Music knows no boundaries and trespasses every geographic wall and culture. Rooted in Lausanne, Switzerland, Professor Wouassa is a living testimony of this - a special blend that brings together the principal Swiss afrobeat players into one groovy pot, cooking uplifting and infectious afro music.
Born in 2003, the combo released their first album Dangerous Koko! early 2011 and soon picked up airplay in such diverse countries as the UK, Greece, Brazil, Canada, only to be reinforced by their incredible live delivery – and soon invited to be the opening act for Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 in the reputed Cully Jazz Festival. After a string of memorable concerts throughout a packed tour, 2015 marks the release of Grow Yes Yes!, mixed by none other than Malcolm Catto (The Heliocentrics, Mulatu Astatké, to name very few) and with featured appearances by afrobeat shining stars Seun Kuti and Ebo Taylor.
The album, about to be re-issued on Matasuna Records - house of the smouldering hot new project Dem Juju Poets – and for the very first time on vinyl, will surely add fuel to the fire across dancefloors everywhere.
Serema, its first track, laces Ebo Taylor's smokey voice with an almost Cuban feel melody, preaching a message of love while Doumadem is a testament to the afro beat heritage, Thais Diarra's voice hovering beautifully over a landscape of heat-infused rhythm, cropped with precise horn stabs and arrangements that would make Antibalas proud.
We dare you to stand still while listening to We Thit. Seriously. If you aren´t compelled to dance to it, check your pulse. Surely something will be racing inside you.
Sunu Reou is a vintage, slow tempo afro groover and it is only fitting that it has Seun Kuti as its guest, proving, if proof were needed, that Professor Wouassa are a singular musical project that pays homage to and does not shy away from mixing afrobeat, high-life and ethio-jazz with contemporary funk. Yes Yes!
released June 30, 2017
Horn arrangements by Samuel Huguenin
Recorded by Christophe Chavanon at Kerwax, Loguivy-Plougras, France.
Vocal and percussion recordings by Gilles Dupuis at UFO’s Studio, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Additonnal guitar recordings by Vincent Triponez at Studio 52.9, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Mixed by Malcolm Catto at Quatermass Sound Lab, London, United Kingdom.
Mastered by Chris Potter at Electric Mastering, London, United Kingdom.
Artwork by Anaëlle Clot
Matasuna Records, founded in 2016, is home of reworks of rare & forgotten music treasures from all over the world as well as contemporary productions. The label is run by the DJ & Producer Alex from the SoulBrigada crew.
..."What is a-happening? What is going on?" Well, I'll tell you, Blay, it's you! and as soon as my vinyl copy of Ketan arrives I'll be doing your music full justice by playing it on my faithfull Bang and Olufsen, circa 1968, which is still going strong, and which, for warmth of sound, makes this digital android experience I'm having with you right now seem like the band's very cool rehersal to the forth coming better heated gig!
This album is more hynotically Fela Kuti in beat than, say, the looser, Simigwa or Blay Ambolley's super DJ friendly EP, The Message, which is so wonderfully heavy on bass you feel, on listening to it that you've been rung like a bell.
If Blay Ambolley hadn't been a singer (and thank goodness he is) he could easily have lent that deep, authoritative voice of his - reminiscent at times of Barry White - to the BBC's World Service, becoming, perhaps, the coolest news reader of them all! But it's the music for him which spreads the news, and the first track on Ketan is Blay Ambolley at his most political, drawing a further comparison to the, generally, more combative Fela Kuti, whose lyrics appear on the track Teacher.
A bigger, jazzier, band sound than the other albums I have of his, but thankfully no change in the superb quality of the music.
I would talk about the technicalities of the music, but I know little of that, as I'm one of those who can write a song, but haven't the foggiest notion about theory, notation, or actually much beyond the chords I play and I can't always give a name to them! I can tell you this music is infectious, and that the drumming makes this album something of an an Afrobeat incantation.There are some lovely instrumental interludes too, especially from the sparkling keys of Isaak Karikari.
There are amusing cat-like noises, cackling, and scatting, for those who enjoy the playful side of Blay Ambolley.
But my comments are, in the end, simply mood-music on how to spent twenty quid, wisely; and If that means a bit more loose change for Blay Ambolley, I'd say, on the strength of this, he more than deserves it.
* UPDATE: The album sounds awesome on vinyl!.I rate this as equaling the best of Fela Kuti! A classic! nicholas hamnett