Cheick Hamala Diabate

As Londoners shuffle to and from work, buffeted by the chills of a 4°C spring, Mali basks in 38°C heat. Thankfully you can bring a little West African heat to your life, by turning the dial on your speaker system and blasting out the Sol Power remix of Malian superstar Cheick Hamala Diabate.

Cheik is a master Griot who first picked up the Ngoni (a traditional West African stringed instrument related to the Banjo) as a young boy but is now recognised as something of a master.
Here his Grammy nominated playing skills and imitable vocals meet the production nous of Washington DC-based DJs and Afro enthusiasts The Sol Power Allstars. In January they performed the mix live on stage with Cheik creating – in their words – “a piece of trans-traditionalism, a funked up, slicked down, sky-rooted, digitized, dusted, and overwhelmingly DANCEWORTHY track that mixes the freshest of freshest with the deepest of deep“.

A trip to their Soundcloud page reveals the Sol Power crews love of the many sounds of the African diaspora, from Samba & Salsa to Afrobeat & Cumbia.

Not to forget Ghanian Disco.
Kabbala were two brothers from Ghana who fused their African roots with the disco sounds of London circa 1982. Sol Power take their scalpel to “Ashewo Ara“.

Busta Rhymes takes a trip to Africa.

Individual members of the Sol Power crew also weigh in with their own works, like DJ Stylus who finds Stevie Wonder in an Afro style on Soul Train and Maestro with a re-edit of Buari’s disco monster “Iro Le Pa“.

Finally “Salsa Old School” is a compilation from the Solar Latin Club Label of rare as hens teeth salsa classics including the 1976 Conjunto Africa latin bomb below.