Being stuck at home most of the time of this year has not hampered creativity in the music scene: 2021 is a splendid year for mixing up music genres, traditional instruments, and tribal music elements. To bring you closer to experimental music artists from all over the world, I have collected ten upcoming music artists that you should definitely listen to in 2021.
1. Kaê Guajajara
Mixing provocative Hip Hop beats with traditional Brazilian instruments, such as Caxixi and Skekere, Kaê definitely creates unique music. Her strong lyrics tell us about the challenges the urbanized Brazilian indigenous communities face daily. Singer Kaê gained high visibility as an artist, directly addressing the country’s ongoing ecocide and ethnocide. The musician is part of a growing political movement in Brazil, mobilizing against the marginalization and discrimination of indigenous people and people of color. The government and business conglomerates are responsible for destroying natural reserves, lifting environmental protection of communities, and defeating their cultural heritage. By bridging ancestral and urban music, musicians such as Kaê are fighting for the rights of their communities: “Essa rua é minha – this street is mine”. A must-listen-to.
2. Al Nather & Shabjdeed
The experimental Hip-Hop produced by the independent record labels of Palestine has a similar intention: shedding light on the realities of young people growing up in Palestine. However, the seriousness of the topics does not rule out an entertainment factor, when you have rappers such as Al Nather and Shabjdeed reigning the scene. Rapping about Palestine as much as about enjoying life, love relationships, and battle rap, the two musicians have transformed the underground rap scene of Ramallah and caused global attention. To give yourself your own idea, you might want to check out their latest feature with Boiler Room.
A-WA is the most iconic three sisters in the music art scene. Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim are mixing traditional Yemeni music and slang with electronic sounds and Hip-Hop beats. What makes them particularly interesting is their image: The three women represent all strong, modern, and independent women fighting for visibility and empowerment in conservative regions. Creating a new music genre and being a progressive role model for girls and women, A-WA are on the way to global recognition.
The three musicians from Houston, Texas, have reached popularity worldwide within only a few years. Khruangbin plays with various genres, music instruments, and language and consistently picks up musical influences from all over the globe. Some pieces are inspired by Thai music from the sixties and seventies, others by psychedelic sounds from the Amazonian Rainforest. Lively, colorful, and vibrant describes their music the best. Though, if you want to truly understand their style, you will have to listen yourself.
5. Meridian Brothers
Who expects typical Latin American dance rhythms from the Colombian band Meridian Brothers will be surprised: Even though the group mixes traditional rhythms such as Cumbia and Vallenato, their music style is not for hot clubbing nights but rather for lone sessions of self-discovery. Listening to their top songs such as Salsa Caliente or Cumbia del Pichamán, you go through an unparalleled journey guided by spherical sounds and psychedelic lyrics. Whether funk, minimal techno, or soft synthesizer melodies, there’s only one word to describe the Meridian Brothers: Avantgarde.
6. Chicha Libre
Ever tried Chicha, the corn-based liquor from pre-Colombian days in Peru? Apparently, the listening experience to Chicha Libre has similar heights and after-taste. The Brooklyn-based band Chicha Libre combines everything that we love: 80’s pop classics, Andean Cumbia, Peruvian traditional instruments, and classical pieces such as Wagner or Satie. Psychedelic, buzzy and vibrant.
Besides A-WA, there is another family duo producing rhythmic sounds for Arabic disco dance. The two brothers, who grew up in the Golan Heights, have influenced a whole genre by combining synthesized beats, electronic sounds, and magnifying percussions. However, TootArd offers more than electrifying beats: Thematically, their songs discuss the living reality of families in the Golan Heights: Stateless, they are in a constant desire to call someplace home. In the end, their music is for everyone that likes to challenge ears and mind at the same time.
8. Francisco, el hombre
Francisco, el hombre is a music group moving whole Latin America. Traveling around South America, they are performing on major stages and in small art cafés, always welcomed by a vibrant crowd. What the artists call Pachanga Folklore, is a mix of rhythms and sounds from South America. Its unique sound is due to a combination of soft guitars, traditional rattles, melancholic voices, and rocky drums. I promise, their music is just perfect to feel, dance, and feel again.
9. Johan Papaconstantino
Fans of French ethnic-pop watch out: The French artist, Johan Papaconstantino is one of the aspiring artists in the French pop music scene. As he is mixing many musical elements, an easy exit is to call his style multi-identity music. Truly inspiring for all those who feel they are part of more than just one group. Whether you like his experimental sounds? J’sais pas! But try!
10. Molchat Doma
Molchat Doma is a Belarusian post-punk band from Minsk, formed in 2017. Their sound was influenced by 1980s Russian rock music and has been described as post-punk, new wave, synth-pop, and cold wave.
Nostalgic for 80s music? If Stranger Things has not convinced you yet, Molchat Doma definitely will.
Now you have discovered ten new artists that could improve your music experiences during 2021. You are more of a Podcast listener than a music guru? Here are eight Podcasts just perfect for you.