In the latest installment of Monday Mixtape, Belfast-based musician Ewen Friers aka CATALAN! waxes lyrical about some of his all-time favourite songs, from WHY? and DakhaBrakha, to Orlando Weeks and Orchéstre Baka Gbiné.
Los Cotopla Boyz – Me Malviaje Con Las Ganlletas
Get your week started right – Los Cotopla Boyz blowing away the cobwebs, this was their debut track. I like how this is danceable and direct from the get-go but ends with that sort of proggy introspective outro, somehow it works.
Orchéstre Baka Gbiné – Kopola
Staying on the international voyage that is this playlist here’s a crucial track from rainforests of Cameron. This has the most infectious rhythm on earth, come on, the bass drum is a tree!
DakhaBrakha – Sho Z-pod Duba
The Ukrainian chaos that is DakhaBrakha. Look that those hats, look at their clobber and listen to those harmonies. It’s eery, it’s challenging and I love it. Their back catalogue is incredibly varied and very experimental, they create so much drama with their percussion alone.
A-WA – Shama’a
I remember eagerly listening to this A-WA record for the first time while scouring Connswater shopping centre for last-minute Christmas gifts. This transportive and disgracefully cool album is a guaranteed way to improve that experience. Yemen folk songs hip hopified and arriving in a soggy Belfast.
WHY? – Sod in the Seed
For a project like CATALAN!, where the lyrics are far and away the main focus, it’s a little odd that all the track’s so far are in languages I don’t speak. To counter this here’s one of my favourite bands ever, with line after line of lyrical liquid gold.
Les filles de illighadad – Imigradan
A thinking song, hypnotic masterclass in drone notes and repetition. Wave after wave of soothing sonic beauty straight out of the Sahara, what’s not to love?
ZETA – Venezzelio
Putting the right energy into the world, my pals in ZETA fly the flag for vibrant art activism, roots DIY music communities and downright delicious vegan food! JOIN ZETA!
Orlando Weeks – Safe in Sound
Orlando Weeks at Earth in Stoke Newington was the last live show I was at before lockdown. As the big disco ball shot off its hundreds of tiny lights and Orlando’s voice rose up to the roof soaked in natural reverb I could never have predicted just how much our world would change over the following months. It’s a poignant and beautiful song and as I listen to it these days I long for a time when we’ll all be back at live shows together until then stay strong and safe out there.