Ask most people what comes to mind when you mention funk music and you might be met with terms like heavy bass, wah-wah guitar and the image of Bootsy Collins wearing silver platform boots and star-shaped sunglasses. To be fair this would describe the funk from America, the hybrid of soul and RnB that depended on bass and drums to drive a hard rhythm, but like all African-based music genres, there is another style that holds its own base recipe and relies more on traditional drum patterns and sounds rather than enthusiastic bass players.
Savana Funk are a four-piece funk band that build their music from the roots of Middle-Eastern, African and South American genres. There are slices of latin music, tribal sounds and the title track, Tindouf, is named after an Algerian city where the dust and noise comes through on the recording (it could have been recorded at a jam session during market day!)
This is funk music turned up a notch, gone are the cliches of radio-friendly funk, instead we’re given jazz cross beats and powerful rhythmic patterns that move the body as well as keep your ears interested.
The music came about from jam sessions, this is easy to recognise as each band member feeds off of each other, this is how music is made, it’s not constant layering to find the best sound, it’s organic and musician-led, trial and error, searching for a gap in the music to make a statement.
I imagine this type of album will struggle to find a mass audience in the UK, we like out music polished and neatly fitting into a box, but further afield, this album could be a summer mainstay in sound systems all around the globe and might even get the sampling treatment from any aspiring musician wanting a dense rhythmic backdrop to whatever they want to place on top of it.
This album is right up my street, it’s intricate and clever, energetic and exciting and is something that fans of World Music, jazz, funk, RnB and Soul should listen to.
It’s practically sunshine on a cd.