As parts of the world turn inwards and look to close themselves off from their neighbours, Auntie Flo represents a more universal attitude.
Born in Glasgow with Goan and Kenyan heritage, Auntie Flo is an artist that thrives upon cultural nuances. Radio Highlife is a record moulded by these geographic subtleties. As the album title suggests, Radio Highlife is deeply influenced by Africa, but also draws influence from Brian d’Souza aka Auntie Flo’s travels through Cuba, Bali, Russia, Norway, the UK and more.
Musicians, field recordings, voices and sounds are patched together with the hypnotic rhythms of house, disco and afrobeat. The percussive elements of Radio Highlife are the roots that keep the music grounded; every track grows organically from this irresistible, tribal groove. Rather than producing an album of out-and-out bangers, Auntie Flo lets the live instruments be his guide – using the riffs and loops he has recorded over the years as the foundations for him to start building upon.
Each song has its own mantra. “Nobody Said It Would Be Easy” switches and swerves between an uplifting guitar riff, “Havana Rhythm Dance” uses Andrew Ashong’s simple yet effective vocal phrases as its keystone; whilst “Western Princes” clatters along to the jangling sound of an energetic xylophone. “Cape Town Jam” is an irresistible summer jam, once again rising up from sun-soaked guitar licks and catchy choral refrains.
Dance music dredges up images of dark clubs, pounding kick-drums, bright lights and zoned-out dancers, but Radio Highlife is here to take dance music back to its beginnings. At the centre of it all, dance music revolves around one thing – the drums. A solid groove is universal. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from, a good groove is going to get you moving. In these turbulent times when borders are being propped up, Radio Highlife takes us back to basics and looks to unite us with a good old fashioned boogie.