Having recently found out about his previously unknown African ancestry, it was only natural that Matt B would want to explore and celebrate the fact as a musical expression. To this end, he teamed up with Eddy Kenzo and the result is the latest single Gimme Love.
It’s both a pop song and an act of cross-cultural communication, a blend of old-school Afro-beat grooves and more modern, western urban vibes, a place where the sounds of the past are evoked and mixed with cutting-edge modernity, where the seductive sounds of Africa collide and complement and altogether more western-inspired pop sound, where traditional dance meets clubland groove, an unexpected bridge between Uganda and Chicago.
The sound is warm and buoyant, infectious to a fault, it is effortlessly addictive and as the sporing creeps into our world once more, perhaps a taste of a sun’s warmth that we have been craving for so long.
It is also an interesting exercise in what world music can be in the modern age. For so long, the term has almost implied cultural boxes and geographical locations, the creation of walls and demarcations to suggest music should be labelled appropriately. But Gimme Love offers another possibility. Perhaps world music is best described as the musical glue that binds the world together, the bridges between location and culture.
Such collaborations make the world a better-connected place. As the sounds and styles of one place match and merge with those of another, the world becomes a smaller place, one where we automatically feel more unified and part of a musical global family. For this reason, such songs are important. Not only is it a great song, that much is clear on the first spin but they lead us to a more harmonious world, and that has got to be a good thing.