Thristian by Tom Morgan
26.07.2013, Words by Ruth Saxelby

Premiere: Global Roots in Africa mixtape

London's Thristian bPm is the man responsible for Boiler Room's second-to-none music programming, a mainstay on NTS Radio and a renowned spreader of good vibes. His weekly Dark N' Lovely Global Roots show on Sunday nights has long showcased music from across the African continent and now he's throwing a Global Roots event (details) with Kenyan/London group Owiny Sigoma Band (check their guide to Nairobi for Dummy here). To celebrate the fact – and to provide a taste of what to expect on the night – he's made Dummy an exclusive mix of African music both new and old. Listen on the left and scroll down for our quick catch-up with Thristian and the tracklist below.

Hey Thristian, what's new?

Yo, quite a lot. Good times at the moment…

Could you tell us a bit about your African Mixtape, and who you've included and why?

Yeah, African music has been a big part of my music collection for a long while. The sounds that come from the various African countries from different times across history is so varied and interesting. Most people think African music ends at field recordings, Fela Kuti and Highlife but due to the nature of the different "industries" there's a lot of gems that have remained relatively undiscovered over time. There's been a flurry of re-issues in the past 5 years from labels like Soundway and Analog Africa, these are great and provide an informed starting point for anyone interested in the various sounds.

Up until recently I was mainly interested in old African music. I found it quite hard to access contemporary music that didn't just sample or use old sounds and methods. I was inspired by a recent trip to South Africa. The new music scene there is buzzing, and it mixes traditional sounds like Kwaito with house. These tunes are amazing, and in South Africa they're what's considered to be pop music, so you hear house beats blaring out of every stereo, TV and radio.

There's also people like Samuel Yirga and Boddhi Sahva who mix the traditional sounds that they've grown up with and fuse it with "western" beats and sounds. It's a really interesting melting pot, and I've attempted to show off all of it in the space of 45 minutes.

What's the story with Global Roots?

There isn't really a story. We're trying to build one. I did a night at Plastic People with Gilles Peterson. We somehow came up with the name Dark n' Lovely Global Roots. Dark n' Lovely describes my love for all things electronic and experimental. Global Roots describes my love for Hip Hop, Jazz, Latin and amongst other things African music. I then attached the name to my show on NTS and now we've decided to attach it as a name to a bunch of projects we have in mind or come up with. It's a blank canvas right now, which is really exciting. There aren't any rules.

How did you first hear about Owiny Sigoma Band and how would you describe them to newcomers?

Once again it was Gilles Peterson that introduced me to them. After I finished working for both Gilles and Brownswood I went into the office for a catch up and Gilles said "listen to this, this is right up your strata. You'll love it." I did. I remember playing it an one of the very first Boiler Rooms, there were about 5 people in the room and probably about 12 people watching. I played Owiny's first release at the end of the night, and everyone (including myself) was jumping around, yelping and singing along. That moment will always stick in my mind, and I've loved everything they've done since. 

It definitely falls into the category of new African music. But the twist is that it's two guys (Joseph and Charles) from Kenya that have a very traditional musical upbringing, fused with Tom Skinner, Jessie Hackett, Louis Slipperz and Sam Lewis, who hail from Tuffnell Park and are definitely high up there in the crowd of experimental artists coming from North London. The results are crazy, and you find yourself floating between Western and African emotions.

And finally, what else do you have coming up?

Loads (I hope). There's a bunch of DJ gigs. Which are always fun and colourful. We've got a soundclash in Peckham on Saturday. Come down and wave the Global Roots flag if you're around. We've got a Cuban weekend event in September at Rich Mix in East London. I think i'm gonna attempt to do a live soundtrack / score to a pre-revolution film, there'll be a Cuban Market throughout the Saturday, with all kinds of stalls. Last year we had coffee, cakes, films, t-shirts, DVD's and alike…. and then a full on Cuban Rumba party on the Saturday night. That'll be fun. Beyond that, other events and my show on NTS, there's plans to develop the site into more of a resource for that kind of music, trips with cameras to discover music and traditions all kinds. Like I said, it's an open pallette. So we'll see what we can come up with.


Mulatu Astatke : The Radcliffe (King Britt's Smoke Out Remix)
Dilika : Amazimuzimu
Super Mama Djombo : Dissan Na M'Bara
Samuel Yirga : The Blues Of Wollo (Dessaye Mix)
Dur-Dur Band : Tajir Waa Ilaah
Muthusi, Ade, Sam : Now and Then
Mim Suleiman : Pole Pole (Unknown rmx)
Mr Raoul K : Africa
Boddhi Sahva : Ngnari Konon
DRC Music : Lingala (featuring Bokatola System and Evala Litonga)
Big Nuz : Superman
DJ Cleo : Mzimba Shaker 
Oskido feat. Character & Professor : Fingerprints
Moroka : Kyalami
Ike Shakedown : Tujunga 
Tseme Tribe : Tsemay Song
Owiny Sigoma Band : Owiny Techno

Owiny Sigoma Band, Auntie Flo and Thristian will play Village Underground on Thursday 1st August 2013 (flyer below). Photo of Thristian by Tom Morgan.

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