Jul 14, 2017

From Germany: Renegades Of Jazz - Moyo Wangu


Biography

The story of Renegades Of Jazz begins around the end of the nineties, when its protagonist faces a time in life that sees most musical ambitions crumble against the harsh realities of life. Imagine David Hanke in his early twenties, driving his first car, wearing ripped jeans and a lumberjack shirt. On the back seat of his bright red Volkswagen Beetle an electric guitar is collecting dust, as David’s longlasting enthusiasm for rock music has been gradually waning for quite some time. The music that dominated his formative years seems to have lost much of its appeal – and then a tape appears. But first, let’s rewind a bit. Born in 1977, David Hanke spends the first years of his life in Arusha, Tanzania. Within eyeshot of Mount Kilimanjaro and the equally impressive dead volcano Mount Meru, David experiences an early, highly influential part of his childhood in this vibrant East African cultural metropolis. By the end of 1982, the family returns to Germany, where David first starts exploring his parents’ eclectic record collection.

When a musical avalanche called grunge and alternative rock starts conquering the world in 1991, David finds himself utterly fascinated: these genres begin to shape his musical identity. Inspired by bands such as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam or Screaming Trees, David teaches himself to play the guitar,
grows his hair and dabbles in several band projects. But over the years he comes to realize this sound just might not be the real deal. By the end of the decade that music feels too melancholy and the structures redundant, the scene has lost its appeal. The perfect time for a certain aforementioned tape
to make its appearance, popped into the bright red Beetle’s stereo by a good friend.

Thievery Corporation on one side, Visit Venus on the other – it didn’t take more for David to dive head first into the exciting soundscapes of downbeat and sample-based music. Sharing a flat with this friend of his, David gradually discovers funk, breakbeats and modern sampling culture. All of a sudden, everything seems possible to him, without a band and yet able to use any conceivable instrument he deems fit. He couldn’t have wished for a better creative kick-start. 2003 sees his first
productions come into existence, gratefully making use of his grandma’s jazz collection, and at the same time David starts a show called Rebel Radio on a local station. In 2006 he and DJ Deli-Kutt become Mash & Munkee, releasing their first EP two years later.

Renegades Of Jazz is established as restless David Hanke’s primary musical outlet in 2009, consciously referencing a modern classic that pushes musical boundaries, »Renegades Of Funk«. The way David handles Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop and Soul as building blocks of his very own musical form is just as open and playful, while still showing just the right amount of respect for his sources of inspiration. Renegades Of Jazz becomes the first act on the Wass Records imprint founded by the enterprising DJ and producer Smoove. The album »Hip To The Jive«, along with several singles and EPs, is released in 2011. The following year a remix album aptly titled »Hip To The Remix« shows just how internationally well-connected Hanke has become, ten years after almost quitting music for good.

Over 100 Renegades Of Jazz remixes for celebrated artists such as Brownout, Mop Mop and his own idols like Kid Loco or Skeewiff account for how determinately David Hanke forges ahead. But Renegades Of Jazz is no one-trick pony: his second album »Paradise Lost« refuses to just meet expectations. Rather than going along with the light-hearted swing of his debut and the infectious Dancefloor Funk of his remix works, much of the sophomore album is dominated by darker, more
unpredictable moods pointing towards Blues harmonies and percussive Afro-Funk. Cinematic horn arrangements and purposeful grooves find »Paradise Lost« evoking memories of the energy of Ellington’s Jungle Band, while never leaving a newly found balance of introspection and mature club
music.

agogo-records.com

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It’s the year 2016 and David Hanke, widely recognized under his moniker Renegades Of Jazz, is back with his third full-on longplay effort entitled ‘Moyo Wangu’.

After his conceptual and darker approach to his last album ‘Paradise Lost’ released in 2015, we see Renegades Of Jazz explore the world of Afrofunk here, a world David Hanke is deeply linked to since

Due to being exposed to the sound of this East African metropolis throughout his early childhood days the love for any kind of African rhythm signatures and vibes has stuck to this day and is now reflected in the twelve tracks on the album ‘Moyo Wangu’ – a Swahili expression that translates as ‘My heart’ and perfectly describes where his heart is at.

Already having introduced the audience to his love of all things Afro with the exclusive non-album track ‘Tempo Tempo’ that was featured on the ‘Hits Agogo One’ compilation earlier this year as well as with the first single release of the album ‘Afro Cookie’, a modern Afrofunk anthem with a distinctive twist that does not only refer to David Hanke’s personal linkage to Africa but also can be seen as the origin and starting point of the musical journey we’re about to experience here.
‘Moto Moto’ musically depicts the hot, vibrant feel of a jam-packed dancefloor throughout an amazing night out, ‘Beneath This African Blue’ brings on sweet midtempo grooves and the captivating ‘Harambee’ (Let’s work together) reflects the rhythm and reiterativeness of working together featuring the brass section of the Los Angeles-based Jungle Fire outfit who add their special heat.

The albums title track ‘Moyo Wangu’ caters uplifting Afrofunk at its best and sees Marseille-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Hugo Kant delivering some thrilling flute action with a Jazz-infused twist whilst ‘Them Who Walk Slow’ is on a more laid back and tropical tip.

With ‘Karibu Tena’ – Swahili for ‘Welcome Back (Again)’ – David Hanke returns to his spiritual home in a joyful, polyrhythmic way, ‘Zebra Talk’ is another collaborational effort featuring producer and multi-instrumentalist Kabanjak, also known for his works on other projects like Deela and as part of the Ancient Astronauts duo. The touching vibe of ‘Jamboree’ resembles the overwhelming joy and heartfelt spirit of gatherings and festivities.

‘Majirani Yako Kelele’ works bubbling dancefloors with a complex swing, ‘Jazz Makossa’ amalgamates influences taken from highly Jazz-infused Makossa music and their traditional call & response techniques to a thrilling effect and finally ‘Prison Island’ concludes the album with a sweet yearning and laid back melancholia referring to the legend and history of a small island, also known as Changuu or Kibandiko, located only a few miles off shore of the beautiful Zanzibar Archipelago.

agogo-records.com

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With 'Moyo Wangu' (Swahili for "my heart"), German musician and producer David Hanke, better known as Renegades Of Jazz, indicates where his heart really lies. Hanke spent much of his childhood in Arusha; a city in Northern Tanzania situated near the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, and on 'Moyo Wangu' explores the world of afrobeat, afro funk, afro jazz and makossa. The track list of the album also features a series of guest musicians: for 'Harambee' (Swahili for "Let us work together", see also the eponymous hit by Rita Marley) Hanke invited the horn section of American band Jungle Fire, in title track 'Moyo Wangu' the flute of multi-instrumentalist Hugo Kant is given a major role, and in 'Zebra Talk', Kabanjak, half of German deejay duo Ancient Astronauts, makes an appearance. If you're not averse to a bit of African groove, open your heart and give 'Moyo Wangu' a chance; you won't regret it!

rebelbase.be
 

Jul 12, 2017

From South Africa: Pacific Express - Black Fire


Matsuli Music is proud to announce the re-issue of Black Fire, the 1976 debut album of legendary Cape Town jazz funk band Pacific Express. The band was home to jazz musicians Chris Schilder, and Basil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee as well as fusion and soul musicians Robbie Jansen, Issy Ariefdien, Paul Abrahams, Jack Momple and Zayn Adam.

This album is hard evidence of that 1976 musical moment in which Pacific Express forged an entirely new South African sound and musical identity out of what was ‘Cape Town Jazz’, Latin, R&B, soul, pop and fusion.

From the political heat of 1976 come the militant, upbeat and irresistible funk tracks Black Fire and Brother - where singer Zayn Adam calls out for hope and optimism in spite of present difficulties. The pace moves down a gear for heart-felt ballads and Latin-tinged jazz instrumentals. Group leader Chris Schilder, after his deep jazz beginnings with Winston Mankunku Ngozi and the cream of Cape Town’s jazz crop had already spent some time with seminal black fusion group The Drive in the early seventies. Black Fire lays down a fusion of jazz funk and soul that was later picked up on and developed by Spirits Rejoice and others.

Black Fire presents the core repertoire that made Pacific Express the resident band sensation they became at the Sherwood Lounge in Manenberg, Cape Town in the mid-seventies. The ‘coloured’ township of Manenberg – about 20km away from Cape Town’s city centre, and cut off from the black settlements of Gugulethu and Nyanga by a railway track – had been officially established in 1966, based on the apartheid regime’s belief that what they defined as different “racial groups” could not live harmoniously together. Residents had been forcibly removed from and ‘relocated’ from the various suburbs now being allocated to ‘white’ people. Manenberg and surrounds were “quite a rough place” reflects Chris Schilder (now Ebhrahim Kalil Shihab).  “But the Sherwood Lounge was located close to the highway, so people could come in without getting mixed up in whatever was a happening on the streets. And once we opened – people flocked.”

Matsuli Music is proud to add the debut album of this Cape Town ‘supergroup’ among our growing catalogue of high-quality re-issues of classic South African afro-jazz on vinyl. New liner notes from acclaimed jazz historian Gwen Ansel claim this album as the first successful confluence of multiple styles delivering a uniquely South African but also globally accessible new musical expression.

Officially released on 1 June 2017.

matsulimusic.bandcamp.com



Jul 5, 2017

King Bucknor Jr. And His Afrodisk Beat Organisation ‎– Vol. II The Black Isaiah Of Africa - African Woman



A fantastic afro-beat album from a Fela Anikulapo Kuti disciple and Kalakuta Republic member. A sublime spiritual and political session recorded in 1979 at the Emi studio in Lagos ( Nigeria). Arranged and self produced , this second Kingsley Buckor ‘s album , hopelessly obscure and impossible to find ranks alongside the best afro-beat album in history!

At the age of 19, King Bucknor Jr also known as the Black Isaiah of Africa released his second album backed by a 16 band members called « The Afrodisk » and 10 background singers . Two long and hypnotic grooves with all the afro -beat ingredients, fluid and complex drums patterns, strong horns, female voices on chorus, strong lyrics , beautiful keys and horns solos .
Essential for all the afro collectors and music lovers.

hotcasarecords.com


Hot Casa present a reissue of King Bucknor Jr. & Afrodisk Beat 79's African Woman, originally released in 1979. African Woman is a fantastic Afro-beat album from the Fela Anikulapo Kuti disciple and Kalakuta Republic member. A sublime spiritual and political session recorded in 1979 at the EMI studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Arranged and self-produced, Kingsley Bucknor's second album, hopelessly obscure and impossible to find, ranks alongside the best Afro-beat albums in history. At the age of 19, King Bucknor Jr., also known as the Black Isaiah of Africa, released his second album backed by a 16-piece band called The Afrodisk, and ten background singers. Two long and hypnotic grooves with all the Afro-beat ingredients: fluid and complex drums patterns, strong horns, female voices on chorus, strong lyrics, beautiful keys, and horns solos. Essential for all Afro collectors and music lovers. Vinyl replica; Remastered by Carvery (UK); Includes inner sleeve with an interview.

forcedexposure.com 


Tracklist

Face 1: Woman Nature ( 16.01)
Face 2: Mr Debtor ( 14.40)

Jul 4, 2017

Antibalas - Where the Gods are in Peace


In Spanish, antibalas means “bulletproof”, and while the band of that name has so far avoided lunatics with assault rifles, it’s showing definite signs of being indestructible. Despite recent and extensive lineup changes, New York City’s Afrobeat juggernaut is now readying its first full-length release since 2012 and touring the jazz-festival circuit with renewed vigour.

As singer-percussionist Sifu Amayo explains, it’s kind of an old-meets-new situation. Under the London-born, Lagos-raised musician’s direction, Antibalas is returning to its roots in the sounds he experienced at the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Shrine nightclub when he was a teenager: hypnotic, drum-heavy jams topped off with jazzy horn solos and a socially conscious message. But the younger players who have flooded into the band’s lineup since 2015 are also bringing their own 21st-century touches, including electronic treatments and heavier guitars.

“We have a new generation of musicians who have joined, just in the past year,” Amayo tells the Straight in a telephone interview from his Brooklyn home. “So just to get them going we’ve been reviving some of what I call older new material—a lot of stuff that I’d written in the past that was very epical—big, big compositions that just did not fit on the albums that we were doing back then.
“I was kind of holding on to the idea of playing longer compositions that made people study and think and want to know more, as opposed to the three-minute songs that we’re all more used to,” he continues. “So it was an opportunity to try something old and new—‘old’ meaning how we used to listen to music back in the day. You’d put an LP on and let it play, and you’d make time to listen to it. So that’s where we are right now.”

Where the Gods Are at Peace, which Antibalas will release in August, exemplifies this new approach. It contains just three long songs, which link together as the first leg of an eventual trilogy with sci-fi overtones. The central concept involves the arrival of new gods—or “alien cowboys”, as Amayo notes—who join forces with indigenous landkeepers and others to clean up the mess we’re now in.
“Some of us are struggling with this situation where we are today; some of us are coping badly,” Amayo explains. “So I figured, as a musician, I had a mission to look ahead and offer some sort of… Not solutions, but I’m saying ‘Okay, why don’t we just push forward?’ So that’s my perspective: I want to go to a place where the gods are at peace, not a world where the gods are constantly at war.”
And what better way to get there than through music?

straight.com

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Imagine a world where every person is temporarily transported to outer space for the sole purpose of looking back on earth to experience its sheer beauty. For a brief moment, we could all escape the greatest atrocities of our time and take in an outer-world perspective to see all of humanity living in harmonious coexistence. Brooklyn's own Afrobeat stalwarts Antibalas welcomes you aboard an enlightening cosmic voyage to witness the world in a new collective realm, and to journey off to a majestic multi-dimensional island, Where The Gods Are In Peace (Daptone Records: September 15, 2017). As depicted on Antibalas' latest album cover, the intergalactic golden island is a most desirable place waiting for your arrival!

Antibalas' new studio album, Where The Gods Are In Peace, is an epic Afro-Western Trilogy searching for solace from American political opportunism, greed and vengeance. Through its battle cry of resistance against exploitation and displacement, Antibalas' long-form compositions investigate oppression in 1800s America that eerily mirror the current state of the country. Three explosive original arrangements cultivate an urgent call to heal a broken system. Ultimately, the sonic excursion lands on an island where love is our first instinct. A new ideology is born opening our hearts to the possibilities of living as one unified people, where all gods are equal and together we prevail.

True to traditional form, Where The Gods Are In Peace pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to 15 minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band's career, Antibalas has long been revered for re-popularizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit to the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond.

Where The Gods Are In Peace unfolds with "Gold Rush," a tribute to our forgotten indigenous people. A kung-fu master by day and Afrobeat superstar by night, lead singer Duke Amayo initiates a striking narrative from the devastation of the Gold Rush era. Indigenous communities being depleted of land and resources for the profit supporting a greedy system, Amayo sings of the bloodshed and sacrifice endured by legends Black Hawk, Sun Dancer and Sitting Bull. Reparations are in order for fallen indigenous heroes and slaves who tirelessly fought for freedom.

In the historical lesson presented with "Gold Rush," Antibalas sets forth a thick interlocking groove with a backdrop of hard truths. Dancing with a higher purpose in feeling the pain of the past while ecstatic rhythms move the soul is a form of creative resistance. To engage in full body movement intersected with poignant lyrical expression bonds communities in service of helping rehabilitate the world.

"I don't see what's happening in our country and around the globe as a problem, it's an opportunity," says Amayo. "We fight the hardest when things are about to change. Our generation has the incredible ability to make things better for generations to come. We're at a critical tipping point, it's time for change."

The second composition, "Hook & Crook," is a fearless portrayal of the inherent thievery embedded in our colonial past. Amayo sings of "soaring up Kilimanjaro" to gain a broader perspective to realize he must detach from "crooked hooks." People have the power to wake up, march and dance with defiance. It's time to act now, shake up the system, and end the crooked cycle.

Comprised of three movements, "Tombstown" enters a new beginning, an island rich with gold and lush with resources where balance is restored. The opening movement sets course on being good-doers. Amayo sings, "One whose turn is up, make the world good." When it comes your turn, leaders do good, be just, and act wise.

For the second movement, Antibalas invites Zap Mama to invoke the powers of a goddess to help reshape and rebuild, to carry water to the people. Obstacles arise with an outlaw sheriff galloping to loot hearts and return people to a broken system. In the face of victory, there's always those who try to slow you down. In the final movement, people must elevate to higher ground with spiritual guidance leading them to the gates of Zion. Beyond the gates the outlaw cannot go; we move into the future with open hearts with infinite possibilities.

"There's something unique about making music during these dark times, you're really able to make a difference," says Martín Perna, baritone saxophonist and founder of Antibalas. "It's essential to respond to what's happening politically around the world, and the album title suggests that if the gods are not getting along, then how could people get along. It takes humans out of being at the center of life. Our role as musicians is to present the best art possible, which should ask more questions than it answers."

forums.stevehoffman.tv



Jul 3, 2017

Songhoy Blues - Résistance


You’ve got to applaud a band who go above and beyond just to be able to write, play and record their own songs. After guitarist Garba Touré’s home in northern Mali was occupied by jihadists with a violent hatred of music, he fled south to Bamako, the capital, and formed Songhoy Blues with three other musicians.

It is no wonder, then, that ‘Bamako’, the second track on their second studio album, Résistance, is so full of life. This is the place they sought solace, and you can hear it. It’s a song about having a good night out in a town full of energy, and it’s a track that kicks back with brass bursts on odd riffs, adding to the already swelling funked-up guitar line, the stalwart of this band’s sound.

When Damon Albarn’s Africa Express musical project came to Bamako, Songhoy Blues auditioned and were picked to contribute a track to a compilation album, working with Nick Zinner, guitarist of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They named their first album Music in Exile, a sure-fire description of the band’s dangerous beginnings and an indication of where the anti-music terror of northern Mali had taken them – far from their home.
It then took them on successful tours all around the world. If Résistance stands for something different from that first record, it is the sound of the band continuing to fight back. Music is their form of resistance, and the joy of their sound, as well as the plethora of musical influences they picked up on tour, embody their defiance in never allowing something as life-affirming as music to be taken from them.

The communal spirit lives on. The nature of this music is the expanding joy and its danceable nature – it’s no wonder others want to get in on the act. Notable collaborations on this record come from punk-rock legend Iggy Pop, as well as South London grime artist Elf Kid. At the beginning of ‘Sahara’ is Iggy Pop shouting a somewhat unnecessary “We’re going to the Sahara, baby”, before half-singing, half-speaking “It’s a genuine culture / No Kentucky-fried chicken.” It’s a ridiculous line, made all the more prominent with it being one of the record’s very few lines in English, but you have to imagine it all being said with a smile, from Iggy and the band alike. The track is saved by a wonderfully incessant guitar groove which breaks down into a cutting psych-rock jam, heralded by a funk which resonates throughout the record, continuing with no sense of stopping through slower numbers like ‘Hometown’ and ‘One Colour’, where even a children’s choir doesn’t diminish from the undeniable groove of this band.

Elf Kid’s verse on ‘Mali Nord’ is lyrically typical of the South London grime scene. You could argue that this Lewisham youth has few problems compared to the genuine risk of losing your hands if you are caught playing music, a very real risk once faced by the members of Songhoy Blues. But hearing the voice of a young rapper alert to the problems of asylum-seeking is reassuring. It also seems to point in just the direction the Songhoy boys are after: of varying people from any background coming together simply to play music.

It’s a music difficult to neatly categorise (as much of the best music often is) and western listeners should be careful not to generalise. Any notion of ‘desert music’, associated with the legendary Sahara stalwarts Tinariwen, doesn’t quite fit here. The musicians may all be from Western Africa with similar back-stories of having escaped troubles in their homelands, but where Tinariwen take a back-seat groove approach, Songhoy Blues are their younger, faster champions, with a far fuller pocket of energy. This quartet are very much a pop guitar band, borrowing from American blues icons like the Jimi Hendrix or John Lee Hooker they spent their teenage years stuck on, or Talking Heads' Remain in Light, which, itself, took inspiration from Western African music.

Traditional African influences come to the surface in the spirit with which frontman Aliou Touré sings in a loving call-and-response style with his bandmates. Short solos for fiddle bring tracks like ‘Hometown’ back to the roots of what this kind of ‘folk’ music – in its very original sense, meaning music of the people, of ordinary, acoustic instruments – is about. Elsewhere, handheld percussion cuts through the chorus of ‘Yersi Yadda’, competing with the Western drum kit, but even keener to stick to the slinky guitar riff it emulates.

Where British guitar bands like the Arctic Monkeys have failed in enabling their audiences to dance in any way more stylised than an up-down jump, this guitar band play songs you could very nearly jive to, partner in hand.

drownedinsound.com



Jun 30, 2017

Fela Kuti built his music ...




....  around a distrust of Nigeria's elites. Now they're the audience for the musical about his life.

It’s a humid Thursday evening at one of the most exclusive hotels in Lagos, and police are everywhere. They check drinks at every entrance, supervise metal detectors and patrol the lobby in bulletproof vests while hundreds of wealthy Lagosians and expats sip overpriced cocktails and munch on fancified street food.

Security is always tight at private events in this city of 22 million, but the cops’ presence feels especially strange because the guests who paid $15 to $160 to be at the Eko Hotel are there to see a bare-bones version of a Broadway show celebrating the life and music of a singer who built his reputation on his fervent hatred of the Nigerian elite and the police who protect them.

“Them dey break, yes, them dey steal, yes, them dey loot, yes,” Fela Kuti sang about the police and military, before he died of AIDS in 1997. “Them dey rape, yes, them dey burn, yes, them dey burn.”
Across town, Kuti’s son, Femi, was preparing for his weekly public rehearsal at his family’s legendary concert hall, the Shrine, where entrance is free most nights of the week, cold beers are $1.50, and a joint doesn’t cost much more.

The contradiction of these two coinciding events underscores some of the inherent challenges of reproducing a Broadway show in the city where it’s set. That’s especially true in Lagos, the West African megacity defined by its vast income inequality, a theme central to much of Fela Kuti’s music.

Kuti was known worldwide as the king of Afrobeat. He produced about 50 albums of politically conscious music that enraged the Nigerian government and defended universal struggles of the working class, earning himself comparisons to Bob Marley.

The musical “Fela!” premiered off-Broadway in New York in 2008 and moved to Broadway the following year. Since its debut, more than a million people have seen the production across the United States and England, and it has racked up three Tony Awards. The show chronicles Kuti’s difficult life, features his original music and offers audiences a lens into his rise to fame, which led to his violent encounters with police and soldiers who targeted him for his political lyrics.

When Kuti’s son, Femi, a famous musician in his own right, first heard about the show celebrating his father, he claimed he would only watch it in New York if the producers promised it would later come to Nigeria. “When I finally saw it, I cried like a baby,” Kuti said. “I wasn’t ready. They took my mind back.”

And the production team kept its side of the promise, bringing “Fela!” home for the first time in 2011 and the second time last month. But there’s a discord between the somewhat glamorous story of Fela’s ascent and the way a musical celebrating him had to be packaged when it was brought to his hometown.

“When you present this play in New York or in London, it’s a story,” said Rikki Stein, Kuti’s longtime manager and friend, who served as executive producer for “Fela!” “In Lagos, it’s history.”
To Nigerians, Kuti was much more than a singer. He was one of the country’s first musicians who tried to use his fame as a force for good. His lyrics criticized the Nigerian government for corruption and human rights abuses, and Kuti paid the price: He was arrested about 200 times, and his mother died from injuries she sustained during a military raid on their home. At one point, soldiers assigned to stop his performances burned down the original Shrine.

None of that slowed Kuti down. He even tried to run for president. “He proclaimed that his first act upon being elected would be to enroll the entire population in the police force,” Stein wrote in Kuti’s obituary. “Then, he said, ‘Before a policeman could slap you, he would have to think twice because you’re a policeman, too.’” (Unsurprisingly, Nigerian officials barred him from participating in the election.)

Even two decades after his death, Kuti’s music is played and replayed across the country, and his lyrics remain ever relevant to Nigerians’ daily lives.

Lagos is the most populous city in Africa, and Nigeria’s massive oil industry has created a visible wealth gap here. Decades-old waterfront slums now sit in the shadows of high-rise condominiums, and there’s so much demand for luxury apartments that developers are building man-made islands to create more space to accommodate them. The cost of living in the city’s most expensive areas is comparable to Los Angeles or New York.

In the poorer areas, deep in the heart of mainland Lagos, where Kuti’s son Femi lives, electricity will go out for weeks at a time. And an unemployment crisis has prompted so many Nigerians to leave the country that they accounted for 10% of all migrants and refugees who crossed the Mediterranean during 2016, according to the United Nations.

Despite Nigeria’s class struggle, time has changed Kuti’s legacy here, allowing the very people he criticized to come to appreciate his music and his movement. “Fela! The Concert” ran for four nights in Lagos in April, and while it may have been marketed to a higher-income bracket, its goal was to continue to share and celebrate Kuti’s life and impact in Nigeria.

Kuti earned his fame while the country was ruled by a military dictatorship. It has since transitioned to a fledgling democracy, and while corruption and abuse of power remain rampant, Kuti’s international recognition and the passage of time have softened his reputation. Once seen solely as a maker of protest music, now he is embraced with pride by mainstream Nigerian culture.
In the latest rendition of the musical, the producers dropped much of the original storyline to create a stripped-down show of Kuti’s most famous hits. The downsizing was largely a logistical decision, Stein said. When the musical cast visited Lagos in 2011, it took 40 tons of equipment, five trucks and 94 people just to unload and install the set. Despite the adjustments, the most recent show didn’t disappoint: It was complete with a 10-piece Afrobeat band, a troupe of dancers, and of course, Kuti himself, played by American actor Sahr Ngaujah.

On opening night, Kuti’s fans flooded excitedly into an air-conditioned concert hall at the hotel, and those in the front rows were soon on their feet. Many of the attendees who dished out for tickets are not regulars at the Shrine, where Femi Kuti still plays twice a week. Still, the younger Kuti understands his father’s reach, and has become more open to remembrances that honor him in different settings.

“Everyone loved him because his touched everyone’s pain,” Kuti said of his father. “Plumber, carpenter, driver, house help — everybody understood him.”

Ola Abidakun, a local government official who paid $75 for his seats to the show at the Eko Hotel was drawn to it in part because it wasn’t a Nigerian production. “When I heard it was performed by non-Nigerians, non-Africans, even, I thought, ‘That’s amazing,’” he said. “‘I just have to see it.’”
Abidakun’s comments run contrary to what Femi described as the most common criticism his father’s friends and fans have expressed over the original show. When talk first emerged about the American interpretation of Kuti’s stories, many people believed it should have been produced and cast by Nigerians. But Femi came to disagree with that sentiment, and now sees the benefits of showcasing it with an international hook. The level of dramatic and musical training needed to make the show work couldn’t have happened without the support available on Broadway, he said.

In 2011, at Femi’s request, the “Fela!” cast performed one show for a jam-packed crowd at the Shrine, and tickets were only a few bucks a pop. But the sheer cost of moving a massive performance abroad means that just to break even, the tickets can’t always be so affordable. After that opening night, the show moved to the Eko Hotel, where it also lived for the entirety of its return to Lagos last month. On that first night at the hotel in April, the audience called for encore after encore.
“Fela’s life deserves to be global,” Femi said. “He deserves for everyone to understand Nigeria and the political climate, what was happening in his mind and what his struggles were.”

Originally published @ latimes.com


Jun 29, 2017

Dem Juju Poets - Liberated Thoughts


What initially started as idea for a DJ-duo project quickly turned into a new production outlet for German producer David Hanke. He is well known for his Northern Jazz, Funk and Afrofunk productions under various monikers ever since his first release back in 2008. The most recognized surely is his Renegades Of Jazz-alias.

After starting to fully embrace the Afrofunk vibe with his 2016-released Renegades Of Jazz album 'Moyo Wangu' as well as two Dem Juju Poets singles in the same year it's now about time to release 'Liberated Thoughts' - the longplay debut for Dem Juju Poets which is scheduled for April 2017.

Having spent an influential part of his childhood in Arusha, Tanzania and engrained the music of East Africa, his sound combines these influences with modern, more club-orientated electronic Afrofunk productions which defines the core sound of Dem Juju Poets.

With 'Liberated Thoughts' Hanke refines his Afrofunk vision for 2017 informed by his experience as a DJ in venues all over Europe which naturally led to a more floor functional production approach.

Some feedback:

„Pretty cool new project from David. Many killer groovy joints for a happy dancefloor!“ Andrea Benini, Mop Mop (Berlin | Germany)

„Top Vibrant Stuff!“ Michael Ruetten, Compost Records (Frankfurt | Germany)

„I was very curious about the record and have to say it’s fantastic! It’s like I expected it to be - a great hybrid of broken beats and Afro sounds. Full support!“ Shantisan, Royal Soul Records (Vienna | Austria)

„After ‚Moyo Wangu‘ another awesome production from David Hanke. Will support this!“ Tony Heynen, Global Riddims (Brussels | Belgium)

matasunarecords.bandcamp.com


May 10, 2017

Calabar-Itu Road: Groovy Sounds From South Eastern Nigeria 1972-1982

 


When most people think about Nigerian music, the first thing that comes to mind is Lagos—the country’s main commercial center, the glittering megacity that spawned Yoruba-speaking music luminaries such as Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Sir Shina Peters and Wizkid. But Nigeria is a country of rich diversity, especially in its music: From the Igbo highlife and rock bands of east-central region, to the deep Edo roots rhythms from the midwest, to the keening, ornamented Fulani melodies of the north. But one region whose music has remained largely underexplored is the south eastern land of the Efik and Ibibio ethnic groups in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State—the region colloquially referred to as “Calabar.” A cradle of culture, this region was one of the earliest outposts of Nigerian popular music. Its primordial rhythms traveled across the Atlantic during the slave trade to provide the part of the foundation for Afro-Cuban grooves that would go on to influence the development of jazz, rock & roll, R&B and funk. With the new Calabar-Itu Road compilation, Comb & Razor Sound presents15 heavy tracks recorded in the decade between 1972 and 1982, spotlighting rare music from “Calabar” superstars such as Etubom Rex Williams, Cross River Nationale, Charles “Effi” Duke, The Doves and Mary Afi Usuah. The package features a magazine-style booklet containing a wealth of information about the milieu with rare photographs and illustrations. The Calabar-Itu Road is the major artery linking modern-day Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. And Calabar-Itu Road: Groovy Sounds from South Eastern Nigeria (1972-1982) will link the region’s music to the rest of the world!

Limited edition for Black Friday RSD 2016!

hhv

May 5, 2017

Analog Africa: Pop Makossa - The Invasive Dance Beat Of Cameroon 1976-1984



The noteworthy reissue label dishes up another foot-shaking classic-in-the-making.
In 2009, Analog Africa’s founder Samy Ben Redjeb travelled to Cameroon and returned with enough music to document a shapeshifting era in the country’s popular music landscape.

Pop Makossa – The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976–1984 collects feverish funk and disco belters that “plugged Cameroon’s traditional makossa style into the modern world,” held together by a beat that has its origins in a funeral dance.

Out June 16, the 12-track compilation comprises tracks from the likes of teenage prodigy Bill Loko – whose monster hit ‘Nen Lambo’ you can hear below – producer Mystic Djim and Dream Stars’ jewel-in-the-crown, ‘Pop Makossa Invasion’. See the full tracklist below.

Framed by an incredible cover image that depicts a figure wearing a traditional mask in the midst of a modern Cameroonian city, Pop Makossa follows last year’s superb Space Echo compilation and is set to be another coveted release from the ever-reliable imprint.

factmag.com

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An explosive  compilation highlighting the era when funk and disco sounds  began to infiltrate Cameroon's Makossa style. The beat that holds everything together originate's from the Sawa people's rhythms. When these rhythms collided with merengue, high-life, Congolese rumba, and, later, funk and disco, modern Makossa was born. Makossa, the beat that long before football, managed to unify the whole of Cameroon. Some of the greatest Makossa hits incorporated the electrifying guitars and tight grooves of funk, while others were laced with cosmic synth flourishes.

However, most of this music's vibe came down to the bass, and 'Pop Makossa' demonstrates why many Cameroonian bass players are among the most revered in the world.

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Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve with 20-page booklet; 140 gram vinyl. The Pop Makossa adventure started in 2009, when Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb first travelled to Cameroon to make an initial assessment of the country's musical situation. He returned with enough tracks for an explosive compilation highlighting the period when funk and disco sounds began to infiltrate the makossa style popular throughout Cameroon. From the very beginning, there were several mysteries hanging over Pop Makossa. It was not until DJ and music producer Déni Shain was dispatched to Cameroon to finalize the project, license the songs, scan photographs, and interview the artists that some of the biggest question marks began to disappear. His journey from the port city of Douala to the capital of Yaoundé brought him in contact with the lives and stories of many of the musicians who had shaped the sound of Cameroon's dance music in its most fertile decade. The beat that holds everything together has its origins in the rhythms of the Sawa people: ambassey, bolobo, assiko and essewé, a traditional funeral dance. But it wasn't until these rhythms arrived in the cities of Cameroon and collided with merengue, high-life, Congolese rumba, and, later, funk and disco, that modern makossa was born. Makossa managed to unify the whole of Cameroon, and it was successful in part because it was so adaptable. Some of the greatest makossa hits incorporated the electrifying guitars and tight grooves of funk, while others were laced with cosmic flourishes made possible by the advent of the synthesizer. However much came down to the bass; and from the rubbery hustle underpinning Mystic Djim's "Yaoundé Girls" to the luminous liquid disco lines which propel Pasteur Lappé's "Sekele Movement", Pop Makossa demonstrates why Cameroonian bass players are some of the most revered in the world. "Pop Makossa Invasion", an obscure tune recorded for Radio Buea makes its debut here and joins the pantheon of extraordinary songs that plugged Cameroon's makossa style into the modern world. Also features: Dream Stars, Mystic Djim & The Spirits, Bill Loko, Eko, Olinga Gaston, Emmanuel Kahe et Jeanette Kemogne, Nkodo Si-Tony, Bernard Ntone, Pat' Ndoye, and Clément Djimogne.

forcedexposure.com 


Tracklist
 
01. Dream Stars – ‘Pop Makossa Invasion’
02. Mystic Djim & The Spirits – ‘Yaoundé Girls’
03. Bill Loko – ‘Nen Lambo’
04. Pasteur Lappé – ‘Sanaga Calypso’
05. Eko – ‘M’ongele M’am’
06. Olinga Gaston – ‘Ngon Engap’
07. Emmanuel Kahe et Jeanette Kemogne – ‘Ye Medjuie’
08. Nkodo Si-Tony – ‘Mininga Meyong Mese’
09. Pasteur Lappé – ‘The Sekele Movement’
10. Bernard Ntone – ‘Mussoliki’
11. Pat’ Ndoye – ‘More Love’
12. Clément Djimogne – ‘Africa’



Mar 30, 2017

From South Africa: Black Disco - Night Express



Press ‘play’ and the soulful notes of Basil ‘Mannenberg’ Coetzee’s saxophone tell you two things. First, Night Express is great music. But, second, the sound doesn’t fit neatly into any of the mid-70s South African musical genre boxes. This was an era when Abdullah Ibrahim’s music spoke to popular audiences as well as jazz fundis, with the bump jive mood of Mannenberg as representative as the more abstract piano explorations of Underground in Africa. It was also the heyday of Soweto Soul, when groups such as Jacob ‘Mpharanyana’ Radebe’s Cannibals melded hoarse lead vocals, sweet female backing choruses and Ray Phiri’s fiery guitar into South Africa’s answer to the Stax sound.

There are flavours of all of these in Night Express, and something else too: a quiet wistfulness that’s slightly more Philly than Memphis. Maybe it’s those insistent Yamaha organ riffs with which Ismail ‘Pops’ Mohamed underpins the themes… or maybe it’s something more. Because Night Express was not only a funky, compelling hit record in its day. It was also part of a series of ‘70s releases, three as Black Disco and two as Movement in the City, that were a declaration of musical identity from communities whose jazz histories have hardly been documented yet: the apartheid-defined ‘coloured’ townships of Johannesburg’s East Rand.

For the ideologues of apartheid, ‘coloured’ was a genetic destiny. In truth, the category encompassed many: families of mixed heritage; descendants of the Khoi, San and Griqua peoples; and others who did not fit (or did not wish to fit) neatly within the regime’s other rigid racial categories. Confined together by residence controls, these communities developed their own vibrant cultural life. They were neither homogenous (Cape Town’s musical tastes were subtly different from those of Johannesburg) nor insulated, despite the regime’s best efforts, from the currents of black urban popular music. Mohamed’s home suburb, Reiger Park—formerly Stirtonville—abutted both the black township of Vosloorus and, earlier, the hard to police informal settlement of Kalamazoo, and musical and social sharing offered lived defiance to apartheid.

Mohamed had started his musical journey at Dorkay House, where he studied guitar and was able to hear the rehearsals of jazz legends such as saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi. Later, it became one of his meeting and rehearsal spaces. “Me being from the East Rand,” he says, “I saw the Jo’burg guys as somewhere up there. I was in awe.” By the early 1970s, not long out of school, he was working with an outfit called The Dynamics, influenced by the assertive Soweto Soul sound of groups such as The Cannibals and The Beaters (later Harari). “I was also listening to a lot of Timmy Thomas—I loved the track Why Can’t We Live Together?—and I’d acquired a Yamaha organ to explore that kind of sound.”

Just before the first Black Disco album was made, Rashid Vally’s As-Shams label (which also handled The Dynamics) had released Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mannenberg. Mohamed already knew bassist Sipho Gumede from Dorkay House. At Vally’s Kohinoor record store, he was introduced to Capetonian Coetzee, still in town after the Mannenberg recording session. “Rashid said: ‘This is Pops—he’s a new guy and he’s got compositions. Why don’t you guys talk...?’” Mohamed remembers. A vehicle was hired to bring his Yamaha from his home, and the first Black Disco album was cut: a trio with no drummer.

“We had one hit track from that,” says Mohamed. “Dark Clouds was hugely popular in the coloured townships. It had a bass line inspired by Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. We did it in the Gallo Studios in about two hours—no re-takes. And on that track, Basil speeded the tune up with a long solo over the bass line, which made the track incredibly powerful”. At that time, Mohamed was still feeling his way through jazz-style soloing. “Sipho and Basil told me: just play what your heart is telling you. They were my mentors.”

The success led to a second recording session, this time with drummer Peter Morake, for a new album initially called Black Discovery/Night Express—until the censor decided that ‘black discovery’ (Coetzee’s idea, with the scorching eleven minute Night Express, his composition, two were by Mohamed, and the rest covers) sounded far too revolutionary.

Night Express was an instant hit, and Black Disco (one of several names the group bore, with shifting personnel when Gumede or Coetzee were not in town) was able to graduate from its previous three-hour afternoon sessions in township school halls. “You needed a hell of a repertoire,” recalls Mohamed. “Most songs were very short in those days.” After Night Express, they were welcomed by more upmarket venues such as Club Matador, Club New York and Planet Fordsburg, a nightclub with a ballroom upstairs where, rather than screaming groupies, they played for older, more affluent listeners interested in discussing the music.

“The sound the three of us had developed,” says Mohamed, “was very special. We were bridging between a Jo’burg and a Cape Town feel—but still keeping the funk alive.” For Mohamed’s community, “the people who were looked up to were Richard Jon Smith, Danny Williams and Sammy Brown from Kliptown. Gamble and Huff, pioneers of the Philadelphia soul sound, had heard him singing somehow and wrote to Gallo suggesting they’d like to write a song for him. And Gallo said: ‘We don’t pay that kind of money for songs even for our white musicians, let alone for a coloured performer!’ When I had a hit with Black Disco, the community became proud of me in a similar way.”

“But it was always very important for us not to stay inside the classification. The regime divided us: people classified coloured had identity documents; black people had the dompas. We didn’t accept that separation. Sipho, although he was born in KZN, could play any feel. Sometime he’d joke and ask me: ‘Does my bass line feel coloured enough?’”

Despite the hits, it had not been easy making a living from the music. Mohamed tells of finding an entire album of his had been credited to a mysterious composer called ‘R. Richards’, preventing him from collecting royalties. “Albums got very limited promotion. We never even knew,” he says, “when our royalties were due, and had to go and beg cash advances. And if they didn’t feel like paying you…”

Mohamed had worked with several bands, including Les Valiants in the late 1960s, The Dynamics, El Gringo’s and finally Society’s Children, who scored a massive hit with Mohamed’s 1975 composition I’m a Married Man. But the growing weight of repression culminating in the Soweto Uprising in 1976, were leading to a shift in his music. Increasingly “I was unhappy with playing all those covers. I wanted a reason for playing. It was no longer enough just to have hits.”

He describes his earlier formations as “experiments”—Black Disco gave Mohamed his direction. After Night Express, he went on to become a co-founder of Movement in the City, with Cape Town drummer Monty Webber. “The name was code for let’s fight the system. It was a very dark time for us, personally and politically, and their two albums including Black Teardrops (another title the censor didn’t like) came from that emotional place.”

Increasingly, Mohamed’s searching took him towards his roots. “I figured that protecting and preserving our indigenous music could be my contribution to the struggle. We must know our heritage. I thought: if the Boers take that from us, we’re fucked.”

So Mohamed’s journey, which began as a boyish organ player doodling Timmy Thomas-style riffs on Night Express has now brought him to a role today as a kora master and producer, collaborating with Khoisan traditional healers and their music. But the Black Disco group was, for him, where it all started. “It was so important for us to play a kind of crossover then. To weave in the touches of Motown, Philadelphia soul and Teddy Pendergrass that the coloured community appreciated, and Basil’s Cape Town sound, and Sipho’s sound that was legendary in the black community, and make music that people could all enjoy together. It was our way of saying: We are with you.”

matsulimusic.bandcamp.com

Mar 29, 2017

Orlando Julius & The Ashiko - Love, Peace & Happiness


Official reissue of one of the hardest to find albums by the Afro Soul maestro, a pure Afro Funk spiritual grail from 1978!

Born in 1943 in Ikole-Ekiti in Ondo State, Nigeria, Orlando Julius Ekemode (“Orlando was really a nickname, taken from the Nigerian actor, Orlando Martins“) had started in music from an early age, becoming the school drummer and learning flute, bugle and other instruments at St Peters Anglican School in Ikole-Ekiti. Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is credited as one of the first musicians to fuse US R&B into traditional highlife music, creating his own influential Afrobeat sound during the mid-‘60s. From his time playing in the USA during the 1970s onwards, he is credited with bringing African music to a broader audience and famously co- composed the song ‘Going Back To My Roots’ with Lamont Dozier.

In 1978 , Orlando Julius Ekemode decided to produce himself this amazing session, originally recorded between Maryland and West Virginia (USA ) and released in limited quantity in Nigeria by the obscure label Jungle records .

6 stunning monster Afro Funk tracks , recorded by 8 musicians based in Oakland. Fully licensed with the artist and remastered by Carvery. Essential!



Mar 28, 2017

Vincent Ahehehinnou - Best Woman

 

In early 1978, Vincent Ahehehinnou left the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou without explanation. He had been one of their principal vocalist since 1968 and had helped transform them from a hard-charging nightclubband into a musical powerhouse and Africa-wide sensation. By the end of 1977, after an explosive performance at the pan-African arts and culture festival (Festac77) in Lagos, the band had reached the very pinnacle of their success.

For nearly forty years, the reasons behind Vincent’s sudden departure have remained a mystery. Until now. In an interview included with Analog Africa’s new reissue of Best Woman – Vincent’s first post-Poly-Rythmo album, which has been out-of-print for close to four decades and nearly impossible to find outside West Africa – the great singer finally breaks his silence. He didn’t leave … he was pushed.

Poly-Rythmo were already popular in their native Benin but, in the aftermath of Festac ’77, the band were poised for break-out success throughout Africa. One of the people who stood to benefit most was the band’s manager Adissa Seidou, whose label Albarika Store had released most of the band’s recordings. However Adissa’s vision for Poly-Rythmo didn’t always line up with that of the musicians and, more often than not, it was Vincent who spoke up for the band.

The two men grew increasingly estranged until one day – at the funeral for Adissa’s father no less – Adissa gave Vincent an ultimatum of sorts. In Vincent’s own words: ‘I asked him if there is a way we could sort out our differences to which he replied that the only solution was for me to leave the band, adding, “if not I will kill you”’. And so Vincent found himself forced out of the band he had helped build. He tried his hand at various business ventures, but soon realised that the pull of music was too strong. On a business trip to Nigeria, Vincent met with Ignace de Souza of Benin’s Black Santiago band, who agreed to arrange Vincent’s songs, assemble musicians, and book a session at the legendary Decca Studios in Lagos.

With everything in place Vincent returned to Cotonou, gathered together all the money he had saved over the years and set out again for Lagos. But the simple bus journey to Nigeria turned into a nightmarish odyssey of military corruption … and had it not been for the random kindness of an unknown woman on the bus, this album – along with Vincent’s subsequent solo career – might never have existed. Vincent tells the full story in the liner notes to this LP.

But Vincent did make it to Lagos and the sessions went ahead. The nine-piece band, handpicked by de Souza, learned the songs and set them to tape in the span of only a week … but the results are as timeless and essential as anything to emerge from West Africa in the late 1970s.

Vincent’s afrobeat credentials are in full evidence on opening track ‘Best Woman’ (English) whose driving beat, focussed horns and intricate vocal melody recall the raucous intensity of Poly-Rythmo. But the deep funk of the title track turns out to be only a warm-up for album-highlight ‘Maimouna Cherie’ (French), a moving expression of love and longing which kicks off with a hi-hat and wah-wah guitar workout but shifts gears mid-way into a more concentrated and contemplative groove.

The funk and afrobeat gems on Best Woman are balanced by songs that draw upon Sato, one of the many Vodoun rhythms of Vincent’s native Benin. Side one concludes with ‘Vi Deka’ (Mina), an epic slow-burner propelled by some of the record’s most soulful vocals, while album closer ‘Wa Do Verite Ton Noumi’ (Fon) all but dares you not to lose yourself in its sublime hypnotic trance.

Best Woman was released on Nigeria’s Hasbunalau Records in 1978, and original pressings are now highly-prized collector’s items. With this reissue on Analog Africa’s Dance Edition imprint – newly mastered by Nick Robbins, cut by to vinyl by Frank Merritt at the Carvery, and approved by Vincent himself – Best Woman makes a welcome and long-overdue return to turntables around the world.

hhv

Mar 24, 2017

New album: Big Mean Sound Machine - Runnin' for the Ghost


“BMSM might be one of my favorite bands on the planet. With a horn section to kill for, a drummer that can put me in a beat coma instantly, and a knack for hitting grooves in a pantsless stride, they aren't easy to ignore,” -Joel Frieders, SYFFAL.com

For a band with no lead singer, Big Mean Sound Machine has character in spades. When assembled from a selection of the finest, well-lubricated, musically brilliant components, the resulting machine is the sonic equivalent of a positive feeling. “The embodiment of feeling… delicious,” writes Frieders. People dance when a rhythm moves them, and there’s no defying instinct when Big Mean Sound Machine is on stage. Anyone who has experienced the band in action knows that their performances are the heaviest and sweatiest. “Incorporating Caribbean, African and Latin sounds, and everything in between, these musicians sound as though they’ve been playing together since the sandbox days. They transition effortlessly from a collective... to riveting soloists, and when [they’re] not playing simultaneously, those... stepping aside are jamming out as if they were in the crowd with the rest of us,” writes Mary Mistretta of UpstateLIVE. A polyrhythmic monster with a crisp, constant, unrelenting groove, the band brings together many musical traditions in a unique blend that reinterprets and reanimates live dance music unlike any other band playing today.


THE ALBUM

Their fourth studio album, "Runnin' for the Ghost" captures the essence of the band’s renowned energetic and transcendent live shows into a concise, portable experience wherever it may be desired -- in the car, at home, work, or in the club. After over seven years of rigorous touring and three acclaimed, full-length studio albums, Big Mean Sound Machine is proud to present a rich sonic journey through their freshest material, their self-stated, "best album to date." With this record, the band hopes to continue building on the success of their previous releases and with your contribution, this world-class album can achieve the exposure it truly deserves.

bigmeansoundmachine.com
bigmeansoundmachine.bandcamp.com



Mar 12, 2017

Nigerian Boogie: Livy Ekemezie - Friday Night



Here it is.., a reissue treatment for one of the most sought after Nigerian boogie albums. So groovy.., so good.. Afro-boogie lovers, you just got served! TIPPP!

Some words from Livy:

“I was just out of senior secondary school and I wanted to make an album,” recalls Ekemezie. “I was into disco and funk at the time and I was looking for a bassdriven funky sound. The entire idea was to make an album that sounded like something made in London or the U.S. I tried to sound “American” but we ended up with something else: a mix of American and Nigerian.” ‘Friday Night’ was recorded at Goddy Oku’s Godiac 24-track recording studio in Enugu, one of the best studios available in Nigeria at the time. “It took about 9 months to a year to make the album,” continues Ekemezie. “I financed it by myself so I had to resort to friends helping out with loans for session men and studio time. The original LP was released on blue vinyl and that idea came from William Onyeabor. We used his pressing plant and he sold the idea to me. It was different so I said ‘why not?’” The LP has been picked up by many in recent months as the demand for Nigerian disco originals has grown with the track ‘Delectation’ receiving an unofficial edit and DJs like Motor City Ensemble dropping the album into their sets. This first ever reissue of the LP remains faithful to the original issue, remastered and pressed on blue vinyl. It features full original artwork along with new interviews with Livy Ekemezie and contributing musician Jules Elong by Odion Livingstone’s Temi Kogbe. 

rushhour


Mar 10, 2017

The Original Sound Of Mali


‘The Original Sound of Mali’ compiled by Vik Sohonie and David Buttle. As featured as 'Compilation of the Week' on Lauren Laverne's BBC 6Music show.

Malian music is arguably deeper, more sophisticated and lyrical than any other form of African music. Those of us deeply entranced by Malian culture, and, in particular, the immense hypnotic beauty of Malian music, have put together a selection of songs from across the country.

mrbongo.com

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Mr Bongo is proud to present 'The Original Sound of Mali', compiled by Vik Sohonie & David Buttle.
Malian music is arguably deeper, more sophisticated and lyrical than any other form of African music. Those of us deeply entranced by Malian culture, and, in particular, the immense hypnotic beauty of Malian music, have put together a selection of songs from across the country.

Compiled by Vik Sohonie & Dave 'Mr Bongo' Buttle, the story of this release began in 2015 when Dave happened upon the Soul Bonanza blog. A treasure chest of rare finds from around the world! One mix in particular stood out and totally enthralled Dave - le monde à change: a tribute to mali 1970 - 1991. He already knew of Malian legends such as the Rail Band, Salif Keita, & Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako, but this mix was something else! Deep & culled from the collections of some of the heaviest African music collectors in the world, legends like Vik Sohonie, Hidehito Morimoto, Philippe Noel, Gregoire Villanova, and Rickard Masip. Dave immediately contacted Vik and a journey of discovery tracking down the rights-holders began. He also turned to the font of Malian music knowledge, Florent Mazzoleni. Florent has written the definitive book about Malian music - 'Musiques modernes et traditionnelles du Mali'. He proposed some incredible tracks to include and provided the back bone of the sleeve notes and photos that are used in the album. No Malian album would be complete without a striking front cover photo, and ours is sourced from the late great Malian photographer Malick Sidibé.

On this album you will find well-known artists sitting next to rarer discoveries. The Rail Band, who are one of the best known of all the big bands in Mali, gave us the stars Mory Kanté and Salif Keita. Les Amabassedeurs du Motel de Bamako were another big act that had Idrissa Soumaoro, Kanté Manfila, and for a while Salif Keita in their ranks. Sometimes Salif would play in both bands in one night, quite a feat considering the bands were fierce rivals. As an albino Salif has had to face considerable prejudice from society, focussing on his musical career to help overcome this.

A major discovery on the album has been Idrissa Soumaoro et L'Eclipse de L'Ija. L'Eclipse de l'Institut des Jeunes Aveugles was a Blind teenagers institute and their record was produced by the German association that took care of blind Malian teenagers in Bamako. It was never properly released commercially and was the first recordings by the legends of Malian music Idrissa Soumaoro, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia. Amadou & Mariam later got married and became household stars, including making an album with Manu Chao.

This album is a concerted global effort to showcase the most vital cornerstone of Malian culture in an attempt to preserve its reputation in the face of its current, grim reality. We hope our highlights of Mali's rich history of musical innovation will serve as a starting point for reclaiming an image tainted by unnecessary conflict. May peace and music return to Mali soon. Dedicated to Malick Sidibé.

deejay






TRACKLIST – CD
01. Idrissa Soumaoro et L’Eclipse de L’Ija — Nissodia (Joie de l’optimisme) 
02. Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako — Tiécolom-Ba 
03. Super Tentemba Jazz — Mangan 
04. Rail Band — Mouodilo 
05. Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako — M’Bouram-Mousso 
06. Sorry Bamba — Yayoroba  
07. Super Djata Band — Worodara 
08. Zani Diabaté et Le Super Djata Band — Fadingna Kouma 
09. Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako — Fatema 
10. Super Djata Band de Bamako — Mali Ni Woula 
11. Salif Keita — Mandjou
12. Alou Fané & Daouda Sangaré — Komagni Bèla 
13. Idrissa Soumaoro et L’Eclipse de L’Ija — Fama Allah

Mar 9, 2017

From Ghana: Worlasi - The Uncut (for free)



Supreme Rights has unleashed a 13 track compilation from Worlasi titled ‘The Uncut’

Worlasi drove us insane with his debut mixtape titled “Nuse” which had 14 tracks including the intro… His style of music gave birth to a new trend, and re-introduced Hiphop as it should be done in Africa. His debut mixtape earned him a lot of respect and rose his credibility as a talented and exceptional artiste.

‘The Uncut’ compilation are songs that couldn’t make to the “NUSE” Mixtape; and these are 13 exclusive songs which he produced and was mixed by Qube. This compilation featured other great talents like Krack Gyamfi, Emperaw, Laelaure, Kdxp, and BiQo. Just as the “Nuse” Mixtape, this compilation also talks about dreams, emotions and insights on life and a much needed discourse on black power, passions and owning our destinies.

Worlasi is here to make an impact and I can see Ghanaians embracing that “Weird” talent… He is not the regular kind of artiste you listen to daily, but he is yet to become that artiste you will always want to listen to after listening to him for the first time. Worlasi is not a stranger to us anymore; so we know what to expect on this one. Listen to greatness and deepness combined!


loudsoundgh.com


Track by Track

The undisputed revolutionary in the music scene is steadily filling us in with more of him and his originality. After the release of NUSE: STRENGTH WITHIN, his debut mixtape, he blesses us with a collection of tracks that couldn’t make it to the main album. THE UNCUT is a definite way of saying “here’s more, help yourself”.

MY WORLA prod by Qube begins with a pattern of chants in his native dialect. His dexterity in holding up a number of words in a thread on this tune was impeccable. MY WORLA talks of our need for some subject to be there for us-something to hold on to-and how we as individuals need to be that subject for others as well. With an amazing sound quality and great articulation, the message of disappointment in some others who wish only to reemphasize our failures because we failed to act their way is fully expressed in this track. A nice way to hit us with the realities of being a human being. The tune ends precipitously with an affirmation that we need someone to hang on to, regardless.

A narrative about his basic and secondary education and how ignorant we all are of the different forms an idea could take because we’re stuck, unwilling to open up our brains to other possibilities. “I be the John for your eyes but nigger that’s cool, I be the don for my eyes and that’s it, that’s it“, the tune speaks about how sad it is to have your potential underestimated while thinking outside society’s box of known concepts and norms. Self-produced, CARTOON certainly should have made it to NUSE. It has truths of finally embracing one’s weirdness to later discover that was only strength in thick disguise.

MOTIVATION ft Krack Gyamfi & Emperaw prod by Worlasi did as it had to and provided enough encouragement for anyone engaged in anything meaningful to take a mental trip into the joy at the end of that accomplishment and move on with it.

With a tune that one can easily vibe with, SATAN has a carefully chosen rhythm considering its concept. TOO LONG ft KDXP carefully follows with a lovely rhythm. The featured artist came in very, very, strong and delivered on the track, expressing why love should be reciprocal and enjoyed from both ends and the frustration that arises during the wait for the other party to feel up to it.

PLAY prod by Worlasi

With a Danceable rhythm, this is Just a jolly tune, one to be enjoyed when having a long day. It is A break from the rather too frank expressions on the harsh realities of life expressed on the tunes that come before it.

RIVER(Enya cover)

Worlasi clearly needs more space. Space to create. He speaks with rage on this solemn tune to those individuals who find their way into our lives to slow us down and grants them a chance to exit the same way they entered, stealthily. On this very soulful tune which flattered his voice he had an unusually, beautiful style of singing the words out, probably because they meant a lot to him, with emphasis on the words that mattered.

RAZZY ft BiQo prod by Worlasi

In every relationship there’s the one who rules. This could be either of the parties in that relationship. Razzy is the kind of a girl you fall in love with but realize you should have come “materially” prepared. The one who’s presence earns you respect from your friends, that is the kind spoken of in this song.

All 13 tracks were beautiful in their own rights. THE UNCUT is enjoyable, it provokes thoughts, raises excitement and finds you in the middle of the misunderstandings of life. So “here’s more, help yourself”!

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Mar 3, 2017

Togo Soul 70: Selected Rare Togolese Recordings From 1971 To 1981



 Hot Casa Records present Togo Soul 70 (Selected Rare Togolese Recordings from 1971 to 1981). A treasure-trove of rare and unusual recordings mostly recorded in Lomé during the 70's, a fusion of traditional voodoo chants, raw soul and Afro jazz. Finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn't become any easier even after few trips all over this west African country bordered by Ghana, Benin & Burkina Faso.

We, at Hot Casa Records, decided to select 13 tracks, a snapshot of some hundreds of rare and often forgotten tapes from the most prolific, professional and exciting phase of the country's recording history, including international stars like Bella Bellow (who even performed to Maracana stadium in Brazil), or Roger Damawuzan, compared as the James Brown from Lomé, and forgotten tapes and brilliant songs in Mina, Kabyié and Fon languages. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation highlighting how diverse the music scene in Togo was at the time, even if the political context influenced their creation.

A must have for all music lovers, also used as the soundtrack of the documentary Togo Soul 70, directed by Liz Gomis & DJ Julien Lebrun!


A fantastic little collection – and one that's way different than the usual Afro Funk compilation! Instead, this is an album that takes the "soul" in its title seriously – and goes for unusual tunes from the Togo scene of the 70s – almost all of which feature incredible vocals that soar out with boundless, righteous energy! There's definitely a bit of funk, too – but in modes that are very different than Nigerian sounds from the time, and very fresh, too – musical elements that are used in such compelling ways, we really want to dig deeper into the scene of this tiny nation. Titles include "Senye Na Na" by Aime Orchis Mathey, "I Tcho Tchass" by Akofa Akoussah, "Mais Dis Donc" by Toite Sandja, "Adome Nyueto" by Yta Jourias, "Loxo Nye" by Roger Damawuzan, "Woukunyeya" by Gabelo, "Mi Kpede Dunye" by Dk Pilo, and "Agbemenyawo" by Vewonyi DD.  


Hot Casa present Togo Soul 70: Selected Rare Togolese Recordings From 1971 To 1981. A treasure-trove of rare and unusual recordings, mostly recorded in Lomé during the '70s - a fusion of traditional voodoo chants, raw soul and Afro jazz. Finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn't become any easier even after few trips all over this west African country bordered by Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso. With Togo Soul 70, Hot Casa have selected 13 tracks, a snapshot of hundreds of rare and often forgotten tapes from the most prolific, professional and exciting phase of the country's recording history, including international stars like Bella Bellow (who even performed at Maracana Stadium in Brazil), or Roger Damawuzan, referred to as the James Brown from Lomé, and forgotten tapes and brilliant songs in the Mina, Kabyié and Fon languages. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation, highlighting how diverse the music scene in Togo was at the time, even if the political context influenced their creation. A must have for all music lovers. This selection was used as the soundtrack for the documentary Togo Soul 70, directed by Liz Gomis and DJ Julien Lebrun. Features: Akofa Akoussah, Napo De Mi Amor, Aimé Orchis Mathey, Toite Sandja, Gabelo, Wini & Fefe, Adamah & Agbote, Vewonyi DD, Dk Pilo and Yta Jourias. 


It is fortunately still pioneering in the reissue and compilation camps to be found. You can not talk about gold diggers. Most of the compilations that have unearthed historical tapes in Western and East Africa, in the Sahara or the Sahel, have certainly arisen not for profit but for love. To clear up the rendezvous is sometimes a detective game - you just have to try to get the rights for only one track. »Togo Soul 70« h from the house of Hot Casa is exactly for this reason already in advance. How wonderful it is that labelmaker DJ Julien Lebrun and the journalist Liz Gomis made a search and dug 13 songs. Togo, which lies between Ghana and Nigeria on the Ivory Coast, is, despite its vital capital Lomé, mostly underrepresented in cultural discourse. After Togo became independent of France in 1960, there was a social boost. And even when the autocratic president, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, was elected (and ultimately remained in power for more than 40 years), the economic situation continued. Lomé has become a cultural center in West Africa and countless bands have appeared. Between 1971 and 1981, this compilation is a monument. With stars like Bella Bellow or Roger Damawuzan, who was also known as the James Brown of Lomé. But also unknown pearls in Mina, Kabyié and Fon; Which besides French are still country languages. At Hot Casa you can see a post-colonial approach in your own work to reverse the distribution routes and not export music to Africa, but to import. So you can and should be back in the souly seventies.