Afrofunk falls into a Deep Sleep

Ickmusic’s crack Canadian correspondent, Cam, returns….

A few years ago, at my frigid first outdoor festival of the year, the tropical sounds of Mr. Something Something caught my ear. I thought they were great. Having seen Antibalas, Femi Kuti, and listened to his father Fela, I knew a little bit about Afrobeat, at least enough to consider it one of the finest forms of music made for dancing. It’s awesome to see and hear live, and great to hear recorded, but ideally in a venue with lots of room to move!

The band website states that founders Larry Graves and John MacLean “settled on the unbeatable dance rhythms of Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Ghana as the most natural gathering place for the elements that would ultimately make up the Mr. Something Something sound”. Good choice! Mr. Something Something couple those dance rhythms with another common theme of Afrobeat artists, that being a tendency to be outspoken politically and socially active.

Mr. Something Something recorded their first, self-titled album in 2004 and followed it up with the critically acclaimed The Edge in 2005. These they followed up with live performances that invariably got great reviews from critics, turtles, and dancing concertgoers alike. They also found time to guest on at least two other projects.

Finally, late in 2007, Mr. Something Something has again delivered with Deep Sleep. The new album brings a different flavour to the already strong Mr. Something Something sound: that of Ikwunga The Afrobeat Poet. It’s hard not to get lost in the hypnotic effect of Ikwunga’s rich voice, and his verses by turns hearken back to life in Africa or lament the current state of global trade. Without romanticizing its subjects, Deep Sleep makes me want to travel; exotic sounds mingle with the names of often distant locales. It’s definitely worthy of many more listens.

Enough rambling. Something about this next tune reminds me, in a good way, of Linton Kwesi Johnson:

Mr. Something SomethingAbankwa (mp3)

Mr. Something SomethingDi Bombs (mp3)

Buy Deep Sleep on CD Baby.

Visit Mr. Something Something’s Official Site.

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