A chance meeting in a New York club led to the conception of Mowgan’s debut album, in collaboration with renowned African Benin-born Nigeria raised singer and multi-instrumentalist, Kaleta (Leon Ligan-Majek) an ex Fela Kuti, Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill cohort who also fronted Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble and presently heads up a 70s style afro funk band called Super Yamba based in NYC. The Frenchman was working at Lina Frey when he overheard a Beninese salsa singer called Laurent Hounsavi channeling Afro-centric vibes through his performance. He approached the singer and was put in touch with Kaleta, who lives in the Big Apple, too. What happened next was pure magic, as the two men got to work in the studio to bring their two worlds together.
It’s the kind of mystical alchemy that only happens once in a blue moon; Kaleta was given carte blanche over Mowgan’s extensive collection of Africa-inspired electronic instrumentals. He selected his favourites and performed on each one, delivering an original vocal, and his own guitar licks, over the top. To stir up even more electrifying vibes, Kaleta also invited several of his talented friends to join the recordings sessions - they included vocalists Shade Myers Emmanuel, Justin Masters and Gbenga Wise, Freddie Deboe on sax, Mic Dada assisting Mowgan on synth pads and Takuya Kuroda, the infamous Japanese trumpet player from Kobe who specialises in neo-soul, hip hop and electronica.
The result is ‘Karoussel’, a vibrant, dynamic, soul-enriching hybrid between electronica and deep African musicality that sets the standard for contemporary collaborations between western and African artists, and the first in a series of album projects from Mowgan on his fledgling label Mow Records...
Published: 21st November 2019