Multicultural Sounds: Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, The Congos (Jamaica) + Sidi Touré (Mali)

Sun Araw + M. Geddes Gengras + The Congos

RVNG INTL‘s FRKWYS series is a humble homage to the sounds of yore, with even its name serving homge. “In typical Rvng fashion,” they write on their website, “add an E and a couple As to those consonants and you’ll see a play on the name of the legendary Folkways record label founded by Moses Asch in the late 40s to document sound and movement in music from around the world.”

Coming out April 10th, 2012 is the 9th volume from FRKWYS, a long-awaited collaboration between Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, and The Congos. Sun Araw, in a note to dublab, said the following: “totally banancakes start to finish. dude the CONGOS record is so insane… GED and I made the rhythms, CONGOS wrote the lyrics and melodies, singing and chanting in 4 part harmony.”

If this initial track is any indication, this release is going to be incredible!

Sun Araw

M. Geddes Gengas


Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, & The Congos – Happy Song by RVNG Intl.

Sidi Touré

Hailing from Gao in the north of Mali is singer-songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré. Thrill Jockey will be releasing his second full-length album, Koïma (To Hear), which takes the best of Western blues and infuses it with inspiration from Mali religion and culture. Incredible dual vocals, incredible spirit.

Gao is center of the former Songhai empire, a powerful West African empire that was one of the largest in history.

The track below, “Tondi Karaa,” translates as “The White Stone” and refers to a legendary stone that sat in the center of Gao for 500 years as a symbol of purity and prosperity. It went missing in the 1970s. “Tondi Karaa” is a reflection on the misfortune that has befallen Mali since the stone’s disappearance, and how it represents the individuality and greed that have damiged the unity of Songhaï culture. In Malian folklore, Koïma is the meeting place for the most poewrful wizards of the world. This album is an offering to the mystical power of that place.

Listen to Sidi Toure – “Tondi Karaa”DOWNLOAD MP3

1. Ni See Ay Ga Done
2. Maïmouna
3. Aïy Faadji
4. Woy Tiladio
5. Koïma
6. Ishi Tanmaha
7. A Chacun Sa Chance
8. Kalay Makoï
9. Tondi Karaa
10. Euzo

The winner of two Malian national awards for best singer, Sidi was leader of Gao’s regional orchestra, The Songhaï Stars, and is a nationally renowned figure in his home country. In 2011, Sidi released Sahel Folk, his debut album for Thrill Jockey, and toured North America for the first time. This tour took him to prestigious venues and festivals, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and the Chicago World Music Festival. Through Thrill Jockey’s introduction of Sidi to new audiences, he is beginning to achieve well-deserved success and critical acclaim abroad.

Koïma is the natural progression from Sahel Folk, as Sidi has moved from an album of duets, recorded all in one take in his sister’s home in Gao, to a quintet recorded in a studio in Bamako. With Koïma, the intent is to record a different side of Songhaï music from the sparse style captured on Sahel Folk. The music is still distinctly Gao, but represented this time in a much richer and luxuriant way. We move from the intimacy of a quiet meeting between friends to the celebration of an evening of dance. On Koïma, Sidi is able to more fully realize his vision for his music.

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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