Audio

BLK JKS 'More Afrika' [Midnight Rockers Express Edit]

South African rock band the BLK JKS stream an unreleased dub track "More Afrika (MRE Edit)" courtesy of Midnight Rockers Express


Unreleased BLK JKS material! Just after midnight seems like the most auspicious time to be releasing this rarest of birds--an instrumental dub edit of a never before heard track by South African rock experimentalists BLK JKS--into the New York night. The session/composition is called "More Afrika (MRE Edit)" and comes our way by kind permission of Lee Harrison of the Midnight Rockers Express soundsystem (who was present at its creation). The track originated from a jam session by the JKS in which they were intending to supply parts for a project by tech-house producer Osborne, a follow-up to a noted EP of his called "Afrika," hence the working title here as "More Afrika"  (Osborne earlier that year had remixed the band's "Mystery," which became a top 12" pick at London's Phonica record shop and tipped by tastemaker DJ's such as Joe Goddard of Hot Chip). MRE was then asked by the JKS management to re-work a minute-plus section from the session into something sounding more like a finished record so, as Lee relates:

We pulled the jam apart and put it back together into this dubbed-out groove which stayed labeled in the files as "More Afrika."

And there you have it--straight from the MRE dub-cutter to god's ears (and now yours).  Stream the track below via Okayafrica's soundcloud page and imagine the desert dub goodness that could yet result if the JKS apply a similar approach to their recently tipped forays into Mali rock via collaboration with Vieux Farka Touré. 2013 be good to us.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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