Harambee means “let’s all pull together” in Swahili. Through several trips to Kenya, this homage to the country of Kenya was born. The track is a clever disco composition with funky brass and guitar, groovy rhodes and catchy vocals. Definitely a summer anthem that carries you away. La Gozadera is inspired by Cuban carnival rhythms. For the production, the two Cubans Jose Braide (piano/synth), Alcides
Toirac and the Spaniard Alberto Garcia (percussion) came together. Driving uptempo latin with its own twist makes this song unique. The track “When we used to dance” is afro disco boogie at it’s finest, beaming you back to the 80’s. Voilaaa built around Bruno “Patchworks” Hovart from Lyon gives the original track Harambee a deeper feel. Nice “highlife” brass and guitars reminiscent of Ghana, give the song its own vibe.
It’s great to talk to you guys. I remember seeing you perform live at Dimensions back in 2017.
Hi! Thanks for having us. That gig was great. It rained all day, but just as we started the sun came out and people started to dance.
There’s something pretty special about playing to a large and appreciative crowd. The energy is infectious. You must be buzzing for days after such an event…
Yes, in any case! Big stages like Dimensions or the Paleo festival are impressive experiences, but we also like the smaller clubs where you are close to the people, this also has a special energy.
Have you been playing many gigs since lockdown broke?
Not that many yet, but things are picking up again. Of course, we are very happy about that. Like many others, the pandemic hit us hard. Next gigs are in Barcelona, Italy and Switzerland.
Do you have some more festivals lined up this year where we can catch you?
There are already some smaller festivals confirmed, Palp Festival in Sion and Eren Festival in St.Prex. Others will surely be added soon!
For those that are new to Alma Negra, how would you best describe what you do and what you are first in terms of DJ’s producers and live performers.
You can’t tell what comes first. We are a DJ & producer collective but also have our own label, and live band project where we work with different musicians. Diego and Dersu Figueira are the DJ Team of Alma Negra. Mario Robles takes care of the live band and label work. All three of us do the production. The first ideas usually arise in the box and are then worked out with live elements.
When I try to describe the music that you make, I find myself using many words. How would you best define the music that you produce?
Musically we are very open. A certain funkiness must not be missing. The result can be disco, deep house, tribal or afrobeat. Mostly with strong percussion and jazzy elements
Which aspect of what you do makes you most happy?
We love DJing. An electronic live project in the classic sense is not necessarily what we are aiming for especially since we are already performing our music live with the band.
Where are you all today and what are you up to?
We are all in Basel Switzerland, that’s where we live and work, even though we’re musically at home all over the world.
Is there a dedicated Alma Negra studio where the magic happens?
We have a studio that we share with a couple of modular freaks, but we also all work at home in our small home studios. The ideas are then usually compiled in the shared studio.
What are the most important things in your studio?
That is hard to say. Sometimes it’s this and sometimes that. We have a modular synthesiser in the studio, but also lots of percussion instruments and various keyboards. Everything is important!
The Harambee EP is a wonderfully warm and lively collection of beats. What can you tell us about this new EP?
Glad you like the EP! Most of the tunes were created during lockdown. (Diego) I missed Kenya and I wrote and sang “Harambee” and “When We Used To Dance” while Dersu was working on “La Gozadera”. When we were allowed to meet again, we worked out the songs with some great musicians Alcides Toirac (bass and vocals on “La Gozadera”), Sandro Corbat (guitar), Jose Braide (piano), and Alberto Garcia (percussion).
For the remix we immediately thought of “Voilaaa” who delivered a beautiful version of “Harambee”.
What other projects are Alma Negra working on at the moment?
The next EP is practically complete. They are recordings we made with the live band. At the same time, we are constantly working on new things.More to come in the near future!
Who are the other artists and labels that you like to keep your eyes on?
There are so many. Hard to say! Esa Williams with his Afro synth band, Pat Kalla, Voilaaa Sound system, and Arp Frique just to name a few.
What are your next ambitions as artists?
We want to play as much as possible, whether as DJs or with the live band and spread good vibes!
When you guys are not making music, what does Alma Negra like to do to relax?
(Diego) I like to play football. Otherwise, we are very sociable people and like to enjoy a glass of wine or beer in our favourite bars.