Our homie Galliano sent me this very interesting article featured by the DEFECTED label. It’s about his recent trip to Angola when he was accompanied by DJ GREGORY, the DJ who was making UK Funky almost 10 years ago!!
It provides a further insight into where the dance world is honing in at the moment and further evidence that some of the big name djs’ are being influenced more and more by the kind of stuff we post here on our blog. That probably explains why our stats are just shooting through the roof at the minute and why we’re getting so much LOVE from small and big fishes worldwide.
This kinda stuff is slowly penetrating the mainstream and I would hope that within the next few years or so it “might” just become the norm in the dance world BUT then we’ll have to regroup, re-think and find some new underground stuff to post cause our current task would be over….lol…4eva da UNDERGROUND!!!
Anyway, have a read and also make sure to check out the track below cause it’s sounding HOTTTT!!!!
Angola has been on the press for all the wrong reasons in the last week or so. The attack on Togo’s national football team during the 2010 African Cup of Nations has shocked and saddened many and has done little to promote the country as a progressive – and more importantly safe – place to visit.
The attack resulted in the deaths of two of the teams’ coaching staff, the driver and injuries to a further eight people aboard the ill-fated bus, re-igniting security concerns and seriously damaging the countries credentials as a tourist destination. It’s safe to say that Angola is not on a lot of people’s ‘must visit’ list, which makes DJ Gregory’s recent extended visit all the more interesting.
“I had the opportunity to visit Angola with my friend Frederic Galliano” says Gregory when asked about his decision to holiday in a country still reeling from the effects of a devastating civil war. Frederic was returning to the country after several previous visits to record local pioneers of a new style of electronic music. Named Kuduro, it’s a kind of hip-hop, house and percussion hybrid that has become synonymous with the youth of the country’s many slums. “The idea was for me to meet DJs and singers and mix their unique vocals with some of my own beats” explains Gregory.
Luanda – the country’s capital city – is slowly rebuilding itself after years of wanton destruction and chaos. It’s a city with a population in excess of 1 million with an infrastructure for less than a third of that, a place where diamond dealing millionaires rub shoulders with people who live on less than 100 dollars a month. “The hotels are fully booked all year round, not for tourism but for corporate purposes. Tourism simply doesn’t exist there. It’s one of the craziest and complex places I’ve been to” says Gregory. Is it safe? “We’re talking about one of the most dangerous cities in the world. As I said there’s no tourism and it’s pretty difficult to get a visa. Certain areas are fine” he smiles “but you wouldn’t drive with an open window”.
So what about the music? The official language is Portuguese and the influence of their former colonists is still apparent. National heroes of note include BonGa, Paulo Flores and Dog Murras who blend traditional Portuguese folk sounds with samba, kizomba and latin elements, in many ways similar to the tribal sounds that Gregory himself has championed for so long. Was it this that attracted him to the culture? “Of course. There is so much creativity coming from Africa at the moment” he enthuses. “I just couldn’t miss out on the chance to experience it for myself, first hand”.
It seems to have done the trick. Dama s Salon is the first track Gregory has released since returning, in collaboration with Dutch producer Sidney Samson. “The idea was for me to record vocals in Luanda then work on the tracks back in Holland with producers like Sidney and Gregor Salto” he explains. “Sidney is one of a new wave of extremely talented Dutch producers and the brains behind the track ‘Riverside’ [a track that just hit number 2 in the UK charts with an incredible 96,000 purchases in a single week]”. And what about the tracks name? “’Dama’ means ‘lady’ and ‘Salon’ means ‘living room’. The song was written by Serafim Zacharias, a hot Kuduro producer”.
‘Dama s Salon’ is just the start of what Gregory has planned. He’s just finished a vocal track entitled ‘Rebola’ with Gregor Salto and is in the final stages of his Miami Winter Music Conference releases. “It’s going to be a Faya year” he grins.
As far as a modern music scene goes, Gregory can see a bright future for Angola. “It’s there already. All forms of dance music are strongly represented with figures like DJ Jeff , DJ Jesus, Os Lambas, Agree G and unique sounds like Kuduro spearheading the movement. It’s an incredible sound; way faster than house and with just such an incredible energy and passion behind it”.
Gregory with Tony Amado – the creator of Kuduro
As far as Gregory’s concerned, it’s one of the most exciting places for music right now along with Rio (baile funk), which considering many would struggle to pinpoint its location on a map is really something. So would he suggest other producers following in his footsteps on the path to inspiration? “Sure, I would recommend it as long as you know where you’re going and have a bit of assistance. Otherwise, I can’t see it happening”.
DJ Gregory & Sidney Samson feat. Dama s ‘Dama s Salon’ is out on the 27th of February. Click here to listen