Woima Collective follow up their first album with their Frou Frou Rokko LP, and delve even further into the African rhythms that inspire them.
Building on the ground work that Woima Collective’s debut LP Tezeta laid down, this collection of tracks goes even deeper to exploring the interlocking cross-rhythms that abound on the African continent. That’s not just a figure of speech: many of the songs were composed while band leader Johannes Schleiermacher traveled Africa over three months last year. Passing through Morocco, Mali, and Senegal, Johannes discovered many new grooves and dance moves on his journey, which have all played their part in the developing Woima sound.
The title Frou Frou Rokko comes from Johannes’ base in Bamako, which was a kind of cafe-centred community house. “The people are very hospitable, and because I came as a musician, I had a very good connection with them. Then when I played with them, it just got better. They were really happy when I adapted to their style, and they loved it when I caught some phrases of theirs!”
As Johannes traveled around, he picked up new rhythms and grooves as he went. “The groove, that’s the most important thing. Melodies are always pushing the tracks forward, but the groove is what gets you in the mood! The music in Mali often has no climax, it can go on for a very long time, repeating yet it doesn’t get boring. It’s a different approach to what we might be used to in Europe, I think you can hear that longer, more hypnotic influence on this record.”
Some of the tracks are even dedicated to specific events, like the track that Johannes wrote while he was dosed-up on Malaria medicine, or Brain Clear Heart, about the incurable romantic he met on the border to Senegal, who dreamt of all cultures around the world playing music together.
The line-up is almost exactly the same as the previous album, with a couple of extra guests for good measure. Also the band had some time to play around with the new material before recording at Berlin’s Lovelight facility – a luxury they weren’t afforded on the first LP. Combine this extra testing time with the fact that the band have settled into their own skin, and the result is a lot more open, with longer solos and improvised passages. Upfront, yet stretched out, Woima Collective have put another twist on their modern day african-influenced ensemble, and dive even further into their own sound.