Audio

Listen To Global Bass Rap Band Alo Wala's Beastly 'Timbuktu' [Premiere]

Listen to global bass rap band Alo Wala's beastly new song, "Timbuktu," off their debut EP, 'Cityboy,' via Enchufada.


A monster of a song, "Timbuktu" by rising global bass rapper / group Alo Wala melds into all sorts of moods--calm, jumpy, even forlorn. Opening with a small percussive swirl of taps, jangles, and pings, the song suddenly stops: "Here we go/See me flow/'Round and 'round I go," the project's Chicago-born, Copenhagen-based vocalist Shivani Ahlowalia (aka Alo Wala) starts in her candied voice, hand claps and drum bangs circling under her. Strings and a cascade of muffled electronics then crash hard as she continues, "I rolled through Timbuktu a long long time ago, I got my people and fresh heat no matter where I go."

As it turns out, Ahlowalia spent time in a different part of West Africa: Guinea-Bissau. It was there that she co-founded the country's first quality recording studio. Prior to the professional Cobiana studio being built, Bissau-Guinean artists would need to travel to Lisbon or Paris for quality recording sessions, Ahlowalia says. "I worked very hard in particular on a project called Hip Hop Harmony," a program that brought her to Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco, to work with regional unification through hip-hop. After joining with tropical bass group Copia Doble Systema and VJ Mad Es to become a full band, Ahlowalia / Alo Wala toured India earlier this year, and went on to play shows in Morocco (at L'Boulevard Festival– more on this to come on Okayafrica) and Russia. This Monday, the group is set to release their debut EP, Cityboy, which closes with "Timbuktu." Speaking on her connection to the Malian city the song takes its name from, Ahlowalia explained:

"It’s a common expression to say 'from here to Timbuktu,' Timbuktu referring to a place far away, almost intangible or impossible to arrive to. So what happens when you’ve been there to the impossible place so very far away? Where do you go from there? That’s what the tune is about. For me Timbuktu represents the turning point, where the journey becomes less about a destination, and more about knowing one’s self; the journey within."

Listen to "Timbuktu" below. Alo Wala's Cityboy is out November 10th via Enchufada.

Interview

Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music

We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

It's a big year for music, and in the midst of many good drops from the motherland and beyond, we caught up with Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter TOBi to discuss his recently released 10-track project ELEMENTS.

ELEMENTS is a fusion of old-school soul, contemporary rap sequences, clever lyrical symbols & metaphors. and melancholic vibes which reference TOBi's Nigerian heritage through afrobeats, the reality of his life and the state of the world today. The compilation features production from Nigerian producer Juls on "Dollas and Cents" and "Made Me Everything and Shine."

Below, we also discuss his creative process and passion for mental health with the announcement of an exciting collaboration. "I'm attracted and curious about so many things in life that I can't help but bring [them] into my world and craft," the multi-genre artist says.

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