@@@ Juanita Euka: Mboka Moko (Strut, 2022) A coupla listens off WRIR’s weekly playlist email. A female singer from the Congo, the second song (clipped below) opens with lush production, French vocals and a nice quasi-chicken scratch guitar before it slips into English vocals and a smooth, fusion-y groove. All right-y I’m guessing a lot of folks dig this style and the part of it close to Earth Wind and Fire I do dig. Let’s peep more. Ooh, the third track comes out as an African salsa jam and I dig that. Big swaggering horns, lots of rhythms, and again with the vocals in English. I would prefer non-English vocals but that’s just me. I respect the band here, especially the guitarist who is constantly catching my ear but the songs aren’t landing with me. Of course, they might for you. Track 4, Suenos de Libertad, is the most heartfelt track of the three I checked out. I would start with that track and go from there.
@@@ Mass Konpa: Sans Regret (Self-released, 2023) This is some Haitain band music though it is classified as hip hop on Apple Music. Oy. The tempo is semi-laidback, the rhythms are thick and the singer is smooth. I don’t love the soprano sax but that’s a pet peeve of mine. Let’s check a coupla other tracks. The third track, Gad on F anm, is even sweeter — I imagine it’s some sort of ballad and I like it less than the previous one. I really like Haitian music but I think this is just a bit too smooth and poppy for my taste.