As summer comes to a close and we cosy down for Autumn, Afrobeat inspired pop artist Aadae has curated the perfect playlist to keep you warm in those winter nights.
Aadae has had a busy 12 months. Festival performances at Green Man, Latitude, All Points East and a host of other slots meant a summer on the road, a frenetic schedule which included being invited to Australia to take part in a huge tribute to Nelson Mandela. Now back in London, we’re looking forward to her new single ‘Carousel Horses’ dropping later this month.
The single, inspired by the circular repetition of a previous relationship, see’s a shift in tempo from Aadae – a more vulnerable and exposed side to her Afrobeat inspired pop.
Born in Nigeria but raised in Peckham, her songwriting speaks of family parties spent listening to high life and Afrobeat, long nights in South London dancing to UK garage, and an innate love of the impact pop songwriting can have. As summer comes to a close and we cosy down for Autumn, Aadae has curated the perfect playlist to keep you warm in those winter nights.
She wrote “So it seems the sun has set on summer – but that doesn’t mean we can’t conjure up some warmth and colour into our playlists. To celebrate the ever changing face of Afrobeat, I put together a pick n mix of songs from a new generation of artists that draw influence from African music. Expect to hear Afro: Pop, Soul, Electronic, Jazz and everything in-between (in no particular order of course).”
Sons of Kemet – My Queen is Harriet Tubman
Sons of Kemet deliver such high energy with the very ballsy, unapologetic ‘My Queen is Harriet Tubman’. Jazz and Afrobeat are at the forefront of this track with its interesting polyrhythmic tapestry played by drums and percussion laced with call and response counter rhythms played by the brass section. This song is chaotic for all the right reasons – look no further if you are looking to start a party.
Vampire Weekend – California English
Whilst we wait for a new album, I thought I’d include this track from The Vampire Weekendssophomore album‘Contra’. Mate, the first time I heard ‘California English’ I was so confused and amazed at the same time. This song features a medley of bouncing synths, highlife style guitars and the use of vocal effects to re-configure the English Language into melodic rhythmic patterns. Bottom line, this track is so much fun!
African Boy – Butterfly
African Boy throws a curve ball that I absolutely caught. Who knew he sings as well as he bars?! Not bad if I say so myself. He nailed the Afrobeats sound as he serenades us with his cool, sweet, melodic tone…This is definitely a vibe, it well worth the listen.
Seniobo Sey – My Eye
Taken from her album released earlier this year, Seniobo sings harmonious pentatonic melodies that remind me of the melodies in the traditional African music I grew up with – and she effortlessly rolls these out with cascading Kim Burrell type gospel runs too. ‘My Eye’ is so beautifully crafted – hats of to you soul sista.
Rina Mushonga – Atlanta
This track is particularly close to my heart as the video features footage of Peckham (the place I call home and know all so well). Rina Mushonga had the right idea with this one, she gives Afrobeat an electronic make over which bouncy rhythmic synths. She is definitely onto something huge – give it a listen, let me know if you think so too.
Adekunle Gold – Only Girl Ft Moelogo
This song is a match made in heaven (literally). Two of my favourite Nigerian vocalists teamed up to make this mid-tempo, feel good classic. Adekunle Gold and Moelogo voices blend seamlessly with highlife guitars and west African rhythms as they dip in and out of singing in English and Yoruba. Whatever the weather, this song always put me in a happy space.
Susso – Son Kunda
Susso makes some of the most interesting music I have heard to date and he seems to have an equally interesting way of creating it too. Recorded in the UK and Gambia, ‘Son Kunda’ fuses what sounds like vocal samples of Gambian singers with traditional west African percussion and a colourful array of electronic pads and synths. This track is super calming, it’s the ultimate chill vibe – African stylee.
Jain – Makeba
Every time I hear this I can’t help but move – Jain’s ‘Makeba’ is infectious. Her clever blend of unconventional percussion, horns and catchy hook make for the ultimate Afropop tune. And yes yes, this isn’t brand new but it had to make the list because it really is that fabulous.
Ibeyi – River
This is probably still my favourite song from duo Ibeyi. This track (like many of their others) see them embrace their Afro Cuban roots. They sing harmonic vocal chants over minimal percussion in both English and Lucumi (a Cuban dialect of the Nigerian Yoruba language). There is something quite contemporary yet innately traditional about ‘River’. It makes a bold statement as it shows how West African culture has travelled and continues to expresses itself within the wider African diaspora. This is definitely one to check out.
Aadae’s new single ‘Carousel Horses’ is out on October 23rd.