With original copies of the Kenya installment going for over €100 on Discogs and future editions planned, Highlife's World Series project has some pretty serious wind at its back. Recorded by Esa Williams and Auntie Flo (AKA Brian D'Souza) during the 2014/2015 DoaDoa Music Conferences in Jinja, Uganda is the last of three editions that were originally planned, and features collaborative tracks with local musicians. As with the Cuba and Kenya releases, the effortless way the duo's talents mesh with those of the locals is striking, especially when considering that, in many cases, the collaborations started only moments after the artists met for the first time.
Makadem, one of the musicians featured on the Kenya release, recently told me how Esa's club-honed production abilities could make traditional African instruments interesting to young Africans, and this EP sounds like another winning example. Santuri's "Min Kula (Esa 12" Mix)" is just about the highlight, with a glow added to the busy foreground of horns, percussion and overlaid chants. Christopher vs Swahili Alley's "DoaDoa14" is the jazzy, Rhodes-washed vehicle for a passionate male vocal. The voice that leads both versions of "Africa Ni Leo" by Bantu Clan and Sarabi is even more of an earworm, though the "Extended Mix" and Behr's quietly ominous remix deliver a less clubby second half on this varied package. Where the World Series will go from here is unknown, but given the first three installments, it's hard not to be excited at the prospect of more.
TracklistA1 Christopher vs Swahili Alley - Doadoa14
A2 Santuri - Min Kulu (Esa 12" Mix)
B1 Bantu Clan vs Sarabi - Africa Ni Leo (Extended Mix)
B2 Bantu Clan vs Sarabi - Africa Ni Leo (Behr Remix)