French touch, UK talent Greg Blackman, James Klynn, Maleiva Kem, Mr. Bird, Raashan Ahmad, Stevy Mahy, video
It’s been a while, right? Right. Moving on swiftly… I watched a few lovely videos in the past weeks/months and I wanted to share them with you, because sharing is caring. Those four videos are completely different and this is great because variety is the spice of life. As usual, I chose them specifically because they provide the viewer with something interesting and original, which is something all artists should aim to do, don’t you think? So, for this edition, you have a wonderful selection of visuals, courtesy of Stevy Mahy, a regular in this section, Mr. Bird & Greg Blackman, Maleiva Kem & James Klynn, and Raashan Ahmad. I told you it was varied! Now, without further delay, let me tell you more about those new(-ish) videos.
First of all, as I said above, Stevy Mahy has been featured in most of those video updates so far. The reason for this is quite simple: all her videos are amazing! This new one, complementing her brand-new single Ban di’w, taken from her upcoming album Renaissance Woman, is as beautiful and inspiring as ever. Singing both in French and Kreyol, Stevy addresses her lover with a delightful, heartfelt declaration, while the visuals present snapshots of a relationship that oozes love, affection and spirituality. This is what dreams are made of… The music is also an invitation to let your mind drift away and to envision a bright future for yourself, or at least it does for me. In case this is your first time hearing and seeing Stevy Mahy, I would suggest you browse this blog to discover my album review for The Beautiful Side of A Kreyol Folk Trip, as well as other posts about the lovely singer.
Then, UK artists Mr. Bird and Greg Blackman team up to provide you with visuals and lyrics dealing with the aftermath of a relationship, which apparently didn’t go too well… Taken from their collaborative album Low Fi Classics, released recently via BBE, Since You’ve Been Gone is undoubtedly among my favourites on the project. The concept of the video is quite simple but works very well and makes the message of the song all the more clear and powerful. While I haven’t really been in this type of situation before, I can still relate to Greg Blackman’s words and feelings. I am sure some of you will recognise yourself though and maybe wish you had said these words to a person or two… The duo also released a remix for this song, courtesy of The Paragons of Goodness, who are none other than Greg Blackman himself and Nathan Wacey. Available with the single, released via BBE last month as well, it’s a great addition to the album and provides a new dimension to this break-up tale.
Maleiva Kem and James Klynn also tell us about love with their new video/short film, taking us on a Cold Path and providing us with an original story to accompany their words. Part of Freedom Hall, a wonderful collective of artists I told you about in the past, they always strive to push boundaries and create art that is all at once innovative, thought-provoking and inspiring. This video is yet another example of their approach and it should not leave you unmoved. Taken from the recently released album of the same name, Cold Path blends a lovely melody and Maleiva Kem’s angelic voice with James Klynn’s expert writing skills and candid lyrics. The result is a bittersweet tale that still inspires hope, which I think is what the visuals are all about. The hopeless romantic in me can’t but appreciate that and I’m grateful to the artists for giving me a reason to feel optimistic about love and life right now.
Last but not least, Raashan Ahmad just released a brand-new video for The Remedy, taken from the album Ceremony that was released last year and has become one of my favourites ever. Far from swoon-inducing declarations of love, post break-up relief or complicated feelings, what the American MC offers us is a testimony to his passion for hip-hop. Shot last week in Tokyo, Japan, during his tour in the Land of the Rising Sun, the video is full to the brim of positive vibes and energy. While the storyline is quite basic, the power of the visuals is to make you feel good. That is usually what a lot of Raashan Ahmad’s music is about and I have to say it works perfectly well. As I have been going through rough times lately, I can definitely relate to music being The Remedy, which makes it even easier for me to enjoy the song and video. It actually ranks among my (many) favourites from the album and listening to it, along with watching the MC do his thing in Tokyo, makes me feel better.
Album, French touch, Newness for your ears Chayé Kow, Érik, French touch, French West Indies, Guadeloupe
I have been meaning to update the blog for a while now… In the same way as life is made of ups and downs, my levels of motivation and inspiration have this way of taking rollercoaster rides, creating severe inconsistency. While listening to the album I am about to write about today, I felt a desire to share. Again. At last. Add a friendly but firm virtual kick in the ass (thanks Keisha ;)) and you get a blog post. Hooray!
While this album is not “recent” by any musical industry standard (which I couldn’t care less about), it is new to my ears and probably many of yours. Hence its presence on the blog in my regular “Newness for your ears” category. Released in 2009, Chayé Kow has this type of timeless sound that makes it enjoyable from the day of its release till… infinity? I can’t vouch for that just now, but I can say that 5 years after it came out, it pleases my ears and that is all that matters to me. I actually first heard about French singer Érik several months before he finally released the album and it was beautiful to witness his journey from new, young artist with an innovative sound to well-known personality in the West Indies (he is hailing from the beautiful island of Guadeloupe) and mainland France. The first songs I heard, sometimes accompanied with beautiful videos, are present on Chayé Kow, making the album slightly familiar at first listen. While a couple of those tracks (On bel jouné and Si ou pa la) remain my favourites, all the ones I discovered were pleasant surprises and made my ears and my soul happy. Overall, the project is a comprehensive introduction to Érik’s universe and a lovely musical journey into his various influences. Singing both in Kréyol and in French, the young man tells us about love, loss and growth, among other topics. In addition to his extremely appealing voice and well-written, heartfelt lyrics, the other strong point of the album is undoubtedly the music. From delicate strings to uplifting percussions and compelling bass and piano, all the instruments appeal to my ears in various ways and each song creates a different atmosphere, allowing me to experience a wide range of feelings.
Parler de tout ça, specifically, is an emotional tale about the struggles you can encounter in a relationship and, while I didn’t experience anything similar myself, I can’t help but be touched by the quality of Érik’s words and delivery. Another favourite, the closing track, Viré tombé, is an hypnotic number that deeply touches me and entices me to vibrate to the rhythm of the percussions. Quite a wonderful way to end this listening experience and leave listeners enthralled!
As a conclusion to this short presentation, I would like to say that Chayé Kow is one of those albums that seduce me as soon as the first notes of the first song are heard and it will most definitely be listened to on a regular basis. In case you didn’t listen to it when it was released, as was the case for me, don’t fret: music like this is a gift that you receive whenever you are ready. I know I was and it came into my life at the perfect time.
PS. His new album, École créole, was released last year. I have yet to listen to it but I will most probably keep you updated once I do.
Now that you know a little bit more about Érik and Chayé Kow, I invite you to discover the whole album on iTunes (or other various digital music stores). If by any chance you still need convincing, watch the two videos below, for Si ou pa la and Chayé kow, very different but equally beautiful tracks that give you an idea of the variety of sounds and atmospheres you can find on the album. Enjoy and please share!
Find out more about Érik on his website, Facebook & Twitter
Album, Newness for your ears Invisible Man, Orlando, Shinobi Stalin, Vets of Kin
I discovered Shinobi Stalin quite a few years ago and I told you about him on several occasions, including with my review of his debut album Zombie School and with an interview I did with the Orlando-based artist, so it is with great pleasure that I now present you his sophomore album.
The highly-anticipated Invisible Man was released last week and it was definitely worth the wait. With this new project, Shinobi Stalin proves, once again, how gifted he is when it comes to penning lyrics and expressing them over instrumentals. While he invited several of his frequent collaborators, including his Vets of Kin crew, as well as other independent hip-hop artists such as Roc Marciano, he clearly shines on this project, from start to finish.
From the very first seconds of Anticipation, a heart-felt track, he steps out of the shadow and goes straight into the heart of the matter, taking the listeners on a journey through his thoughts and feelings, equipped with clever rhymes and seamless flow. Here Not There, which could have been the subtitle for the album, is probably the best explanation of its name. The beautiful, slightly hypnotic instrumental serves a perfect backdrop to what is probably the most relatable track for me, as it describes how you can sometimes be present physically but actually somehow aloof. This is something you can also find later on Energon, where Shinobi Stalin explains how he is more of an observer, something I can definitely relate to.
The MC then proceeds to touch upon relationships (Game Should Never Play), politics, history and the media (Control, His Story), or his Black-Puerto Rican heritage (Nigger Rican), among other topics. He also offers an ode to his city of Orlando, FL, nicknamed the Ozone, on the aptly-titled Welcome to Ozone, and invites the Vets of Kin and Kap Kallous for N.I.K.E., a posse cut that makes my ears quite happy. Another guest worth mentioning is Mike Rosa, who is none other than his brother, as well as a talented skateboarder, and joins him for Brothers Influence.
In addition to the great quality of Shinobi Stalin’s lyrics and flow, I can’t but mention the wonderful instrumentals, provided by talented producers Reeplay, Abbott, Tempermental, Soy Is Real and Shinobi Stalin himself, among others. The different soundtracks match his flow perfectly and create a very pleasant atmosphere, which helps increasing the level of replayability (yep, that’s a word). I need to give a special mention to Control, which, in addition to being my favourite track in terms of lyrical content, benefits from the most beautiful instrumental you could ever dream of (shouts out to Tone Blare). Also, Sing The Blues is a wonderful combination of lovely production and honest lyrics that stands out as one of the most personal and compelling tracks of the album.
Overall, Invisible Man is a comprehensive and cohesive project that serves both as a worthy follow-up to Zombie Skool and a testament to the MC’s brand of quality, timeless-sounding music. If you are just discovering Shinobi Stalin, this should make you want to dig deeper and listen to the rest of his discography, both on his own and with his crew.
You can now discover Invisible Man by heading to Shinobi Stalin’s Bandcamp page, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy, share and support!
As a bonus, here is the official video for Welcome to Ozone, complete with cameos from his Vets of Kin crew members and other Orlando MCs.
Find out more about Shinobi Stalin on Facebook & Twitter.
Uncategorized 2013, blog anniversary, The Wonderful Year of Carminelitta
Four years… Who would have thought? Arguably this was not the greatest year for The Wonderful World of Carminelitta, but I am happy to be able to say that despite it all this blog is still alive and I didn’t give it up completely. Surely, I thought about it several times. Lack of inspiration, motivation and support made it quite difficult for me to keep on pushing for something that I was not sure was worth it. However, I now know that I simply can’t stop what I started. Through the ups and downs, this blog is still my baby. This is one of the few things I created from scratch and I’m damn proud of it!
In these strange times for the music industry, with things constantly changing and evolving, digitalisation in full effect and competition to be the “hottest” or create the biggest “buzz” (among other horrible catchwords…), I often feel that I am out of place and don’t belong in the world of music blogs. When I read some of your messages though, I am reminded that my voice matters and that I can indeed bring something to artists and music lovers. This is why I will not give up. I will keep on writing about artists I discover, sharing music I love with you, providing you with substantial, in-depth interviews and most of all loving doing it. Here’s to yet another year of beautiful, powerful, inspiring, life-changing music!
I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time to thank all the artists who touched me, communicated with me and helped me through the year, as well as everyone who has ever supported me and my endeavours. As cliché as it may sound, you are the reason why I am doing this and this blog would never be what it is without you. Please stick with me for more musical adventures and help me spread the word about amazing projects for many, many years to come!
To celebrate the past year, I put together a compilation, as I have always done since the beginning. It includes all the artists I featured on the blog in 2013, and this is both a way to say thank you to the artists and to help their music be heard far and wide. Listen, enjoy and most importantly, tell your friends! More than ever, it’s all about sharing
You can discover The Wonderful Year of Carminelitta Vol. 4 by heading to my Mixcloud page, or simply by clicking on the link below.
Elle Winston – Waitin’ On (Uncertainty EP and interview)
ArinMaya x Theimagination – I’m Scared (Her Imaginings)
Rachel Brotman – Clever (Anecdote)
Ricardo Iamuuri – Imperial Sugar (video)
Ty – Like You Never (video)
Saneyes – Roller Girl (video)
Willy Sunshine – Circles on the water (video)
Lianne La Havas – Gone (live) (concert @ Espace Julien, Marseille)
Phraim – Quiescent (Kasbah Moments and interview)
Phenzwaan – Word 2 My Sistas (interview)
Erika Lernot – Sa mwen vlè feat. Tchano (Le Voyage)
Breis – Only Human (The Brilliant EP)
Tum’Soul – Alice (ɘnvol (vol#1))
Imperial x K.I.N.E.T.I.K. – Zone Out (Pencils Not Pistols EP)
Avenging Wind – Blues Man (interview)
KRTS – Nothing Grows In Red Soil (The Foreigner EP)
PS. You can also enjoy previous compilations: The Wonderful Year of Carminelitta Vol. 1, Volume 2 & Volume 3.
EP, Newness for your ears Germany, KRTS, New York, Project: Mooncircle, The Foreigner
Yesterday was just another day for me. I have never really been a huge fan of Christmas, except maybe when I was a child and it meant gathering with the whole family and enjoying some delicious food, so I decided to fill this day with music. Lots of music. Among the numerous albums I listened to yesterday, The Foreigner by KRTS is one of the few that really blew me away. Hence why I am sharing it with you now.
I just realised that I haven’t really featured any “new” artist on the blog in a little while. Also, I have been a fan of most of the projects released by Project: Mooncircle for quite a long time now and it was high time I mention them here. Based in Berlin, the label has a roster of incredible artists coming from diverse horizons and their music never fails to touch me. As for KRTS, I’ve always liked his work ever since I discovered him, even though I haven’t really followed his career scrupulously. The Foreigner is without a doubt my favourite project by him, for several reasons. First of all, despite the fact that my move from France to England didn’t involve the same type of adaptation skills, I, too, am “the foreigner” here in London. While KRTS, a Brooklynite, had to learn a new language and discover a very different culture, I simply used my knowledge of English and easily got used to the British ways. However, I can understand what it feels like to be the other, to never really feel like the place where you live is home. Through the music, KRTS shares his feelings and experiences, in the most beautiful way. From the moment he arrived in this Foreign Land, to his encounter with Berlin Girls, until his realisation that This May Be Home, the producer takes us on a journey and invites us to follow his footsteps as he gets acquainted with the German capital and settles, little by little. Two tracks I didn’t mention, because they hold a special place in my heart and deserve to be singled out, are the incredible Sunrise Over Warshauer and Nothing Grows In Red Soil, which closes the EP in the best possible way. Taking advantage of my newly-acquired speakers, I could really indulge in the music and literally feel it, while picturing myself admiring the red and orange hues of this German sunrise or wander in the streets of the capital and observe the trains passing by under the bridge as KRTS seems to have done numerous times. The whole atmosphere of the EP varies from dreamy to emotional, always making it easy for me to relate to the feelings expressed by the talented producer. Whether you are The Foreigner as well or not, you will most probably let the lovely notes and instruments touch your heart and soul.
Now that you know a little bit more about The Foreigner, I invite you to listen to it and purchase it on Project: Mooncircle’s Bandcamp page, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy the journey!
Because I’m sure you have been good girls and boys, here is a little gift for you, with the official video for the hauntingly beautiful and deeply emotional Don’t Need Your Love.
Find out more about KRTS on Facebook and Twitter
Interview Avenging Wind, Dump Truck Blues: Battle Cry Of The Wanderlust, Fathom 9, interview, Memphis
Avenging Wind (formerly known as Fathom 9) is one of the numerous artists I discovered thanks to artist and musical encyclopaedia Gq Tha Teacha, who put me on his Untitled (Pulse Beta) album when it was released back in 2011. I told you about several of his releases since then and played his music regularly on my podcasts. Now, two years after his debut album, Revenge of the Nice Guy, came out, Avenging Wind is back with an amazing sophomore release, entitled Dump Truck Blues: Battle Cry of the Wanderlust. Besides sharing the multi-talented and multi-faceted artist’s taste for long titles, I also admire his music and how he finally decided to explore and share more sides of his artistry with this new album. I am therefore quite proud and happy to present this interview to you. To say it was overdue would be an understatement, but let’s say good things come to those who wait. So, to celebrate the release of DTB and allow you to learn more about Avenging Wind, I asked him a few questions about his creative process, various aliases, performing, the album and much more. I hope you will enjoy reading this interview as much as I did and that you will be curious enough to enter the artist’s universe. Now, without further delay, let me introduce you to Avenging Wind, in his own words…
Discover the interview after the jump… More
Interview, Video ArinMaya, interview, London, video
ArinMaya is an artist whose music I fell in love with as soon as I first heard it several years ago, when I discovered The Sound of ArinMaya. I found this EP quite refreshing and unique, in its eclecticism and spiritual content. I then told you about the beautiful Let The Love Come, her collaborative album with Nick Cassarino, which was yet another confirmation of my appreciation of ArinMaya, as well as Her Imaginings, with producer Theimagination. After listening to her music and discovering her universe through those projects, I was fortunate enough to meet the singer in New York City back in May, during my first trip there. Now, fast forward to last Sunday, when I reconnected with her while she is in London for a week. Between great Thai food, beautiful music at Juno bar for the Got Soul event, a live jazz music set in a pub somewhere in Hackney, interesting encounters and conversations, it was a very good night. It was also great to catch up with Sid Mercutio after so long and playing the musical matchmaker.
I thought I might as well make the most of ArinMaya’s presence in my second home and record an interview with her. We arranged to meet earlier this week and, after enjoying a nice meal in a café in Borough, and being
not so politely kicked out asked to leave because they were closing, we had to find a backup plan to record the interview. Brave as we are, we fought the freezing cold and headed to a park nearby. The result is a very interesting interview where ArinMaya tells us about her sound, her European journey so far and upcoming projects. If you notice a little shaking, it’s just because it was really, really cold. Also, you can witness the amazing phenomenon that is the decreasing of light as it’s getting late… The joys of outdoors recordings!
P.S. You can discover more about her fundraiser and contribute via her GoFundMe page. Also, if you want to support her and get amazing jewellery and other hand-crafted objects, head to her shop on Etsy.
Find out more about ArinMaya on Facebook, Twitter & Bandcamp
EP, Newness for your ears, UK talent Illect Recordings, Imperial, K.I.N.E.T.I.K., London, Pencils Not Pistols EP, UK
K.I.N.E.T.I.K. is no stranger to this blog and after I first told you about him and his Kinesis Thesis Vol. 3 last year, I am very pleased to let you know about his brand-new release. Teaming up with fellow UK artist and talented producer Imperial, the incredible MC presents the Pencils Not Pistols EP. Following a first collaboration between K.I.N.E.T.I.K. and the Illect Recordings affiliated producer for a single, and because the two artists have a common vision, they decided to keep on working together and create a project together. The result is a wonderful treat for your ears, with a blend of spotless, soulful and jazzy production courtesy of Imperial with K.I.N.E.T.I.K.’s trademark lyricism and compelling rhymes. Dealing with anything from inspiration and motivation (Go Hard, Count Your Blessings) to relationships (Just The Way I Feel) and the need to unwind or modern ways of so-called communication (Zoning Out), among other interesting topics, the MC always laces his bars with great wordplay and well-researched information. The overall vibe of the Pencils Not Pistols EP is very chilled and engaging, which guarantees a lot of head-nodding and smiles on the listeners’ face. In addition to the quality of the music and the MC’s skills, our ears are also blessed by singer Tone Richardson’s suave’s vocals and Joanne Francis’ engaging hook. Offering an EP that stays true to the basics of hip-hop, Imperial and K.I.N.E.T.I.K. also prove that The Pencil Is Mightier Than The Pistol indeed! In short, this project gives you the perfect balance between positive energy, education and emotion. Listening to it now, while feeling somewhat down for various reasons, I can’t but feel uplifted by the different songs, and especially Count Your Blessings, which reminds me that no matter what happens in my life I don’t have any reason to complain. To finish off the project, Put Your Pencils In The Air adds a little humour, just to make sure that you indeed feel good and smile after listening. Imperial and K.I.N.E.T.I.K.: mission accomplished!
Now that you know a bit more about Imperial and K.I.N.E.T.I.K.’s Pencils Not Pistols EP, discover the album on Illect Recordings’ Bandcamp page, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy and tell your friends and pencil lovers about it!
Find out more about Imperial on his website and K.I.N.E.T.I.K. on Facebook & Twitter
Album, French touch, Newness for your ears French, Tum'Soul, ɘnvol (vol#1)
Oh, hello there! I know it’s been forever and I actually feel a bit weird, typing this after so long, but I dare to hope this is a “real” come back for me and a new start for The Wonderful World of Carminelitta. I won’t digress and write a long-winded introduction explaining why and how I have been away for so long, as it’s not especially interesting. Instead, I want to dive into the matter at hand, i.e. a wonderful little project I discovered today. Tum’Soul is a very talented French producer I became acquainted with in the MySpace days, but as is the case with many artists I first listened to that long ago, I did not really follow his work until I found him again on Facebook a few years ago. After collaborating with many French soul singers, including Osmojam, Rémi aka Tum’Soul (I’ve always loved the pun in his name, which only French-speaking people can understand) is finally ready to spread his wings and take off on his own. The title of the album, coupled with the incredible cover artwork, is a reference to this new plunge the producer is taking, as well as to the concept of the project. Indeed, the music is very atmospheric and makes you feel like you are soaring high in the sky, floating alongside clouds and travelling to distant lands. After a long week of night shifts at work and plans for my weekend to be all about R&R, ɘnvol (vol#1) is the perfect soundtrack to this Saturday afternoon. In addition to the beautiful music, my ears are also quite delighted to enjoy heavenly vocals courtesy of several of Tum’Soul’s frequent collaborators. A little under half an hour long, the project is both a lovely introduction to the French producer’s universe and a teaser for listeners, who may want more to appease their ears’ hunger. However, the replay factor is very good and it is extremely easy to put ɘnvol (vol#1) on repeat over, and over… and over again. This is probably what I will do today, as the music is very soothing and constitutes a great way to unwind. Finally, because of my very sharp sense of detail, I can’t fail to notice that this album is actually the first part of a series, which makes me rejoice and look forward to what’s coming next.
Now that you know a little more about ɘnvol (vol#1), you can discover the whole project on Tum’Soul’s Bandcamp page, or by clicking on the link below. Enjoy the flight!
Find out more about Tum’Soul on Facebook & Twitter
EP, Newness for your ears, UK talent Breis, London, The Brilliant EP, UK
Breis’ name had been on my radar for quite a while but I have to admit I didn’t really check out his music until quite recently, after I discovered his amazing collaboration with French producers HornDogz for Movin’ On, a wonderful track that also features London MC Ty and singer Peeda (in case you missed it, watch the beautiful video for Movin’ On). When he shared the link to my podcast, where I played the track, I felt compelled to have a look at his page and the various links he posted. I had actually seen him post about The Brilliant EP but didn’t take the time to check it out (shame on me, I know…). The timing was perfect then though, and I am quite happy I clicked play. As soon as I listened to the first track, wittily called Landmarks & Spencer, I knew I would not only love the project but feel “homesick” for London. Full of wordplay and references to the English capital only people who visited or lived there can catch (and I’m quite proud to be one of those), the track is therefore a great introduction to the EP and sets the tone perfectly. A wonderful blend of hip-hop, afro-beat and various other influences, the album sounds like a snapshot of Breis’ universe and what life in London town can be. From the lively and enticing Strictly to the short but funny interlude Jammin’ On The Bus, or the more personal Fear of Failure and Mocking Bird, among other amazing tracks, the MC takes the listener on a very interesting journey through his mind where the thoughts and feelings he shares are easily relatable. It is always a pleasure for me to discover a new artist and realise that I can actually “get them”, that I can understand the experiences they recount and be touched by the creative ways they use to express themselves. The Brilliant EP may touch upon dark topics at times, as is the case with Sharon, but there is always a ray of hope and a conviction that things will be alright eventually. The others tracks I mentioned earlier, Fear of Failure and Mocking Bird are probably my favourite, as they allow Breis to bare his soul and share some emotions I know oh too well. While the lyrics are always perfectly written and Breis’ flow is seamless, the music also accompanies the MC in the best possible way, only enhancing the positivity or emotion, depending on the songs (those strings on Mocking Bird!). All in all, and I am sorry if I was not able to resist the temptation, it is indeed a Brilliant EP that Breis offers the listener! From the high energy, bouncing initial tracks to the more delicate and heartfelt final ones, the album evolves in the same way as a day does, with the rising of the sun followed by darkness. The beauty of it is that we know the light will be back. It has to be back. Thank you Mr. Breis, for this beautiful reminder!
P.S. I absolutely love the album cover!
You can listen to and purchase The Brilliant EP on Breis’ Bandcamp page, among others, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy the ride and pass it on!
Find out more about Breis on his website, Facebook & Twitter