Umeme Afrorave was founded by Daniele Labbate (synths) and Bas Bouma (drums), two friends and experimented musicians who found themselves falling in love with analogue electronics and traditional African music. Over the course of countless nocturnal jam sessions, the boys found a striking way to fuse these two extremes, with subtle electro-house accents that speak well to their French influences. Umeme’s influences include masters like Tony Allen, Joe Zawinul, Mad Professor, Konono N°1, King Sunny Ade, and William Onyeabor, Jon Hassell-brand “future primitive” grooves, and the production flourishes of the Ed Banger label at their most tasteful.
While working on their debut album, Umeme gathered a joyful jamboree of experienced musicians from eclectic backgrounds, including vocalists Koko Lawson (Togo), Minyeshu (Ethiopia), and King Ayisoba (Ghana), guitar and kalimba player Michiel Bel, and Jos de Haas – one of Holland's finest percussionists. These sessions resulted in a collection of 8 songs that showcase a certain fluency in the crossover between authentic African musical phrasing and raw, uncompromising analogue sounds.
Umeme Afrorave have been touring their electrifying live show – Umeme means “thunderbolt” in Swahili, after all – throughout the Netherlands for the past year (playing Youssou N’Dour’s aftershow was a highlight). The band has also opened for Jungle By Night, and performed at one of France’s biggest festivals, Printemps de Bourges.