The Finnish electropical ensemble Maajo has recently released their second full-length album “Kuru Kuru” on Queen Nanny records. Three years after their sought-after debut, Maajo’s African and Balearic influences now include more of the mysticism of Northern nature. The record resonates with a desire to connect across borders, and aspire to marvel at life on planet Earth. Live percussion, traditional balafons and kalimbas rattle and clang on top of drum machines and lively basslines. African High-life guitars dialogue with cheap vintage synths, electric pianos, birdsong, homemade flutes as well as the masterly vocalists: Senegalese Ismaila Sané, Zambian Waina and Beninese Akim Color.
The album begins upbeat with the drumming song Soma, followed by Esukey, a slice of Afro-pop cassette nostalgia with maestro Ismaila Sané on the vocals. A Song For Spring steers into mid-tempo funk, while Meje Ibo is a Turkish style 7-beat with West-African guitars and minimalist choir. The sparkly Ghana-inspired beach dancer Nkoranza and the acidy kalimba disco of Aamuapoltan head straight for the dancefloor, the midpoint of the journey.
Ismaila Sané’s bonfire chant on Ito Urok leads the second half of the album on a nocturnal adventure. The hypnotic African mallets continue their work on the mysterious Jacana. Gbêmen Nayon is a ride down a flowing stream, while Akim Color sings a dirge. The percussive shamanistic hum-along trance of Yara Mantra points the way to the Waina-lead conscious dance anthem Lost Road.