It's a Questions of Power, Isn't It?

a playlist by antonio jose guzman

This playlist represents the Electric Dub Station Transcultural Black Atlantic diasporic research and the Latin American socialist DNA of many Afro-Latin American artists such as myself who grew up in the 70s. Starting with Afro-French Cuban Ibeyi’s intro to the Orisha Eleguá, the lord of the crossroads in Santeria, Umbanda, Quimbanda, Candomblé and in Palo Mayombe; Yoruban religions in the Americas. As in our last project The Supreme Exodus, Electric Dub Station incorporates DNA sequencing music to the sounds and costumes based on Yoruban Afro Religions. Ibeyi's intro place the crossroads in which the playlist will take us. Those roads are starting with the legendary genius of King Tubby, the father of Dub and Reggae, characterised by a sense of pattern and rhythm that follows to the Beats of Japanese hip hop master DJ Krush and the political dub of UK Mark Stewart, passing to jungle, drum and bass, and afro-punk as in Argentina’s 90s band Todos tus Muertos and 70s Bad Brains. These afro-punk bands and Drum and bass projects are the soil of many underground movements and political activism nowadays in times of Black Lives Matter. They also are the inspiration for many Latin American and Worldwide ska, punk, and bass music movements. In the playlist, they are connected to Sao Paulo’s Brazilian Baile funk and heavy metal bands as Black Pantera and Turbo Trio, both a big part of the Brazilian underground and also activism in the favelas.

As the playlist started with very heavy tracks and activism words, the journey gets more fulfilling with Coded Language, a masterpiece from poet Saul Williams and Drum and Bass DJ Krust. The playlist works as a manifesto for all the tendencies that inspire Electric Dub Station, there is Yoruban mystic energy connected to the power of the Last Poets, Black Uhura, Victoria Santa Cruz (Me llamaron Negra) and dub sonic poet LKJ. Halfway through the playlist, Cuban Irakere’s is connected to Salif Keita and Fela Kuti, the power of whose music fills the sonic space of 70s Latin America, which translated later in the 2000s to the political reggaeton of Tego Calderon, Calle L3, and the feminist Boricua La Pili.

The playlist eclectic exercise is inspired by UK DJ Gilles Peterson's eclectic playlists. With Tokyo’s metal jazz band Soil Pimp Sessions setting the mood and Tricky taking us back to the 90s breakbeats. Followed by Dayme Arocemena’s Madres, deeply spiritual and religious, where the Santeria chanting is song. Ending the playlist with The Grateful Dead’s 60s mythical track Dark Star, with a version performed by jazz player David Murray Octet and with Ali Farka’s Mali Blues linked to Gary Clark and Junior Kimbrough North American Blues. The outro has been one of my favorites for 30 years: Rastaman chant by Bob Marley and The Wailers and ending the playlist with the Yoruban chant of Ibeyi’s.

With this playlist, I want to bring more attention to the issues of Panafricanism and diasporic sonic intervention in many parts of the world. I arranged the playlist, in the same way music mp3 USB memory sticks are sold in the streets of Dakar or Panama City lots of tracks, very eclectic, very diasporic, with sets from New York Hip Hop to Nigerian Afrobeat, passing on through the Cuban Diaspora to afro-punk to the streets of Puerto Rico, Panama, and Sao Paulo. Settling the playlist heart in the influence of Dub, Blues, and Cuban Rumba throughout all the diaspora, resulting in multiple sonic place-rhythms, that celebrate the music of the African Diaspora. Where Gilroy’s Black Atlantic meets, bringing together creators of all genres, who dream and pursue a social progressive society committed to taking an active stance against racism and any other form of prejudices.

Antonio Jose Guzman

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