Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Be Africa

I am in love with this song as I write this to you.  Let me indulge here since I have a lot to write an lots of name dropping about this wonderful new find. This the result of a pair of Parisian groove theorists named Bibi Tanga and Professeur Inlassable.  Singer, bassist and bandleader Bibi Tanga  grew up in Paris as an immigrant from the Central African Republic.  Bibi's music described as slinky, sinuous bass lines and a wicked falsetto that conjures up Prince and Curtis Mayfield, while producer Professeur Inlassable ("The Tireless Professor") digs deep and brings the sound and spirit of another era.  Together with Bibi's band The Selenites create a stunningly original new sound where Afro-futurism meets punk, Fela Kuti with famed New Orlean's jazz soloist Sidney Bechet and Marcel Duchamp gets down with Chic.  They already made a stir in France among the fashion forward funk audiences worldwide.  Dunya is their first official full length international release.  Dunya takes its name from the word "existence" in Sango, the language of Central African Republic, and the album is a vivid snapshot of the present moment in global music and a roadmap to the future.  Juggling English, French and Sango lyrics, Bibi sings about socially conscious messages about immigration, malnutrition, AIDS and slavery with some of the most danceable grooves mixing wild, eclectic funk beats, layered with Afro beats over electro-tinged soul.  Bibi was born in Paris but moved quite often due to his father's diplomatic postings shuffling between Paris, Africa, Moscow, Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn.  He grew up listening to a lot of records raging from disco, funk, soul, reggae, R&B, and a wide array of African music from Franco and Tabu Ley from Congo, Fela Kuti from Nigeria, Bembeya Jazz from Guinea.  Also he was influenced as a teenager growing up in Paris suburbs by  '80s punk rock and new wave from French bands like Telephone to British bands like English Beat, The Specials and The Cure. He learned guitar, bass and saxophone and even took tap dancing.  "The first instrument is your body," he says "it's like having drums on your feet." Bibi Tanga's first met Professeur Inlassable in 2003 and the duo found that they shared a passion for the same music and released "Yellow Gauze" in 2006.   Professeru Inlassable adds a whole new dimension to Bibi Tanga's sound, rereating lost musical sounds capes that invoke echoes of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg.  For this album, Le Professeur even pulls samples from National Geographic Emerging Explorer Josh Ponte's "Gabon: The Las Dance" soundtrack album.  Together with Bibi's band The Selenites - Arthur Simonini on violin and keyboards, Rico Kerridge on guitar and Arnaud Biscay on drums - Bibi and Le Professeur craft an otherworldly sound.  "We call the band The Selenites because that's the name of the people who lived on the dark side of the moon" Bibi explains.  "It's from a story by H.G. Wells.  People think our music comes from outer space, like cosmic rays.  So the moon is a big inspiration for me.  I'm definitely a romantic that way - but my music is also rooted firmly on the ground".  I'm loving this! I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Be Africa - Bibi Tanga & The Selenites

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