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Newness for your eyes: video updates [5]

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Still from the video for The Remedy

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 nameCold 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.

Video interview: ArinMaya

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Picture of ArinMaya

Photo by Zoraida Lopez

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

Newness for your eyes: video updates [4]

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Picture from the Imperial Sugar video

It’s been a while since I last posted one of those video updates and since my eyes were blessed by several wonderful visuals in the past days and weeks, I thought it was high time I shared them with you. If you follow the blog regularly, you probably know that I generally don’t post single videos but sometimes the beauty, originality or inspirational message carried by a handful of them tickles my interest. This time around, I have an incredible selection of four videos from artists coming from the States, the UK, Switzerland and France. Variety is the spice of life! The genres and themes of the song are varied as well, which makes for an interesting melting-pot. Anyway, enough rambling for now, let me tell you about the first one…


Newness for your eyes: video updates [3]


Picture from Comb My Hair video

It’s been quite a while since I offered some video updates and I stumbled upon a few in the past days or weeks that caught my attention. I don’t usually post videos on their own, but when I see such quality, I have to gather some of them and share them with you. The songs are in different genres and the themes vary, but all those visuals have something in common: they are beautiful and inspiring. A great video only enhances a song and can sometimes make it even more touching, powerful or entertaining. Let me tell you more about today’s selection and why I love them so much…

Fabian Akilles is an artist I discovered very recently, thanks to Dewey Decibel and I’m sure glad I did! Comb My Hair, taken from his album Evil Round That Corner, is a very interesting and uplifting song that everyone should listen to and particularly little girls who sometimes don’t have the best of role models if you consider current mainstream stars. The video is very simple and straight to the point so I won’t tell much more about it, but leave you to enjoy the great song and lovely visuals. You can get the album via Evil Round That Corner - Fabian Akilles More

Newness for your eyes: Video updates [2]

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Cover artwork for Stevy Mahy's album

I usually don’t post videos on their own here (I had to check and the last time I offered video updates was last year) but I saw three today that were so amazing I needed to share them with you. I am sure you will be quite happy about that, as they all are very soothing, peaceful and provide for escapism. As summer is coming to an end and a new academic year is upon us, I thought it was a good idea to feature some visual goodness that will allow you to start the weekend in a beautiful way.

First of all, this official video was released today and it is for a song that is on one of my favourite albums ever (yes, it’s official!), that is Stevy Mahy’s incredible The Beautiful Side Of A Kreyol Folk Trip. In case you are not familiar with the wonderful singer and her album, I kindly recommend you have a look at my album review but more importantly buy the album and watch the other videos she released for previous tracks. Yenki Pou Vou is one of my favourite songs on the album and its lyrics always touch me very deeply, while giving me strength and courage to go on with my life as Stevy’s angelic voice sings “dry your eyes, you’re way too blessed to cry”. This is a message everyone should remember. To complement the lyrics, we can now appreciate some amazing visuals courtesy of Ivan Herrera and travel all the way to San Domingo in our mind, to stroll along the streets with Stevy. Enjoy the journey!

Then, I had the great pleasure of discovering the brand-new video for Sinitus Tempo’s single Utopia, taken from his latest project Peaceland. Once again, if you are not familiar, you can have a look at my recent article about the EP. The visuals (filmed and edited by John Carter) are beautiful here as well and are a very enticing invitation to escape reality and imagine yourself on this beach. The track was one of my favourites on Peaceland and it is very interesting to watch how its beauty and soothing element was rendered on screen. Please also head to the Youtube page to read the director’s comments on the video. Let’s create our own Utopia…

Finally, a gorgeous track and video I discovered a few days ago on Apple Juice Break and that I watched again today is Martin Parks’ collaboration with the blog and Pronounced Love for their upcoming project entitled If It Speaks, Listen. The track, Far is once more an invitation to drift away from your daily routine and the visuals are simply impressive. There is an otherwordly dimension here, which I find extremely appealing. As we dive under the water, we discover how peaceful but also vivid life can be in that place and it clearly makes me want to disappear there, at least for a while and go Far away from the concrete. The video is directed by The Ports. Enjoy this under-water adventure.

Find out more: Stevy Mahy, Sinitus Tempo, Martin Parks

Live music: The Foreign Exchange @ Cargo w/ Sy Smith, AB & Zo!


Flyer for The Foreign Exchange at Cargo

Amazing. Wonderful. Incredible. Words are powerful, but sometimes they just can’t capture exactly how you feel. To describe how The Foreign Exchange‘s show on Thursday affected me, I would need more than words. There was something special in the air, something that made my soul smile. The energy and vibrations Phonte, Nicolay, Sy Smith, Zo! and AB, as well as the other musicians, exuded made it impossible not to be enchanted and elated. There was also a great connection and interaction with the audience, which is one of the most important elements in a live performance. All the artists clearly gave the best of themselves and made the audience feel part of one big family. There were a lot of jokes exchanged, a lot of smiles and laughter, but also some emotional moments with the music and lyrics. It was a very enriching experience and I have to say the goal Phonte stated at the beginning of the show was clearly reached: I did feel much better after than I did when I walked in. I am actually still on a high, two days after.

They performed songs from all three of their albums, as well as This could be the night from Zo!’s SunStorm, plus some little extras, including remixes and their imaginary future reggae hit, that was hilarious. Phonte is a great performer and has a ‘wicked’ sense of humour, which made the show even more enjoyable. From impromptu interludes to the reggae ‘hit’ or singing into a lady’s Blackberry, these moments made everybody laugh hard and that was most welcome. It was also a pleasure for me to see AB live again, as I really appreciate him and his vocal talent. Another highlight was Sy Smith’s presence. She is an artist I don’t know a lot about, which is a shame, but seeing her live made me want to do my research even more! The musicians, including Nicolay and Zo!, were on point and really captured the energy of all the different albums perfectly. To put it simply, this show was one of the best I ever attended. I need to give a big shout out to soulBEAUTIFUL for making this magical moment possible and I hope it’s only the beginning of some great adventures for them.

In case you don’t believe me, I will share two videos of the show. These are two of my many, many favourites and it was a great pleasure to listen to them and see them live. Both taken from Foreign Exchange’s second album Leave It All Behind, here is first House of cards, followed by the amazing Daykeeper, which is clearly one of many people’s favourites as well. Enjoy!

Finally, a little extra treat for you is a quick interview I did with AB after the show, where he tells me about how he feels about it, upcoming dates on the tour and his own projects. Enjoy and check out his music if you’re not familiar, you won’t be disappointed. And be on the lookout for a more comprehensive interview coming soon…

French touch: Si tu veux rester, Osmojam


Picture of Osmojam

I haven’t presented any French artist on here in a little while and it’s time to fix this situation! I have to apologise profusely to Anne from Nubyan Vibes and to you readers for not posting this earlier, as I had it in my inbox for several months now… I hope you won’t be too mad at me for keeping the goodness for that long, and that you will appreciate as much as I do. I first heard from Tum’Soul productions years ago, during the ‘golden era’ of MySpace but I have to admit I haven’t followed their releases and artists closely. When I listened to Osmojam and the track Si tu veux rester for the first time, I was immediately attracted by the great production and by the lady’s beautiful and smooth voice. There is a very chilled and soothing, jazzy vibe to the song, which I greatly appreciate. It’s really the kind of music that puts a smile on my face and makes me dream of beautiful moments spent with special people… The lyrics are also very interesting and if you don’t understand French, I can only suggest you take lessons, as Osmojam definitely has a talent with words and it’s a pity to be deprived of the pleasure of understanding what she has to say. Si tu veux rester is an ode to secrecy and mystery when it comes to a relationship, to avoid being put under people’s gossiping spotlight and risk being judged for not ‘making it’ eventually. I really like Osmojam’s honesty and openness here, which is miles away from mellow love songs that can sometimes seem a bit too ‘idealistic’. The song really makes me want to hear more from the talented lady and I’m quite happy to say that she is currently working on her debut album. That means I will probably tell you more about her in the near future! Until then, you can appreciate her beautiful music and put Si tu veux rester on repeat. This should help you stay warm during those long cold winter nights…

You can listen to and download the song on Tum’Soul’s Bandcamp page or just by clicking on the link below

And you can discover the very nice video for the song, which was shot partly in one of Paris famous venues le Bizz’art (formerly known as Opus). Enjoy!

Find out more about Osmojam on Facebook and about Tum’Soul on Facebook & Soundcloud

Newness for your ears: Paralyzed, Janelle Renee

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    I am getting a lot of music in my inbox these days and it is something I’m really grateful for, even if I can’t post everything on here. One email from Deep from 2 Hungry Bros caught my attention though and I think the word is definitely worth spreading. Janelle Renee is a very talented young lady I discovered on 2 Hungry Bro’s project with 8thw1 entitled No Room For Dessert (you can read my review here if you missed it) and it is a pleasure for me to hear more from her. She has a very beautiful and warm voice, she is gorgeous and on top of that doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. This is something you can find with 2 Hungry Bros and other members of the AOK Collective, which I underlined in the review and in my interview with Deep (catch up here) and which is definitely appreciated. She provides positive vibrations and feel-good music and I have to admit this is most welcome nowadays!

    Paralyzed is a very pleasant track to listen to, thanks to 2 Hungry Bros’ energetic and funky production as well as Miss Renee’s amazing voice. I’m nothing near a good dancer, but this is really the kind of song that makes me want to move my body and just enjoy myself. I also appreciate the hook, borrowed from Bob Marley’s classic Waiting in vain and the whole spirit of the song. I can definitely relate to the need to slow down and take my time once in  a while!  This track is a confirmation of Janelle Renee’s talent and of the artistic chemistry that exists between her and 2 Hungry Bros. It obviously makes me want to hear more from her in the future.

      You can now listen to and purchase the single on Janelle Renee’s Bandcamp or simply by clicking on the link below

          And you can also discover the official video, which makes me appreciate the song even more and reinforces the feel-good and fun element I mentioned earlier. Directed by Tony from Surrealphobia and with cameos from 2 Hungry Bros, Homeboy Sandman & Fresh Daily among others, it’s a great visual addition to the track, in true AOK Collective fashion. Enjoy!

              Find out more about Janelle Renee: official website

              Newness for your ears: Brand New Kicks, Cloud City Classic

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              Even if I am really not a sneaker addict, I can definitely understand and relate in a way. I could say I’m a music addict and of course my relation to new music is similar to what sneaker addicts have with their brand-new acquisitions. What happened to me when I opened the treasure box this afternoon (aka my inbox) was definitely a mixture of excitation, amazement and desire to share the beauty. Which is what I’m doing now… I guess I have to thank Twitter for this one, as it’s apparently how the email initially landed in my inbox. I had never heard of Cloud City Classic before and I definitely appreciate their universe and the concept of this album a lot!

              In their own words, this Brand New Kicks is ‘a throwback to mid 90’s hip hop with nicotine beats and Palm Bay flows.’ This really appealed to me, even before listening to the album and I have to admit the production plays a great part in my loving it! There is definitely an old-school feeling to the album and obviously in the most positive sense of the word. From classic boom-bap to jazzy and soulful prods, Brand New Kicks presents the best of the 90’s with a modern twist and makes it really easy to press replay over and over… and over again! It is also absolutely impossible not to nod your head to some of the beats and to be inspired and uplifted by the lyrics.

              I am discovering more and more artists from Canada lately and I can say there is obviously a lot of talent over there, which shouldn’t be slept on. I will most definitely look out for more from Inkspill and Sadler and you should too, if you’re not familiar with their music. I now have some good news for you: first, you can listen to and download this beautiful Brand New Kicks from their label, Chamberlain Drive’s Bandcamp (where there is more goodness for your ears), or simply by clicking on the link below

              Second, you can have a look at the official video for the first single, Brand New Kicks, that is a great addition to the song and brings you back to the ‘Golden Era’ once again. Enjoy the ride!

              Find out more on Cloud City Classic on Facebook

              Album review: Zombie Skool, Shinobi Stalin


              Cover artwork for Shinobi Stalin's Zombie Skool

                I first told you about Shinobi Stalin when I presented his single Spiritual Law featuring his cousin Word Chemist (catch up here) and I have more to share from him. This album isn’t new, it actually came out in 2008, but I think it definitely deserves to be under my spolight and in your collection. Here is why…

                The word I would use to describe Zombie Skool is positivity. From the very first notes of YGB to the closing track Soul rap, Shinobi Staling spreads inspiring messages through well-written lyrics and mostly chilled, jazzy productions. Keeping a balance between lighter topics and more personal and ‘serious’ subjects, he manages to come out with a very uplifting and enjoyable album that is easily put on repeat over and over again. It is definitely feel-good music, while staying true to the spirit of hip-hop and ‘educating’ young people and all the listeners. I particularly appreciate the concept of the project and this teaching aspect, which is a reflection of Shinobi’s job and shows how education can take many forms and reach people in different ways.

                In the same way as a day in school is made of different periods, some where you need to concentrate and work hard, others where you can relax and enjoy your time off, Zombie Skool enables you to let your mind go through different phases. It can be open to receive some motivational messages and to be fed with interesting ideas but it can also let go and of stress and be relieved from life hardships. The perfect example of the latter is Smoke break, with a very nice and chilled production courtesy of Shinobi himself. This is one of my favourites and it is definitely a great way to relax and to relate to Shinobi’s need to disconnect from the daily routine. The smoke break is taken as a metaphor and I really like the way he played with that, underlining the need to ‘breathe in all the positive energy’ and to ‘blow out all the negative excess’. This relative lightness of subject can also be found in Confessions of a sneaker addict, which title is quite transparent and in SNM, another one of my favourites, partly because of the great jazzy and uplifting prod, where Shionobi makes a comparison between skating and being an MC, stressing the fact that they are both part of him and different ways for him to express himself.

                Continue reading after the jump More

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