- Showcasing the sound of Rotterdam party Liberation, this compilation features some of the best and brightest vocalists in Afro house and Afrotech.
- After decades of racial discrimination, disenfranchisement and colonial oppression, African artists know best what it means to express themselves personally while rousing the hearts of nations and peoples. Often that's through music. Between Chicago, Paris, Kampala, Pretoria and beyond, Black communities have built safe and inviting spaces around house music where they can fully be themselves—spaces like Rotterdam's Liberation parties. Curated by Dutch-Indonesian DJ and producer Soulroots, Liberation events focus on Afro house artists like South Africa's Black Coffee, Culoe De Song and Hyenah; Central African Republic artist Boddhi Satva; Portuguese Afro house producer Buruntuma and many more. Now Soulroots offers a new compilation on Madorasindahouse Records, packed full of Afro house collaborations with artists from across Africa and the diaspora.
Voices Of Liberation is a collection of songs about belonging and freedom, sung in isiZulu, English and Mijikenda over lush soundscapes that evoke romance, dreams and spiritual epiphanies. These artists project the pride of their ancestors along with the hope of generations to come. Self-proclaimed "tribal queen" Lizwi conjures a commanding isiZulu vocal over cinematic strings on "Izinyanda," while Toshi lives up to the reputation she established through her work with Black Coffee on the ominous, techno-tinged "Mabali."
With most of the tracks assembled remotely, the collective longing for another communal night on an open dance floor is echoed in both "Love Again" by Zakes Bantwini and Jackie Queens' "Let Me In." Voices Of Liberation seems designed to speak for anyone languishing in the wake of Covid-19's grip and restrictions that remain in many places—a restriction most familiar to South African artists who, once upon a time under the rule of Apartheid, were limited in their modes of expression and barred from moving freely into public spaces without a personal passport referred to as a "dompas."
The compilation is, in response, dynamic and hopeful: Afro soul artist Mqobi Yazo summons all his strength on "Lahloma," with an eye-watering falsetto snaking through SoulRoots' sparse Afrotech beat. Soweto-born SoulStar brings his timeless vocals to both "Thandolwethu" and "Vuka," showcasing his ability to showcase both melancholy and joy in ways that always feel fond and unfettered. The highly sought-after vocalist-percussionist Idd Aziz from Kenya closes the album with "Dogo Dogo," whose music exults in reverence for his Mijikenda roots.
In an attempt to drum up the same emotions one would get from a live experience—where some of these vocalists really shine—Voices Of Liberation delivers layered and textured Afro, soulful and deep house that calls back to some of the best Liberation lineups. Hopefully the party will be back soon with these artists, ready to emanate the warmth and pride that transcends both physical and digital boundaries. Take this compilation with you until we can all return to find our freedoms on the dance floor, hopefully as part of a burgeoning new normal that's beginning to see, hear and cherish the voices of Black dance culture the world over.
01. Soulroots - Voices of Liberation feat. TroyMusiq
02. Soulroots - Lahloma feat. Mnqobi Yazo
03. Soulroots - Mabali feat. Toshi
04. Soulroots & Zakes Bantwini - Love Again
05. Soulroots, Chaleee - Izinyanda feat. Lizw
06. Soulroots - Thando Lwethu feat. Muscardo, Soul Star
07. Soulroots, West & Hill & Jackie Queens - Let Me In
08. Soulroots - Vuka feat. Soul Star
09. Soulroots, Native Tribe - Choose You feat. Lelloh
10. Soulroots - Dogo Dogo feat. Idd Aziz