The soul and power of Sampa the Great

SERvin’ Up! – w/c November 13, 2017

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Soul of A Woman (2SER Feature Album)
Sampa the Great – Birds and The BEE9
Angel Olsen – Phases
Blood Blossoms – The Auburn Girl
The Grenadiers – Find Something You Love And Let It Kill You
Ora Cogan – Crickets
Linda Perhacs – I’m A Harmony
James Holden and the Animal Spirits – The Animal Spirits
Various Artists – The Original Sound of Burkina Faso
Key Out – It Didn’t Sound The Same Without The Rain


A resurgent interest in the more far-out reaches of jazz and ensemble playing that was built on spirit as much as skill and technique is bearing fruit in great modern musical contexts. Best known for his often hard-edged excursions in trance and techno, producer James Holden has made what seems like a decidedly left turn on his new album, but really, it isn’t so much of a stretch. In 2015, Holden collaborated on a 12” single with Moroccan musician Mahmoud Gunia, who himself had been involved in some of Pharoah Sanders’ pivotal works exploring a spiritual side to jazz music in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Holden’s time with Gunia inspired him to expand further and his new project The Animal Spirits came into being. The self-titled debut is charged with epic feeling, somehow bot soothing and enthralling in its mesh of cosmic jazz, krautrock and traditional Moroccan sounds, working often through an electronic filter to enhance the connection to Holden’s own meditative sensibilities.

Sampa the Great’s hip hop comes baring the soul and power of its African ancestry on her second mixtape, Birds and The BEE9. Born in Botswana and raised in Uganda, Sampa the Great turned to music after moving to Australia and like forebearers A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul has sought Afrocentricity as the core of her artistry. While those acts played that into their everyday American urban being – young men goofing off, learning how to get along in life and ultimately bring people together in unity – Sampa the Great goes further back, talking history and dismantling it as a means to create our future. This is hip hop that doesn’t need to be in your face – there’s a quiet command to Sampa the Great alongside the earthy flow of her music and its positive force.

Canada’s Ora Cogan has seemingly gotten lost in the muddle of the never –ending new folk movement, having plied her trade for over a decade now without deserved recognition outside her native land. One reason for this could be the continuing changes to her sound. On her latest album Crickets, Cogan has evolved from the smudged, sparse pysch-folk of early work into full-blown esoteric pop. Think of the gossamer-light tones of the Cocteau Twins and the pastoral-to-prog intersections of Mercury Rev and you’re in the ballpark of Crickets’ own scope.

Also, new tunes from Marlon Williams featuring Aldous Harding, Young Fathers, Anna Burch, Imharan, Sarah Blasko, Montero and Yaeji.

Enjoy it all on 2SER,



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