Jul 28, 2011

Rare Grooves out of Africa

Hippie sound of the townships? Psychedelic rock from Nigeria? How wild the Swinging Sixties and Seventies, the Roaring in Africa were really showing a wave of new releases. And the search for the pearls is completely forgotten at least as adventurous as the music.

Why he lives in Frankfurt? Since Samy Ben Redjeb not need to think long: because of the airport of course. Sure, his mother lives here and his friends. But for someone who flies every few weeks to Lagos, Accra and Kinshasa, in order to seek and basement storage rooms or on verrümpelten terraces and courtyards of old records, is an international airport, the most important location factor. As often as possible in order to come to Africa, the former instructor hired temporarily as a flight attendant for Lufthansa.

The 39-year-old German-Tunisian sitting at a sidewalk cafe in the station district, before him a stack of CD boxes of his record label Analog Africa, have garnered for its designers already have some prices. The shells so smart, so amazing content: Ben Redjeb published music, of which one has to know a few years ago in the northern hemisphere not think it exists at all. Music from the Africa of the Swinging Sixties and the Roaring Seventies - from one continent, then, that you have with the beat and hippie-era far more likely not associated.

but they gave up in Benin, Ghana and Togo, Congo, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe today, the wah-wah guitars, the Flower Power-shirts and platform shoes. Here too, the kids went off to Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. The singer Roger Damawuzan from Togo recalls one evening in 1968, as a cultural center a concert film with the "Godfather of Soul" was: "James Brown turned completely through during this show, his musicians he had towels Around, around him . calm down I was fascinated because it reminded me of what we do here in the African region in voodoo rituals. " From then on Damawuzan traveled daily to neighboring Ghana to take English lessons. With that first morsel he wrote the song "Wait For Me" - heard on the Analog Africa CD "African Scream Contest": An Afro-soul hybrid with sparkling Hilife guitar, congas and a wonderfully overwrought James Brown-adepts.

To raise such Damawuzan musicians to license their songs and steal their stories, Samy Ben must travel for months and Redjeb ask around. Sometimes he lets someone call the local radio station, sometimes ringing the police at his door, to go along with him on the search. "And suddenly I'm sitting in the back seat of a tiny car, wedged between two uniformed officers around for hours singing like James Brown and scream," he says.

The search for the forgotten pop stars of Africa not only leads to great Afro-soul-pearls, but also in a turbulent past. The band grooved times in the shadow of military dictatorships, sometimes under the banner of pan-African socialism, or as part of cultural politics of authenticity campaigns. The ratios were contradictory: while Fela Kuti Afrobeat classic "Zombie" in 1975 in Nigeria Riots mobilized against the military junta, also played the "Nigerian Police Force Band" sweaty funk with psychedelic Hammond organ sounds. In Ghana, the army arrested after the coup of 1966, many musicians - again in the seventies, there were bands that were exclusively funded by the Army.

"There was a spirit of optimism, a sense of self-empowerment," says Miles from London label Cleret Soundway. "Most countries did so just over a decade of independence behind them." Cleret also is one of those DJs whose passion for collecting the new enthusiasm for the African vintage sounds has fanned. Spurred by the old vinyl discs Hilife a musician from Accra, he traveled for the first Soundway compilation "Ghana Soundz" by Ghana for three years.

He discovered a pop culture that the world-music record labels in the eighties had overlooked - or wanted to see. "The World Music and other people had a pulse," says Cleret. "They were desperate to get away from the Western pop music and studied in Africa, a culture that has to do with it as little as possible."

Quite different is the approach of the new label-maker-generation. Having grown up with rap, Miles Cleret began in the nineties, the soul, funk, jazz and disco-plates to discover who had sampled the hip-hop producers. And finally found the soundtrack of his life in Africa: Rough Soul, funk and disco-howler, which sound a bit trashy for local standards, because the producers sometimes had to make do with only a tape recorder and two microphones. The crappy sound but the musicians did with energy and experimentation offset. They touched up the local rhythms and Western models of original hybrids. "The kids have discovered their roots and then experimented with," says Cleret.

Today once again discovered the American hip-hop old African bastard pop. Was re-released his last album for rap star Usher sampled a piece of the Ghanaian guitarist and bandleader Ebo Taylor, the Soundway. And the number "As We Enter" with the NAS and the Duo Damian 'Gong' Marley opened his acclaimed album, based on the play "Yègelé Tezeta" the Ethiopian vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke. Astatke is one of the few musicians who can take advantage of the hype for a worldwide comeback. The 67-year-old playing his elegiac mix of Ethiopian pentatonic, Latin Jazz and Soul Festival today on independent as well as in prestigious concert halls.

Township grooves from junk yards

His albums released on Strut Records, another label that has merit in the heritage of African pop music. For example, through their writing of South African music: The three-part CD series "Next Stop Soweto," shows what a vibrant music scene, cavorted in the shadow of apartheid policies. The name refers to the largest township in Johannesburg and shot down the bloody uprising that erupted there in June 1976. The Soweto riots were the beginning of the end of the racist regime. "Next Stop Soweto" sound of the black youth documented on the road to rebellion: the driving choruses of "Township Jive", and "mbaqanga" called the elegant Kwela Jazz and Hammond Soul of the Sixties and psychedelic guitars twang the "Mahipis," the South African hippies.

For decades, the township-level grooves unnoticed in the archives of the South African Broadcasting Corporation and in the cellars of junk shops. Rediscovered it has the strut employees Duncan Brooker, early thirties and one of the toughest detectives on the scene. During a visit to Johannesburg, he got by chance, like a store operator crates of vinyl singles wanted to throw in the garbage. "What are you doing with that old shit," Brooker gets on his months-long expeditions to hear often. "We prefer to listen to Snoop Doggy Dogg." The pop-culture legacy as bulky waste: Often have to watch the disk agitator from Europe, such as child abuse in the streets of Nairobi and Lagos records as frisbees.

Most musicians have died, have changed their profession or have gone to Europe. For his latest compilation "Afro-Beat Airways" was searching about Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa in Accra for weeks after the band Marijata. He finally met the organist in Berlin, with schnitzel and sauerkraut. Duncan Brooker and Strut Records defeated seven years of looking long in Sierra Leone after the band leader of the African National ensembles. "I had already given up, as there comes a guy from Sierra Leone in my London apartment to read the gas," says Brooker. "I put on a record of African National and the guy comes running out: 'What's going on, why do you play music from my country?"

The Gasableser was on the old vinyl discs, which showed him Brooker, identify various relatives and friends. Finally it turned out that the musician has the sought after collector's plate so long in vain for years working for a security company in the supermarket around the corner. Brooker took five minutes on foot to present to the man his old records. He himself had long since slipped from the consciousness that he had heard three decades earlier times in the vanguard of an African cultural revolution.

Originally published in the German magazine spiegel.de, written by Christoph Twickel


The translation was technically supported. Due to this there may be some mistakes in the english version, whereby the orginal version was in German. Everyone interested in the German version, check out the link. But still the english version seems to interesting to hide. Enjoy!!!

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