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Balani Show Super Hits: Electronic Street Parties from Mali

The latest from Sahel Sounds is 'Balani Show Super Hits,' a compilation of electro/percussion-heavy popular music played at public street parties in Mali.


On their latest project, Sahel Sounds (the brainchild of Chris Kirkley) looked to Mali for a compilation of electro/percussion-heavy popular music played at Balani Show public street parties. Balani Show Super Hits is a taste of a high energy Malian music that originated out of a late 90s street party scene in Bamako, where DJs began opting for large sound systems and cassettes in favor of Balafon musicians. From the parties soon came a "Balani Show" (aka "Ambience") urban music genre fusing modern production with traditional rhythmic patterns. On the hits compilation, contemporary stars, including Kaba Blon, feature alongside veterans from the Balani scene like DJ Bamanan and  DJ Balani in a talking-drum-infused collection bridging sounds from the electronic balafon with Kuduro and Coupé Decalé. Balani Show Super Hits is out now via Sahel Sounds. Stream it in full below and find out more Balani Show history and backstory from Chris Kirkley over here.

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(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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