The music of international collective Shika Shika has always seemed to have special healing powers. With a roster that spans many different countries, their “organic electronic” concept is a thread that runs through each and every single piece of music they put out. Using folkloric instruments and natural sounds isn’t particularly new in electronic music, but they do it in such a way that’s aimed straight to the soul, creating experiences that will transport you to faraway places.
In the face of Trump’s power-hungry tyranny, the Shika Shika members saw this undoubtedly historic moment as an opportunity to provide listeners with solace and hope, right when we need it the most. They came together to release an 11-track compilation called Mare Insularum. Its title – which translates to “sea of islands”– references the name of one of the lunar seas, aligning with the collective’s mission to blur borders and genres. Only hours after executive orders have been signed to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, and to forbid the entrance of refugees from “countries of concern,” this music takes on new, rebellious meaning. As the crew puts it in the press release, “Despite the shift in the White House and the apparent slide into a dangerous new world, at Shika Shika we also believe 2017 is going to be a year of resistance and of hope.”
Shika Shika founders El Búho and Barrio Lindo gift us meditative tracks here. “Ocean of Storms” and “Caballos” are vibrant and restorative, while Nicola Cruz’s remix of Grupo Naidy’s “El Botellón” speaks directly to collective South American identity. Brazil’s Carrot Green and Canada’s Oonga contribute with joyful dance numbers to shake off the frustration, and the verdant textures in German producer Deela‘s “Sundance” will connect you with Mother Earth.
Today, in the middle of a global political shift where bigotry, racism, and xenophobia are exalted, the music on Mare Insularum reminds us of “the incredible things humans are able to do if they are open-minded, work together, cross borders and get creative,” as Shika Shika explains. This is protest music for modern times.