'Fusion' Beaver Style

H Is For Hip Hop And Its Queens

H in the A to Z of fusion goes to Hip Hop music – leaving aside here the other core elements that make up hip hop culture.

Hip Hop earns its place because its creation definitely involves the refined art of fusion. From DJs mixing records they spin to studio producers/beat makers sampling, chopping, looping, sequencing, recording and mixing-  the beats, sounds and grooves that make up hip hop music are found and blended together from a broad range of worldwide music sources including funk, soul, rhythm and blues, disco, jazz, rock, heavy metal, reggae, salsa, cumbia, soca, pop and well, any other genre you choose really.

The evolution of hip hop music is long and involved. Its characters and contributors are many. Its history fills pages you can find elsewhere. Sufficed to say here its original roots are found in Africa and since its formation in New York in the 70’s the hip hop phenomena has spread far and wide throughout the world. Erykah Badu perfectly describes its contemporary influence in ‘The Healer’ when she sings “It’s bigger than religion, hip hop. It’s bigger than my nigga, hip hop. It’s bigger than the government”.  And thankfully so.

“The Healer” by Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)

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It’s the hip hop Kings of the world who’ve generally been the most heard and celebrated. Check out “essential hip hop” albums to find most are compilations of tracks by male artists. But of course there are female artists all over the world creating hip hop music whether they be DJ’s, MCs, beat makers or producers. Sampled below are songs featuring just a handful of those many hip hop Queens – some widely known and celebrated, others less so.

The usual warning applies: versions you find here are just dirty, compressed mp3s. Get the real deal on hard copy from your local music store, in their sweetest of forms on vinyl.

Erykah Badu (U.S.A)

Erykah Badu - Worldwide Underground

“Love Of My Life Worldwide” featuring Queen Latifah, Angie Stone & Bahamadia – Worldwide Underground

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Fugees (inc. Ms Lauryn Hill) (U.S.A)

Fugees - Blunted On Reality

“Some Seek Stardom” – Blunted on Reality

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ChocQuibTown (Colombia)

ChocQuibTown - Somos Pacifico

“Somos Pacifico” – Somos Pacifico

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Georgia Anne Muldrow (U.S.A)

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

“Monoculture” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

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Ladi6 (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Ladi6 - Time Is Not Much

“Give Me The Light” – Time Is Not Much

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Nneka (Nigeria/Germany)

Nneka - No Longer At Ease

“Halfcast” – No Longer At Ease 

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Telmary (Cuba)

Telmary - A Diario

“Ando” – A Diario

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Yep, blessed are we for the birth of hip hop music and its ongoing fusionary evolution since by artists all over the world.  Thankful are we for both its Queens and its Kings.

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‘F’ Must Be For Funk

‘F’ in the A to Z of Fusion must go to Funk.

Why? Because put simply and personally, funk on the downbeat (like reggae’s offbeat) moves my body into action and takes me to a higher, happier place than any other breed of music in this world. More generally, because funk music in its original and many evolving forms of fusion since, makes up a huge chunk of the timelessly-sublime music available in the world to listen to, love and most definitely cherish, forever-after.

George Clinton live concert - Electric Ballroom, London 2015

George Clinton live at Electric Ballroom, London 2015

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The Birth of Funk

A fusion of R&B, soul and jazz, funk music was brewing in the 50’s before being characterised as a genre in the mid-60’s with James Brown and his signature “on the one” groove.

James Brown - The Godfather of Funk

James Brown - I Got You (I Feel Good)

 

James Brown – “I Got You (I Feel Good)” (1965)

 

 

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Funk Fusion

Since the 60’s funk music has evolved into countless other musical forms through its fusion with pop, jazz, rock, metal, electro, highlife, gangsta rap and more – including Fela Kuti’s development of Afrobeat in the 70’s – and hip hop since the 80’s via its heavy sampling of funk tunes.

The Funk Collection

These names here are just some of the world’s many artists who’ve contributed to the evolution of funk music: anywhere from dabbling in it, to living and breathing the funk. If their music is not already known and loved by you, it can be from now and forever hereafter…

Horace Silver. Cannonball Adderley. Little Richard. James Brown. Sly Stone. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. The Meters. Earth, Wind & Fire. Fred Wesley. Cameo. Brides of Funkenstein. War. Maceo Parker. Larry Graham. Parlet. Bootsy’s Rubber Band. Dyke and the Blazers. Marva Whitney. Bernadette Cooper. Klymaxx. Ohio Players. Chaka Khan. The Commodores. Steve Arrington. Lyn Collins. Cymande. Zapp. Madame X. The Isley Brothers. Stevie Wonder. Mother’s Finest. Vicki Anderson. Slave. Labelle. Platypus. Sheila E. Lakeside. Betty Davis. The Bar-Kays. Buddy Miles. Con Funk Shon. The Horny Horns. Lynn Mabry.  Kool & The Gang. Mallia Franklin. Sun. Starleana Young. Heatwave. Miles Davis. Roy Ayers. Millie Jackson. Herbie Hancock. Patrice Rushen. Fela Kuti. Femi Kuti. Seun Kuti. Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Living Colour. Brooklyn Funk Essentials. Afrika BambaataaFishbone. Dam Funk. Prince. Rick James. The Dazz Band. Jesse Johnson. Brand New Heavies. JamiroquaiMe’shell Ndegeocello. D’Angelo. Erykah Badu. The Soul RebelsSharon Jones. The Bamboos. The Cactus Channel. The Putbacks.

Sly & The Family Stone - Fresh (1973)x

Sly & The Family Stone – “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” – Fresh (1973)

 

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The collective of visionary funk artists and the music they’ve created throughout its history remind us always that universal possibilities, musical and otherwise, are limitless.

Longevity in Funk

From that collective there’s one whose name we can link to almost every funk variety in its history. One who has contributed to keeping the funk, glorious funk alive in countless reinvented forms according to changing times and musical landscapes since its beginnings until today. That artist is George Clinton – working alongside the many revolving artists within the Parliament Funkadelic / P-Funk collective.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic concert - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015

Late last year George Clinton released the 3-disc masterpiece First Ya Gotta Shake The Gateand has been delivering the funk live on worldwide stages since alongside a multi-generational group of artists. His grandkiddies and Garrett Shider (son of dearly departed Parliament Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider) are amongst them. So too is the legendary Blackbyrd McKnight.

Funkadelic - First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate (2014)

 

George Clinton & Funkadelic -“Yesterdejavu” –  First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate (2014)

 

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Blackbyrd McKnight + George Clinton - Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

George Clinton (l) + Blackbyrd McKnight (c) + Garrett Shider (r)

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The Survival of Funk

Hopefully George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic were right when they sang “the funk will survive just like it always has”.  Certainly it will in some form at least. But an artist promising “the whole funk, nothin’ but the funk” is a rare find in the world these days. For my ears that’s a shame, for sure.

So it gives me hope when I hear that artists like Brooklyn Funk Essentials are helping the funk survive with the recent release of their album Funk Aint’ Ova – the first in seven years.

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It’s reason to feel excited about hearing the new sounds created by funk legends Cymande on their first album in decades – A Simple Act of Faith – just released and available to buy here, with the vinyl coming in January.

Cymande - A Simple Act Of Faith (2015)

A Simple Act of Faith

And reason to count our blessings for contemporary artists like D’Angelo And The Vanguard and Australia’s Hiatus Kaiyote for incorporating the funk sounds of old into new musical blends of a totally fresh and innovative kind.

D'Angelo live at Melbourne Soulfest 2014

D’Angelo live at Melbourne Soulfest 2014

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D'Angelo - Black Messiah (2014)

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D’Angelo And The Vanguard- “Sugah Daddy”- Black Messiah

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No matter what the future holds for the creation of new funk music, we’ll always have reason to count our blessings for all the timelessly-sublime music created through funk history so far. It’s in our world to listen to, love and cherish forever-after. And for that, the world and us mere humans who live within it, are a whole lot richer. Amen.

More of the Funky Kind

Indulge in more sounds of funk here. Click on a photo to check out video footage of live performances and/or sample tracks by that artist.

Erykah Badu live at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Erykah Badu

Prince

Prince

Larry Graham live concert - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Larry Graham

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti

Fred Wesley

Fred Wesley

D'Angelo & The Vanguard live concert at London Roundhouse

D’Angelo

Hiatus Kaiyote live at WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

Herbie Hancock concert - Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2015

Herbie Hancock

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George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic concert - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015

Parliament Funkadelic

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Got other beloved Funkateers in your music collection whose names are missing from the list above? Do tell.

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E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.

Post-Infiltration

Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations

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Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 

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Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes

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Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico

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Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One

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5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk

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Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust

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7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce

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Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo

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Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle

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10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 

 

Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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D for Red Baraat’s ‘Dhol n Brass’

D in Beaver’s ‘A to Z of Fusion Genres’ could also go to New York’s Red Baraat for pioneering the fusion music genre of ‘Dhol n Brass’.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

The dhol in that phrase refers to the Punjabi drum and the rhythms of Bhangra music – played by Red Baraat’s founder and band leader Sunny Jain – who’s joined in percussion by a drum kit and a congas player.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Sunny Jain

The reference to brass is to brass 🙂  – homage to the sounds of New Orleans big-band jazz. Red Baraat has a five-piece-strong brass section.

All in all, the music these 8 musicians create is “a merging of hard-driving North Indian bhangra rhythms with elements of jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip-hop”.  

It’s mostly instrumental (their greatest strength) but some tracks have hip hop, Hindi and Punjabi vocals in the mix.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

I caught 2 live Red Baraat shows in March while having the experience everyone who’s into incredible, diverse worldwide music wants to have – WOMADelaide.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

The live experience was special; and the music unique enough to justify taking home the 2014 South Pacific Tour edition of their 2013 album Shuggy Ji.

Shuggy Ji - South Pacific Tour 2014

No the effect of ‘Red Baraat in studio’ isn’t as powerful as hearing their percussion and brass battles live. But I keep going back to Shuggy Ji because brass instruments and the music made by them are my beloved – and this ensemble’s music has two trumpets, a saxophone, a trombone and a sousaphone doing their things. That brass-heavy focus is a rare treat in music.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Get a glimpse here of both the live and the studio versions of Red Baraat – with sample tracks from Shuggy Ji and videos of their 2 WOMADelaide 2014 shows

Shuggy Ji (2013) album cover

‘Private Dancer’  – Shuggy Ji (2013)

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‘Apna Punjab Hove’ – Shuggy Ji (2013)

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Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014 – VIDEO on YouTube or Vimeo

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014 – VIDEO on YouTube or Vimeo

 

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You can get yourself a copy of Shuggy Ji and Red Baraat’s past albums plus Sunny Jain’s other musical projects direct from the artists through their Bandcamp site. 

So then people, which ‘D’ is more up your musical alley – Dancehall Electro Hip-Hop’  from P-Money and Gappy Ranks – or Red Baraat’s ‘Dhol n Brass’?

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D is for ‘Dancehall Electro Hip Hop’ – ℅ P-Money and Gappy Ranks

Hip hop I love, most Dancehall not. The only dancehall music I have in my collection are videos from live shows in Jamaica.

But dancehall melded with hip hop, that’s a different story – one I’m more into hearing. Dancehall joins my cd collection for the first time in the form of P-Money and Gappy Rank’s new dancehall/electro/hip hop EP The Baddest.

P-Money and Gappy Ranks - The Baddest EP (2014)

P-Money and Gappy Ranks – The Baddest EP (2014)

‘D’ then in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to ‘Dancehall Electro Hip Hop’ – care of P-Money and Gappy Ranks. Their collaboration on this EP is another example of the very cool musical things that happen when artists from different parts of the world get together, mix up music styles and create unique new sounds.

The Lighter ‘D’: P-Money and Gappy Ranks

P-Money if you don’t know, is a hip-hop DJ and producer from the magical musical lands of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Baddest is released by P-Money in decade no. 2 of having his production fingers in many solo and collaborative musical pies. P-Money’s craftsmanship on The Baddest EP is impressive as always – and ultimately the reason a dancehall cd made its way into my collection to stay.

Gappy Ranks hails from England. He’s responsible for vocals and/or production on a long list of dancehall music releases he’s made solo or with other artists from the U.K, Europe and Jamaica – including the Jamaican ‘King of Dancehall’ himself, Beenie Man.  His vocals on The Baddest are a good match for P-Money’s production.

P-Money and Gappy Ranks

P-Money and Gappy Ranks

The EP has 8 beautifully-bass-heavy tracks, each sounding more electro, or dancehall, or hip-hop flavoured than the next. Three are remixed versions of the opening song (and previously released single) ‘Baddest’. One is by Houston producer Ape Drums and another (sampled below) features New Zealand hip hop MC Sid Diamond (aka Young Sid).

P-Money and Gappy Ranks - The Baddest EP (2014)

The Baddest might have snuck its dancehall ways into my music collection for its hip hop (and P-Money) ways, but it is still dancehall. That means lyrically you’ll get light.  Gappy Ranks swears his love for his Mamma til he dies, wants us to follow him on Instagram, affirms his remaining loyalty to the “old crew” now his dreams have come true and boasts of being “sicker than bipolar”. You get the idea yes?

You can check out sample tracks from The Baddest EP  here. They’re just mp3’s. If you want to hear all the sounds P-Money and Gappy Ranks recorded, order the EP in hard copy from Amplifer or get it on your feet at a good record store 🙂 .

P-Money and Gappy Ranks - The Baddest EP (2014)

P-Money and Gappy Ranks – The Baddest EP (2014)

P-Money and Gappy Ranks – ‘Fire Shot’ – The Baddest 

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P-Money and Gappy Ranks – ‘Baddest (Remix feat. Sid Diamond)’ – The Baddest

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The Darker ‘D’s

D’ definitely has some darker ‘fusions’ than the light dancehall/electro/hip hop one P-Money and Gappy Ranks have delivered with The Baddest EP:-

Darkstep – a style of darkcore jungle that takes its signature sinister feel and fuses it with upbeat breakbeats and ambient noises, creating an excessively chaotic tone.

Deathcore – fusion of death and punk metal.

Deathdoom – fusion of death and doom metal.

Deathgrind – fusion of death metal and grindcore.

Death industrial – fusion of death and industrial metal, linked heavily to the power electronics scene.

I’m pretty sure the fusions starting with ‘dark’ and ‘death’ won’t ever find their way into my music collection like P-Money and Gappy Ranks’ has.

What about yours?

P-Money and Gappy Ranks

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‘C’ is for Cumbia – Old School & New

‘C’ in the A-Z of Music Genres, Beaver Style (ie. ‘fusion’) goes to Cumbia – old school and new.

Older (But Still ‘New’) School Cumbia

In its original form Cumbia music developed around the Caribbean coast of Colombia during its period of colonization by the Spanish.  It became a fusion of music styles and instruments from the indigenous Colombian peoples of that region (the colonized), the Spanish (invading colonists) and African slaves bought to Colombia by those colonists to work.

A tragic history for Africans and Colombians yes…which brought about the awesome sounds of Cumbia that have since spread throughout the world and morphed into its many different forms.

 Cumbia Colombia

Here you can sample some older (but still ‘new’) school Colombian cumbia songs.  They’re the oldest I have in my collection anyway – cumbia goes way back a long, long time before this…

La Cumbia Colombiana - CD 2

La Cumbia Colombiana

‘La Zenaida’ – Armando Hernández – La Cumbia Colombiana

 

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Integracion – La Cumbia Colombiana

 

New School Cumbia

Cumbia has come a long way since its origins.

Throughout history countless artists from around the world have taken cumbia and mixed it with their own regional music styles and/or modern ones like hip-hop, electro and jazz to create new and unique forms of music.

Here you can feast on the sounds of the newer school of cumbia music. Check out these sample (mp3 only) tracks by 10 current artists whose music I know and love from the USAFrance, England and of course Colombia.

Toto La Momposina (Colombia)

To my ears Toto La Momposina is the Queen of Contemporary Cumbia. She’s also on my ‘Live Music Experience Bucket List’.

Hailing from Talaigua Nuevo, a town in Northern Colombia, Toto La Momposina’s music draws heavily on traditional cumbia music and dance (amongst other Latin music styles like Cuban son, bullerengue, chalupa, rumba and guaracha).

Her music is celebrated in Colombia, the rest of Latin America and the wider world through which she has toured extensively in her long career.

Check out some sample tracks from some of Toto La Momposina’s albums, including her version of one of the older school sample tracks above…

Toto la Momposina - La Bodega (2009)

La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

 

‘Manita Uribe’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

 

Carmelina (1995) - Toto la Momposina

 Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

‘La Sombra Negra’ – Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

 

La Candela Viva (1993) - Toto la Momposina

La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

‘El Pescador’ – La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

 

Ondatrópica (Colombia/England/Chile/ Peru+)

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica (2012)

Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

‘Cumbia Espacial’ – Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

 

Read more about Ondatrópica and hear more Ondatrópica sample tracks here.

Ondatrópica

 

Bomba Estereo (Colombia)

Bomba Estereo - Elegancia Tropical (2012)

Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

‘Bailar Conmigo’ – Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

 

Kartel Pacifico (Colombia)

Coctel (2012) - Kartel Pacifico

Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

‘Care Cumbia’ – Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

 

Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) - Puerto Candelaria

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

‘Cumbia Veracruz’ – Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

 

Here you can check out more sample Puerto Candelaria tracks and a video of a live Puerto Candelaria show in Medellin last year.

 

Papaya Republik (Colombia)

Vol. 1 - Papaya Republik

Vol. 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

´Cumbia Del Pescaito´ – Vol 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

 

Read more about Papaya Republik & listen to other Papaya Republik tracks here.

Papaya Republik live

Papaya Republik

 

Monareta (Colombia)

Monareta - Fried Speakers (2010)

Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

‘Cumbia de la Sierra’ – Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

 

The Quantic Soul Orchestra

(aka Will Holland – England – + his global music collaborators)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

‘Los Olvidados’ – Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

 

Check out more sample tracks from The Quantic Soul Orchestra + other Will Holland albums here.

You can also find these Quantic cumbia fusion albums

 

Here you can also check out a video of a DJ set by Will Holland (aka Quantic) at WOMADelaide Festival 2014

Sergent Garcia (France)

Mascaras (2006) - Sergent Garcia

Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

‘Yo Me Yoy Pa’ La Cumbia’ – Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

 

Hear more sample tracks from Mascaras + Sergent Garcia’s other albums here.

 

 

Ozomatli (USA)

Ozomatli (1998) - Ozomatli

Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

‘Cumbia De Los Muertos’ – Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

 

Cumbia certainly has made an incredibly profound musical mark all through Latin America and the rest of our big wide world.

I love cumbia in all its many diverse forms, old school and new.  Don’t you?

I Love Cumbia

 

‘C’ is for Chutney & More

Along with Cumbia, ‘C’ is for so many other music genres from around the world, fusion Beaver style.  Here are a few of the ones I like the sound of…

Candombe – fusion of African and Uruguayan styles developed by African-Uruguayan slaves in the 19th century.

Chicken scratch – fusion of Native American, White American, Mexican, and European styles, performed by the Native American Tohono O’odham people.

Chutney – Caribbean pop music that fuses calypso and cadence with several Indian styles.

Conjunto – fusion of Mexican and German styles developed by Mexican-Americans who had bought German instruments in Texas; it also introduced elements of Caribbean and Cuban music.

Crunk – fusion of hip hop and EDM, known for its heavy basslines and shouted, call-and-response vocals; often used incorrectly as an umbrella term for Southern hip hop.

Crunk&B – fusion of crunk and contemporary R&B.

Crunkcore – fusion of crunk and scream.

Anyone got some Chutney or Candombe music to share?  

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B Is For Breakbeat

‘B’ (like A and C-Z) has its weird and its wonderful sounding fusion music genres.

Some I want to hear, some not. Some I know and love…

B is for Baggy – a British style that combined alternative rock and acid house, often creating a psychedelic and funky sound.

B is for Baião – a Brazilian rhythmic formula based around the zabumba drum that later combined itself with elements of mestizo, European, and African styles.

B is for Bangsawan – a style of Malay opera based on Indian styles introduced by immigrants.

B is for Bhangragga – a fusion of Bhangra and reggae and dancehall.

Bhangra is a fusion of South Asian and British popular styles, initially developed by Punjabi Indian-English as a combination of their respective cultural styles, but later used to refer to any South Asian/European fusion.

B is for Blackened Death Metal – a fusion between death and black metal.

B is for Brostep – an aggressive and metal-influenced style of Dubstep popular in the USA.

B is for Breakbeat

B is for one I know and love, Breakbeat.

“What the heck is a Breakbeat? It isn’t in my Music Dictionary.”

beardedone

“Clearly this definition is bullshit.”

leisuremuffin

Lots of differing, confused and amusing opinions expressed all over the place on the meaning of Breakbeat.

At your most simplistic Breakbeat (or breaks) is said to refer to two distinct but related things:

1. an electronic music genre; 2. the distinct percussive rhythm from which the genre takes its name, usually characterised by the use of a non-straightened 4/4 drum pattern.

is For Breakestra

Happily in my life, Breakbeat is represented by eight-piece Los Angeles based group Breakestra.

Their Bio talks of Breakbeat too…

…that ten second slice of percussive magic in the middle of a funk song that, when looped together by progressive South Bronx DJs in the 1970s, became the basis of the hip-hop movement.

breakestra

Breakestra made the evolution of Breakbeat ever so sweet.

They did so by being a group of musicians simulating the sounds of breaks usually mixed on turntables, with their live instruments.  Live hip hop breaks – drenched in funk and soul.

breakestra

Check out these 2 sample tracks from Breakestra’s first album Hit The Floor

MP3 warning, like always.

Hit The Floor (2005) - Breakestra

Hit The Floor (2005)

‘Gotta Let Me Know’ – Breakestra – Hit The Floor (2005)

 

‘Hiding’ – Breakestra – Hit The Floor (2005)

 

I love that B is for Breakbeat – and for Breakestra.

Don’t you?  

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‘A’ is for Afrobeat Hip Hop

I was talking music with a Texan musician recently.  He told me about a few fusion music genres from the U.S. I’d never heard of and sounded great.

When I later checked them out I remembered again that the very long and ever-growing list of music genres in our world, is pretty damn cool.

Don’t you think so?

If you do then you might be into this here series my new Texan friend has inspired me to start. It’s an A – Z of Worldwide (Mostly) Fusion Music Genres…with sample tracks where possible.

Here goes…

A

Afrobeat

is a combination of traditional Yoruba music, highlife, jazz and funk with chanted vocals styles and conscious lyrics.

Afrobeat made it into my A list cause it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Afrobeat’s main pioneer was the legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti  (you knew that already).

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti was of course succeeded by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti (amongst others).

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Many Things (2008)

Many Things (2008)

African Problems (Many Things-2008) – Seun Kuti

Remember please people…it’s just an mp3. Kuti (Fela, Femi & Seun) albums are easy to buy and touch, and amazing to hear.

Afrobeat Hip Hop

I haven’t found this one in any official-type music genre lists. It’s on my A list cause in Melbourne recently I heard The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra playing a combination of Afrobeat and hip hop at their AWME gig.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Do Anything  Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

How Long It Go Take (Do Anything Go Anywhere – 2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra 

 

Afro-Cuban Jazz

is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and improvisation techniques.

Another one of my favourite music genres.  Sadly for the world and for Cuban artists, people don’t get to hear most Afro Cuban jazz or other incredible Cuban music without physically going to its soils and looking.

Here are a couple of sample tracks from the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project album Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project - Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project – Descarga Uno

Campina (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

La Fiesta Esta Comenzando (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

Aleatoric

Music the composition of which is partially left to chance and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realisation is left to the determination of its performer.

Aleatoric could be fusion, or not, but it sounds interesting anyways.

Anyone have some Aleatoric music to share?

Or some other weird and wonderful  ‘A’ genre?

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Colombian Fusion Music For The Minority – Lesson 2

Silly misconceived Beaver. How wrong I was.

Since my first trip to Colombia in 2007 I had thought that Colombia has a huge amount of fusion music – loved passionately by a huge number of Colombians. “Why wouldn’t it be?” I thought, “It’s so awesome”. Plus I had found lots of it, well maybe about 10 bands anyway – so I thought that there must be a lot more to be found, and that it must be very popular.

Apparently not so, as I have learned the past week in Bogota from speaking with some people in the know.

Talking with a Colombian Ethnomusicologist (Simon Calle) and three members of Colombian fusion music group Papaya Republik, I learned this…

  • Yes, there are more and more bands in Colombia creating fusion music.
  • Whereas once upon a time fusion bands were mostly found in the capital Bogota, they also exist in other major Colombian cities, more and more so – Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and even Pasto.
  • No, modern Colombian fusion bands are not really listened to or even well known by the mainstream population of Colombia. It is listened to by a minority of Colombians and is actually the ‘alternative’ music scene here.
  • The two biggest forms of popular music in Colombia are Vallenato and Reggeaton. The mainstream radio stations play pretty much only that. I don’t have much to say about Vallenato.  There is good and bad Vallenato music, and most of it is not to my taste.  I will however criticise the musical plague that is Reggeaton every chance I get.
  • The Colombian ‘alternative scene’ that enjoys fusion music bands consists of the “middle and upper classes” (Ethnomusicologist, Simon Calle), or the “Colombian intellectuals” (Batori from Papaya Republik).
Papaya Republik live

Batori – Papaya Republik

Well, surprised I was at this news about the popularity (or lack thereof) of Colombian fusion music.

In hindsight I guess my misconception was based on two things:

1. My own luck and circumstance in finding lots of fusion music on my first time in Colombia. My Colombian friends took me to gigs (they are not in lower socio-economic classes by the way) – and once I found some, I went looking for the rest.  I thought what I found must be a small portion of it, but now it seems it was actually a large % of all fusion music that existed.

2. My assumption that because I thought it was unique and awesome, everyone in Colombia must think that too! I forgot that when I look at most mainstream musical tastes everywhere around the world today, they are generally (I think) pretty shite.  It’s all subjective I guess.

 Disappointed at this news I was too…

*Disappointed for mainstream Colombians missing out on home grown unique and interesting music; and

*Disappointed for Colombian fusion music artists largely unappreciated (and unrewarded financially) in their own country.

I’m happy that Colombian fusion music exists.  I´m happy that I know about it.  I´m happy that I can share it.

I´ve already posted some, and will post more, rundowns and sample music of some contemporary Colombian fusion bands….Check them out and let me know what you think.  Is mainstream Colombia missing out on the good stuff? I think so.

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Fusion Music – It’s All in the Mixing

Last night a Latin fusion band’s gig in Bogota taught me something about fusion music.  They shall remain nameless, but they were not Colombian.

The Lesson

My lesson was that maybe, the ultimate difference between fusion music I like and don’t like, is the way that the different musical styles are blended, rather than the particular styles themselves that are combined.  It’s all about the quality of the blend.  Is it done tastefully?  Is it subtle?  Is it done skilfully?  Does the blending of styles sound seamless?

The band I saw last night did not do it subtly, or tastefully.   It was a bit like being hit with a hammer when the change of genre came within each song.  A verse of rock, a chorus of ska, a verse of rock, etc etc. It confused my body, and my ears, and it just bored me really.

Was it just that I didn’t like the sound of that particular band?  I don’t think so.

Manu Chao Too?

Because when I thought about going home after only two songs, it made me think about Manu Chao, and two concerts of his I went to in Australia in 2012 and 2013.  I didn’t enjoy those concerts after having loved his music for a long time. One of those concerts I actually left the gig before it finished – almost unheard of for me. What happened with Manu?

Well what happened was that his band, an awesome band, played a verse of Latin/reggae styles , then a chorus of intense rock, punk or ska, then went back to a verse of Latin/ reggae styles (and all without the horns and keys).   My body and my ears hated it. The dramatic change of styles between verse and chorus felt harsh and confusing.  I might love the sound of the verse on its own – and I did with Manu.  I might also enjoy the sound of the chorus on its own – and I did with Manu.  But that chorus and those verses next to each other, supposedly connecting one another (abruptly I think), I don’t enjoy.

The creation of that type of fusion music doesn’t seem to me to be very challenging. It seems lazy.  And either way, the point for me is that my ears and body simply just don’t like it.

Decided

So, for now I’ve decided that it’s all about the quality, the subtleties and the overall sweetness of HOW the different styles are blended together within the music – one effect of which would be that I probably wouldn’t notice the changes in styles in a song.

Disagree with me?  Think I am speaking crap? Think I am unfairly denigrating Manu’s holy name?  Bring it on – leave a comment to let me know.  Just remember I am still a big fan of Manu too.Manu Chao liveP.SI have been called to task about my decision NOT to name the band in this post:

¨Name and shame them! If you’re going to mention them, you may as well MENTION them.¨

          So then, the band’s name is Hormigas Negras.

Hormigas Negras on La Septima, Bogota - Beaver on the Beats

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