To bring the Tropics to Cornwall is as complicated as it sounds, but it’s also extremely gratifying. That’s why Tropical Pressure Festival has become a music lover’s dream (whether they are project workers, volunteers, musicians or festival-goers), and that’s how, every July since 2014, the idyllic Mount Pleasant Eco Park experiences a colourful, cultural pilgrimage.
For three days, Porthtowan’s surroundings breathe music from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean islands, and for three days, every single festival attendee has her/his mind enriched by sounds, dances, workshops, food and drinks from all over the world…
For the first time since 2014, we embarked on the 250-mile journey that separates London from the North Cornwall Heritage Coast, and we couldn’t possibly have made a better choice. Tropical Pressure has indeed brought a corner of the Tropics to the UK… Or better, three corners, because, as described, each day of the event is dedicated to a particular Tropical region.
It all got underway on the scenic stage of the Amphitheatre. After relishing the postcard-like panorama (including white horses grazing, reeds moving in the wind, granite cliffs, a sandy beach and turquoise sea in the distance), Argentina took the scene, thanks to the eclectic set presented by the folktronic “one-man orchestra” from Buenos Aires, Rumbo Tumba and his refined musical craftsmanship. Minutes later, from Barcelona but with assorted passports, Miramundo continued the heart-warming feelings, spreading their uplifting and eclectic sound built on busking and countless live shows all over the world. Originally a five-piece band, they were forced to visit Tropical Pressure in a shrunk formation due to visa issues, but were still able to enlighten the Cornish afternoon and the main stage audience with their very own blend of quality songwriting and energetic folk-pop, boasting elements of samba, Italian canzonetta, flamenco, swing and Latin character.
Then it was the turn of Penya to present another take on Latin American music. The London-based quartet brought to Tropical Pressure its Afro-Latin, percussion-driven electro sound, which inaugurated the dancy stretch of the evening and spurred the audience to gather under the stage and move to the rhythms. That was the perfect introduction to the cumbieros from Malphino Republic, who sped up the tempo, performing a bright and up-tempo set in true Malphino style, infusing the Latin traditional sound with East London style.
Dropping the curtain on the first day of the main stage were the exuberant salseros of La-33. Directly from Bogotà in Colombia, the larger-than-life band presented some excellent dance-inducing urban salsa, enriched with boogaloo, funk, jazz and pop, and naturally exposing the talent of each band member on stage. You couldn’t help but move your feet, legs, knees, hips, back and so on… also, despite the fact that the daily live-music programme had come to an end for the Friday, upbeat notes were still being pushed out of the speakers of the Late Night Venues where DJs like Nickodemus and Konquerin Soundz kept the audience busy and dancing until late into the night.
The sun sure shone on Saturday on the scenic and serene settings of the Cornish coast, and a full day of festive fun was presented by Tropical Pressure.
Miramundo took the spotlight again from the Amphitheatre, bringing their eclectic and romantic mix of folk and funk with songs in Italian, Spanish, Brazilian and most likely more! The four-part harmonies melted the audience, alongside the heat from the beautiful tones emanating from the electro-acoustic guitar and violin. The band were perfect performers, quite literally immersing themselves in the audience, to great cheer and applause.
A highlight from the main stage had to be the Sudanese band The Scorpios, whose front lady perhaps literally brought the return of the sunshine with her stunningly bright yellow sari. The band brought their unique reggae-funk grooves mixed with the traditional girls’ songs and celebratory folk songs sung in communities in Sudan. The mixture of Middle Eastern maqam scales with offbeat reggae and characteristic claps brought together what felt like the entire attendance of the festival to one peaceful place. Warm energy from the band ensured everyone was dancing, smiling, and a large number of people were attempting to sing along to the catchy vocal lines.
The sunset on the stunning scenes, slipping over the mountainside down onto a shimmering secluded beach, whilst Kongo Dia NTotila did what they do best and blasted the amazing audience with their characteristic maestro Kongo jazz. With intricate and perfected compositions, the London-based band blow expectations out of the water with every performance.
The evening was a treasure chest of DJs, with live sampler and composer Anchorsong wowing the crowds as he dabbled live with his gadgets. Building and composing each song from nothing, every note and beat trigged by a button, his fingers seemed to race over imaginary pianos. Whilst Pete On The Corner delivered exactly what the party festival-goers where waiting for: bass-heavy beats from all corners of the globe and strange, unique and certainly surprising sounds causing the room to bounce in sheer happiness to the anticipated drops – faces of sheer awe and love were seen at each new ‘exclusive’ drop from the label owner.
The longest DJ set of all was savoured with tropical traveller Edna Martinez, who managed a whole two hours of the most beautiful, tropical, Afro-disco and Caribbean grooves. Word spread, and soon everyone was dancing and shaking all their limbs in the large warehouse-like venue, ‘Fandangos’.
Saturday was characterised with a bright and sunny happiness, sound-tracked by the best global music of variety and excellent taste.
Glasgow five-piece Samson Sounds picked up the energy on Sunday afternoon with their infectious brand of Afro-dub. Sending ripples through the ground with fat electronic beats, they got the crowd back on their feet again with huge horn riffs and intricate Afro-style guitar lines. As they MC’ed their self-titled ‘patois mixed with the Glasgow chatter’, they churned out feisty lyrics about their inner-city take on global life. The crowd responded with energy, and the rhythmical lyricism and pounding bass had the right amount of power to revive the lethargic body.
Closing out the festival on Sunday night were two bands: The Bongo Hop and Lindigo. The Bongo Hop brought their Afro-Caribbean sound with Latin flavours, led by French trumpeter Etienne Sevet, and with graceful harmonies, they quickly charmed the audience into a swinging trance. Lindigo then played a big finale on the main stage, opening with an instantly emotive vocal performance. Even for those not able to understand the lyrics, the feelings instantly transferred. Incorporating Maloya’s folk instruments with Madagascan musical styles, they played an unusual blend of African and Caribbean styles that suitably rounded up the ethos of the festival.
Content Related To These Artists
Podcast: Radio Mukambo #500 – 10 Year Celebration
Ten years of making radio and 500 podcasts, that’s what Mukambo is celebrating this week. So we have a special program talking you through the very vest albums of those ten years. Get ready for a trans-Atlantic trip going from Africa over Latin America to Europe, and a pan-African ride…Artists: Batida , Dele Sosimi , Dizzy Mandjeku , Doña Onete , Ebo Taylor , Gaspar Z'África , Guts , Gyedu-Blay Ambolley , Jungle Fire , Konono N1 , London Afrobeat Collective , Michi Sarmiento , Mulatu Astatke , Newen Afrobeat , Oghene Kologbo , Raúl Monsalve , Raul Monsalve Y Los Forajidos , Rocky Marsiano , Seun Kuti , Son Palenque , The Bongo Hop
Podcast: Radio Mukambo #483 – One Who Grooves
Azmari is the “one who praises” in Amharic, an Ethiopian singer-musician, comparable to the European bard or the West African griot. The Brussels-based ethiogroove collective is a 21st century version of Azmari, blending African and oriental melodies while providing a fresh take on the ethiojazz sound. Their debut album Samā’ī is…Artists: Ancient Astronauts , Andre Sampaio , Azmari , Bantu , Boogie Castillo , Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers , Combo X , Cumbiasound , El Gato Negro , Eletrique Zamba , Frikstailers , Gaudi , Lee Fry Music , Lindigo , Lis Flores Varela , Plu con Pla , Victor Rice
Podcast: Radio Mukambo’s Top 30 Albums of 2020 (#30 to #16)
2020 has been a really tough year for musicians, artists and creatives, but we’ve still been treated to a lot of good music. This week Radio Mukambo offers you the latter part of the 30 best albums of 2020 (30 to 16), including afrobeat, Afro-Latin, ethiojazz, maloya, wassoulou music, global…Artists: Anthony B , Baja Frequencia , Bamba Wassoulou Groove , Black Flower , Dubblestandart , Ethioda , Frankosun and the Family , Joey Le Soldat , Kosmo Sound , L\'entourloop , Lindigo , Lokkhi Terra , Mamani Keita , Max le Daron , MYSTICALLY , Nihiloxica , Nkumba System , Nuri , Paolo Baldini DubFiles , Sacerdote , Scratch Bandits Crew , Skarra Mucci , The Gaslamp Killer
Podcast: Radio Mukambo #474 – Maloya Power
This week Radio Mukambo travels to Reunion Island in the Indian ocean off the east coast of Africa for some powerful maloya music sung in Réunion Creole by LiNDiGo. Their 7th album “Kosa Néna” is our cd of the week, released by the French label Hélico Music. We listen to…Artists: Elida Almeida , Guiss Guiss Bou Bess , Kodjovi Kush & Afrospot All-Stars , Kosmo Sound , Lindigo , Nongoma , Poirier , The Anthronauts , The Mabon Dawud Republic
London Gig Guide (December 2019)
At times, we are the first to lose track of how many exciting music events happen in London each month, so we have decided to offer you some sort of “public musical service”, meant for all the locals and passers-by, with the aim of suggesting where to listen to some…Artists: ∵n∀v∩∴ , Afriqoui , Arteria Fm , Diabel Cissokho , Dub Pistols , Freek , Kasai Masai , Kongo Dia Ntotila , Mamadou Diabate , Mozão , Mulatu Astatke , Natty Campbell , Neue Grafik Ensemble , Parov Stelar , Skylla , Sourakata Koite , Yama Warashi , Young Paris
London Gig Guide (November 2019)
At times, we are the first to lose track of how many exciting music events happen in London each month, so we have decided to offer you some sort of “public musical service”, meant for all the locals and passers-by, with the aim of suggesting where to listen to some…Artists: Actress , Amon Tobin , Bukky Leo , Dele Sosimi , Diezmo , Domenico Lancellotti , Dwight Trible , Fanfare Ciocarlia , Femi Elias , Gaijin Blues , Gary Bartz , Ivocore , Lokkhi Terra , Luke Vibert , Maisha , Marcos Aganju , Nina Miranda , Nubiyan Twist , Ólafur Arnalds , Pedrolito , Snarky Puppy , Taraf De Impex , The Scorpios , Tinariwen , Toby Kaar
Gallery: Malphino @ Pizza Express Live Holborn (London; Wednesday 2nd October 2019)
It’s not every night that all the Pizza Express Live audience divert their attention from their pizzas, stand up from their chairs, move their tables away and dance to the notes played on stage. With Malphino, who performed at the Holborn venue on 2nd November, that was quite natural and…Artists: Malphino
Gallery: Ariano Folk Festival 2019 (Ariano Irpino, Italy; Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th August 2019)
There are small musical miracles around if we are open to going beyond the usual festival circuit. One of them happens every August (since 1996) in Southern Italy. For four days and nights, Ariano Folk Festival enlightens the Campanian town of Ariano Irpino and brings music from all over the world…Artists: Eskorzo , Gaye Su Akyol , Mercedes Peon , Natty Bo And The Topcats , Neuza , Skarra Mucci , SUPERSAN , The Bongo Hop
Playlist: ArianoFolk Festival 2019 (Ariano Irpino, Italy; Wednesday 14th to Sunday 18th August 2019)
We love it when music gives us the opportunity to travel and discover (more or less) hidden secrets, whether they’re in the form of sounds, artists or events. Ariano Folk Festival clearly belongs to the latter category, but every summer it helps us to unearth new inspirations, and we learn…Artists: Eskorzo , Gaye Su Akyol , L\'entourloop , Natty Bo & the Top Cats , Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda , The Bongo Hop
London Gig Guide (July 2019)
At times, we are the first to lose track of how many exciting music events happen in London each month, so we have decided to offer you some sort of “public musical service”, meant for all the locals and passers-by, with the aim of suggesting where to listen to some…Artists: Afrikan Boy , Afriquoi , Amadou & Mariam , Amira Kheir , Amy True , Blue Lab Beats , Bumi Thomas , Carthnage , Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra , Dj Jigüe , Elpeche , Emicida , Ezra Collective , Fatima , Femi And The Inrhythms , Gianni Denitto , Imperio Bamba , Kamaal Williams , Koroleko Moussa Dembele , La-33 , Lua Preta , Marcelo D2 , Mayra Andrade , Merca Bae , Nané , Naphta , Neneh Cherry , Onra , Renegade Brass Band , Sons Of Kemet , Stella Chiweshe , Tássia Reis , The Blind Boy of Alabam , The Bongo Hop , Xylouris White , Zara Mcfarlane
Daily Discovery: 360° // Official Music Video // Kongo Dia Ntotila
“360° is the title track and lead single from the new album by London based, Kongo-Jazz band, Kongo Dia Ntotila (Pussyfoot Records). ‘360°’ is a purely instrumental track that grooves a grungy, funked up sound of African London. Inspired by the burgeoning new jazz scene emerging from the U.K. capital, it’s a clear incarnation of…Artists: Kongo Dia Ntotila
Event Review: London Remixed Festival 2019 @ Rich Mix (London; Saturday 2nd February 2019)
At Rich Mix, you are welcomed with warm and friendly hospitality by smiling staff, that it truly resonates throughout the evening, and throughout the venue. Saturday evening at the London Remixed Festival was no exception. The main room, Tropicarnival, (curated by the legendary Wormfood! and Movimientos), was fittingly decked with…Artists: Animanz , Gypsy Disco , Henge , Malphino , ONIPA , Sam and the Whomp
Event Review: Kongo Dia Ntotila @ Rich Mix (London; 24th May 2018)
From the first jazz-solo drum rhythms of David Lessie that opened the show, to the cyclical afro-lead from John Kelly’s guitar, every beat of each song resonated throughout the grooving crowd, and certainly through band leader Mulele Matondo, who I’m sure jived to every single note of the show, constantly…Artists: Kongo Dia Ntotila
Mixes: Groovalizacion Radio Albums (December 2017)
Every month, Groovalizacion Radio selects the 10 best albums in the field of innovative, cutting-edge World Music 2.0 – One ‘special recommendation’ plus nine albums in no particular order. Discover this months’ selection in this handy mixtape. Find the full archives HERE GROOVALIZACION RADIO RECOMMENDS: Mista Savona – Havana Meets Kingston (Baco Records)…Artists: Bosq , Buyepongo , Capoeira Soundsystem , Groovalizacion Radio , Jowee Omicil , Lindigo , Mista Savona , Renegades Of Jazz , Victor Rice
Event Review: Tru Thoughts Records 18th Birthday Party @ Roundhouse (London, 21st October 2017)
A big revelry for exciting Brighton-based independent label Tru Thoughts, as they celebrated their coming-of-age with a punching all-day party! Full of friends and fans, there were queues to see their newest acts that not even a wink or a press pass could sneak you through. A sign that they…Artists: Alice Russell , Anchorsong , Hot 8 Brass Band , Quantic , Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Album Review: Miramundo – s/t [10th December 2016]
Let’s clear all sort of doubts from the beginning; Miramundo and their self-titled debut album could only come from the cultural fabric of a city like Barcelona. They are the perfect embodiment of the lively and colourful, but also absorbed in its local dimension music scene of the Catalonian capital….Artists: Miramundo
Review: Anchorsong @ Echoes (London, 25th October 2016)
It is under the Overground railways in Haggerston, in a tiny venue newly opened by the Soundcrash family, that Japanese-born London-based electronic composer Anchorsong took the stage for a sold out two-nighter. Surrounded by a devoted audience that was definitely not there by chance, the musician played an effervescent live…Artists: Anchorsong