Words Lara Akinnawo Pictured AJ Holmes & The Hackney Empire
The London 2012 Olympics have been given an alternative underground soundtrack with new compilation album London’s Calling.
The album (which came out on 23 July) contains 14 reinterpreted classic songs about London by London-based musicians from different cultural backgrounds.
Krar Collective give Lily Allen's LDN an Ethio-jazz treatment, while Afrikan Boy (the London rapper behind the One Day I Went To Lidl video) has hooked up with Transglobal Underground to create an Afro-grime version of The Clash classic London’s Calling.
"The vibe in the studio was really cool," says Afrikan Boy. "We had a Jamaican artist as well who did a section of the chorus, and we remixed some of the lyrics – like adding the words 'immigration zone' to it, bringing the multiculturalism of Great Britain to the track. I also was able to drop my own verse, so all the topics I wanted to talk about were there."
African Boy collaborators and British afro-pop band AJ Holmes & The Hackney Empire also feature on the CD, doing their own version of Billy Bragg’s A13. "I took the inspiration from an old Afro-Cuban track – that was the body of the grove," says Holmes. "The latter part of the song was a tribute to a song called Mamouna by SUPER COMBO from Sierra Leone. It’s also quite obscure but it just so happens one of the band member's family – their dad – was in my band so we kind of knew it."
The full track list
Transglobal Underground featuring Afrikan Boy– London calling (The Clash)
AJ Holmes & the Hackney Empire - A13 trunk road to the sea (Billy Bragg)
Soothsayers - Streets of London (Ralph McTell)
Lokkhi Terra - Foggy day in London Town (Gershwin brothers)
Ionel’s Roma – London is the place for me (Lord Kitchener)
Cigdem Aslan & Hello Skinny – Soho (Bert Jansch)
Cumbe - Electric Avenue (Eddy Grant)
Jardares Por Fuera – I live in Trafalgar Square (C W Murphy)
Katy Prado & the Mamboleros - London Boys (‘London Girls’ The Vibrators)
Krar Collective – LDN (Lily Allen)
Los Desterrados – (Yo no quiero ir a) Chelsea (‘…Chelsea’ Elvis Costello)
Arun Ghosh - London calling (The Clash)
Lokkhi Terra - Itchycoo Park (The Small Faces)
Sam Lee & friends – London Lights (traditional)