Monday Morning Mixtape 017: Kartel

Kartel, have been hosting a regular Africa column at STW showcasing the sounds they’re into and the sort you might hear at their South London parties. With their 1st Birthday coming up this Friday, we thought it about time to hear something more sizeable from them. We caught up with Jack and Oli from Kartel for a quick Q&A, which you can read below before checking out their mix below.

Check the FB event for Kartel’s 1st Birthday w/ Diamond Bass, and grab the final tier tickets here.

Tracklist coming later in the week on Soundcloud. Follow us there for updates.


1. John Wizards – Lusaka By Night
2. Letta Mbulu – Nomalizo
3. Toure Kunda – E’mma
4. Police Brass Band – End of Ramadan Procession
5. Daphni – Mapfumo
6. Nightmares On Wax – African Pirates
7. Afrique – Kumbo Coming
8. Warsaw Afrobeat Orchestra – Only Now (Bosq Remix)
9. Nickodemus – N’Dini (Tal Klein Remix) Feat. Ismael Kouyate
10. Nico Gomez – La Lupita (Bosq’s Whiskey Barons rework)
11. Penny Penny – Dance Khomela
12. Marehamu George Mukabi – Bibi mama Ngani Mzuri
13. Mbiri Young Stars – Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe
14. Mixed Grill – A Brand New Wayo
15. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars – Mother In Law
16. Auntie Flo – Fela (Auntie Flo Remix)
17. Jumping Back Slash – Midnite Bheng
18. Tuesday Born – Minor Jam
19. Midland – Checkbob
20. Akuja – Benga Benga
21. Mosca – Murderous Dub
22. LV – Uthando Lwaka
23. Owiny Sigoma Band – Doyoi Nyajo Nam

How did Kartel first begin and what’s it’s mission statement?

Kartel is a South London based Friday night homage to African music, principally West African afrobeat and highlife but also extending to other sounds across the continent. These styles are showcased in their original form, and also there is a focus on their direct influence on dance music. A shout out on the latter side of that has to go out to our regular DJ/producer team The Busy Twist – if you don’t know yet, don’t wait.

You’re also involved in THEM London, which inhabits a very different sphere of dance music. What made you branch out in the way you did with Kartel, and does it offer you anything that THEM doesn’t?

THEM is a totally different animal and feels like the opposite to Kartel. THEM has around 12+ acts over the course of eight hours in two rooms, Kartel is usually only four to five acts over six hours in a single room. It means that everyone dancing has experienced the same thing, creating a communal feel. With Kartel the music is fittingly uplifting and happy, whereas THEM is deliberately abrasive. Kartel was created simply because myself and Bagheera were avid fans of Afro music, and its not music we can get away with at THEM, which is essentially a rave, for dark electronica.

You’re celebrating your 1st Birthday this month. Can you tell us a bit about the headliner and, for anyone new to Kartel parties, what to expect?

Diamond Bass headlines the 1st Birthday on Friday, we’ve had him in mind since before we launched. He is a Kuduro producer from Lisboa, Portugal. Kuduro is a style of music that came out of Angola in the 80s, perhaps made popular over here by Buraka Som Sistema. The producer/founding member from Buraka Som Sistema is called Branko, and he snapped up Diamond Bass for his label Enchufada. We can see why; Diamond Bass  really catches everything right about Kuduro – the high energy, skippy beats, and infectious hooks are all present and yet he pushes the production into exciting new areas and higher qualities. We’re stoked to have him headline the 1st Birthday – its going to get sweaty.

Where would you like Kartel to be, come birthday number two?

Hard to say – Africa is such a large continent with an enormous spread of music and so theres so much to explore that we are more about getting each event right rather then messing with it. We’ll keep focusing on each night to perfect the vibe, the music and the live visuals. We have noticed word spread though, people tend to want to come back and tickets sell quicker than ever, so who knows what will happen!

Can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve put together?

We’ve put together a mix here of cuts that are too reflective and mellow for the dancefloor at Kartel. Although the event has an open music policy to a plethora of African sounds, there is still that limitation of keeping the dancefloor happy, so it was a good opportunity to take it a bit slower. As with Kartel in general, most of the music comes from West Africa, but there is also music on there from Kenya, South Africa and Senegal, as well as the UK.

Towards the end of the mix you hear some slightly more dancefloor-wise tracks in the mix, from hotter Afrobeat to some Bassier reworkings from UK artists, these are the sort of sounds you will hear at the event. Although even the odd slow joint makes it in the party – Emma by Touré Kunda got played last time.

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