Review: These days, Hamad Kalkaba is a retired Army colonel and track and field athletics administrator in his native Cameroon. Yet back in the mid 1970s, he was a musician with dreams of potential super-stardom, trying to update traditional Cameroonian "Gandjal" music for the funk generation. To that end, he recorded a small number of singles and EPs alongside his backing band, the Golden Sounds. It's those thoroughly obscure and overlooked releases that make up Hamad Kalkaba & The Golden Sounds, a retrospective of his pioneering work. Sitting somewhere between Afro-beat, Afro-funk and Afro-jazz, with a distinctively Cameroonian rhythmic swing, the music showcased on the album is undeniably special.
Review: First released back in 1977, Trio Mocoto's second eponymous album has long been a favorite with collectors of "MPB" - the most Brazilian of popular music styles. Thanks to the dusty-fingered diggers at Mr Bongo, the album is now available again on wax for the first time since 1980 (and, of course, for a fraction of the cost of an original copy). Like many of the greatest MPB albums of the period, the album's ten tracks brilliantly blend elements of samba, string-laden easy listening, soul, jazz-funk and fusion, with the band's strong group vocals and luscious instrumentation guaranteeing a warm, sun-kissed vibe throughout.