Nov 30, 2011
During the latter half of the 1980s, Fela Anikulapo Kuti's international star waned a little, as Congolese rumba and Malian desert blues became the new world music flavors of the moment. And in 2010, even a portion of the Afrobeat audience tends to underestimate Kuti's later work. But 1986's Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense, along with albums such as Beasts Of No Nation (Kalakuta, 1989) and Underground System (Kalakuta, 1992), demonstrates that Kuti's genius never left him, and that Egypt 80 was as limber and hard-hitting a band as its predecessor, Afrika 70.
Kuti only infrequently employed outside producers on his albums. Sometimes the results were good: British dub master Dennis Bovell's Live In Amsterdam (Polygram, 1983) and the ex-Cream drummer, Ginger Baker's psychedelia tinged He Miss Road (EMI, 1975). On another occasion it was spectacularly bad: Bill Laswell's extensive remix and overdubbing of Army Arrangement (Celluloid, 1985), done while Kuti was in jail in 1984 on trumped up currency smuggling charges. Listening to it was "worse than being in prison," Kuti said.
Best of them all was Wally Badarou's Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense. It adopted a markedly different aesthetic to the one Kuti typically used, and it was a triumph. The album was recorded shortly after Kuti had been released from jail, where he'd served 20 months on the smuggling charges (son Femi had kept Egypt 80 rehearsed during the incarceration).
Badarou's production is richer and more burnished than was the norm for Kuti. Indeed, it's almost orchestral. The sound is smoother, the beat more chilled, and the arrangement denser, with layers of keyboards, a serpentine horn chart, and the backup choir placed well forward in the mix. In the lyric for the title track, Kuti tells the oyinbos (white men) to stop foisting sham versions of democracy on Africa, allowing "democratic" rulers to line their own pockets at the expense of the people, just so long as foreign-owned multi-nationals are permitted to strip the continent of its natural resources for a pittance. This isn't democracy, says Kuti, it's "demo-crazy." Give us back our traditional rulers, he says, they are infinitely preferable.
Ironically—and probably unknown to Kuti at the time this album was recorded—Badarou was during the mid 1980s sometimes engaged as a keyboard player on Laswell's productions (saxophonist Manu Dibango's 1985 Celluloid album, Electric Africa, was outstanding). But Badarou's modus operandi was eons away from Laswell's heavy handed approach. Years later, explaining how to produce Kuti, he said, "You don't. You keep the tape running, you have a second machine standing by, you make him feel comfortable, and you are wholly transparent throughout the process. Fela knew very little of me—I can't recall ever being formally introduced—and I clearly felt his reluctance to the having a 'producer' on board....But Fela loved the sound." Indeed, Kuti told Badarou, "You know how to mix my music, man"—a real compliment from an artist who always knew exactly how he wanted his music to be presented on disc.
Read the full article at allaboutjazz.com!
I saw Fela Kuti live. It was in 1989, toward the end of his career (his final studio album, Underground System, was released in 1992, and he died in 1997), at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. The show was astonishing. Obviously, it was over 20 years ago, so my memories are blurry and impressionistic at this point, but I remember a staggering number of musicians and dancers on the stage, all being conducted by this one shirtless, made-up, strutting man, who barked out lyrics and occasionally played long, honking saxophone solos. The music poured out and into the night sky, flowing and seemingly endless. Fela was known for never playing a “greatest hits” set; his songs tended to be nearly a half-hour long anyhow, but he never played anything he’d already recorded. When you saw him live, you were guaranteed to hear something you couldn’t get on an album, at least not yet. Once he laid something to tape, it was retired.
I wasn’t at all familiar with his music at the time I saw the show. I knew he had dozens of albums, but they weren’t available on CD, and I’d only heard one—this one. I’d bought it after reading a review of one of his New York concerts in Rolling Stone, and even though I knew about the lengthy live jams, I was still somewhat astonished to see that the cassette only had one song per side. I played it over and over that summer and for a couple of years after, though eventually it got purged, along with most of my other cassettes. Now it’s been reissued, along with all of Fela’s other albums, on CD and MP3.
I’ve heard almost all of Fela’s discography at this point—not just the albums, each one monumental in its own way, albeit with some clear masterpieces (“Zombie,” “Gentleman,” “Roforofo Fight”) standing out from the pack—but also early singles and shorter tracks that crop up on all the compilations of Nigerian music that have been released in recent years. Most of his albums have a raw, rattletrap quality, the intricate polyrhythms and strutting horn charts recorded under relatively primitive conditions, the arrangements loose and choosing immediacy over sterile perfection. Calling Fela “the James Brown of Africa” is not only reductive, it’s actually kind of insulting to both men, glossing over each one’s individual strengths. That said, a lot of Fela’s studio albums from the 1970s all the way up to the early 1980s remind me of the work Brown did with the JBs on albums like Sex Machine and Hot Pants in 1969 and 1970, and the 1971 live album Love Power Peace. The aggression is the same, the determination to get the message out no matter what, to lecture the audience directly and let the driving funk carry it home.
This album, though, was made in 1986, and had a real producer—Wally Badarou, an Island Records-affiliated keyboardist and composer from Benin who played on Grace Jones‘s Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Living My Life albums when she recorded at Compass Point Studios in Jamaica, in addition to working with Talking Heads (on Speaking in Tongues and Naked), Robert Palmer and the Power Station, and many, many others. Badarou brings a polish to the music and the arrangements that vaults Fela’s music into a higher tax bracket, sonically speaking. The guitars and bass are rich and full; the drums, while sounding mechanistic at times, are slippery and hypnotic; the horns punch at the air. Fela himself sounds at ease, like he’s recording in a real studio instead of a tin-roofed shack with military police battering at the door, and yet his call-and-response exchanges with his female backup singers have a vibrancy that’s utterly infectious, especially during the passage midway through the title track where he commands them to sing back the phrases he plays on the saxophone.
The second track, “Look and Laugh,” is slower to get rolling, setting up a jazz-funk groove that almost has the lilting feel of Nigeria’s other primary musical export, juju, and letting it simmer. Hot trumpets blare atop the keyboards, and the rhythm gradually picks up speed and gathers force until Fela launches a biting tenor saxophone solo (it starts in Dexter Gordon territory, but heads Archie Shepp-ward before it’s over) at around the eight-minute mark, with the other horns commenting behind him. There’s a Herbie Hancock-esque keyboard solo after that, then more sax, and only then, about 13 minutes in, does the vocal section of the song begin. The track continues to simmer as Fela talks about how long it’s been since he wrote a new song, but eventually he begins to comment about how, as the track title indicates, he just watches the way people act and laughs. The track ends with Fela and the whole band laughing loud and long.
This reissue contains a bonus track, the 22-minute, politically engaged “Just Like That.” It’s as polished as the original album cuts, but nowhere nearly as relaxed, lyrically speaking (Fela talks about his memories of Nigeria’s civil war, and much more), and it’s a great addition to the disc. Almost the entire Fela catalog is worth hearing, but this album has special resonance for me, as it was my entry point.
With production help from Wally Badarou, Fela Anikulapo Kuti offers up an interesting mix of songs (well, two to be exact) in both vocal and instrumental versions. Most compelling is the track "Look and Laugh," which details the attack by Nigerian soldiers on his Kalakuta compound. With simple lyrics, Fela runs down the horror of that attack in a detached, almost journalistic manner: "Till dem come/burn my house/burn my house/all my property/burn burn dem/beat beat me/kill my mama." Badarou's production help gives Fela his most full-bodied sound; the horn section is much hotter and brassier than ever before. The problem with this record is that with following an instrumental track with a vocal version of the same song, there's a certain lack of drama that blunts the impact of songs as powerful as "Look and Laugh." That said, this is very good mid-'80s Fela. The 2001 reissue on MCA adds a 22-minute bonus track, "Just Like That," which was originally released on 1989's Beast of No Nation album.
Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense (1980)
Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense
Fela explains the role of the teacher in any society with the concept that: all the things we consider as problems, and all the good things we accept from life as good, begin with what we are taught. The individual teaching begins with when we are children – our mother is our teacher. When we come of school age, our teacher is the school-teacher. At the university, the lecturers and professors are our teachers. After university—when we start to work, government becomes the individual’s teacher. When then is government’s teacher? ‘Culture and Tradition’ says Fela. This is the order of things everywhere in the world. However, it is the problem side of teacher and student that interests Fela in this song. Because every country in this world except in Africa, it is the respective culture and tradition of that country that guides the government on how to rule their people. Going for specifics, Fela mentions France, Germany, England, Korea, Japan, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Etc., it is the culture of these countries that shapes and guides their respective government’s decisions. The culture and traditions of these countries serve as a teacher to their respective governments. Turing his attention to Africa and her problems. Problems which he had sang about: corruption, inflation, mismanagement, authority stealing, electoral fraud, the latest addition which even makes him laugh is –austerity. Fela says if you ask him why ‘austerity makes him laugh? The answer is that it is beyond crying. The government steals money from the country, the same government is introducing austerity measures—forcing the poor people to pay for their own greed and calling it ‘austerity measures’. How funny if to say the least. Who taught African ‘leaders’ to rule the way they do today? ‘Na the oyinbo’ (meaning in Yoruba language: ‘it is them white folks’) referring to ex-colonial ruler of each country. Take electoral fraud, which is a true test of our democracy. Many African leaders rig elections with impunity and their respective ex-colonial rulers say nothing against this form of ‘democracy’. While the same ‘white folks’ are quick to claim credit for Africa’s ‘civilization’—which Fela disputes in this song. Is this democracy? , he asks. Turning to other problems like the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor. Particularly, since the rich are the rules, and also the people stealing the country into poverty. Is this democracy? Or dem-all-crazy? In conclusion, as an African personality, Fela says he is not in the same league as those who believe in dem-all-crazy, so he calls on the Western powers who claim to be Africa’s teachers not to teach him nonsense—Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense.
Look and Laugh
By 1981 when Fela wrote and started to perform live the song Look And Laugh, he was living a life that could be described as a recluse. Fela, who loved to go out in public places, clubs, etc. Suddenly, was always found sleeping or playing sax at home with women around him, or performing at the Africa Shrine. His old attitude of keeping abreast of events, giving lectures at universities and institutions of higher learning stopped. He rarely gave press conferences or press releases, like he used to do. Finally he wrote the song to explain what was going-on with him. He sang: ‘…many of you go dey wonder why your man never write new song! wetin I dey do be say…I dey look and laugh.’ Meaning: …many of you must have been wondering why, your man has not written new songs!…what I am doing is just look and laugh! Fela went on to explain his contributions and sacrifices for the cause of black emancipation, the countless beatings and arrests from the Nigerian police and army, his trials and tribulations, his ultimate sacrifice being the burning down of Kalakuta by the Nigeria army. But despite his sacrifices and sufferings like millions of other Africans, it was obvious that things were not getting better for the average man on the street. There is still injustice everywhere, no freedom, no happiness. All these made him feel disillusioned and all he could do about the situation is to Look and Laugh.
Just Like That
This song is a call to arms from Fela to all Africans to rise up and do something about the political, economic, social and cultural retrogression that has plagued Africa since independence. For more than three decades of independence, there is glaring mismanagement of people’s lives, corruption in the highest echelon of government—all these carried out with impunity—‘Just Like That’ he sings. Using the Nigerian experience as an example of the ‘lack of maintenance culture’, in Africa’s present day neo-colonial administrations, he says: ‘White man ruled us for many years, we had electricity constantly, our leaders take over! No electricity in town—Just like that!’ Fela explains that the attempt to transplant ‘Western style democracy’ in an African society is the cause of all the problems. Despite calls for African Unity from leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, who said: ‘..Until all foreign institutions and culture are removed from the African land, that is when the African genius will be born and African personality will find its fulfillment..’. Instead of heeding Nkrumah’s call, Nigeria’s political founding fathers, like most African leaders at independence, chose the option of fashioning the constitutions of their respective countries after those of the departing colonial ‘masters’—Just Like That. The ambiguity of such decisions can be seen in the poor imitation we make of our attempt at ‘Western style democracy’. Persistent political gangsterism, military coups, and sometimes wars, are means used to enforce the already compromised constitutions. As another example of enforcing a fragile constitution, Fela stresses the face that in 1966, Nigeria for a civil war to keep the country ONE. General Gowon, the military head of state, divided Nigeria into twelve administrative regions, subsequent administrations divided the regions into more—Just Like That. He adds that if the idea of the civil war was to keep the country ONE, sub-dividing Nigeria into more regions would separate rather than unite the country. Turning to the position of traditional rulers in the mess called government, Fela sings: ‘…nothing good for town to give the youths good examples, how our traditional ruler they do, them come make youths look-up to Europe and USA, in those places them don lose them common sense, na the number of Nuclear weapons you get, na him give you power pass! Right now! Fight now! Suffer must stop! Just Like That”. Therefore, calling on the people to fight now for a better society.
Written by Mabinuori Kayode Idowu
1. Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense
2. Look and Laugh
3. Just Like That
Nov 28, 2011
Together with Nico Mbarga, Ikenga Super Stars, Oriental Brothers and African
System Orchestra, to call a few, these guys belong to the cream of
the crop of the highlife scene.
01. People No Fit Understand
03. One Day Suffer Go Finish
Nov 25, 2011
Four songs of sweet Highlife, what a great band, check it out!!!
Ndongo Pecos and presumably the rest of African System Orchestra are apparently Cameroonian, living in Nigeria when this album was recorded.
But these tracks certainly don’t sound like your average 70s Nigerian highlife. I guess by 1981 much of Nigeria was in the throws of Afrobeat and disco, which must have rubbed-off on the Igbo highlife bands too.
01. Bad Friend
03. Good Night My Girl
04. Inyanga No Good
Total hypnosis... you ride on a Camel...sand on your skin... your bones heated up... desert as far as your can see...lost sens of orientation… the Harmattan blows on your cheeks. Your sight becomes blurred… encens plumes … the snake charmer… the dancer's belly…misleading glows…the buried oasis…1001 nights… hallucination ? No, Kadiago is probably not a mirage… you certainly are where you think you are. Compare Issouf brought you there. And he will take you there as often as you wish.
A must have !!!!!
03. J'Ai Vingt Ans
05. Dis Lui Que Je L'Attends
Nov 24, 2011
Accra band about which little is known, but they flutter through almost as many styles as there are tracks on the record. There's definitely some blistering fuzzed-out afrobeat, but also straight up reggae, organ funk vamps, and a little happy highlife. Guitar isn't at the front of the mix, with some awesomely distorited organ taking the spotlight, especially on the spicier cuts.
Legendary, hard-grooving, mid-seventies Afro-funk and disco from Ghana, with the underground-boogie shark-attack Jungle Music. Presented impeccably in fine, rigid sleeves made in Japan, and well-pressed. Killer!
01. Moving World
02. Dracula Dance
03. Brotherhood Of Man
04. No One Is Born To Suffer
05. Groovy Love
06. Jungle Music
07. Wale Tobite
Labels: Kelenkye Band
Nov 21, 2011
One of Compaore's few lp's w/ a solid floor afrofunk hustle tune & organ solo.
Burkina Faso legend with the funky tune 'dambakale':
01. Tanga Sega
02. Ritoum Ye
04. Petite Fille
06. Je Ne Peux Pas Decider
Labels: Compaoré Issouf
Nov 18, 2011
oseph Osayomore comes from the Edo State, a region in Nigeria between the Yoruba land and the Niger delta which we have already encountered thanks to Paul Ede and Victor Uwaifo, where during the past centuries the glorious Benin Empire developed. He was born at the end of the forties in a village not far from Benin City. When he was very young he decided to follow an artistic path which led him, during the seventies, to become one of the biggest stars of his land.
Joseph Osayomore is someone who fed the ethnic proudness of the Bini and those people can be proud of this. But outside Nigeria nobody knows much about him, this is also to be considered the normal condition for the majority of the African art and culture. Osayomore appears to be one of those who has all the characteristics to stimulate curiosity within a more vast public.
Strongly tied to his own tradition and also proud of this, Joseph Osayomore has always avoided following ethnical and cultural ideals; those of the European colonizers, as opposed to many Nigerian musicians, he never showed any interest in the Christian religion nor Muslim religion. Osayomore is a follower of the Benin pantheon spirits, a true "animist" and also the name of his group - the Ulele Power Sound - refers to his religious convictions. In the tradition of his village, the Ulele power comes from the spirits of who serves them and respects them.
Thanks to his courage to speak openly against injustice and the false Nigerian democracy, Joseph Osayomore is considered a sort of successor of Fela Kuti. Unfortunately the message risks being confined in the area of his own ethnic group due to the Edo language utilized by him in his songs. It is a fact that he was brought to court and imprisoned more than once - also during the Obasnjo government, historical enemy of Fela - because of the iconoclasm of his lyrics and for to conceited critics to the local and national authorities, starting from the proud and the respect for his ancestors culture. It is perhaps due to this that the musical scene is inundated with the various chief, commander, prince and king that Joseph Osayomore chose the title of ambassador.
The icon of the cheeky and irreverent musician who uses his own art as a scene and pretext to laugh about and to criticize the authorities - to say the truth without any fear, says the tradition - is not alien to the cultural Yoruba and Bini context within which both Fela and Osayomore move.
"Osayomore Joseph is the best thing ever released from the Bini land. Thanks to him I am sure we will gain freedom". "OJ always tells the truth. Amongst the over 60 records released one of his most famous songs is Army of Freedom. Another one is Efewedo, richness I say goodbye to you, a song against envy for wealth and for respect earned honestly. In Efewedo and in many songs Osayomre thanks his mother, an important woman who always supported him in public also in front of the authorities' persecutions or in front of the mean gossips about his immorality - mostly sexual - which accompanied him for years. Also this is a trace that associates him to Fela.
Musically speaking Osayomore is certainly less eclectic than Victor Uwaifo also if the course of his long carrier has gone through with much originality, some of the most popular musical genres in the country, amongst which highlife and afro beat. The main characteristic of his Bini-sound is the power of groove. The Ulelele Power Sound are made up of drums, congas, bass, two guitars, winds and voices, all the instruments are used for rhythm. The result is a powerful plaid of squeaky harmonies, over which what predominates is the declaimed singing of Osayomore accompanied by an obsessive reply from the chorus.
His music is a tremendous invitation to dance. With its multiple repartitions of traditional Bini rhythms, representing the vertebral column of the songs, an exciting news with African notes nuances and Caribbean, to which it will be quite difficult to resist moving.
Here we propose two entire CDs bought in a bazaar in the roman banlieu called Tor Pignattara, they are the first and second albums released for the Emotan Records of Benin City at the end of the seventies beginning eighties. The third album was released for the Emotan and is called Waka Waka which can be found on the Snap Cracle & Pop blog. The first is Ulele in Transit - Efewedo (EMOLP001) while the seoond is Over the Bar I Beg You (EMOLP002).
It is about music made not for our ears, but for the festive masses of the warm african metropolis. Our home bred capability of listening to it and our home bred tastes are not taken into consideration, also if it would be enough maybe a little touch up on the arrangements to take away some oddity which makes it a little difficult to swallow. If you want to listen to it find in on Youtube.
And now ... shake!
01. Orhiomwon Bo
Nov 17, 2011
With the death of Mrs Christiana Essien-Igbokwe, the Nigerian entertainment world lost a first class performer and arguably one of the most accomplished artistes of her generation. She was also a role model who achieved professional success at a relatively young age yet lived a scandal-free life as a devoted wife and mother.
Fame, it can be said, found Essien-Igbokwe early in life. Having lost her mother at the age of 12, a family friend who became her guardian encouraged and subsequently nurtured her interest in singing. That was to thrust her on the path of a musical career as she became a regular feature on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 6, Aba musical and entertainment programmes like Ukonu’s Club and Now Sound. When the then running popular sit-com, The Masquerade, was shopping for a suitable actress for the role of the wife of a make-believe garrulous Yoruba man, she effortlessly stepped into the part.
With that, Essien-Igbokwe became better known by her screen name, Apena, the cantankerous wife of Jegede Sokoya (real name, Claude Eke). She retained the role even when The Masquerade morphed into The New Masquerade in the 1980s. But her talent was to shine brighter in music where she became a trailblazer.
At age 16 in 1976, Essien-Igbokwe released her first album, Freedom. Other albums – Patience and Time Waits for No One – would follow two years later. Then came One Understanding in 1979, the year she tied the nuptials with Mr Edwin Igbokwe, then General Manager at Punch newspaper, and became Christiana Essien-Igbokwe.
Her better known albums, Give Me a Chance and Ever Liked My Person hit the airwaves in 1980 and 1981. The latter was released under the London-based label EMI International Records and was adjudged her best LP till date.
Essien-Igbokwe’s most acclaimed songs were ironically neither in her native Ibibio nor in her husband’s Igbo language. Arguably, her most celebrated song was in Yoruba and was titled “Seun Rere”. The song, with others in the Hausa and Igbo, made her the quintessential pan-Nigerian singer. She, however, never forgot her roots as her song in Ibibio, titled “Akwa-Ibom Mmi” (My Akwa-Ibom), virtually became the anthem of her home state, Akwa Ibom (carved out of the old Cross Rivers state), the creation of which she played a very prominent role in 1987.
Essien-Igbokwe also played critical roles in the politics of her chosen profession. Her renown in the local music scene had indeed put her in good stead to vie for the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) presidency, which she won and became the body’s first female president. Through her obvious talent and diligence, Essien-Igbokwe earned herself many laurels some of which were: International Special Achievement Award Mexico (1983), Africa Music Mother Award (1984), World Song Festival Award, Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners Lagos (1996) and in 2002, she bagged the National Honours Award of the Member of the Federal Republic (MFR). She also unofficially became acknowledged as Nigeria’s Lady of Songs.
Incidentally, for this incredibly talented actress, besides featuring in two early Nollywood movies Flesh and Blood and Sacred of Womanhood, nothing much was heard of her acting career as her music blossomed. She, however, remained a role model for many actresses nonetheless. But away from the limelight, she ran a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), called Essential Child Care Foundation, involved in child welfare needs and rights and participated in two concerts in 2009. The first was to Inspire Africa Benefit Concert in January while the other was the MTN Musical Festival, a musical show of old and new-breed musicians. Essien-Igbokwe, who would have turned 51 on November 11, is survived by her husband, Edwin and children, one of whom is also a musician.
She may not have lived a long life, the glowing tributes that trailed last week’s announcement of her death attest to her achievements as encomiums came from eminent Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan. The outpouring of grief is indeed a testimony to the fact that the late Essien-Igbokwe not only sang her pan-Nigerianess but also lived it. Adieu, the irrepressible Nigerian Lady of Songs.
02. Feel So Good Sometime
03. If I Can Be Free From Darkness
04. Mr. Boom Boom Boom
05. My Kind Of Man
06. Unsteady Love
07. I'm No More Your Little Fool
08. Let's Face Our Problems
Labels: Christiana Essien
Nov 16, 2011
"Vultures," "Mother Henriette," "Man on the guitar," "Girls Kologha-Naba 'and we forget, this is some of the rich repertoire of songs from this that the Music lovers were quick to nickname "Man on the guitar."
Abdoulaye Cisse in the registry, it could have high school if his penchant for music had not taken over the benches. Discover or made better acquainted with this almost sexagenarian who does not look her age.
You are an artist well-known musician, tell us how you came into the music.
(Laughter). I feel it's more the music that came to me. I was very young when I started music. When I went to the normal course of Koudougou in 1962-1963, I had a guitar that had 'been given by my uncle, he had found that I was passionate about music, but that does not bother my studies. I offered it as a gift after I passed my entry into the sixth.
I hummed songs of great singers of the time. I loved seeing the shows of the great artists of Africa. My father was a Republican Guard and I had the opportunity to see many groups. I Dafing. Our ethnicity is a stickler on certain principles especially in regard to caste. I'm not a griot and I'm not allowed to sing. I was the only one with a penchant for music and my family I finally understood.
What is your discography right now?
I admit it is difficult for me to answer such a question. My very first record in 1974. Between 1974 and 1976, I made four 45 laps and then a 33 rpm. The 45 and 33, are from LPs, vinyl side supports A and B. The 33 towers is wider. I have done in Benin in 1981.
After the tapes were introduced. Between 1986 and 1992, I could make five albums. The last date of 1993. It's an album that I made entirely in Sweden with my friend Seydou Traoré Richard, CEO of Seydoni Production and is at the head of a major company and he invited me to Sweden with my band, percussion Djamana . The tour resulted in the production of an album. After that, there were only small, ad hoc interventions and the FESPACO Burkina Compil and C 98.
Many are those who remember songs like "Girls Kologie-Naaba" in what spirit did you write this song?
I sang the title, but it's not me who wrote it. The author called Yago Kumasi. In 1968, when I entered the band Super Volta, this young man had just left. It was he who sang. This is a song of the 50 Congolese group Rock-a-Mambo, which had been adapted. When I came to the orchestra, I was back the entire directory and later my own songs.
You have been a teacher, what motivated you to abandon this profession for radio?
I was trained for teaching. I came out of the ordinary course teacher in 1968 and did 12 years on. Ground in the bush as they say. I used to Zawara (Koudougou) at Kantchari (Niger border) to Tiou (Mali border) to Silmougou to Kaya and Bassinko. It was a compelling business from my vocation is music. I liked the music, above all, that's what made me happy. The job of a teacher, I do not exercise it by vocation. It was my basic training and in addition, my father wanted me to do career in this business. But after 12 years, I finished the ten-year commitment to serve ment in rural areas. So I could go and asked for a detachment. I was then seconded to the radio as a result of a test that I passed in 1978. In 1979 I took office as program host on Radio Ouaga.
One of your songs, "Vultures", won a Prix RFI. What benefits have you benefited with such a price?
No. Rather, "Toumangari Djembe" is a song of inspiration that I drew traditional folklore Dafing. "Vultures" has traveled to Africa. It's a song that has a revolutionary content and is enjoyed in countries such as Benin, Guinea and Cameroon. Under the August 1983 Revolution in Burkina Faso, it was considered a song mobilization and awareness of youth compared to the situation in Africa. I pulled up to sales.
But it has not been successful in Western countries like France because it was a song highly critical opinions of the colonizers. By cons, "Tomangari Djembe", which took the Prix RFI discovery 83, gave me an opening to the world. This is in Mauritius that I was to receive my prize. I had the opportunity to do many tours and participated also, Bourges festival with this award. For two or three years I have had the promotion on the part of RFI.
Abdoulaye Cisse said "The man with the guitar." Why that name?
The man with the guitar was taken from one of my songs that was much appreciated at the time the youth was a text more or less romantic than some teachers have learned to their students.
It seems that on your guitar, ill was written "Mom Henriettu"
(Laughter). No, it's a legend I do not like to show myself. I think I would have never done. I had my guitar before "Mother Henriette" This is my first wife and I can not take the name of another person to stick it on my guitar. "Mother Henriette" is the title of a song that was made a year after "the man with the guitar."
But who is "Mother Henriette?"
. This is the person with whom I lived, the mother of my son Kader. I did this song at the time to pay tribute.
What becomes of it, "Mother Henriette?"
(Laughter). But I do not know!
They say you are an intelligent man and you were a student who occupied the first rank in class. The music she was right in your studies?
Indeed, at school I was not stupid. But the music took my head. When my friends saw life in graduate school, I was thinking about music, but unfortunately there was no industry in this area. Yes, the music was right in my studies. (Laughter). That although it was right in my studies because that's what I wanted to do. I could go to the military academy in Dakar or Bingerville like many of my colleagues. But I always refused these competitions.
Can you cite some gains made in music?
What I wanted in music, it is not quantifiable achievements in terms of material wealth. No, what I wanted, I did not have. I wanted the consecration of the world. Living my music full touring to express myself is what I missed. Otherwise I was very happy. The little that I had allowed me to continue to make music.
And your troubles?
I have not experienced setbacks in the music. In all, there are ups and downs. I could get a band, I have a full orchestra that allows me to perform. The only disappointment for an artist, when it has not made an album or run a touring program. I did not make the prison. I may have had a good education in terms of organizing my life, I do not see what has destabilized my life. I am attached to my freedom and I always managed to avoid disturbing others.
Abdoulaye Cisse composed in rhyme as Kaboré Oger. Can we say that you're both artists poets?
A priori, Oger, I and all of the generation of 67-68 years, so we ordered first was romanticism. Like it or not, we had to make poetry. It was inconceivable at the time we do a song that means nothing.
We know that you are also a trainer. To date how many bands or artists have you trained?
I have not decided to be a trainer, but many young people had to rub me. At any given time, I was director of music school. In the days of "Little Singers" and "Doves" is actually made up of young people. On this side, we can consider me as a trainer, but I've never been full professor, a graduate to teach music. You are dealing with a self-taught, someone who has trained himself when he was in the normal course. Once the courts were normal as seminars, where music is required.
My basic training helped me understand the music. I trained as youth Djamana percussion, I grew i been for fifteen years formed Super Volta. I was also trained in theater. With Djamana, I felt that I was responsible for something unlike Boys Choir and the Dove, which was a revolutionary movement. I can not tell you how many young people have been in contact since my only issue ever to graduate. It is mainly young people who are well situated to tell.
What happens to the group Djamana percussion?
The group is still there, on paper, since we have the receipts, but in practice it n: there are more such as we had originally designed. That was before in the form of traditional music, a mix of modern traditional music. Today, it took the form of a modern orchestra. It is a label that has preserved and that we use.
Sami Rama Is one of your products?
Yes, we can say since we did many things together. With me it started when it was operating within "Boys Choir with raised fists." To stop this project, when it came for her to pursue a solo career, c is from this point that its development started with me.
What is your marital status?
I am married and the one you just saw (note: he presents a young girl named Afissatou) is my daughter who is in college. I have other older children I am like everyone else and my wife is private secretary to the cabinet of the Minister of Economy and Development. You can see there the day you'll be passing through. It is with this that I live since 1979.
Much water has flowed under the bridge after your separation from Sami Rama, CEAA is that you failed in your duty as a husband?
You know, this area, I do not like the deal. This is a debate very intimate and personal. Even if one is an artist and we have a public life, we were wise enough to keep our secret garden not to talk about in the press.
How do you separate that?
I do not want to deal with it
Are we may hope one day closer?
You make your assumptions and ask questions. While looking at the answers yourself. I tell you that I will not answer (laughs).
Do you continue to work as an artist?
In this respect, I do not mind. We are still artists. In addition, we have a long history of art together, so it should not be a problem. In our business, we have this chance to grow musically together whatever the disagreements. You know the number of artists with whom I do not get or do not agree with me but with whom I play? One bump, we smile, we're happy and you pass.
To see you, you seem young when you're a little older, what's your secret?
I do not think that 56 years or 57 years, or older. But I do not dispute what you said so far if you think I'm young for my age. However, I know artists who are older than me and are still active, so I do not see why I hang up. I can quote George Ouedraogo, Jean-Claude said Bamogo Man which are certainly of my generation, but who are my elders. My problem is that I made music as a kid and because of this, there are adults who have discovered at this age. What makes people feel that I do not age. And it identifies me as the generation of adults then who remember some of my tracks when I am not of this generation.
But everything has a connection with the spirit of man, because at 40 years old so it may seem that someone else may have 60 to give the impression of being young. If you love your life, if you are well organized, you stay young in your mind and your body, especially when making music, which quickens and regenerates when you're in bad shape. Music is smile, give you a warm happy despite the problems that you hang out with you.
Since Burkina Band and 98 C, no more so you can see on the stage, what's going on?
Burkina Compil, if you will, was a project back in the saddle for some hit songs that were forgotten. Unfortunately, the experiment did not continue even if it was really a great initiative. Since the C 98, I do not know what to say because there is not a time when there was a break in my career. If. We want to talk in terms of breaking it may be on the terms of releases. Indeed, it is also an artist when we see his works on the market, television, radio, in print. In fact, the media are instrumental in the career of an artist. In this regard, I find that I more or less removed from the scene because my last work goes way back. But I do not mean finished because with my group, I do a lot scene, the "live".
In addition, for a long time, I took care of others, what made that I have not had time to take care of myself. These are the reasons that give the impression that I retired so that it is not, I'm still here. You have older children as Kader Cisse is rather oriented business, how do you assess his choice?
I do not appreciate is his life and destiny. I think it's good. If against all odds, I made the music and my parents have not stopped me, I do not see why I would come the idea to make judgments about their choice. I told you I like my freedom, so much so that I do not want to disturb the others. If one of my children, some had the aim of making music, I'd also be leaving without any trial.
Abdoulaye Cisse is attracted by what kind of woman?
I'm not attracted to women. Let me explain because people tend to mix things up by saying that artists are draggers. This is a big mistake because I think the artist is someone who works a lot on the cerebral, not physical. It's a sentimental, that's why you see the love life of artists is sometimes trouble .. It is a brain work because you can not get back to love, and love ten thousand women at once, it is not possible. Those who accost every woman who passes are sick and I'm not one of them.
I'm not saying I do not like beautiful women, but it is not enough to get me.
What are the best moments of your career that you have earned a good financial health?
I do not remember but my financial health has always been a checkered with ups and downs. I've never had a big surprise in the sense of becoming a millionaire one day but I've always been consistent in this area. Our income as an artist is what? This is the BBDA (Burkina Faso Office of Copyrights); income products on the market, entertainment and others. For now, I have not had the chance to have a big blow as they say.
And my lean times?
Not so much because I've always been a civil servant. As an artist, it is difficult to live by his art in Burkina Faso while currently products such as cassettes, albums, work very hard for some artists. But in time, there were times when we do not sell anything because it n 'there was no tape duplication plant, there were no producers. When you did your music, you did out of love or passion because there was no audience to buy your work. If I had only artist that I was counting on it to live, perhaps I would have been low. Until then, I have not had the opportunity to dive into a black hole.
With so many years of musical career, are you filled in the social? '
In this regard, I am really overwhelmed because the music I got to know many people, having many friends. And being popular, it's also something, it's that one is like no other. Even if among all these people there are those who love you, admire you and those who also may hate you. I am satisfied and I have no problems with anyone.
What do you think of music in Burkina Faso now?
OK, she is doing very well compared to what it was some ten or fifteen years. Today, we do not need too much to break the head to make money over time because what is harvested from the work done is by no means the same thing today . Burkinabe music, despite its shape even when subjected musical styles from all sides, but fortunately there are artists that really make the music and do not come in to trade, but because of a vocation, With these, you can save and protect something.
What matters to me is the music of Burkina Faso, something you can in 20 or 30 years, after looking back bring the words: "Here! These productions can be among the great works of Burkina Faso. " But should not the music that will leave our children in 20 to 30 years can not be identified, let alone music called Burkina Faso. This is my fear and my struggle has always been to advocate for the protection of our background music.
What is the musician of your generation that you hung the most. ?
Instead, I was impressed with those before. Coulibaly Tidiane as a musician has always been a role model for me. At school, wherever it was, I was there to see his shows, is the only one I considered, it was somewhere for me to counsel, is not impressed by someone one that can be a model, remained closely tied to his death recently.
And that of the current generation?
Many impresses me, there's youth group and Smarty Yelen Mandow because they have an inexhaustible talent, Mandow example is very good. There is also Wend Yack and Alif Naaba that are talented at first glance, you feel qu'Alif Naaba has an artistic soul as Bil Aka Kara They are true musicians, they did not come to show off.
Your password on the Kunda 2005 ..
(Laughter). I could not follow. I was not there, but the Kunda is simply a good thing, It can be a barometer to assess, judge the music, its impact. the actors. But I wish they would lose sight of the Kunda. This is the Kunda is to say, focus on the excellence of the music of Burkina Faso. But here in Burkina Faso, if one does not involve the outside, it is not too confident. Or to force too involve the outside, you end up losing the original meaning of the operation. In Mali, the Tamani, Guinea, the Djembe gold, but they are not too extroverted.
What do you do besides music?
Apart from music, I'm just the music.
What are your plans?
My immediate plans, c'ost to market an album that is in the works for 3 or 4 years, is an album of 12 tracks with titles and new titles a few times.
lefaso.net, July 2005
01. Les Vautours
02. Tieba Lou Tounouna
03. Anga Wan M'passo Side
05. Aw'ye Douba Ke
Nov 15, 2011
Let’s start with L’Harmonie Voltaique, the group that was founded by Antoine Ouedraogo in 1948. They were the first group created to play ‘modern music’ in what was then the French West African colony of Upper-Volta. In early 1948 Antoine Ouedraogo was working for the French colonial administration in Mali (which at the time was called the French Sudan). That spring he returned to Upper-Volta and, tired of having to bring groups from the Cote D’Ivoire whenever he wanted to organize a ‘soiree-dansante’, Antoine decided to create the colony’s first modern orchestra. The group was officially born, with the approval of the Colonial Governor of Upper-Volta, on April 8, 1948. Their early repertoire consisted of French Songs (especially the ballads of French crooner Tino Rossi), and Latin rhythms (for e.g. the Cha-Cha, and Bolero). The repertoire started to change in 1964 when the multi-instrumentalist Maurice Sempore (tenor sax, flute) became the bandleader. It was under his leadership that the group started to perform songs in ‘Moore‘ (the language of the Mossi people).
Although recorded in 1970, these next two tracks give some idea of their earlier repertoire. The first track ‘Killa Naa Naa Ye Killa’ is an instrumental, composed by Maurice Sempore. The group categorizes this song as ‘Jazz’. The title refers to an onomatopoeic phrase in Moore that is taught to children to help them with their pronunciation- the equivalent of ‘sally sells seashells by the seashore’. The B-side of the 45 is a Bolero-Cha-Cha that was also composed by Maurice Sempore. It is the story of Therese Baba, a young woman whose parents were very strict. They did all they could to prevent Therese from going out at night to dance, but even though she never left the house, they could not prevent her from getting pregnant.
The liner notes from one of there covers:
Songhoï Records, young African firm, is pleased and proud to present L’Harmonie Voltaïque the orchestra No. 1 of the Republic of Upper Volta.
This popular group that won in 1969 and 1970, twice in succession, the first prize of C. A. L. A. H. V. (Cercle d‘Activités Littéraires et Artistiques de Haute-Volta) is headed by Maurice Sempore.
A versatile musician Maurice Sempore sings, plays tenor saxophone, the guitar, the Cuban flute, trumpet, guitar bass etc. … and his favorite instrument is the tenor sax which he handles with great ease. He is the first composer of modern African music in Upper Volta.
01. Songh man tum kuili
02. Tond yabramba
Nov 14, 2011
BIXIGA70 LAUNCHES debut
With co-production of Victor Rice, Big Band originated in the traditional district of São Paulo brings together ten members from different backgrounds and presents copyright instrumental compositions with elements of Brazilian music, Latin and African dance and inspired themes in
The Bixiga70 big band released their first album, titled, with co-production of Victor Rice in concert, on November 1 (Tuesday), one of the most representative streets of the neighborhood in which the project was born. The night also marks the debut of the festival "Dance of the Bixiga70" to be held monthly in the street space Thirteen May and integrates action to revitalize the neighborhood of Bixiga, led by the band. "Bixiga70" will be available in its entirety for download on the band and have versions with careful art, vinyl and CD, released by the label ÁguaForte, Thiago Cury, specializing in special projects. The song "Malaika di Theme" and its dub version, produced by Victor Rice, were released in limited edition vinyl 7 compact. "
With the signed cover MZK DJ and artist, the album, recorded in the studio rattletrap, brings ten instrumental tracks, all songs copyright except "Desengano the Vista", the cult music composer and percussionist Brazilian Pedro Santos. The choice of a version of Sorong (also known as Santos), who followed in the 60's names like Baden Powell, Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento, Mandolin Jacob and Clara Nunes, illustrates the proposal to rescue the band sounds in contemporary arrangements and tropical. Copan mixed in the studio by Victor Rice, the album was mastered at Red Traxx Music by Philip Tichauer.
The project was born from the joining of ten well-known musicians of the scene in Sao Paulo that have in common rattletrap work done in the studio, located at 70th Street Thirteen of May, in the heart of the bohemian center of Sao Paulo. The members of Bixiga70 collaborate with various bands and artists such as Junio Barreto, Rockers Control, Anelis Assumption, Project Fine Thing, ProjetoNave, Gafieira National Pipo Pegoraro, Cavalcanti and Otis Leo Trio. Gathered explore elements of Brazilian music, Latin and African dances to create themes and inspired.
Considered by many the birthplace of samba São Paulo, the neighborhood also hosts the Bixiga and feeds the imagination of ten musicians who seek closer ties between past and future through music reading a cosmopolitan countries like Ghana and Nigeria, the drums and the terraces samba, music and Malinké an unpretentious attitude and without limits for improvisation and dance.
The versatility of Bixiga70 has swung the guitar riffs Scabello Cris, who for more than a decade dedicated to dub, psychedelic keyboards Maurice Fleury, who researches and explores the Latin sounds electronic territory, African drum rhythms of Decius 7, and improvisational quartet of metals immersed in the world of jazz and funk. In addition to being the core of the project, Decius, and Fleury Scabello divide disc production with Rice. Rounding out the team, Marcelo Dworecki (bass), Romulus Nardi (percussion), Gustavo De Cecco (percussion), Cuca Ferreira (baritone sax and piccolo), Daniel Nogueira (tenor sax), Ali Douglas (trombone) and Daniel Crow (trumpet).
With only one year on the road and all luggage brought by these ten musicians, Bixiga70 was considered one of the best shows of 2010 by the specialized press and filled the Teatro SESC Pompeii in historical presentation on the project's Silver House.
01. Grito de Paz
02. Luz Vermelha
03. Tema di Malaika
05. Zambo Beat
06. Balboa da Silva – homenagem a Nilson Garrido
07. Desengano da Vista
08. Balboa Dub
09. Dub di Malaika
10. Dub Vermelho
To download, check here and press "baixar":
Nov 11, 2011
Assa Cica is called the "nightingale" because of his high-pitched voice. He is a poet who can be compared with Sagbohan Danialou. They hace somewhat the same style of music but Cica is certainly more romantic, with compositions more languorous.
Assa Cica is special. He is a poet, close to Sagbohan Danialou in his lyrics as well as his music style. I really don't know when this album was released, i think between 1976 and 1978. Lohento Eskill is singing on all tracks except on "Ananu Dogon Nu" and "Gnon Nu Fomin Lin" where Assa make us discover his beautiful voice.
All information provided by the amazing OROGOD.
ASSA CICA & POLY-RYTHMO "Yokpo Wa Non Kpo Ha Mi" by Z j A k
01. J'ai raison d'etre amoureux
02. Agamagnon Nu Hede
03. Yokpo Wa Non Kpo Hami
04. Ananu Dokon Nu
05. Fofo n'do Gbesiso
06. Gnonnu Tome Lin
Nov 10, 2011
I don't have much to say about Black Children (a.k.a. Black Children Sledge Funk Band) except that they were an offshoot of The Strangers.
Info provided by amazing combandrazor
A2. Feelings I've Got
A3. Mr. Who
A4. Love Is Fair
B1. Funky Child
B2. Hard Life
B3. Another Girl
B4. Sledge Afro Funk
Info provided by amazing combandrazor
A2. Feelings I've Got
A3. Mr. Who
A4. Love Is Fair
B1. Funky Child
B2. Hard Life
B3. Another Girl
B4. Sledge Afro Funk
Nov 9, 2011
The members met in September, 2006 and immediately hit the studio for sessions and recordings. Two months after, they performed their first live show and sold out copies of their recordings.
The core of their music lies Afro-beat, followed by jazz, Brazilian and latin beats, rock...you name it and such exuberance and energy of their live music caught the hearts of many & the word of mouth spread at the speed of light to music lovers, prestigious labels and event hosts.
The band line up starts with a Senegal returnee "Keiichi Tanaka (Dr) aka Ablaye Ndiaye", "IZPON (Per)" returned from 5 years of percussion training in Cuba, born-and-raised in Brazil is "Leo Nanjo (Ba)", humorous singer song writer "NAOITO (Per&Vo)". This four members drive the beats section, explosive melody produced by "SumiLady (key)", respected score writer from New Orleans "Daisuke Nomoto (Gt)", and finally representing is "Kids Hashimoto (B.Sax)", original dancer "YUSSY (cho/dance)". Eight very unique internatinoal members.
As they established their presence at major events and widely increased recognition in 2007, July became their biggest month as they rocked the crowds on the stage at FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL, an only a beginning to the many great stages that followed: TOKYO JAZZ CIRCUIT'07, U.F.O presents JAZZIN', and Giles Peterson presents WORLDWIDE SHOWCASE 2008.
KA celebrated their long awaited live recording album "LIVE IN AFRO CITY" in June of 2008. In August of the same year, KA shared the stage with the legendary drummer Tony Allen, who lead the Afro-beat scene with Fela Kuti. Sharing the stage with Tony helped KA to be recognaized as the leader of the Afro-beat scene in Japan.
In 2009, they released long waited first studio recording vinyl "ICHIKABACHIKAANO" which is recognized as one of the club hit this year. Now in 2011, they released 1st full studio recording album'FANFARE'.
KINGDOM AFROCKS / FANFARE (Album Digest) by PLANETGROOVE
Wind back three or four years and Kingdom★Afrocks seemed like a band on the verge of a major breakthrough. Having appeared at the Fuji Rock Festival the year before, 2008 saw them enjoying appearances at the Gilles Peterson Worldwide Showcase in Tokyo and various other events and in the summer they secured the support slot for the legendary Tony Allen at a memorable gig at 月見ル君想フ in Aoyama. The band also released their first album, unusually for a debut this was a live album, Live In Afro City, which was testimony to the power of their live shows. After that everything went quiet. There were sporadic live appearances and then the news that the nine-piece outfit had slimmed to a seven-piece, with trumpeter Shinpei Ruike and baritone sax player Gosekki stepping down from full-time activity in the band due to other musical commitments.
Then, just a few weeks ago, there was some new activity on the band's website that had lain fairly dormant for some time, and it was announced that the band's first debut album was going to be released in June. Fanfare has now hit the stores with an iPhone app to help promote it, and the buzz has started once again.
The album opens with the title tune, Fanfare (pronounced "fan-far-ay"), with vocalist Naoito leading the way in a great afrobeat groove complete with a voiceover from the father of afrobeat drumming himself, Tony Allen. This is followed by イチカバチカーノ (Ichikabachikano), a new version of a track released as a vinyl-only single about eighteen months ago. This new version is beefed up with a bigger horn section and regardless of whether you speak Japanese or not, it's hard not find yourself trying to sing along.
Typhoon is a punchy uptempo instrumental where the horn section really steals the show. Quite literally a stormin' tune. The tempo drops with Untitled, which opens with a baritone sax solo with the rhythm section kicking in with a sultry groove. The sax then makes way for a trumpet solo from guest Shinpei Ruike, and in turn he makes way for a spacey keyboard solo from Sumilady. After almost five minutes of instrumental bliss, vocalist Naoito then enters with lyrics asking if people are ready to fight for the life they deserve, which eventually leads into a lengthy coda with a "laaa-la-la-laa-laa-la-la-la-la-la-la" chorus. Long part of the band's live show, this track is a mid-tempo afrobeat classic.
Escucha, with Izpon singing in Spanish is a fine slice of afrobeat meets Latin funk, with a refrain of "Era dios de la musica". Things are well and truly back on an afro tip with Anti-Violence, a feel-good uptempo number that powers along with a great drum and bass line, the horn section leading with a refrain followed by a couple of solos, until they take it down to the just the percussion for the start of the call and response vocals, building up to a powerful crescendo.
Voodoo Grease has a bluesy feel to it, with afro grooves mixing with juju spirits from the deep south to produce a raw and dirty groove. The album then closes with Will To Live, another mid-tempo afrobeat groover with its politicised lyrics imploring the listener to be more pro-active ("Is your mind dead?/Be broad-minded/ Show your will/Show your will to live").
It was a long time coming, but Fanfare is a truly outstanding studio debut that has to be one of the year's essential purchases. Kingdom★Afrocks' new album confirms the view that, along with JariBu Afrobeat Arkestra, Japan has two major players in the latest generation of afrobeat influenced bands.
5. Baila y Goza
7. Anti Violence
8. Voodoo Greace
9. Will to Live
Labels: Kingdom Afrocks
No information at all, just that he's from Nigeria and the album was released by Mirabel Records (MIRLP 001) in 1985 concerning to discogs.com.
03. Ndidi Amaka
The track "Ijere" was re-released on "Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79".
03. Ndidi Amaka
The track "Ijere" was re-released on "Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79".
Labels: Dr. Adolf Ahanotu
Nov 8, 2011
No information at all, just that he's from Ghana and the album was released by Essiebons 1978.
01. Peep To See
02. Love Is Love
04. The Girl With Guitar Shape
05. Disco Dance
06. Yesu Ne M'agyenkwa
07. Come Back Love
01. Peep To See
02. Love Is Love
04. The Girl With Guitar Shape
05. Disco Dance
06. Yesu Ne M'agyenkwa
07. Come Back Love
Labels: Bob Pinodo
African rock band The Witch was born out of the small-but-scrappy Zambian music scene of the early 1970s. Led by singer Emanyeo "Jagari" Chanda, Witch (whose name was actually an acronym for "We Intend to Cause Havoc") was formed by former members of more pop-oriented Zambian bands, like the Boyfriends and Kingston Market, but by the time of their 1973 debut album, Introduction, they had worked up a fierce and forceful sound. There's really nothing overtly African-sounding at all about Introduction; other than Chanda's accent on the English-language vocals, there's nothing that even hints at the fact that Witch is from Africa at all, let alone Zambia. The influence of the garage rock and psychedelia coming out of the U.S. in the ‘60s seems to have played a major part in the Witch sound. While contemporaries like Nigeria's Tirogo incorporated Afro-beat grooves into their psych-inspired sounds, the songs on Introduction mostly sound like they could have come off of some Nuggets-esque compilation of rare ‘60s garage rock singles from the American Midwest. Chanda's raw, bluesy vocals have a kind of Stonesy swagger, as filtered through the more low-rent likes of, say, the Shadows of Knight or the Chocolate Watchband. Chris Mbewe's fiery guitar work follows suit, alternating between basic, visceral, blues-based riffs and fuzzed-out, unabashedly psychedelic-sounding licks that make you think you're hearing a product of the late ‘60s rather than the mid-‘70s. With the Zambian scene being much smaller than that of Nigeria, Witch didn't have access to particularly top-shelf studios, so there's a rough-edged, D.I.Y. sound to Introduction that suits the band's approach here perfectly, though their later, more musically sophisticated outings would noticeably suffer from their lack of sonic clarity.
Witch was a psych-rock music group from Zambia. Their songs from the first record in 1973 are released here. The psychedelic-driven songs contain equal parts of funk, blues, and folk. However, Introduction is a window into the Zambian rock music movement of the 1970's. The classic tunes are sung in English, but the underground tone is purely African. The tongue-and-cheek title track that introduces the band members and instruments with a guitar-fuzz rhythm and English vocals. "Feeling High" is a languid tune with a familiar blues rhythm. The bass-heavy "No Time" is a funky, guitar-driven song with an upbeat tempo and classic vocals. Nine tracks in all 'introduce' listeners to rare gems of Zambian rock music. Fans of funkadelic, Afro-rock music on dusty LP's from the 1970's will find Witch to be a perfect accompaniment in a fine music collection. Don't let the name scare you from enjoying the best re-issued Afro-psych-funk to come out of Zambia. ~
02. Home Town
03. You Better Know
04. Feeling High
05. Like A Chicken
06. See Your Mama
07. That's What I Want
08. Try Me
09. No Time
Labels: The Witch
Nov 4, 2011
Introducing you ... --> Gnonnas Pedro & His Dadjes Band
For some reason, when I was younger, every time I saw a "Gnonnas Pedro & his Dadjes" on a record sleeve, I read it as "Gnonnas Pedro & his Dandies." Looking back on it now, it seems somewhat appropriate. Dig: Yesterday I was reading The Painter of Modern Life, Charles Baudelaire's collection of essays explicating, among other things, the worldview of the dandy. This passage leapt out at me:
In this context, pray interpret the word 'artist' in a very narrow sense, and the expression 'man of the world' in a very broad one. By 'man of the world', I mean a man of the whole world, a man who understands the world and the mysterious and legitimate reasons behind all its customs; by 'artist', I mean a specialist, a man tied to his palette like a serf to the soil. M. G. does not like being called an artist. Is he not justified to a small extent? He takes an interest in everything the world over, he wants to know, understand, assess everything that happens on the surface of our globe.
Well, damn, I thought. That kinda describes Gnonnas Pedro, doesn't it?
Beninois singer, dancer, bandleader, guitarist, trumpeter and saxophionist Gnonnas Pedro was not an "artist" in the sense of being a specialist in one any one discipline, and if he was anything, it was certainly a man of the world. A dazzling showman who hewed to the old school entertainment ethos of giving the people want they want. You wanted to hear a bolero in Spanish? Gnonnas Pedro would sing it for you. French chanson? He was up to the task. American soul? Congolese rumba? Nigerian-style highlife? Your favorite country ballad? No matter the song or the style, you could count on Gnonnas Pedro to give it the old college try. At the peak of his popularity, Pedro's Dadjes were known as "the African band that speaks every language." His forte, however, remained crackling Afro-Cuban grooves as well as agbadja, a modernized form of Fon folkloric music.
The Republic of Benin never made a major impact on African or world music (or World Music™) culture. Perhaps due to being a tiny Francophone state wedged between the two Anglophone giants, Nigeria and Ghana, the nation was never able to produce and forcefully project anything like juju, soukous, benga or mbalax--a unique, homegrown style that changed the way the world listened to music and put its country of origin on the musical map.* What Benin did have in spades, though, was a slew of industrious, fanatically committed orchestras that mined borrowed styles like highlife, funk, jerk, jive and jazz for every drop of sweat, swing and soul they could wring out of them. Thanks to the tireless archaeological efforts of Soundway and Frank (not to mention Samy at Analog Africa), Cotonou is becoming a musical mecca for groove cognoscenti and the numerous works of Beninois bands like TP Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Rego et Ses Commandos are now not only well known, but also keenly coveted.
It wasn't always like that, though. But while most of the Beninois bands toiled in obscurity, Gnonnas Pedro's stylistic versatility and affable stage presence earned him popularity across West Africa. His Yoruba highlife tune "Feso Jaiye" even became a standard among Nigerian musicians.
Gnonnas Pedro finally got to shine on a larger stage in the mid-90s, when he was recruited to replace recently-deceased singer Pape Seck in the Afro-Nuyorican salsa supergroup Africando, recording and touring with the band until he succumbed to colon cancer in 2004 at the age of 61.
This album here is a collection of covers that offers a sampling of his musical polymathy, with Pedro taking on everything from Merle Travis's "Dark as a Dungeon" to the cabaret of Charles Aznavour. Pedro was a great admirer of the French crooner (which whom he was privileged to record a single with in 1964) and there is a certain poignancy to his renditions of "À ma fille" and especially "Les comédiens" (here listed as "Les Commedies").
The lyrics of the latter song seem to describe Pedro's own metier to a degree: "Come see the actors, the musicians, the magicians..." On stage, Gnonnas Pedro was a musician and a magician, but perhaps beyond all that, an actor. His style-switching constituted more than just the essay of genres, but a deliberate reinvention of the self. When Pedro declares "Ladies and gentlemen... Now Gnonnas Pedro is gonna be James Brown!" before launching into a charmingly awkward phonetic reading of "I Got You," he dresses himself up in a constructed identity through music much as the dandy does through sartorial artifice.
And so, walking or quickening his pace, he goes his way, for ever in search. In search of what? We may rest assured that this man, such as I have described him, this solitary mortal endowed with an active imagination, always roaming the great desert of men, has a nobler aim than that of the pure idler, a more general aim, other than the fleeting pleasure of circumstance. He is looking for that indefinable something we may be allowed to call modernity...
Check out and read the full article at combandrazor.blogspot.com!!! Thanx ...
01. Kou Akon 'Ka
02. Azo N'Kplon Doun Nde
03. Mo Ngbadun Re
04. Feso Jaiye
05. Ati Mawuin Dagamasi
06. J'ai Aime
As already said, the October edition of travel magazine ‘Waka-About’ published by Pelu Awofeso, winner CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Awards (Tourism) is dedicated to Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
The contributors include veteran entertainment journalist, Azuka Jebose Molokwu who met Fela in the 80s as a young reporter with PUNCH. Fela later developed a liking for the reporter now based in the US that he made a surprise appearance at his 25th birthday in August 1986.
Here's his story:
Days of innocence
One early morning, during the harmattan period of January 1967, I rode in the company of a tall and beautiful lady from Onicha Ugbo, my home town, to Lagos; it was an eight hour drive that changed my life and my humanity in a way I could not have imagined or planned.
Some weeks after I settled to a new life in Lagos (our family had lived in Kano and was forced to relocate to the Mid West as the civil war raged in Northern Nigeria), my step mother enrolled me at Jehovah Jireh primary school, Idi Oro. Across the street from the school was the home of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the most profound creative artiste of our century; the base of third-world sermon, a sermon that inspired us to challenge our self-serving leaders. To this day I remain eternally grateful to Jehovah for my early exposure to the Fela brand of music.
The atmosphere of the house was overwhelming: walking to school from Caxton (later Kadiri) Street, off Ojuelegba, proved a perfect foundation for the future relationship I would have with Fela, my fella. Fela’s home became a widely known temple, where frustrated Nigerians gathered to be sanctified and sanitized. They had listened to his yarns on vinyl on the radio and at parties. They heard about his fearless challenge of the ruling military governments. Much more than that, however, they wanted to confirm the rumours about his bohemian lifestyle.
I spent some of my holidays standing with other fans of Fela in front of his Kalakuta Republic, straining to have a glimpse of him, his women, who were more often than not sensually dressed. Those moments felt like being on a pilgrimage. Through their fashion and bodily decorations, Fela’s women were rebelling against our indigenous cultures in a way that also showed that they appreciated the best of our cultural values.
A hustler’s life
Kalakuta was where you could walk with your head upside down and no one would care, and the occasional confrontation with the armed forces made the Kalakuta lifestyle the more intriguing, even intoxicating. For whatever reason, I simply wanted to live and die inside this Republic. Who was this man, blessed with followers that believed so much in him? To us, Fela was a cult leader of sorts, the voice of Nigerians long cowed into silence and submission. He was our hero, beaten and battered countless times, smeared in his own blood and left to die. Yet, we still loved him, because he encouraged us to be brave and not zombies, suffering and smiling while the military guys thoughtlessly frittered our lives away.
My step mother’s brother, Barbwire (as he was fondly called) would later deepen my attraction for Fela. Barbwire was a gifted guitarist and a frequent visitor to Kalakuta Republic. From him I learnt about the hustling that was a regular feature of the Republic. And later, from my own regular visits, I was introduced to the carefree lifestyles of a people inspired by its leading light, Fela. Barbwire was the typical Kalakuta hustler and he dealt in marijuana. He would come home on weekends and sit me through lessons in how to roll the weed. He also taught me how to pick the acoustic guitar strings.
A sham trial
In 1984, the federal Military Government under the leaderships of Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon arrested Fela for violations of the foreign exchange decree. He was allegedly found with $1200 in his possession. The government needed to make a statement in pursuit of its war against indiscipline and Fela was readily a poster child for such nuisance. I was then a young and restless reporter with The Punch, aggressively seeking anything newsworthy. I was also seriously flirting with entertainment desk at the Onipetesi newsroom office.
As fate would have it, I was seconded to the Marina office of The Punch during the closing days of Fela’s trial by an army tribunal. City Editor Feyi Smith encouraged me to come early to the court house so as to get a better place to view Fela whenever he was on the dock. There was chaos that September mid-morning when he was declared guilty and sentenced to five years in jail.
As he stepped into the Black Maria, he turned around and gave his trademark ‘black power’ salute, clenched fist in defiance and as a special appreciation to the legions of fans that gathered to support his journey to prison. I captured the mood and reactions of that moment: the next day, Punch published my story as one of the front-page leads: “SORROWS, TEARS, MINUS BLOOD…”
Very Important Prisoner
One Friday evening Jerry Agbeyegbe (late) dashed to the entertainment desk to tell me that he had spotted Fela at the Presidential Wing of the local section of the Lagos airport. He had been told that Fela was ill and was being transferred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for treatment. Fela was a high-value prisoner and the powers that be did all they could to shield his movement from the press.
The security scene at LUTH admissions centre suggested that a Very Important Prisoner of the federal government was on admission. As I walked down the alley, I spotted Feyintola and one of the queens walking out from the building. She had Seun strapped to her back. She it was who told me where to go. I walked swiftly past the three stern-faced military police personnel, each armed with an AK 47 rifle.
Fela wore his prison uniform and he sat on his bed; some members of the Egypt 80 band were also present. Femi Foto, Fela’s media relations man, stood to leave the partitioned room when I opened the curtain and walked in. “I beg no forget to bring the sponge tomorrow,” I heard Fela tell Femi as I waved salutations.
He motioned for me to seat beside him on the bed. I sat there as he played with Funmilayo, his daughter, briefly. When the room was less crowded I asked after his health and what was wrong with him. “My brother, dem give me this kind food for prison wey just balloon my bele. I don dey shit for days,” he said.
“Fela, would you mind if I put you on record?” He gave me the same cynical smile Beko beamed at me that morning. “Hmmm, Azuka, I beg no interviews today till am well, I beg, I beg…”
“Okay what message do you wish to send to your fans?”
He hesitated for a few seconds and uttered a headliner: “Don’t forget am a prisoner…”
While Fela was in jail, I became a regular at Femi’s house in Bariga. The family quickly adored and adopted me. Femi’s mom, Remi, would seat on the couch, smoking cigarette and offer me tea. The family had this black mean looking German shepherd that disliked my regular visits. Remi had promised that I was going to write her biography whenever she was comfortable and ready to tell all about her love and marriage to Fela. I never got that priceless chance to work with her.
Sundays were a must visit because we would all catch a cab to the Afrika Shrine for Sunday Jump. So it was no surprise that Femi had to drive all the way to the Punch office one day to confirm from me if truly Fela had been released from prison, 18 months after he was sentenced. He told me he heard on the FRCN (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria) 4 p.m. news.
“Yes,” I told him. “Baba is coming home.” Later that day, he drove to Benin City to bring his father home. Little did he know that the nation was in jubilation, anticipating Fela’s arrival. It was a magnanimous celebration for the return of the peoples’ voice. A convoy of jubilant supporters, fans and family led Fela into town mid-morning.
Babangida had ordered Fela’s release when Newswatch exclusively reported that Justice Okoro Idogwu, the head of the tribunal that tried and sentenced the afrobeat King to jail, secretly visited him in prison and begged for forgiveness: an embarrassed and disgraced leadership had no choice but to release a man wrongfully accused and sentenced.
I rushed to Beko’s home where the first reception was to be held. By a turn of fate, I sat next to Fela, the second time in my life I would be sitting next to an iconoclast! The smell of fresh marijuana mingled with God’s fresh air. It was hard not to inhale that afternoon at both Beko’s house and The Shrine, where the reception ended.
The article was originally published by 'Waka About' and written by Azuka Jebose Molokwu