The Balaphonics are a collective of nine musicians specialising in all things Afro-inspired. Celebrating over a decade of making music, they take their influences from funk, soul and jazz, also blending the sounds of Afrobeat from Nigeria, dancing highlife from Ghana and Bikutsi Camourenais or Mandingo music from West Africa.
Their name comes from the African percussion instrument, the balafon, also known as “bala” or “balani,” a kind of xylophone that has a very important place in Mandingo music. All kinds of balafons exist in different African regions and therefore the choice of this instrument is anything but insignificant, bringing together the whole continent. This brass band comes from Paris and mixes funk, jazz and traditional African music, passing through groove and highlife as they journey into these vibrant sounds. Their drums and guitars offer resonating, frantic rhythms and since the success of AfroMassivSoundSystem, released in 2016, the musicians have participated in many festivals, from France to Malta, through Cyprus, London and Bamako.
After recording their Balamako EP in 2019 (feat the griot Moriba Diabaté), the Balaphonics have now followed this up with Spicy Boom Boom. Due at the end of this month and recorded in the Mastoïd studio in Pantin, this project brings together groove, highlife, makossa, pop and Congolese rumba with harmony. All these musicians were supported by the great Manu Dibango, as well as Tiken Jah Fakoly and Hilaire Penda. It also features Kandy Guira of the Amazones d’Afrique group and Moriba Diabaté.
Demain dès l’aube (translating as “Tomorrow, at down“) appears on this new release and was, for me, my introduction to the band! How I’ve never stumbled upon them before I will never know!! It’s an exotic instrumental that takes you on an adventure into curious worlds of audio delights. Delicately woven melodies are inviting, surging horn sections add tantalising dynamics and, whilst this is addictively soothing, it’s also invigorating.. and we have the gorgeous balafon to thank for this exhilarating element! This is the most delicious feast for the ears! Check it out above, watch the accompanying video below and if you want to pre-order a copy of the album, you can do that here! (This looks like a crowd funding page too, so any money made will help boost the release of the album and launch the final stages of the process!!).