Words: Colin Brownbill
From the very beginning in 2010, Auntie Flo and Andrew Thomson's international, multi-cultural party, Highlife, has been a true musical celebration. With global guests including everyone from Comeme Record's Matias Aguayo to legendary Indian musician Charanjit Singh, Highlife has brought colourful, exotic sounds to Glasgow's dancefloor, creating a club experience comparable to a carnival.
As well as hosting parties at the Sub Club, Art School and La Cheetah, the launch of Highlife's vinyl-only label also showcased releases from the likes of Red Axes, Mehmet Aslan and CAIN, while the Highlife World Series saw Auntie Flo and former Highlife resident Esa collaborating with musicians from countries like Cuba, Kenya and Uganda.
This Saturday Auntie Flo and Andrew celebrate Highlife's 7th birthday at The Art School with a back-to-basics resident's party. To get us in the mood, we asked the duo to select 7 tracks which have helped define the Highlife sound, from Emmanuel Jal's Innervisions classic 'Kuar' to DJ Sotofett's 12 minute sax-odyssey 'Foliage'. Listen to the playlist below and skip to the bottom of the page for you chance to enter a huge Highlife comp:
Rebolledo - Pitaya Frenesí
"We could have chosen any of the first 6 Comeme records - and probably have elsewhere. Thinking back now, it's unsurprising to us that Matias Aguayo's Comeme label in subsequent years, has established itself and its artists as one of the most exciting, freshest and innovative labels going. Those early records sounded familiar and relatable, but also very fun and exciting - a breath of fresh air amongst dullard, ploddy minimal that was still doing the rounds. This video is a good example of how music can be great AND fun. So it was fitting that we started Highlife with Rebolledo as our first guest."
Emmanuel Jal - Kuar (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
"This is maybe the most seminal Highlife record which still gets played by Brian around the world on a very regular basis. We share similar tastes with the Innervisions camp, and this is as much a good reason as any. The Oni Ayhun remix is also a cracker, but Schwarz on a soulful tip is hard to beat. Despite having heard it so many times, it never gets old."
Zinja Hlungwani - Nwa Gezani My Love
"Nozinja and the mighty Shangaan Electro are also another inspiration we have been happy enough to work with on a few occasions over the years - after being huge fanboys of their infectious sound."
DJ Sotofett - Foliage (808 Sax Mix)
"We could have chosen a bunch of DJ Sotofett records here, but this has probably been played the most by each of Highlife residents - this shouldn't be a surprise considering the mighty Gilb'r and Etienne Jaumet are also involved. More Sotofett news on the way :)"
Khidja - Mustafa (Timothy J Fairplay Remix)
"This is another one which we've all played to death. It took a moment to realise that it recreates the 'Raga' baseline from Charanjit Singh - who we were fortunate enough to include in our story having booked him a few years prior to his passing. RIP Charanjit! This is a fitting tribute."
Africaine 808 - Rhythm Is All You Can Dance (Wolf Muller Remix)
"A track that saw two of our favourite producers (and previous guests) join forces and begin to get further exposure. Rightfully so. They both continue to astound as each release passes."
Nicola Cruz - Espìritu de Protección (Multi Culti Flute-A-Pella)
"OK, it's early days, but we expect you'll be hearing this a lot over the coming months - you certainly will be if you catch us playing anywhere soon. Shout out to the Multi Culti crew who have been circling in our orbit for a good few years now and continue to impress with each release."
COMPETITION: To celebrate 7 years of Highlife, Auntie Flo & Andrew are giving two winners the chance to score a 12" and digital copy of Auntie Flo's incredible album 'Theory of Flo', a digi copy of 'Theory of Flo Remixed' and guestlist +2 for this Saturday's party. To be in with a chance, simply head over to the Highlife Facebook Event, click attending and tag the two friends you'd like to bring along with you in the event discussion. Highlife will announce the two winners on Saturday morning.
Listen to Auntie Flo & Andrew in the mix live from the Southbank as part of M.I.A's Meltdown Festival:
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