- label:Piranha Records
It certainly stands perfectly on its own for its sheer musicality – the joyful, emotional melodies, the irresistible rhythms, the infectious grooves. But on top of that, African popular music perpetuates even today a political undercurrent to an extent that almost seems antiquated when compared to the music of other hemispheres of the world. Antiquated in the “everything was better in the good old days” sense, of course!
TAKE A LISTEN TO OUR AFRICA PLAYLIST!
It’s only logical that Piranha has such a strong African vein running through its catalogue – from the label’s very beginnings right up to the present. These were the introductory remarks of the liner notes to Piranha’s maiden release PIR 1 Beat! Apartheid: “Beat! Apartheid moves along the frontline Apartheid draws: Music from countries affected, music suppressed by Apartheid and music which undercuts the racist limitations of certain musical styles was provided by musicians or rights holders for the production of this record to support the fight of South Africa’s unions against Apartheid.”
Replace “Apartheid” by “racism” or “sexual discrimination” or any other topic politically virulent in the world today, and this could still serve properly as Piranha’s label motto even today. It’s relevant worldwide, and especially in Africa: liberation fights, both political and with respect to sex discrimination, economic participation struggles, but most of all the recapture of buried cultural heritages, properly streamlining the legacy for maximum present and future usability and creating more and more of that inspiring, enthusing, intoxicating, rousing music – it’s all there in African music!
What a wealth of musical roots and qualities and styles! From Stella Chiweshe’s Zimbabwean mbira ceremonies to South African anti-Apartheid activism with a beat; from Nubia’s echoes of the 1001 Nights and the lustful Egyptian wedding party sounds of today to the young generation’s version of international hip-hop and dance in the works of Ali Hassan Kuban, Salamat and Mahmoud Fadl; from the manifold roots of Portugese saudade all over the continent reflecting for instance in Simentera’s renewal of classic Cape Verdean traditions to African roots blooming in Germany like Sister Fa or Afro-German activist Ade Bantu – the African repertoire on Piranha Records covers history and present, the social and the personal, immigrated and emigrated, old-fashioned and state of the art.
And that doesn’t even count the legacy of African rhythms running through virtually almost every other kind of popular music around the world these days, including most of Piranha’s non-African repertoire too, of course.
The African heritage – inspiring, fascinating, cool! And at the root of practically everything when it comes to music …