For those who find the concept of world music about as exciting as a trip with crunchy ol' Aunt Granola to Pier 1, 'Africanism III' is an epiphany waiting to happen. For U.S. fans already hooked via the previously released import-only albums 'Africanism' and 'Africanism II' — and jonesing for more — the man just arrived, with the domestic (via Tommy Boy) 'Africanism III' in hand.
Is this instance, the man is Bob Sinclar, the French producer whose passion for African music has driven him to seek out, embrace, produce and showcase tracks by some of the genre's most prestigious artists. On this epic sixteen-track, seventy-seven-plus minute non-stop dance mix, Sinclar brought together a glittering roster of top contemporary African musicians, electronic producers and superstar French DJs, the result being pure Afro-rhythmic alchemy.
Stellar examples are the album's first single, "Summer Moon" — an impressive collaboration by top French DJs-cum-producers David Guetta, Tim Deluxe, Joachim Garraud and Bob himself featuring Nigerian-born singer, Ben Onono, "Sye Bwa" featuring vocals by Jacob Desvarieux of the famous zouk band, Kassav (with Jamaican toasting by J. Mi Sissoko) and Tom & Joy's heavily orchestrated "Antigua" which features drums by Afrobeat legend, Tony Allen. All tracks were produced expressly for this album, except "Voices," which was simply re-edited.
'Africanism' launched in 2001, and was originally meant to be a series of 12" vinyl singles strictly for DJs. However, upon the success of the single "Edony (Clap Your Hands)" by French producer Martin Solveig (No. 1 on the club charts for over six weeks), the CD was released by Warner Bros. (France), selling over 200,000 copies worldwide. 'Africanism II' was released a year later and was similarly welcomed. Both albums went gold in South Africa, giving the series an authentic — and deeply appreciated — stamp of African approval, and making it the most successful series on the Yellow Productions label.
Yellow Productions was conceived in 1994 after a chance meeting between jazz, funk, and Brazilian music collector Alain Ho (aka DJ Yellow) and Christophe Le Friant, then a popular hip hop/acid jazz DJ known as Chris The French Kiss. Yellow's roster reflects Chris and Alain's enlightened evolution of sounds — from earlier downtempo/hip hop releases (The Mighty Bop) to acid jazz (The Reminiscence Quartet) to the label's zhoozhy 'French House' sound (Dimitri From Paris, Bob Sinclar (Le Friant's glamorous disco/house alter ego)— to the 'Africanism series.' (FYI: A spirited photo of the Yellow Productions staff — shot to duplicate the 1980 Kid Creole & The Coconuts 'Off the Coast of Me' album cover — is on the back of the CD booklet.)
Anticipate forthcoming Yellow/Tommy Boy albums by Parisian bossa nova duo Tom & Joy, Paris-based Brazilian chanteuse Salomé de Bahia and the inimitable, Bob Sinclar. Preview MP3s at bobsinclar.com (News). 'Africanism III' is at the same time a commendable homage to some of the best African musicians on the planet and a chic little (or not so little) mix, perfect for sex on the savannah, midnight at the oasis or twirling on the terrace.