Maga Bo

My first experience of Maga Bo’s sound arose from buying this CD from Filastine at a party in the now-defunct La Macabra in Barcelona. Rupture had just finished playing, and it was such a sweatbox I had to buy a new t-shirt (heats for reals). I love buying random mix CDs at gigs, and considering the heavy Soot Records presence on the night, there was a pretty decent chance the CD I just picked up was gonna be seven shades of deadly.

It didn’t disappoint: grime, jungle, baile funk, hip-hop, crazy splashes of I don’t know what to call it… the sort of sounds that evoke far away places and superimpose them on the here and now, and I’m not talking wanton exotica either. More like having your ears taken hostage, then getting all Stockholm Syndrome and having a dance around. Perfectly sculpted and blended beats and textures, heaps of live instrumentation, and an impressive array of MCs from, well, everywhere – thems be the ingredients of the Maga Bo sound. His approach involves “traveling often and widely, he stays weeks at a time connecting and collaborating with local musicians and vocalists. His methods are simple and effective. Armed with a laptop and a microphone, a $6 hotel room anywhere turns into a recording studio. Electronic acquaintances and friends of friends, in person, become musical conspirators, teachers and friends. Over time, a deep musical landscape is being creating that is the collective imprint of this community.”

The aforementioned CD lasted a few months cos I played it to death. Hunting down more of his productions, I found mixes of his for Radio Luz Poland, World Up! and the excellent Blogariddims series. Crazy mash-ups of every style going, and those yet to arrive. A good intro to the world of Maga Bo would be 2008’s Archipelagoes, which was recorded in Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Portugal and Zanzibar. Check this video for the track ‘Nqayi’, featuring local MC Teba for a taster. For more recent studio activity, wrap yr ears round the Outras Terras mixtape, 100% Maga Bo productions.

Despite touring constantly from “Sydney to Delhi, to Addis Ababa to Rio de Janeiro, to New York City to Paris to I don’t know where”, he’s nearly finished his second album. Recorded in Brazil (he’s based in Rio), it’s gonna be packed full of Brazilian MC talent, although there’ll be a few international vocalists too. In addition, he’s got an EP coming out on Senseless Records the next couple of weeks which was recorded in Ethiopia with a bunch of local trad musicians. Expect remixes from the aforementioned Filastine, as well as Timeblind and Pacheko.

Studio Setup, Ethiopia 2010

2010 has seen collaborations with Ethiopian jazz legend Mulata Astatke, performances at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival and a slew of remixes, not least this savage version of Bomba Estereo’s ‘Fuego’. Future remixes for Poirier and Sub Swara should be dropping soon also, and if that wasn’t enough, he’s got the Beyond Digital project shaping up (as discussed here previously) and he’s also finding time to put together a couple of documentaries on Mulatu Astatke and Ethiopiques founder Francis Falceto.

Mulatu Astatke and Maga Bo, Ethiopia 2010

Keep an eye on his Kolleidosonic site for updates on releases and gigs. Speaking of which, this one’s for the European promoters out there: he’ll be in Russia May 13 and 14, and is looking for dates either the week before (May 6 to 12) or after (May 15-21). Get on it!

Photos Copyright Maga Bo 2010, check out more on his Flickr page

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