Audio

Audio: Damon Albarn records new album in Congo

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Back in July we announced that Damon Albarn would put together a group of producers called DRC Music and set out for Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo to record and sample Congolese musicians – well, he knocked it out of the park and the album, Kinshasa One Two, is available for pre-order today.

DRC Music collaborated with over 50 local Congolese artists, including Jupiter and the Okwess International, Bokatola System and Nelly Liyemge to record the entire album in under one week – 5 days to be exact. Proceeds from the album, set to be released digitally on October 3rd  by Warp Records, will benefit the local performers as well as Oxfam’s work in Congo.

DRC Music is comprised of producers Actress, Dan The Automator, Jneiro Jarel, T-E-E-D (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), Richard Russell, Marc Antoine, Alwest, Remi Kabaka, Rodaidh McDonald and Kwes. Take a sneak peek at their creative process in the trailer for the project above, and listen to some tracks off the new project below.

DRC Music - Kinshasa One Two (see http://drcmusic.org ) by DRC Music

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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