Omar Christopher Lye-Fook, known professionally as Omar, is an internationally acclaimed and exceptional soul singer, songwriter and musician, who has been praised by the likes of Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder actually wrote him a song which they recorded together as a duet 15 years later.
Omar was born on 14th October 1968 in London. His father, Byron Lye-Fook was a studio musician and drummer who worked with reggae legends Bob Marley and Horace Andy, as well as the Rolling Stones. At age five, Omar was already learning how to play the drums. During his school years, he completed formal training in piano, trumpet/coronet, and other percussion instruments. He also spent two years at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and the Guildhall School of Music in London. Recording for his father's Kongo label, Omar debuted in 1985 with the single "Mr. Postman" at age 16. He shot to fame in 1991 with his single "There’s Nothing Like This". It reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart.
In the 1990s, He recorded the albums There's Nothig Like This, Music, For Pleasure and This is Not a Love Song in and towards the end of that decade moved on to major-label RCA. When he parted ways with the label, Omar constructed his own studio and established the record label Blunt Music. He released Sing (If you want it) in 2006. Omar received the Best Neo-soul Act and Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Urban Music Awards, which acknowledges urban music artists around the globe. He was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2012. The next year, he released The Man and in 2017 Love In Beats on the Freestyle label, which took three years to make with the collaboration of his baby brother, known professionaly as Scratch Professor (aka Roland). Roland is a Grammy Winning producer, remixer and DJ.
Omar's voice is extra soulful and distinctive although he hated the sound of his voice when he first started performing. He is now described by some as the father of British Neo soul. However, Omar knows no musical boundaries.His influences are wide and varied, including ragga, hip-hop, funk, jazz-pop, rock, and Latin/Caribbean music.
More recently, before the pandemic, Omar was awarded the Music Honour at the Black Magic Awards 2019 at the Criterion Theatre in the heart of London.
Watch his interview and his word of advice for upcoming artists.
2021 is going to be an interesting year for the young songwriter. Over the last month, he has been working tirelessly on new music.
UMENIKAA was just released a couple of weeks ago. More songs are already lined up and he is working on his first international album which is planned to come out later this year.
With his music, Tofa Jaxx is daring a different path from the Tanzanian norm, away from Bongo Flava and other mainstream sounds.
Here is one of our favorite EP track just released : I WANT YOU
You want so support African artists and African music, check out #soulidarity.
In this edition of 'Black Legacy', we will be presenting the charming and powerful singer, Beverley Knight.
Beverley Knight is an English recording artist and musical theatre actress who released her first album The B-Funk in 1995. Heavily influenced by American soul music icons such as Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, Beverley Knight has released eight studio albums. Widely labelled as one of Britain's greatest soul singers, she is best known for her hit singles "Greatest Day", "Get Up", "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" and "Come as You Are".
After more than a decade in the music industry, she was appointed a MBE in 2006 in recognition of her contribution to British music. In September 2005, Knight was made an honorary Doctor of Music by the University of Wolverhampton. After receiving a host of awards, including three MOBO Awards Beverley Knight was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 at the Urban Music Award in London. Beverley Knight supported Prince during his residency at the O2 Arena and also performed at the concert after parties. As a result of this, she was flown to perform at his Oscars party in front of A-list stars and received a standing ovation from stars such as Quincy Jones.
In 2019, Knight celebrated 25 years in music with the release of the live album BK25.
Click on the video below to see Beverley Knight's interview by our cultural mediator Caro Sika at the Black Magic Awards Ceremony in London at the Criterion Theatre, as she received her Music Honour.
3MA is the meeting of three string-instrument virtuosi, emblematic of their countries in Africa, but also of generous artists who share a musical passion, a reciprocal dialogue and a beautiful friendship.
In 2006 when the Malian kora magician Ballaké Sissoko, the Moroccan maestro of the oud Driss El Maloumi and the Malagasy prince of valiha Rajery met, they could have stopped like so many others after a bunch of concerts and one final recording. But the miraculous tremor that rose from their instruments when they began playing together still resonates today. Driven by the pleasure of an exceptional musical relationship but also a human one, they have met regularly since, and always joyfully, their reunions always enriching their solo careers.
Centuries of musical tradition run through Ballaké Sissoko’s fingers. In his griot family, tricks and secrets for playing the kora have been inherited over generations. At first, Ballaké learned to play the instrument in secret, as his father did not want him to become a musician, but later he was able to study openly with traditional griots. In 1997, together with his cousin Toumani Diabaté, he recorded New Ancient Strings, which refers to the very first kora instrumental album, Ancient Strings that their fathers had recorded 30 years before. As a member of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, Ballaké started playing all over Africa, then in Europe. He later formed his own troupe in France before gradually gaining international recognition. His limitless creativity has led him to fruitful collaborations with the Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi, the Iranian-born percussionist Keyvan Chemirani and the Cretan lyra player Ross Daly. Of all his experiments, one of the most fertile has been his collaboration with the cellist Vincent Segal, which has achieved great recognition and introduced the kora to a new audience. In 2015, Ballaké Sissoko took part in the soundtrack of the César award-winning movie Timbuktu from director Abderrahmane Sissako.
The Moroccan musician of Berber origin, Driss El Maloumi, received a Western and Arabic classical music education. Thanks to his broad cultural background, his boundless mastery and vast curiosity, he was able to collaborate with various artists as diverse as jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu and Indian slide guitarist Debashish Battacharya. For the past 20 years, he has been one of the pillars of the Hespèrion XXI ensemble of the renowned viola da gamba player, Jordi Savall, who since 2014 has also incorporated 3MA in two of his creations. Whilst being director of the Agadir Conservatory of Music, Driss El Maloumi also pursues a successful solo career.
In 2017 Malagasy valiha player, Rajery, counts 37 years of playing valiha, 35 years of live performance and a 25 year-long international career. A path that did not began without difficulties. Facing amputation of his right hand as a young child, Rajery overcame his disability, achieved instrumental fluency, then virtuosity, with his tubular harp. The RFI's World Music Award in 2002 settled his status of leading artist. His European tours are frequent while his home activities remain full and committed. Rajery founded a musical festival in Madagascar and gets involved in education, musicotherapy and reforestation.
Since their debut record in 2008, the 3MA musicians have been through many individual experiences broadening their knowledge. They meet regularly to give 3MA concerts throughout the world and over the years, new ideas have sprung up, and then have been refined, giving birth to new compositions or reworking existing ideas. A decade after the beginning of their adventure, it was time to take stock and get back into the recording studio. This new album bears witness to their wonderful connection and mature experience. Percussionist Khalid Kouhen joins in on two tracks to add delicate pulses with his Pakistani percussions and Indian tablas and on two other tracks we can even hear Rajery, Driss and Ballaké singing. But for the rest of the record, the string instruments reign and weave their magic alone. Each piece is the result of a unique chemistry in which individual parts are hard to define. The sounds of kora, oud and valiha do not try to stand out over each other, but instead develop a common language.
While we never lose sight of the rich traditions which Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi and Rajery embody, we hear above all a shared message from 3MA, a message that rallies against the violence of our world, with their soft and invigorating harmonies, vital energy and universal poetry.
Management & Booking : Corinne Serres 01 40 10 25 55 firstname.lastname@example.org
DNA Tour : JAZZ CAFE / LONDON Feb 20
WHO'S FLAVIA COELHO ?
Coelho has an effortless, relaxed style that almost disguises her skill at easing between the slinky melodies and bursts of rapid-fire hip-hop – The Guardian
Flavia has traveled all over the world. From the morros of Rio de Janeiro to the paved streets of Paris. The nomad is at home where she feels welcomed, and her music is made of this alchemy. It is immaterial, a cosmic vibration that moves in the air: from hot flashes of heat to icy breezes, it resonates at all latitudes. Flavia knows that too. Her singing has rang from raids to bus shelters, from café-concerts to the world's biggest festivals.
ALBUM RELEASE 17th April 2020
The name of the new album of Kadialy Kouyate "NEMO" means blessings. It's message is that it is the human values that bring prosperity to any country or place.
"This album is a combination of songs that define, in my opinion, the blessings︎ and sustenance back home" says Kadialy Kouyate.
Kadialy Kouyate is a musician, a singer songwriter inspired by the West African Griot repertoire. Born into the great line of Kouyate Griot in Southern Senegal, Kadialy︎’s mesmerising Kora playing and singing style have been appreciated in many prestigious venues as both a soloist and in different ensembles.
Jim Palmer is an English songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Buckinghamshire UK.
Credit: all songs written & performed by Kadialy Kouyate and produced by Jim Palmer
For more info please visit the website or email your enquiries to email@example.com
After their electrifying performance on China's first afrobeat stage at the ISY music festival and their viral performance at Fuse ODG's T.I.N.A Festival in Ghana, Kwamz and Flava bring you their first project of 2019!!
This latest release has been very much anticipated! With the pre released teaser clearly not enough for the Afrobeat lovers, the song comes at no dissapointment as a Kwamz production! The build up from the moment you press play til the beat drops leaves you unable to control the urge to do the Zanku or Shaku on the beat!!
With upcoming performances in Europe, USA and Canada, 2019 is looking very interesting for Kwamz & Flava.
Singers from Aswad and Steel Pulse, namely Brinsley Forde and David Hinds, join forces on the first single of the upcoming Brinsley Forde album "The Tuff Gong Sessions".
The song takes us back to the experience of enslaved deported Africans and their search for identity. The generation that has been told the story and experienced the aftermath of the transatlantic tragedy seems to echo back to this young generation what took place centuries ago!!
Yet the story is still being told and so relevant - we are looking at a grey bearded rastafari man painting sea waves with people voyaging through in the presence of a child who could be his grandson!! And today Black Africans are still dying at sea every day and slavery is still happening as we speak - the alienation from their continent is still real - the children of Africa are still searching for a better tomorrow!!
Executive Producer: Ras Denco. Produced by Ras Denco and Marc Baronner. Mixed by Marc Baronner @ Bass Galore Productions (Leiden, NL). Recorded @ Tuff Gong (Kingston, JM) and Mixing Lab (Kingston, JM), Brinsley Forde Studio (Tenerife, ESP), Coyote's Hideout (Belgrade, RS). Engineer @ Tuff Gong: Roland Mc Dermot. Video by Romain 'Sherkhan' Chiffre.
Signed to No Format (home to Oumou Sangaré, Mélissa Laveaux) and supported at 6Music by Gilles Peterson, Que Vola? formed when French jazz trombonist Fidel Fourneyron followed his namesake to Havana to immerse himself in the percussive music of Afro-Cuban cults. The experience sparked him to reimagine the existing music, with a French brass section reinterpreting vocal leads, alongside Cuban percussionists.
This new Afrobeat-influenced track, 'Nganga', is informed by the customs of the Palo religion, taking its name from the cauldron where a dead priest's spirit is believed to remain.
Listen to track below
UK live debut at Hackney EartH on April 10
Speaking about the track, Fidel says; "I added a bass line to the Palo rhythm. I wanted to be respectful of the choral voice that would usually respond to the soloist, but here it's my trombone that takes the lead vocal, and the rest of the horn section responds, before being answered by the tenor sax."
Que Vola? - that name comes from the Cuban slang for 'What's Up?' - will make their UK live debut at Hackney EartH on April 10 at a show alongside Oumou Sangaré to celebrate No Format's 15th birthday.
Click below for more info to book your ticket now!
Calle Luz - Que Vola