Maajo, the afrolectric troupe from Finland is back with their second full length album, “Kuru Kuru”, once again on UK label Queen Nanny which launched in tandem with the group. Debuting with their “Tropic of Tulli” LP in late October of 2016, they’ve been on our radar ever since. With their sparse discography, each of their rare EP releases in between albums, such as Defo/Mansaba, have gotten us equally excited.
Merging more traditional African sounds with modern electronic instrumentation, Maajo have managed to create a sound that’s truly in a category of their own. They’ve built on the sounds of the initial album and “Kuru Kuru” is a direct extension of their journey. Similar yet different, you can hear the progression in their identity as they incorporate a greater number of African instruments such as balafons, more original vocals and an even wider array of influences as well.
Last March they released a single entitled ‘Sèmbè’ alongside Senegalese vocalist Ismaila Sané. They clearly enjoyed working together so much that a couple of the tracks on the new LP feature his vocals. Our premiere today, ‘Esukey’, is one of them. A slice of nostalgic Afro-pop, Sané’s vocals are the main attraction. Dancing around them are electric guitar lines, stabby synth pads, electric strings and an afro-disco groove with plenty of percussion. This one’s a surefire crossover hit that’s going to be a staple for us this summer. What’s more is that we’ve got the exclusive video premiere of the single for you today, featuring the band and Ismaila Sané themselves, singing, playing instruments and a game of chess.
Whatever you do, don’t sleep on the rest of “Kuru Kuru”. This one is a must grab, hands down. Full of drums, instruments and influences from across the African continent and beyond, there’s a little slice of sunshine for everyone, something that’s desperately needed right now.
Maajo means the month of May. This album is coincidentally releasing in late April, just on time. Be sure to get it here as it’s a fantastic piece of music to listen to as the weather changes from rainy spring to sunny summer, especially as we’re all still feeling the effects of this crazy global phenomenon.