DECEMBER 2018 ISSUE

 

A sneaky peek of just some of what is in the December 2018 issue – OUT NOW!

Click to buy this issue and read more…

Wiyaala

A few weeks ago, Wiyaala performed the theme song at the launch of the Women’s African Cup Of Nations football tournament, in a stadium in her home country of Ghana. She was a natural choice for the role, since, apart from being a bit of demon midfielder in her youth, the Afro-pop singer is a huge star not only in her own country, but more widely across the continent of Africa, where she has won several awards and scored an array of hits during the last five years. Her 2013 single Rock My Body, for instance, won her two prizes at the 2014 first edition of the All Africa Music Awards, as well as the title as Most Promising Artist in Africa and Revelation of The African Continent. Her ‘official’ debut album, the eponymously titled Wiyaala, was nominated for Album Of The Year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards in 2015 and the All Africa Music Awards of the same year. She also headlined the 15th London African Music Festival in London.
But the Noella Wiyaala – her surname means ‘The Doer’ in her native language of Sissala – I meet in a central London café this autumn, just ahead of the December 8 release of her second album, Sissala Goddess, is a disarmingly humble, friendly and demurely suited individual, quite a contrast to the athletic and confident performer we see on stage…

Click here to buy and read more…

Kelvin Wooten

Whenever you speak to a musician that’s worked with maverick producer – & now artist – Kelvin Wooten, a familiar theme crops up.
“Yo, that dude right there is special man.” So, for example, said funk heroine and former member of D’Angelo’s Vanguard band, Kendra Foster, recounting the moment she first witnessed Wooten play keys on Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage cruise over a 15 years ago. “When I say special,” she goes on, “it wasn’t just what he chose to play, but what he embodied: he looked like a young Stevie Wonder, dressed different and tasteful. He’d always have on some kinda poncho and a crazy hat. Even though I felt like, ‘I’m doing my thing over here!’” Kendra laughs,. “When I saw Kelvin it was like, ‘Woh, he’s one of my people. I’m not the only one here that’s weird!”
“She said whut about me?!” Kelvin responds in mock outrage, after I mention Kendra’s comment to him…

 

Click here to buy and read more…

 

Open Mike Eagle

Open Mike Eagle’s latest EP is deceptively titled What Happens When I Try To Relax. I say ‘deceptively titled’, because, as it turns out, the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based rapper isn’t good at taking things easy. He likes to stay busy.
“I do play a lot of video games,” he insists. “But I play a lot of anxiety-inducing video games – really difficult ones that make me wanna throw back my controller. So I don’t know how to relax. That is the issue. And that’s part of where the songs came from. ‘Cos with these songs, I tried to relax in a lot of senses. And I didn’t do a good job of it.”
A listen to What Happens… will tell you that trying and failing to relax is a good state in which Mike can make new music. His seventh EP, is both his most accessible and most visceral release to date: six tracks of Mike flipping focus, acerbically interrogating himself and switching styles when you least expect, but with more physical beats and a fierce sense of purpose that makes it feel essential. It’s the type of release you might expect from someone either with something to prove, or who’s pissed off at the world. It turns out, it’s a bit of both…

 

 

Click here to buy and read more…

 

UB40

UB40 are about to celebrate their 40th anniversary with an impressive new album, accompanying dub and remix sets and a 40-date tour, starting in March next year, that will include Duncan Campbell’s 500th show as the band’s “new” lead singer.
It’s no secret that there are currently two UB40s and so here’s a quick summary of what’s brought us to this point.
Duncan’s predecessor was his younger brother Ali, who quit the band in 2008, citing financial irregularities. UB40 are unusual in that the members have equal shares regardless of who writes, sings or plays on what. It’s a democracy, but Ali wanted more and after leaving the band, discovered that he didn’t have as big a fan base outside of UB40 as he thought, and that they were doing just fine without him – Duncan having quickly proved the ideal replacement, even as the group were making some of the most political records of their career – no mean feat considering the competition. In response Ali, with keyboard player Mickey Virtue in tow, started using the name UB40, despite having quit of his own volition and the parent group still having the most founder members, even after Astro had also crossed to the other side [and with shouts of “traitor” no doubt ringing in his ears]. The situation’s made doubly difficult by the fact that Ali, Robin and Duncan are brothers, who started out singing together from infancy – but also explains why the transition has been seamless in other ways, since, crucially, UB40 still have two Campbell brothers in their line-up…

 

Click here to buy and read more…