Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Paul Simon - Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes (Live in New York, 2011)
You can’t help but let the uplifting vocal and instrumental expressions of this song pick you up and carry you away on a foot tapping frenzy. Written twenty-five years ago, this song still gets people of all ages dancing as was proven at the Paul Simon concert held last week in Melbourne.
Paul Simon has been a powerful force in influencing modern music today. Bands such as Vampire Weekend have drawn inspiration from the groundbreaking 1988 album Graceland, from which Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes appears. The album is noted for its African musical influences and genre-defying upbeat vibe.
Vampire Weekend received a lot of backlash by fans of Paul Simon’s solo work for ‘lifting’ similar influences, such as afrobeat and eastern African folk music in the wake of their 2008 breakthrough album. However Paul Simon defended the group.
‘I felt bad. I wanted to go and tell them that I didn’t think they were taking anything. So that’s what I told them. They said, “Do you think we are?” and I said, “No, I think you’re going to the same sources that I went to. You’re drawing from the same well. You’re trying to write interesting songs.” In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.’
The 71 year old is still an excellent performer and musicians continue benefiting from his illustrious 50+ year musical career.
Vampire Weekend are due to release their third album in May this year.
K’naan, J. Period & Bob Dylan - Don’t Think Twice (Messengers Remix)
Not often does heartfelt folk and hip hop cross paths like this, which is why this version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice is so special. When Somali/Canadian artist K’naan teamed up with mixtape extraordinaire J. Period in 2009 to create a mixtape, it soon became evident that the emcee/singer would draw on influences ranging generations, genres and continents to promote his message of peace.
Bob Marley and Fela Kuti join Bob Dylan as artists that have influenced K’naan’s musical pursuits. In turn, he pays homage to all three musicians on The Messengers mixtape project, where this song appears.
The Messengers version of Don’t Think Twice transcends age groups and musical preferences to appeal to people from all walks of life, and in doing so, enables the timeless music of Bob Dylan to be rediscovered by a new group of fans, while giving K’naan some well-deserved recognition.
St Lucia - Closer Than This (Xaphoon Jones Remix)
Xaphoon Jones is much more than your dime a dozen DJ. The producer extrordinaire keeps himself busy being one half of rap group Chiddy Bang, but that is not the extent of his musical projects. He also remixes artists from a range of genres. He openly embraces and experiments with soundscapes to create original, yet distinctive remixes of an awesome calibre. If you still unconvinced after listening to this enchanting take on St Lucia’s forlorn ballad Closer Than This, peep this mashup of Passion Pit & The Jackson 5.
If you are convinced and want more Xaphoon you can download his latest mixtape for free from here, alternatively download this cut below.
Download - Closer Than This (Xaphoon Jones Remix)
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
Kiwanuka is a British songwriter of Ugandan descent. His music is reminiscent of Cody Chesnutt and Bill Withers; so needless to say, the man can sing.
His latest single, Home Again is taken from his upcoming debut album of the same name. The 24 year old supported Adele last year as well as winning the BBC’s Sound of 2012 music poll. If you enjoy soul/r&b music, then Kiwanuka is a name to look out for - especially when his LP comes out on March 12. Enjoy.
PS. Home Again is currently the free single of the week on iTunes, so get a free copy while you can!
Highlife - F Kenya Rip
New Yorker Sleepy Doug Shaw (of White Magic) started a sideproject named after the west-African genre ‘highlife’.
F Kenya Rip was taken from Highlife’s debut EP in 2010. Shaw creates a vibrant soundscape with sunny harmonies, Afrobeat percussion and of course glorious guitar riffs. Shaw remains relatively faithful to his obvious African influences and they shine best on F Kenya Rip.
Afrobeat and highlife music has definitely made a revival in modern indie music and it’s great to hear artists like Shaw paying homage to a lively style of music we otherwise might not have heard.
Download - F Kenya Rip
Diafrix - Running It
I remember the first time I heard the African-Australian duo Diafrix after recieving an advance copy of their debut album Concrete Jungle in 2009. In short, I loved it. The group were able to tell their stories blending reggae, hip hop, soul on some songs and always making music that was fresh and unformulated.
Momo and Azmarino have risen against the odds after both members fled their homelands of the Comoros Islands and Eritriea respectively. They both emigrated to Melbourne with Azmarino spending the better half of the 00’s hunting for a visa to become a Australian citizen. They met and eventually landed a deal with Illusive Entertainment, the label of other successful Australian artists such as Bliss n Eso, Downsyde and True Live. They have since rocked crowds around the country and around Europe.
Running It is the second single from their highly anticipated sophmore album Pocket Full of Dreams which is due out mid year. You can purchase the single when it’s released on iTunes March 9th. Enjoy!
The Very Best feat Ezra Koenig - Warm Heart of Africa
Artists from 3 continents come together on this song. How excellent is that.
The Very Best is Esau Mwamwaya, Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg. Esau from Malawi in East Africa and the others are UK residents.
The Very Best formed after Esau came to the UK in 1999. He was working at a second hand furniture shop in east London and sold a bicycle to Etienne. Etienne introduced him to Johan and the group was formed.
In 2008 The Very Best released a mixtape and their full length album a year later, sharing the same title as this single, Warm Heart of Africa. Just from listening to this song, you can hear the African musical influences coming through.
The drum and synth driven track features Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend who joins in to share vocals with Esau. An appropriate guest spot considering that Vampire Weekend draw influence from afrobeat and other African elements in their music.
The collaboration is colourful and joyful. The different languages and range in musical genres covered in this song enhance what otherwise might be a repetitive track.
The group are due to release more music in 2012.
Relive the vibrance with an mp3 of the song (right click-save as). Enjoy!
Vieux Farka Touré & Ditto
Ditto? & Vieux Farka Touré - Ana Remix
OK, I haven’t spent this long tracking down music in a long time. I came across this song from a video on Youtube where people suggested 3 of the wrong names - and I still don’t know the name of this remix but at least I managed to track down the track itself. I do know that Malian musician Vieux Farka Toure is responsible for the original song, named ‘Ana.’ Back in 2008 there was a remix competition after Toure completed his debut album to critical acclaim. However, after listening to about two dozen snippets from http://ccmixter.org/vieux and exhausting my Shazam monthly trials on iPhone, I realised that the song I had heard was nowhere to be found. Long story short, here is the track with a link to the mp3 if you don’t want to reenact my hunt! (Control click, download saved file as)