This week’s Staff Selection comes from PR Intern Nico. He’s put together a playlist that is best experienced by just pressing play and allowing the order of songs in this playlist to take you on a journey. You’ll start your journey with the best of Cuba before you make your way to tracks with Portuguese, Caribbean, and African influences. After things cool down with Zhu & Jungle, the last 4 tracks will hype you up and leave you energized.
Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
This brings me back to Sundays on Curaçao, where I was born and raised. This is the first song of the Buena Vista Social Club album, which my dad would play every Sunday morning.
El Cuarto de Tula – Buena Vista Social Club
Another one of my favorites of the Buena Vista Social Club album. A little quicker and more danceable. Love singing along with the chorus.
Dos Gardenias – Buena Vista Social Club
Also definitely a highlight of the Buena Vista Social Club album. Amazing story behind the song aswell. After watching Narcos (season 3 episode 1) ‘Dos Gardenias’ reminds me of that gruesome scene where Pacho takes care of an issue and then continues to dance to ‘Dos Gardenias’
Festa Sto Santiago – Mayra Andrade
Mayra Andrade reminds me of music from Curaçao, perhaps because the Portuguese language is very similar to Curaçao’s native language “Papiamento”. The whole album is amazing and very groovy.
Eda – Michael Brun, BélO, Adekunle Gold
‘Eda’ Reminds me of sunny times! ‘Eda’ is a very uplifting song and perfect for every setting. I both love getting hyped to this song and listening to it when I’m relaxing.
Be Honest – Jorja Smith (feat. Burna Boy)
Beautiful combination of Jorja Smith & Burna Boy’s talent. Crazy catchy, amazing bassline, great vocals. Bonus: Check the Tera Kòrá (w/ Midas Hutch) version of ‘Be Honest’ on Soundcloud for a more funky Jorja & Burna.
Vex Oh – KAYTRANADA (feat GoldLink, Ari PenSmith & Eight9FLY)
Kaytranada is one of the best producers out there. He proved this again with his new album ‘BUBBA’ of which I think ‘Vex Oh’, with GoldLink, Ari PenSmith & Eight9FLY, is definitely a highlight. Similar vibe as Jorja Smith & Burna Boy’s ‘Be Honest’
Move Me – Mura Masa, Octavian
Summer 2018. This brings me back to boating on Sundays and driving to the western point of Curaçao for beach hopping. Shoutout to Michael for showing me this song. Anthem.
Meditation – GoldLink (feat. Jazmine Sullivan & KAYTRANADA)
Yet another example of Kaytranada’s producing genius. When he teams up with Goldlink you can expect a great track. ‘Meditation’ is one of the best examples of what these two can do together. What I love most about this track is its wobbly bassline which also makes an appearance at the end of ‘TRACK UNO’ on the ’99.9%’ Album.
Vivid Dreams – Kaytranada (feat. River Tiber)
Those chords.. Kaytra set the bar so high with the 99.9% album and, for me, ‘VIVID DREAMS’ takes the #1 spot. (With ‘LITE SPOTS’ & its beautiful Brazilian vocals on a close second).
As with most of the tracks in this playlist, ‘VIVID DREAMS’ also takes me back to spending time at the beach & on the ocean.
Automatic – ZHU x AlunaGeorge
I remember Zhu was teasing his second EP “Genesis Series” during my high school senior year. He picked radio stations around the world to premier his tracks, of which ‘Automatic’ was first – premiered on BBC Radio 1. For two months – from the moment of the ‘Automatic’ premier till the official release of ‘Genesis Series’ – I listened to the 6 tracks on Soundcloud, including Radio commentary and Station Identification.
Paradise Awaits – ZHU
This song makes my mom think of December, when my brother and I go back to Curaçao for the holidays. In 2015 I made an “aftermovie” of that vacation with ‘Paradise Awaits’ as background music. It has since become tradition to play this track whenever we go boating.
Busy Earnin’ – Jungle
The first time I heard this track was on FIFA15. With every FIFA I would grow tired of the music because of how much time I would spend playing FIFA and consequently how much time I’d spend listening to these song. But I never grew tired of ‘Busy Earnin’’. ‘Busy Earnin’’ was my introduction to Jungle and I’ve been listening to them ever since.
Helix – Flume
I remember listening to ‘Helix’ for the first time when it was posted to Youtube as an ID from one of his concerts. He later released this, along with the ‘Skin’ Album at the beginning of summer 2016. In November of 2016 I saw him live in Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam (Now called AFAS Live) where he opened his set with ‘Helix’. I still can’t wrap my head around how someone can come up with something like ‘Helix’.
On Top – Flume (feat. T-Shirt)
One of my favorite songs from Flume. Always hypes me up, motivates me and gives me chills. It’s also one of the tracks I play in the plane during takeoff/landing. I always try to time it just right that the drop lines up with either wheels coming off from the ground or touching the ground for the first time.
Thunderclouds – LSD (feat. Sia, Diplo, Labrinth) [Lost Frequencies Remix]
The first time I heard this song was at Mysteryland 2019 during Diplo’s set. It was one of the last songs he played and was combined with beautiful lighting, visuals and Pyro. Same as with ‘On Top’, ‘Thunderclouds (Lost Frequencies Remix) Never fails to hype me up, especially when I think back to hearing it live. To really understand what I’m talking about – check the video I made of that moment here.
Working For It – ZHU X Skrillex X THEY
I also discovered ‘Working For It’ first back when it was still an ID. ‘Working For It’, to me, was a perfect example of artists with dissimilar styles coming together and giving us a perfectly balanced collaboration. The drop gets me every time – Dubstep influences from Skrillex combined with Zhu’s piano and THEY’s vocals. Perfect for getting hyped or motivated.