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AAA Music | 23 January 2020

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Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate release ‘Faya’ on November 19th

| On 31, Oct 2012

On November 19th 2012, Localization Records present ‘Faya’ the new album by the critically-acclaimed New Yorker Joe Driscoll and West African star Sekou Kouyate.

Originally from Conakry, Guinea, Sekou Kouyate, is a member of world-renowned band Ba Cissoko and is known in France as the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the kora’.

“I was paired up to collaborate with Sekou Kouyate at a French festival called ‘Nuit Metis’ just outside of Marseille,” explains Driscoll. “Known in English as ‘Nights of Mixed Race’, it’s an organisation that commissions encounters between artists from different creative and cultural backgrounds.

We spent a week jamming and improvising, and luckily my dictaphone was always on the table. There was an instant and palpable chemistry there, and over the following months whenever not on the road, we were writing and recording in Marseille.”

Voiced in Sousou and English by Sekou and Driscoll respectively, ‘Faya’ is a potent brew of afrobeat, other African styles, hip-hop, rock and reggae that defies any simple tags or description.

To anyone who knows Joe’s music, the familiar mix of rapping, folk and blues is recognisable, yet very different. Killer basslines, ornate, electronically enhanced kora, two distinctive vocallists and a positive energy are the bedrock on which the pair concoct an honest and true sound, free from fads and trends.

“It touches on so many genres, but we never discussed any of that; we just enjoyed making the sounds”, says Joe. “We shared the view that all these branches of music come from the same root. The title track ‘Faya’, roughly translated from Sousou, means ‘give me the fire, let me play with it’. We felt a spark of inspiration, and set out to capture that on this album.”

‘Tanama’ sets the pace with a simple yet catchy groove and Sekou’s virtuosic playing, before Joe’s trademark exploratory lyrics kick in on ‘Passport’, which deals with immigration and border control issues.

Album title track ‘Faya’ hints at Dr John’s ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’ and Tinariwen’s desert blues to atmospheric effect, given extra energy by Driscoll’s quick-fire rhyming mirroring the super-fast Kora licks.

‘Lady’ picks up where Driscoll’s previous single ‘Mixtape Champs’ left off (in its pursuit of a female), but with old school hip hop replaced by wah wah guitar and beautiful, rapidly cascading kora.

As the title hints, ‘Ghetto Many’ is social commentary, made more potent by Sekou and Joe’s closely gelled delivery, highlighting the ubiquity of poverty and inequality; as War once said, the world is a ghetto.

‘New York’ is Joe’s paean to his hometown, richly suffused with spirit of the place but given a distinctly African makeover, before the album closes with another place-named track, a serene and uplifting ode to ‘Zion’, which references Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’.

Sekou Kouyate, originally from Conakry Guinea, was raised in a large family with a strong musical tradition. Yet, it’s not only his influences, but his ability to transcend them that sets him apart. The Hendrix comparison comes from his unique style of playing with various effects, in a variety of genres, and with an extreme intensity.

Joe Driscoll, the man Cee-Lo Green labelled ‘the gangsta with an iron lung’ is originally from Syracuse, upstate New York. He moved to Brooklyn when he was eighteen and lived there for four years before moving in the UK nine years ago.

On moving to the UK, Joe became a pivotal part of the OneTaste collective, whose other alumni include Jamie Woon, Little Dragon and Portico Quartet. Joe has also collaborated with Rodney P and Skitz, plus Spragga Benz.

Joe’s first album ‘Origin Myths’ came out in 2007 and the follow-up ‘Mixtape Champs’ in 2011. As well as instruments on the latter including didgeridoo, loop pedal, harmonica, melodica and turntables, the album saw appearances from Ghanian drummer Etse Brown and Guinean kora player Kandia Kouyate

Due to his inventive and energetic live show, Joe has been in high demand the world over – performing at Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Womad, Electric Picnic in Ireland and Lake of Stars in Malawi, Africa.

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate live:
Wed 14th  -BATH – The Bell (JD/SK DUO) – Free entry
Thur 15th – BRISTOL – The Croft (JD/SK DUO) – or Bristol Ticket Shop
Fri 16th – BRIXTON – Hootanannys (Full band) – Free before 11pm – £3 on the door after 11pm
Sat 17th – LONDON – Passing Clouds (Wormfood 5th B’day) (Full band) –
Sun 18th – MILTON KEYNES – Watershed (JD/SK DUO) –
Wed 21st – WINCHESTER – The Railway (JD/SK DUO)
Sat 24th – LIVERPOOL – Django’s Rift (JD/SK DUO) – Pay on the door
Thur 29th – CARDIFF – Cwlb Ifor Bach (Full band) –
Fri 30th – CARDIGAN – Theatr Mwldan (Full band) – Box Office 01239 621200

Sat 1st – LEAMINGTON – The Clarendon (Full band) – Free entry
Thur 6th – WHITSTABLE – Duke Of Cumberland (Full band) ––sekou-kouyate-duke-of-cumberland/
Fri 7th – BRIGHTON – The Blind Tiger (Full band)
Sat 8th – LEEDS – The Musiquarium (Full band)
Sun 9th – MANCHESTER – Q Tavern (Full band) –