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Junior Simba Fuses African influences on hard-hitting ‘Kutamba’


Leeds producer Junior Simba thinks outside the box on his crossover-ready club cut ‘Kutamba’, featuring mad African samples that richocet everywhere over a tough, percussive groove, out now through Kitsuné Musique.

Junior says: “At its core Kutamba is a celebration song. The title Kutamba is a Shona word which means ‘dancing’. The track samples Ululation on the drop and in my culture and throughout Africa, ululating is done at celebrations to cheer and welcome. Personally the sound brings back many happy memories of parties and gatherings we had with friends, family and others from the community. It’s a powerful thing! The percussion and drums, like most of my tracks, pay homage to the Ngoma grooves that normally accompany celebrations along with ululating. Kutamba is a very important track to me, the samples and groove in it pay a special tribute to who I am and where I come from. I hope I have made something that makes people dance and celebrate as we do back in the motherland.”

From Zimbabwe to Leeds UK; Junior Simba is making moves as one of the leading lights in the new wave of house and dance fusionists. A breaking DJ and producer who’s sound truly draws from the elements of his rich musical background. He brings a vibrant, groove-heavy rhythm to his sets, with an energy that sits somewhere between Overmono and Jayda G. Originally from Zimbabwe, Junior was brought up surrounded by the sounds of Rhumba, Kwaito and Afro- house. Once exposed to the UK electronic scene when he moved to Leeds in his late teens, his passion for producing and DJing really took flight. These distinctive influences combined create an abundance of inspiration, merging into a sound sitting somewhere between dark, tense amapiano and cosmic, zero-G Afrobeat, all wrapped with levels and levels of futuristic soul.

Rising up the northern ranks as a key DJ to watch after cutting his teeth in Leeds’ underground music scene, his discography so far has also gained him strong support at Radio from Jaguar, Danny Howard, Pete Tong, Sarah Story, Jack Saunders, Jeremiah Asiamah and Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), Ben Malone (Kiss FM), and key tastemaker support at Rinse FM. His release ‘Precision’ was named Essential New Tune in Feb 22. Junior has played alongside the likes of Mall Grab, Hunee, Blessed Madonna, The Chemical Brothers, Hot Since 82, Patrick Topping, Adelphi Music Factory, Chaos In The CBD, Kink, Mella Dee and more.

Junior Simba offers what few can, the ability to adapt – switching styles and energies with ease. He turns the balance of light and dark, human and machine to an artful alchemy. He is on a mission to make his mark as a creative who breaks barriers by allowing his culture to shine through, and by putting Leeds, Black and African artists at the forefront of dance music.

Kutamba is out today Monday 26th September, you can download or stream it here.

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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