that the best things may not be meant to last, but that’s no reason not to love it while it’s here.
premiere: kenneka cook’s alt.-pop ‘moonchild’ is a totally unique record that needs to be heard to be believed
Moonchild by Kenneka Cook is one of the most unique albums I’ve ever heard. The album is part improvised vocal loops and part Billy Holiday-esque deceptively upbeat songs about heartbreak and pain (both often at the same time), with touches of neo-soul and Flaming Lips kind of indie rock thrown in for good measure. But here’s the really weird thing: it works. Really. Really. Well.
Cook reportedly came to the style after seeing Reggie Watts perform, and you can hear traces of his glorious weirdness throughout. But more often, Cook seems to be summoning a 1940’s jazz singer into the 21st century. Where far too often working synths under a jazz melody can feel self-conscious and precious, album highlight “Don’t Ask Me” is riveting from the contrast. Then she covers Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang.” Then goes on a looped vocal adventure with unreasonably catchy “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance.” That any of this works at all, let alone so well is a testament to the warmth, personality, and serious vocal power Kenneka Cook brings to everything she does. As Kanneka explains, the album was an attempt to combine the myriad facets of her personality into one little package:
“I want Moonchild to be an introduction into who I am not only musically, but in all areas of my life; The mystic metaphysical thinker, the girl who isn’t afraid to ask her mom for help when she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, the movie buff who also appreciates cinematic orchestra and more.”
blood orange honors black history month with 2 new songs
The genius of Dev Hynes is his ability to merge the personal and the political behind an indelible hook. In honor of Black History Month (all year, he adds) the mercurial force behind Blood Orange dropped 2 new tracks that put that talent in the foreground. Though he says they won’t appear on any new album, the 2 tracks give a taste of where Hynes’ head is at these days. “Christopher & 6th” is more of a sketch, following an impromptu electric guitar line that melts into a giant keyboard line. “June 12th” is the more polished of the pair, buttoning a document of pain and the question “Are u an ally or are you hiding?” with the reminder: “You must love yourself.”
melancholy is hauntingly beautiful in alternative pop artist nakhané’s “fog”
AFROPUNK alum and South African musician Nakhané offers a hauntingly beautiful ballad with the first single from the artist’s debut album, Brave Confusion.