KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.
KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori for weekly Aussie artist spotlights. This week’s edition dips into the country’s cultural melting pot to explore Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop from Kwame, the jazz and electronic-inflected Punjabi roots of singer Parvyn, and Egyptian-influenced beats from DJ Moktar. Catch up on all the artists from the series (plus bonus tracks!) with our Global Beat: Australia playlist.
Kwame - “H I G H E R”
Twenty year old Kwame was born in New Zealand but came to live in Australia when he was 2, making a home with his family in the western suburbs of Sydney, which has suddenly become a hotbed for new and emerging Australian music. It reflects our multicultural society and a dynamic fusion of influences into something that I think is uniquely Australian, and Kwame really fits the bill.
A great story about Kwame is that all his mates outed him as a rapper to A$AP Ferg at a concert in 2016. And he was only about 17 or 18 and he blew the crowd away after he was asked to jump on stage. So no surprises that Kwame just became a supreme rapper. His heritage is Ghanian, and there's a real Afrobeat flavor to his sound. It's tight, it's fast. It's frenetic and ready for the dance floor. This new track takes it down a couple of notches for a sleek slow burner, taking the rawness of his talent into slinkier territory without losing his vital energy.
Parvyn - “R U My Love”
Parvyn is a Punjabi Australian singer based in Melbourne best known as the singer with the Bombay Royale, who pull off a bumpingly trippy and funky sound all of their own, and combining that Bollywood feel with ‘60s golden era girl group pop.
She’s released her first solo outing now called “PSA” and she takes her Indian influences into a jazzy, electronic realm with a few hints of R&B as well. She makes that devotional quality that you hear in Indian music sit in a modern setting, taking the elements and making them really fluid with one another, and it comes together in blissful fashion. Just another day in the melting pot that is Australian music.
Moktar has been a DJ around the traps of Sydney for some time, but he's finally turned his hand to production. And what a way to kick start proceedings for this guy. We've got equal parts dub and techno here, but the flip is introducing some rhythms and textures from traditional Egyptian music drawing on his family history. I reckon that's a really tricky negotiation to pull off, but he does because he understands the sense of euphoria in both of them.
This track really speaks to what is happening in Australia right now. He is a guy who grew up hiding his heritage. This is a familiar history for so many second and third generation Australians, but the tide continues to turn. His response now is to make music that has his Middle Eastern roots, loud and proud and banger style. So after all is said and done, this is one seriously tight production.