Feb 21, 2020

From Belarus: Afrococoa - Champion From Africa



Nigerian singer Osagie Ojea is taking Afrobeat music on a global platform through his band Afrococoa

Afrococoa is an African live band formed in Belarus, Minsk by Nigerian singer, songwriter and composer Osagie Ojea. Inspired by the work and philosophy of legendary musician Fela Kuti and other popular Highlife Afrobeat Jazz and Soul musicians, Osagie is on a mission to lead his legacy on a global platform. The band has gained amazing popularity in Minsk, playing more than 150 gigs in the past 3 years of its inception. In December 2019, the band released its debut album “Champion from Africa” featuring 17 amazing songs that can make anyone groove to its beats. The band mainly plays live usually accompanied by two professional dancers that combine Dancehall and Afro dance in their performance.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Osagie has grown up listening to Highlife music and dancing to it. One day he walked into the kitchen and heard Fela Kuti playing on the radio so he asked his father about him. His father then gave him a CD of songs by Fela Kuti and Osagie instantly became a die-hard fan of his music. Osagie found Fela Kuti’s music highly inspiring. He composed his first song at the age of 11, called “Sweet angel” about his mother.

Osagie’s band Afrococoa is all about mixing African traditional sounds with popular genres like Dancehall, Jazz, Rock, Reggae, etc. “We want to convey unity, love, happiness. We want people to dance on our music and catch the happiness of the moment. We promote unity not only of people but the unity of different music genres. We promote freedom in our lyrics, freedom of thinking, freedom of expressing ourselves, freedom of speech”, says Osagie.

Before forming Afrococoa, Osagie used to play with his friend on a Blues band and showcased his talent as a blues and jazz singer. He started Afrococoa with an aim to create a live band that uses a variety of instruments like saxophone, and percussions in addition to the classic drums, bass, and guitar while also feature dancers on the stage.

Afrococoa is an independent band that produces music in their own studio in collaboration with young talents. They are open to partnerships if the right label comes along that doesn't require them to make creative compromises and provides them better exposure in the music industry.

Listen to Afrococoa’s latest album “Champion from Africa” on Spotify.com


Homepage: afrococoa.com
 


Feb 20, 2020

Antibalas - Fu Chronicles


The Brooklyn-based afrobeat group, Antibalas, have just released their seventh full-length LP – Fu Chronicles. The project is inspired by vocalist/percussionist, Amayo’s, early fascination with martial arts, hence the “Fu” in the title. As something dear to him (he has his own dojo) and formative to his childhood, he wanted to incorporate it into his music. With a humble six songs and a runtime of 48 minutes, it’s downright groovy. For the expunging of bad juju or a quick pick-me-upper, this album leaves one in a state of pure rapture.

From the outset, some fuzzy ambient synth riffs mosey in to commence, some guitar follows, adding a light, playful dynamic, until suddenly the auditor gets jolted with a gushing entourage of sound – drums, xylophone, synthesizer, sax, trumpet, congas, bass, even trombone. That’s a damn orchestra.
Once the sound acclimates, the vocals seem to stand as being just as formidable, making this group a veritable powerhouse sans shortcoming. The interplay between vocals and instrumentals is perfectly complementary as one’s tempo matches the other seamlessly as it slows and speeds. Nearly every track opens with some introductory scale to gradually snowball speed into reverberating orgasm after another. Crescendo-aficionados will surely lose their minds over every track. What makes this possible are these mammoth Sinatra-like swings on horns that nearly enchant you into dancing. It’s also accompanied by the funky chops and subtle honey-butter chords of the guitar to keep it mellow and smooth in the diminuendo.

Sprinkled throughout the album are improvised, panicked sax screams that add frenetic energy to the album to counter the mellow mood. Antibalas keeps it spicy and on its toes. They even get a little sagacious in the third track, “MTTT, Pt. 1 & 2,” when the vocalist presents the audience with an African proverb and then ends prophetically with “time is the ultimate judge.” Even lyrics like “flower is power” and “the end is the beginning” appear in the final track “Fist of Flowers,” in which it feels like the audience as the fighter-character has come out of their trials as victorious having won the elusive prize of wisdom. It’s really like stepping into an ultra-pixelated hand-to-hand combat joystick-videogame.

“Fight Am Finish” is where you can really hear the martial arts influence seeping through. The track seems like it’s generating the final boss fight through sound as if Player One starts cutting through the first horde of the boss’s guard. The vocalist announces, “round one!” signified by a gong, then Antibalas guides listeners through the moves of the character by orchestral sound, then bellows “fighter finish!” The album even makes use of some campy-whiplash-punching sound effects that are present on “Fist of Flowers.” So, gold star for that.

Overall, the whole album sounds like the soundtrack to an old fighting arcade game your dad used to play before he met your mom. Antibalas is the prototype of those arcane bands that seem to be only discoverable through a long pedigree, divine intervention or simple serendipity. So, look no further, lover of Afrobeat and Kung Fu, serendipity has just found you, or, better yet, roundhouse kicked you square in the temple.




Feb 12, 2020

K. Frimpong & Super Complex Sounds ‎– Ahyewa Special






Hi-Life & Afro-Funk essential from Ghana! The legendary K. Frimpong's fantastic rare second album recorded in 1975 at Ghana Films Studio. 

K .Frimpong was born on July 22nd 1939 at Ofoase in the Ashanti-Akim district and entered right into music after elementary school by joining "Star de Republic" and later “Oko's Band” after which he left to K. Gyasy's band where he worked for more than 6 years. 

As a prolific songwriter and singer, here's the reissue of his 2nd album, a modern fusion of Hi-life and the traditional beat called "Ahyewa".The excellent background is given by the Super Complex Sounds band which makes the Ahyewa beat abundantly, dancable, and colourful. 

Originally produced on “Ofo Bros”, label of the Ofori brothers in Kumasi, this two long sides recording were divided in 6 themes each sides, and make a deep 16 minutes long hi-life trance.
A must have vinyl of percussive Afro-Funk & modern Hi-life for all the music connoisseurs.
Remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery / Pressed on Deluxe Replika format / Fully licensed to the Alhadji Kwame Frimpong Family

hotcasarecords.com





Jan 27, 2020

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Night Dreamer Direct To Disc






“It’s a paradox, in a way, like you’d have in a dream – something that’s both light and heavy,” Wayne Shorter muses, speaking to Nat Hentoff for the liner notes of Night Dreamer, his 1964 album and first for Blue Note as a leader.

 Night Dreamer takes its name from this album, and retains something of the essence of what he was trying to convey.

 Working with Artone Studio, and located above Record Industry pressing plant in Haarlem, Netherlands, Night Dreamer specialises in direct-to-disc recordings – the process by which music is cut onto acetate from single-take live performances, without interference: Neumann microphone to Neumann lathe. From there, it is simply ‘walked downstairs to the pressing plant.

 For musicians recording at Artone, the process speaks to Shorter’s paradox. The levity of liberation vs. the weight of expectation; trust in raw musicianship vs. vulnerability of exposure. It is in such alchemical moments of contrast that the essence of expression can emerge.

 Every Night Dreamer release is produced using a wide range of vintage mastering and recording equipment assembled and painstakingly restored over seven years. With one of just four remaining RCA 76D mixing desks – the same model used at Sun Studios – alongside Westrex Capitol cutting amps, designed specifically for Capitol studios to record the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, it brings together state-of-the-art, often bespoke gear that has never been bettered.

 Shorter captured Night Dreamer in a single day, an art not lost on today’s musicians, who, although afforded a surfeit of choice, are as wedded to the idea of collaboration as those of previous generations. The methods are timeless, and the impulse is as contemporary as ever.


hhv.de
 


Jan 24, 2020

Segun Bucknor's Revolution - Son Of January 15


Segun Bucknor was one of the most important figures in the Nigerian music scene of the 70s, despite having only a brief career with his afrobeat unit which in 1972 released this superb album of which originals usually not turn up at any price. A reissue like this on JET RECORDS therefore is long overdue to enable every woman and man with a fondness for African popular music of the 70s to take a closer listen to this gem and fall in love immediately. What do we get to listen here?

Well, the album consists of four lengthy tracks with long instrumental sections that generate a swallowing atmosphere of sheer simmering heat and awakes the primal desire to dance within each and every listener. The first tune „Sorrow sorrow sorrow“ showcases the talents of the band’s brass players with a very prominent lead trumpet and saxophones duelling with each other. In jumps the organ as lead instrument for another long part and despite grooving on repetitive rhythm figures created by bass guitar, drums and percussions with brass instruments and organ adding more intensity to it the solo eruptions and duels in combination with Segun Bucknor’s commanding soulful vocal delivery really brand their progressions, lines and hooks into the listener’s mind.

„Gbomojo“ then combines the dark side of the early 60s post bop jazz with a relaxed, yet fidgety beat that draws influences from both, funk and rocksteady. The brass section creates haunting melodies with a goosebump factor. Then the organ freaks out and embarks on a leading part for a moment. More electric jazz comes to the surface as an important influence for Segun Bucknor, who stated Ray Charles as one of his heroes. Well, one of quite some more as it seems. The ongoing groove of the tune and especially the ticking of a special percussion instrument which is very prominent in the arrangement make this a rather hypnotizing affair. This tune is an all out instrumental but trumpet and saxophone take over the lead vocal duties here. Is this what John Coltrane might have emerged into if he was still alive in 1972? Back to his roots but with more of a groovy approach? Who knows? Segun Bucknor did it.
The title track that centers around the assassination of the popular Nigerian prime minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on January 15th 1966 is again a prime example of haunting afro beat that quite obviously differs from the American funk music of the day. The tune is based on a dense polyrhythmical groove network which builds the fruitful soil for the leading brass section to grow a forest of captivating melodies with more of these commanding vocals thrown in, telling about the political situation in Nigeria around those days and how the people overcame the dark period of time.

Too much darkness and tragedy might spoil the fun in some way so the closing track with nearly eleven minutes of length titled „La – La – La“ comes as a more enlightened groover with happier lyrics and hot blooded rhythmical base upon which fascinating melodies lead a good life. Again the brass instruments get their solo parts but this is more of a dance track. Again the arrangements are a dense plait of instrumental lines, harmonies, vocals and rhythm figures. It is an utter joy to try to follow each instrument individually in this dense sound.

All in all this album really gets you in case you have an affinity for jazz, for funky grooves, for long tracks and for a simmering atmosphere. A classic that still got lost in time to be rediscovered by a new generation of music lovers nearly 50 years after the initial release. Haunting!

hhv.de





Jan 23, 2020

Yankari Afrobeat Collective - Memoirs of Our Time






Yankari advance the original Afrobeat genre by incorporating contemporary sounds, such as, jazz, funk, dance, rock-and-roll whilst keeping the traditional groove elements of Afrobeat.

This new sound has world-wide appeal and the Yankari fan base stretches from Ireland to Japan, Brazil to Spain, Nigeria to US.
Yankari founding members, brothers Segun and Michael Akano along with Uché Gabriel Akujobi, are originally from Nigeria and came together in Dublin while playing at various gigs around the city. Gradually through the love of music and rhythms from their Yoruba and Igbo cultures they created the groovy and energetic sound that is reminiscent of the Afrobeat greats of the 60's and 70's but with a modern twist. That sound is called Yankari.

Memoirs Of Our Time is infused with freedom, hope and justice and will keep you nodding and grooving while you loose yourself in its authentic sound. Yankari advance the original Afrobeat genre by incorporating contemporary sounds, such as, jazz, funk, dance, rock-and-roll whilst keeping the traditional groove elements of Afrobeat.
yankarimusic.com

Biography

Combining rhythms, melodies and lyrics from Yoruba and Igbo tribes Yankari have a sound reminiscent of the Afrobeat greats of the 60's and 70's. Fuji, highlife and funk have been chewed up by the band to create a 21st century heavy groove. This new sound has world-wide appeal and the Yankari fan base stretches from Ireland to Japan, Brazil to Spain, Nigeria to US.

The band was formed by Gabriel Akujobi and brothers Segun and Michael Akano. A trio of multi-instrumentalist who cut their teeth as kids playing in church in Lagos. The brothers used to fight over who got to play the drums, this was before the either had a kit but instead used branches from a nearby tree to play rhythms that they had heard around the neighbourhood. 20 years later they would be known as the Akano Rhythm Brothers. In their late teens and early 20s they made a mint by travelling to parties all around London where they would start playing on Friday night and finish on Sunday afternoon, they’d play drums, keys, bass, guitars and sing. Later they made a living playing together at gigs and festivals all over Ireland and the UK.

They share over fifteen years of stage performance experience. Performing with several bands, theatrical groups, including Arambe Theater Production, The Dublin Afrobeat Ensemble, Rhythm Africana, Oleku, Simi Crowns, Akeeb Kareem and other collaborations. They drew from their cultural and ancestral rhythms, infused with other world music elements and instruments, to give off a vibrant sound with a distinctive message. The trio call on a pool of like minded dublin-based musicians from all over the world to bring the music alive at gigs and festivals.

Yankari aspires to advance the original Afrobeat genre by incorporating contemporary western sounds such as, electro-jazz/funk, rhythmic-dance and african rock-and-roll sounds whilst keeping the traditional groove elements of afrobeat music at core of the music.

The 10-piece band has headlined Bluefire Festival, supported acts such as, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at the SugarClub, performed at the Dublin Africa Day Festival, The Global Grooves Festival in Drogheda and at many more.




Jan 9, 2020

Alex Kunda (Musi-O-Tunya) - Kingdom of Heaven







Liner Notes:
This is the first solo album of Alex Kunda, a musician who has faced the ups and downs of what it means to be a musician in this up-coming country. In brief, this is what Alex Kunda has been and is to date. Alex Kunda came into the music world between 1969 and 1970. He tried his luck as a drummer with the then “Cross Town Traffic” while at the same time working with the Zambian Broadcasting Services as a recording engineer. Things didn’t work out. In 1972, he tried again, this time as a promoter. Formed A&B Promotions with a close friend Billy J. Ndlovhu. Promoted bands like “Way Out Impression” and “Dr. Footswitch.” This time things flopped. […] The formation of the new Musi-O-Tunya band in 1972 opened a new chapter in the life of Alex Kunda after he quit the ZBS. M-O-T, which relied heavily on the power of the drums, gave the determined Alex a great chance to improve his percussion. His thunderous and hypnotic drumming earned him the name “Mista Feelings” in Kenya, where together with M-O-T he had played for three years and regarded it as his musical home. Determination and a great love of music have combined to produce Kingdom of Heaven, which ears can describe better than words.



johnkatsmc5.blogspot.com



Tracklist

A1. The Kingdom of Heaven (Kunda)
A2. Diya (Kunda)
A3. Think of the Nature (Mvula)
A4. Kulimbandangwe (Kunda)
A5. Changa (Kunda)
B1. Ulesi Uleke (Mbewe)
B2. No More Lie (Kunda)
B3. Zimbabwe (Kunda)
B4. Tendeleka (Kunda)