...I was dreaming I was in Turkey, spacing out to psychedelic sounds, woke up to find I was in Cape Verde...
Or was it the other way round?
(Little present for @ivan - Egyptian Sufi Music)
Here in CV, haunted by this song by Maria Alice:
For some reason, I thought Tito Paris was from Belize - must have been confusing him with Andy Palacio.
Bana's the top star locally, aparently, and he's pretty good anyway:
The band I play in had the cheek to do a version of that song, with Japanese lyrics about losing your memory...
...but, where is everybody? While I was sleeping you've all taken the boat! Hmm ... Ghana. I've got some things to say about Ghana - it's the only country in Africa I've actually visited, apart from stopovers in Cairo and Lome, and it will be a good base for listening to music from that whole region, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Benin...
But on the way I want to stop over in Guinea for Benbeya Jazz. This is another band, like Orchestra Baobab, that got recently revived and they're also extremely good. Their guitarist Sekou "Diamond Fingers" Diabate really lives up to his nickname - his notes are perfect crystal. Here's an hour-long radio programme on a website I discovered today, Afropop Worldwide:
There's lots of other stuff there, so it's probably worth looking round. Also, don't forget to search Youtube for Bembeya Jazz
See you soon in Ghana!
Last edited by johnraff (2012-05-09 05:35:17)
That is a hell of a post! The music is great and even new to me, that is what I like here on this travel.
The radio station is also an extra bonus!
And I downloaded the Sufi music for a test drive, nice one @John and thank you for this!
Seems, in your absence, we smoked some nargiles and got trapped into Turkish psychedelic sounds. With @Eren on board that will surely happen often.
Will now enjoy again your music and I am using this CLI Youtube thingie that all the cool kids use, great experience if you just put Bembeya Jazz into it.
Hey, I just spent nearly two weeks in the bus with a terrible cold, and could hardly speak...
Anyway there's lots of music I'd like to talk about, but still haven't had time to search for all the right youtube links etc so I can share some favourite songs. I don't want to just put up a link and say "hey, listen to this" if I haven't listened to it myself, so today I'll just throw our some names. You could try Youtube searches...
To start with, there's Sekuba Bambino who used to sing with Bembeya Jazz. He's bigger in Africa than in the West apparently.
I love African Reggae - it's an obvious combination of course. Check Alpha Blondie from Ivory Coast.
Ghana funk and afrobeat: Ebo Taylor hasn't been mentioned yet!
But the King of Afrobeat is of course Fela Kuti from Nigeria. Two of his sons Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti are also putting out good stuff. I seem to remember another guy called Sunny Okusun.
A completely different style from Nigeria is Juju music, with the super-famous Sunny Ade, and also Chief Ebenezer Obey and others.
Back to Ghana, my favourite music from this region must be Highlife. I love this stuff! I'm going to have to search around for some links to good songs so I can convince at least some of you how great this is!
So, sorry, no music links today, but some will come soon, I promise.
Keep us posted. I cannot complain.
And you do not need to convince me about the good stuff you mention. Will have a nice ride with your hints in youtube-viewer. Love this app!!
Alpha Blondie, man, you rock. The best Reggae for me comes from Western Africa.
Yes, youtube-viewer is very nice. When I don't feel like slowing down the machine with video: 'youtube-viewer --novideo --all -order-by=rating search terms' gives you a nice custom radio stream.
Here's Sekouba Bambino singing a James Brown song!
Of course, after the Cuban music wave, Bob Marley and James Brown had huge influences on African music.
Recently Afropop Worldwide had an interesting programme on recent music in Ghana and Ivory Coast:
To be honest, funk/hiphop isn't really my thing, but I have to enjoy Fela Kuti's Afrobeat. Here's a full 30min. version of Army Arrangement:
It was either this or Zombie that got him a visit from some soldiers who were Not Amused and beat him up.
Ivory Coast, the African Reggae Planet. Apart from Alpha Blondy there is also Tiken Jah Fakoly:
And Alpha Blondy sings in all possible languages, even Hebrew and Arab:
Both are also very political, even more than Bob Marley ever was when you look at the lyrics.
Really liked those Touré Kunda songs you posted earlier, Ivan. Reggae, but the vocals are so Senegalese!
My first listen to Alpha Blondy was that Jerusalem album - really good, but if you didn't know you'd say he was Jamaican. (The album was recorded in Jamaica, with Jamaican musicians.) Yes, his lyrics are quite political. "You can see Christians, Jews and Muslims living together and praying Amen !" I suppose there might be people who'd find that offensive...
Here's another song from that album, Boulevarde de la morte:
But you'd have to say Fela Kuti took the political message further. I hadn't remembered all the details of that incident, but checking the wikipedia we can see it was the album Zombie that triggered an attack by 1000 (!) soldiers in which his mother was thrown out of a window and killed, and Fela himself almost killed. He didn't give up though. Here's the song Zombie:
and he sent his mother's coffin to the head of state:
People who like Afro/funk/jazz/soul/ethnic/tropical stuff might enjoy the Paris DJs podcast. Some great mixes of music from all over, for example this continuous almost 2-hour mp3:
http://www.parisdjs.com/index.php/post/ … ular-Vol-3
Search around the site!
These guys are also great fans of Ebo Taylor, the amazing Ghanaian who's been playing for 60 years, and still turning out good stuff.
http://www.parisdjs.com/index.php/post/ … e-On-Earth
http://www.parisdjs.com/index.php/post/ … unk-Atomic
Here's "abonsam" from his latest album Appia Kwa Bridge:
Ah Ghana! After Morocco and Senegal, this must be another of the centres of African Music. Likembe has a lot of music for you under the Ghana tag:
As I said before, this is the only country in Africa I've actually visited. My wife and I went for a month at the end of 1979/new year 1980 to visit my brother who was a volunteer there at the time. Jerry Rawlings had just taken over from Acheampong and times were hard. Xmas dinner for 6 was one Camembert cheese! It seems that was about the worst time for Ghanaian music too, but I asked my brother what cassettes to buy before leaving and he said to look for something called Highlife. I found a couple - one was so-so, but the other was great, by a guy called Jewel Ackah. That was my introduction to highlife, and now it's one of my favourite kinds of African music.
It's getting late, so next post I'll try and put up some nice highlife music to make everyone into fans.
Last edited by johnraff (2012-06-01 05:30:45)
OK Ivan, I was planning to post today, as it happens, but just give me half an hour to check out some links...
Yes, we're in Ghana, and I'm going to hit you with some highlife. If you've no other plans here I was thinking of a listen to some Nigerian juju music after that. (Sunny Ade and Chief Ebenezer Obey)
These days almost noone in Ghana listens to highlife music. There's something called "hiplife" which I haven't listened to yet, but highlife is uncool, out of date, like dangdut in Indonesia (which I also love). My first contact with this music was sitting in a bus with the distorted sounds coming from a small speaker in the roof. Everyone was listening to it back then in 1979, but this was already the end of the era really. I took home from that trip a cassette called "vocalist of the year" by a guy called Jewel Ackah, and shortly afterwards a Ghanaian student of my wife (who was teaching Japanese at the time) let me copy another couple of tapes, by Sunny Okusuns (not highlife) and one marked as by Bob Pinodo, but now I'm not sure if it was him...
Anyway, for years that was all I knew of Ghanaian highlife, but it was great anyway. Sort of up-tempo and laid-back at the same time. Several electric guitars, a cheap-sounding keyboard and lots of percussion, together with really loose, slack vocals that grooved and improvised - the roots of jazz vocals? This turned out to be "guitar highlife" the cheaper version of dance-band type highlife which had more expensive instruments like saxophones. Elecrtic guitars were more affordable so just like in the West this was music more people could make, and also turns out to be the kind of highlife I prefer.
This is great background music for a Summer afternoon, or for driving, but if you listen up close there's plenty to get into. The vocals have a really friendly sound somehow. These are people you could imagine sharing a beer with. (Compare with some rock & roll singers!) There's no fancy distorted lead guitar, but lots of interlocking riffs from 3 or 4 people, on top of the indispensible African percussion section, who are quietly building up the groove along with bass players who fit in the back beat so perfectly they're almost invisible like those Latin bass players. These guys are jamming and enjoying it!
OK some sounds:
First a YouTube: African Brothers - Sensam This isn't bad at all, and that "Ghana Collection Vol 15" is pretty good if you can find it.
My highlife horizons opened right up after discovering Highlife Haven This site is just full of great sounds! Some of the links no longer work, even some I successfully downloaded from a year ago, but there sre still plenty of songs left you can listen to, and everything I've got from there has been good. Here are a couple I just checked, and the download links are still OK:
Oko's Band - Owuo Aye Me Bi Shorter one - sounds a bit like that Latin "peanut seller" song.
The Peoples Star - Nkiruka This is a long one, with a rhythm change at the end.
Yamoah's Band - Onantefo Love this one! So laid back it sort of trickles out of your stereo...
Finally, I put together a CD of Highlife music for some friends here in Japan, made with songs from Highlife Haven, including those above but also some which are no longer available. A nice highlife collection, it's just the right length to burn a CD, but of course you can just unpack it and listen to the mp3s... If anyone would like a link to the tar.gz file just send me a private message as I'd rather not put it here.
See you soon in Nigeria?
Last edited by johnraff (2012-06-14 17:49:14)
Thanks John, great post. I am right now deeply into more Ghanaian music, more than I expected to be.
I love this country already. Bonus points for you because of the great blogs you are posting.
Let me first digest some of the tunes here and yes, next we can go to Nigeria.
What about Tony Allen:
Wow, seems he is the drummer with Fela Kuti. Still Highlife. I love this stuff. I have just this album Jealousy Progress and it is fantastic.
Found some nice tapes on Nigerian music on this blog, the blog is awesome btw.
Not sure if we already mentioned it? But anyway, there is a whole Nigerian section :
Two great tracks! Thank you.
Fela Kuti, though, did not play Highlife. His music was known as Afrobeat I think, or most of it anyway. Afrobeat is heavier than Highlife with repeated funky bass lines, and a lot of political lyrics. James Brown was a big influence. I remember reading somewhere that Fela gave Tony Allen a lot of the credit for creating Afrobeat. Highlife has a lighter feel, both music and content, though you can see things in common between the two - long tunes with few chord changes, loose improvised vocals, often sounding like rap, a danceable groove...
And a big Thank You for that bodegapop link. Indeed another excellent blog!
I will put some more blogs here I recently found that I find outstanding but it was thanks to you of posting the Moroccan Tape blog, they linked a post to Bodega I think. Of course I am following the Moroccan Tape stash with a subsription. Just look in any case, to the linked and partner sites, you will find incredibly amazing stuff.
ma daj, cajke nisu globalna muzika jebote.
Tu ženu obožavam, neam pojma zašto.
Korać, cajke? Pomeri se s mesta Nisam Tarmi Rićmija okačio jeote
aaaa, dobro dobro, kapiram ih ferštehe
edit: Most slovenian "geist" :
Last edited by holden (2012-06-26 20:33:41)