DK Phone release debut single ‘Gorée Demba’ on rlwrldx imprint

DK Phone is a new funk and soul project inspired by the sound of 1970s Ghanaian and Nigerian music, featuring Senegalese singer Mara Seck and producer Liam Farrell a.k.a. Doctor L. They release their debut single, ‘Gorée Demba’ on 11th October accompanied by a short film set in the Senegalese countryside.

Both based in Dakar, Mara and Liam’s time spent exploring the vibrant city and discovering its mysteries and magic has greatly informed their music, telling an intriguing and complex story of urban life in Africa’s most westerly city.

The first single is inspired by one of the city’s most famous locations, Gorée. A former slave island, it continues to bear its history, which no one should forget. But today we are faced with the question of modern slavery, of this continual desire for freedom and hope. Are we not all slaves of the modern world?

DK Phone - Gorée Demba (A Short Film)
“The beautiful, slightly dark melodies that Doctor L offered me for this track plunged me straight into the sad history of Gorée. It's our duty to keep talking about our past.” Mara Seck

The sonic trail of DK Phone pays a visit to 70s Afro-funk, soul, disco and electro hip-hop. Lyrically, their songs explore the people and everyday life of Senegal, as well as one young man’s personal experience.

DK Phone sounds almost like something you could discover in a box of old soul, funk and hip-hop records,” Liam says. “But the music combined with the Wolof language and the harmony of Baye Fall voices gives us something quite unique.”

The short film accompanying the single is the story of a man on the run.  Like yesterday’s slave, today’s migrant, the protagonist finds himself facing his destiny, left to his own devices on the winding path of life. It is through this universal quest for hope and freedom that the artist wanted to tackle the theme of slavery. Fleeing, hiding to escape the worst, hoping for a better tomorrow and resisting in the face of adversity are the constant struggles that people have faced throughout time.

Photo credit: Camille Lomey.

Mara Seck sings in his native Wolof language and is an exponent of Senegal’s sabar drumming tradition, as well as being immersed in the music of the Baye Fall Islamic sufi tradition. He is also the frontman of electro-Afro band Guiss Guiss Bou Bess.

Originally a member of the 90s French hip-hop outfit Assassin, Doctor L has become renowned for his idiosyncratic, hybrid sound that touches upon many genres, and can be heard on critically-lauded productions for the likes of Tony Allen, Mbongwana Star and Les Amazones d’Afrique. Based in Africa for some years, he is constantly seeking out new collaborators who share a similar open-mindedness and curiosity for musical experimentation.

‘Gorée Demba’ is the debut single by DK Phone, and is out on October 11, 2023 via Real World X, an imprint of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. More new music is set for release in 2024.

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By Oran Mullan

Main image: Mara Seck from DK Phone. Photo credit: Liam Farrell.

Published on Mon, 09 October 23

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