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YouTube Sessions: Auntie Flo

Although he’s a born-and-bred Glaswegian, Brian d’Souza doesn’t subscribe to the usual underground genres his city is famed for. Born to a Kenyan mother, he believed that he was part African until he left home, only discovering his Goan roots in late adolescence. Whilst he doesn’t pinpoint his backgrounds as the reason behind his broad influences, his multi-faceted tracks echo a deep understanding of different cultures.

Although since 2011 he’s been more widely known as Auntie Flo, following the release of his ‘Goan Highlife’ EP on Huntley & Palmers, d’Souza’s reputation has long been established having DJed, produced and hosted parties for well over a decade. Named after an elderly aunt in Goa, the Auntie Flo moniker first came to light in 2002 with a planned EP release. After this failed, he returned to study but soon came back to music with a new ear for experimental sounds and orchestral remixes. Since his debut on Huntley & Palmers, he’s been a label mainstay, following ‘Goan Highlife’ with ‘Oh My Days’ and his first LP ‘Future Rhythm Machine’, both proving huge successes and gaining him recognition from a wider audience.

Now a nationwide event, d’Souza’s known just as much for his Highlife club nights as his Afrobeat-infused productions. The nights began as a collaborative effort with his label, eschewing the standard tropes of UK club music and exploring our understanding of ‘World Music’ by marrying everything from South African Kwaiti to UK Funky. Going on for over 5 years, the successful series has hosted parties with artists all over the globe and has since spawned a label of the same name, alongside Esa Williams. Their latest label project is the Highlife World Series, a collaborative series of releases between Auntie Flo & Esa. The first three parts will all be released throughout 2015, beginning with Cuba, followed by Kenya (both out now) and finishing with Uganda (available for pre-order at the bottom of this article). Each release features original songs produced in collaboration with local musicians in each respective country.   

For this week’s YouTube Sessions, d’Souza has treated us with some of his favourite clips in a playlist of performances, percussion and a highly enthusiastic DJing champ…

F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto

Futurism was one of the core elements to my Future Rhythm Machine album and to subvert, challenge and work against the status quo is part of my ethos. Even if these Italians were a bunch of crazy bastards.

Harmonious Thelonious – Angewandte Muziek

I love this video! Raw, unyeilding, hypnotic – Harmonious Thelonious’ music often gets overlooked but it’s truly unique. Check the mix he did for one of my Rinse FM shows.

Sven Kacirek with Kayamba Players at Kwale

Collaboration is very much at the core of what we do. I missed out on the Kenya trip but Esa (Highlife co-resident) got over to the rift valley in Kenya and made some amazing music that we released as part of the Highlife World Series. Kacirek did a similar thing – his album is well worth checking.

Koto – Visitors

Italo Disco has to be the most euphoric fist pumping music ever created. I used to play at a night called Slabs of the Tabernacle where we’d occassionally dedicate all evening to playing Italo bangers like this.

Jay B and his Casio Sa-21

I fucking love old Casio keyboards! And have loads of them. This demo of the Sa21 reveals where I got a lot of my samples from, including my ‘Jas’ release on Comeme last year.

Buddy Miles – The Segment

Caribou/Daphni has been a massive influence on my music, ever since I played my first proper DJ set warming up for Dan (then known as Manitoba) and Four Tet back in 2002. This is an amazing sample from a mind blowing song.

DJ Pucuy DMC Champion Asia

I’m always amazed about how far music can travel. Once you put it out there it can be played out across the world but also ripped apart by the DJ or producer. Here’s a random scratch DJ from Indonesia starting his set with my ‘Oh My Days’.

Cairn String Quartet

In a similar vein, but closer to home. Here is a Scottish string quartet’s version of my ‘yllw fllw’ track. Such an honour when I heard this, completely unsolicited but totally welcome.

Auntie Flo will play alongside Gilles Peterson, Channel One Sound System, Romare + more for Global Rhythms at Oval Space on August 1st. Buy tickets here. Auntie Flo and Esa’s ‘Highlife World Series: Uganda’ is available for pre-order now.