Photo via Burna Boy/Instagram
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African music never sleeps, and neither does Leonel.
C4 Pedro – “Cofres do Céu”
From Angola: Angolan superstar C4 Pedro has built one of the most exciting musical catalogs in kizomba music, his greatness resides in how he transforms his voice into a vehicle for honest, profound expression. You feel it when he’s lovelorn, and feel it even more when he’s heartbroken. Most importantly, he always comes off well-grounded, balanced and mature. “Cofres do Céu” has a jazzy feel, complemented by that exquisite saxophone, and Pedro turns the spotlight back to him with remarkable skill.
Burna Boy – “Vanilla”
From Nigeria: And speaking of jazzy afropop, it doesn’t get any better than Nigeria’s best melodist trying his hand at this sensual sax-led ditty. Burna’s voice, equal parts dancehall seductor and gospel truth-teller, glides effortlessly through this elegant production, a perfect companion to July afternoons in the beach.
Tonton Pal – “Furu”
From Mali: It’s always great to stumble into a tune as vibrant and as genuinely joyful as Tonton’s “Furu”. And if you want to know what’s it about, the video says it all. Wedding tunes rarely sound this fun.
J.O.Y – “Stress”
From Cameroon: This new track by Cameroonian upstart J.O.Y brings the best of two scenes — the sophisticated coolness of francophone afropop, and the immediacy and accessibility of the Afrobeats style from their English-speaking neighbors. “Stress”, with its English lyrics and her unique melodic sensibility, will easily make her local scene happy and also appeal to Anglophones both in Cameroon and abroad.
Deejay Telio – “Bon Appétit”
From Angola: Deejay Telio has the rare skill of hitting the right rhythmic hook every time. He’s a master of uptempo tunes, and even when this song has a drumless first verse, Telio stays true to his trademark bounciness, and offers a Latino-flavored afro dance banger. That wooden drum-led tump tumpa could feel right at home with Brazilian styles and even Guaracha colombiana.