Hey there! I hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day. Whether or not you plan on continuing the celebration this long weekend or just looking for some good tunes to carry you through, I have a few selections that will do the trick.
Chaka Khan - Hello Happiness
Yes, you read that correctly. Chaka Khan. The queen of 70s is back! Hello Happiness is her first album in 12 years (and 13th solo), for the 10-time Grammy Award winning legend. Though it would seem she's taken a hiatus, Khan has stated that she did not stop making music following the release of 2007's Funk This but "simply stopped releasing material." In an interview, she said she also needed time to recover from the death of her dear friend Prince in 2016 (which she has said made her "rethink" herself). This time of self-reflection ultimately led her to rehab for her prescription drug addiction. Coming out on the other side of this dark period resulted in Hello Happiness.
Both the lead single "Like Sugar" and the title track were produced by Switch, who is a veteran producer and you may even remember him as an original member of Major Lazer. Check out the visuals for the title track:
Mayra Andrade - Manga
Before diving into this artist and record, allow me to provide a bit of context:
Off the Northwestern coast of Africa there's an area called Macaronesia. Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos, most of which are autonomous regions of Spain and Portugal. Within this island chain you'll find Cape Verde, which itself is an archipelago of 10 islands. Though it was colonized by Portugal, it has been an independent country since 1975 and is the only island chain within Macaronesia that can claim that distinction. It is also the only place that can claim to be the birthplace of Cesária Évora aka the "Barefoot Diva." Due to her international fame and success, Évora is credited, and rightfully so I might add, to introducing the world to both Cape Verde and it's traditional music Morna, hence her other nickname, "The Queen of Morna." Now, some 30 years after Miss Évora did it, the young songstress Mayra Andrade is reintroducing the world to both Cape Verde and Morna all over again.
Andrade was born in Cuba to Cape Verdean parents. Her father was a diplomat and so she travelled extensively and lived all over the world, including Angola, Germany, and Senegal. At 17, she moved to Paris, where she began singing lessons and eventually recording music and performing. After 13 years in Paris she moved to Lisbon, where she now resides. Her exposure to all these different cultures are reflected in Manga, which is a rich, modern day interpretation of traditional Cape Verdean music. Take a look at the video for the lead single "Afeto" which is Portuguese for affection.
Several years ago I discovered a future soul duo called Audego, comprised of singer Aroly and a producer by the name of Pasobionic. I was enchanted by Aroly's soft, sexy, and dreamy vocals over the beat heavy, progressive production provided by Pasobionic. It's nice to know that with their latest release "Ode to Self" nothing has changed.
This is the first single from the Melbourne-based duo's forthcoming Low Key Hustle EP. The song was written as though Aroly is addressing someone else, questioning why they don't love her anymore. However, it is actually as though she's singing into a mirror because she is really wondering where her own self confidence went. Hence, "Ode to Self." Take a listen. (By the way, it's NSFW).