Nov 30, 2012

New album: Bukky Leo & Black Egypt - Anarchy

Bukky Leo, one of the most prolific UK jazz innovators, returns with a strong musical and intellectual statement. His new album “Anarchy” is not only a convincing, fresh translation of afro-beat for the 21st century, but these thirteen new songs also close a very personal circle for Bukky Leo, spanning nearly 30 years.

Imagine yourself in London in the late Eighties. When you walked up Camden High Street, it wasn’t the smell of fast food but the sound of jazz in the air. Enter Dingwalls and you were in a different world. Pulsating rhythms, inspiring dancers, a truly fascinating, global spirit, it felt something like a revolution at that time. Bukky Leo was at the heart of this creative explosion, which DJs like Gilles Peterson or Russ Dewbury created a soundtrack for. Remember: There was no internet at the time, it was by word of mouth to be in the right place and the right time. As much as the jazz dance community was about showing off and being cool, essentially it was about the freedom of expression. This was a rare era when hiphop met bebop, Northern Soul got into jazz and funk rediscovered its African roots. It seemed like music could actually be the catalyst for diversity and democracy, peacefully pro-active in nature. Yes, it seemed to be possible at last to overcome the stigma of the Thatcher era, the re-active dilemma and creative implosion of the Cool Britannia aftermath was not yet in sight.

To see Bukky Leo enter the stage at that time was a revelation. Growing up in Lagos Nigeria, he was the saxophonist in Tony Allen’s band and went on to play with the great Fela Kuti. Coming to London In 1982 he found himself in the midst of post-punk experimenting with world music. His debut „Rejoice in Righteousness“ (released on Eddie Piller’s Acid Jazz label in 1988) was the first encounter with afro-beat for many young, aspiring DJs and music lovers. The follow up „River Nile“, nominated for the US African Music
Awards in 1990, put Leo firmly on the jazz map. When acid jazz decided to take a break, Bukky Leo embarked on the definitive pilgrimage to Egypt where he laid down the intellectual foundation for Black Egypt. The trip to Nile was an eye opener for him. After some years of developing their sound, Black Egypt emerged as one of the most acclaimed afro-beat groups outside Nigeria, releasing the album “Afrobeat Visions” on Mr. Bongo in 2005, preceded by Leo’s guest appearance on Ben Mitchell & Russ Dewbury’s album “Rapping With The Gods” in 2003.

Both releases arrived in a time shortly before the digital age took over the music business, the DJ was the tastemaker and clubs were the places to discover exciting new music. Still, in the outside world, the social consensus seemed to disappear and made way for entrepreneurship and the emergence of the finance sector: „But people are not content with the outcome of privatisation, the new enterprises are not for their benefit. This may sound like a political discussion, to me it has more of a spiritual dimension though,“ he explains. “In times where things are not in the place where you think they actually should be it is essential to identify what really matters. Africa is the focal point for me.“

Musically „Anarchy“ digs deep in afro-beat’s foundations, expertly laid down by Dennis Bovell at the controls: „When I toured with Fela and then with Roy Ayers I met Dennis. I am very honoured to have him as a producer.“ Apart from being one of the originators in modern British reggae with Matumbi, Bovell worked with everybody from The Slits to Bananarama, from Sade to Edwyn Collins. With Gilles Peterson and DJ Simbad on remix duties for the first single „Skeleton“, “Anarchy” features two other protagonists of highly innovative music. „It was a long process though. I recorded the first demos with my keyboard player Kishon Khan (a key figure in the British Bangla-Afro-Cuban-Jazz circle), we tried various studios and ended up in this great place in Battersea.“ The result is a refreshingly flowing, instantly accessible but still tight and edgy album with a no-nonsense, highly musical approach.

The topics Bukky Leo touches on “Anarchy” are universal. While “Fella Fella” is an observation of everyday street life in Britain with a parodique twist, ''Man’s Dilemma'' touches a common theme in gender relationships. Bukky explains with a big smile on his face: “Sometimes you have to be a mind reader to know what your partner is up to. Funnily, I think women play this game more often than men.” “Rhythemic” and “Don’t Gag Me” drop as powerful pleas for the freedom of body and mind. ‚Jahfrobeat’ (recorded with London DJ Koichi Sakai, known for his unique style between jazz, reggae, house and afro) actually is about African and Japanese cuisine, a plea for a more life sustaining, nourishing diet. “We tend to forget the importance of these things,” Bukky puts the message of “Anarchy” in a nutshell and adds a simple truth impossible to ignore: “The power of music can’t be ignored".


01. Afrobeat Jam
02. Anarchy
03. Don't Gag Me
04. Fella Fella
05. Hard Times
06. Interlude
07. Jahfrobeat
08. Mansa Dialema
09. Rythmatic
10. Skeleton
11. Time Scale
12. Hard Times(Saxophone Version)
13. Time Scale(Saxophone Version)
14. Skeleton(Gilles P Beach Mix)
15. Skeleton(Gilles P Winter Dub)

Nov 28, 2012

Music Is the Weapon - Moving Foundations and Outer Space

The eleven-piece afrobeat machine Music Is The Weapon is due to release their second album.

"Moving Foundations and Outer Space" journeys through galaxies made up of sound, occasionally trespassing obscure sealed off areas therein where hidden bea(s)ts are to be discovered by the brave listener.

 The new set of songs is a melting pot of ecstatic percussion, wild horn adventures and psychadelic organ lines.
Music Is The Weapon is constantly challenging concepts and whatever you expect of this new release expect something else.

"Moving Foundations and Outer Space" challenges you to let go, shake that body of yours and awaken the
spirit of rhythm within, and above all, love afrobeat.


01. The Elk and the Vault
02. Upside Down
03. Vredens Duvor
04. Space Is Yellow
05. We Will Never Stop
06. Words
07. Horn of Africa
08. Do You, Be You
09. Riva ett fa¦èr
10. The Gauntlet

Music is the weapon from Damien Priest on Vimeo.

Nov 23, 2012

Amazing highlife remix: "Larry Achiampong - More Mogya" ... name the price!! !

Larry Achiampong (born 1984) is a British Ghanian artist living and working in London. Larry studied a BA in Mixed Media Art at the University of Westminster, London (2002-2005) followed by MA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2006-2008). He has worked as an Adobe Youth Voices Educator at Kids Company for two years and has now started collaborating with a group of young people at the Peckham Settlement in south London.


In 2011′s excellent Meh Mogya (My Blood), London-based producer Larry Achiampong sampled vintage Ghanaian records that his parents would play during his youth, focusing on the golden era of highlife. Stems from the tracks were usually flipped, looped and masterfully thrown on top of hip-hop beats to create alluring, cross-genre experimental compositions. More Mogya follows in that vein and is dedicated to the Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation (BABMAF), the extensive music archive from which all the samples for the project were found.  Stream the album and grab it as a name-your-price from Look Mama! Records.


Nov 20, 2012

Ghana-only published: Ebo Taylor - Abenkwan Puchaa

Ace guitarist and composer Ebo Taylor and his Bonze Konkoma Band. Original release EBCD 710, 2009 (available in Ghana only). Its the most ideal musical group on the stage now, exploiting the strength of the Fante-Akan Culture. Also striving on Jazz, the group, led by Ghana's Ace guitarist, composer, arranger, and singer, Ebo Taylor, has added a new dimension to the High-life, exposing the immense deposit of the music gold mine of Asafo, Adenkum, and Adzewa songs, as the basics of the music. "Abenkwan" provides humour and recipe for the palm soup, a favourite dish of the Akans... "Egya Edu". the second track is an ancestral Asafo song that sings praises to the war hero of the Ntsen Asafo of Cape Coast...

(Yaw Andoh, Music Department, University of Ghana)


01. Abenkwan
02. Egya Edu
03. Gyae Nas Nom
04. Amoa Ose
05. Beye Bu
06. Papa Kwame
07. Agyenkwan Christ 
08. Wombra 
09. Feel It 
10. Okusi Na Sebo 
11. Love and Death(feat. Pat Thomas on Vocals)
12. Ahorba

Nov 19, 2012

Inspired by Fela Kuti: "Ministry of Corruption" by Kahli Abdu

J-Town rapper, Kahli Abdu, has finally put out his Fela-inspired “Ministry of Corruption” mixtape, and you can download it for free.

If you haven’t heard of Kahli Abdu then you must’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years. Kahli Abdu is one of the finest MCs in Naija, and is a real representer of J-Town, the unofficial home of Hip-Hop in Nigeria.

He is one of the few MCs left that still have major messages behind their bars. Real hip-hop if you will, and he shows this on his Ministry Of Corruption Mixtape, which is a somewhat politically driven mixtape with samples from the legend, Fela.

The intro of the mixtape, Presidential Address sets off the mixtape with an address that gets ur ears tuned and awakens ur senses to listen to some deep politically driven bars.

Kahli drives messages home while getting solid beats and samples from some of Fela’s masterpieces.
Tracks like Demo Crazy a sample from Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, addresses the state of our anemic Democracy which is marred by electoral fraud and violence. Another sample of Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, is Miseducation which highlights the “miseducation” of our young peoples, and our education system or lack there of along with other issues that continually plague our african society.

My personal favorite is the first track after the intro, VIP. Call it a complete package song that tells you, Kahli is “not playing with his music.” Contains samples from Fela’s “International Thief Thief (ITT)”, and drives home the message.

Other tracks to look out for VIP, Categori, Kpako, and actually the whole mixtape really. The package contains snippets of speeches from interviews with Fela including a significant portion from the documentary “Music Is The Weapon.”

Guest appearances, Endia, Yung El, J-Milla (all from the GRIP Boiz), Bezalel, Guru, Eve Urrah, Geniuz and Chopsticks.

Overall it’s a very solid effort from Kahli Abdu, and if you’re into music as a weapon, music with a message, real hip-hop that stays significant indefinitely, then this a definite must-listen.

Nov 16, 2012

The Brand New Life

The Brand New Life, an eight piece “Afrobeat/Free Jazz” group from North Carolina, is fusing world music traditions with jazz and modern techniques as well as any group today. A rare collaboration between a group of young jazz enthusiast from North Carolina, and a Senegalese griot from West Africa, has created a special sound and an impressive repertoire of completely original music. “The Brand New Life’s jazzy chassis rides on West African power grooves, like Mbalax and Afrobeat, featuring Senegalese talking drummer Mamadou Mbengue,” says The Independent Weekly. The Brand New Life have convincingly become one of the Southeast’s frontrunners on the world-beat scene, recently getting the call to open for Afrobeat heir to the throne Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and American Afrobeat collective Antibalas (Daptone Records).

The founding members of The Brand New Life are Seth Barden (upright and electric basses), Walter Fancourt (tenor sax/flute/clarinets), Casey Cranford (alto sax/baritone sax), Daniel Yount (drum set/percussion) and Evan Frierson (congas/percussion). Their current roster includes recent additions Mamadou Mbenge (tama), Sean Smith (trumpet) and Will Darity (guitar). Mamadou Mbenge is a Wolof griot from Senegal, West Africa, who comes from a long line of tama (talking drum) masters in his family. For years Mamadou has toured internationally with African pop stars like Abdou Guite Seck and Abou Thioubalo. Sean Smith was one of the lead horns for the nationally touring afrobeat group “The Afromotive” from 2006-2010. Sean has been touring with The Brand New Life since September of 2011.

The Brand New Life have shared the stage with some of the top acts in the world including Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, Antibalas, Orgone, Zechs Marquise, Jeff Sipe, Gregg Ginn and Diali Cissokho. The band has performed at major music festivals including Floyd Fest, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival,  Lake Eden Arts Fetsival (LEAF) and more.

The Brand New Life


01. Time Warp
02. We Made Dogs
03. Basically Skipping
04. Zack Is Back
05. Songo Joe
06. Hini
07. This Lady's Trouble
08. The Ailry Lift
09. Ra!

Nov 14, 2012

Get it: "The Beaters" (Pt.2 ) !! ... Thanx to "" for the amazing post!

The summer of '69 in Soweto sure had its own Memphis Soul Corner. This early gem from The Beaters is ample evidence of the popularity in South Africa of Booker T and the MG's, Wilson Pickett, and bluesy, sinuous organ mixed with rock-oriented guitar and beats.

Performing bare-foot in mandarin-collared white jackets, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse Selby Ntuli, Alec Khaoli and Monty Ndimande became a hit with the urban hip black crowds in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Their first album “Soul-A-Go-Go” was released in 1969. American Soul and Jazz was assimilated into what became known as Soweto Soul. I am assuming that today's offering was their second release, in the same year.

If you have not given their later album "Harari" a listen, do yourself a favour, download it here and also read a little more on the band that became Harari, and formed the foundation for Sipho Hotstix Mabuse's distinctive contribution to South Africa's music tapestry. 

Nov 9, 2012

New album: Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra - Towards Other Worlds

Press release

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra are back with their second album ‘Towards Other Worlds’. The UK based 9 piece have built on the success of their debut album, described by BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum as one of his ‘sounds and albums of 2010’. Afrobeat’s inimitable rhythm and language is evident and the band also owes part of their sound to the space jazz pioneers of the 70s and the free jazz trailblazers of the 60s.

The band emerged from the fertile Leeds music scene that has produced some of the most exciting music in the UK including Submotion Orchestra, Corinne Bailey Rae, kidkanevil, Andreya Triana and The New Mastersounds. Born out of late-night jam sessions at legendary jazz club Sela Bar, a group of musicians were naturally drawn together, guided by band-leader (and lead-writer) Pete Williams. Taking the rhythms of Fela and adding the improvisation of Sun-Ra and the funk of James Brown the band were soon forging their own sound.

Towards Other Worlds explores this diverse blueprint, taking in driving afro-funk, spiritual jazz, and Mulatu-esque Ethio-jazz. Built around a quote of the Sun-Ra film ‘Space Is The Place’ the album is split into two halves – the first represents Earth and it’s ‘sounds of guns, anger, frustration’ whilst the second is couched in the cosmos, where ‘the vibrations are different’, leading to a more progressive, peaceful sound.

  1.   Old ground 
  2.   Blood in the water 
  3.   March of the idiots 
  4.   Turncoat 
  5.   Ministers of aggression 
  6.   Towards other worlds 
  7.   Future ancestors
  8.   New frontiers

Nov 8, 2012

For Free: London Afrobeat Collective - Occupy

London Afrobeat Collective (LAC) is a dance music explosion that has been winning new fans across the UK scene, from funk n’ soul DJ Craig Charles, to afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi, to UK indie darlings Bombay Bicycle Club.

In 2011, Michael Eavis was so impressed by the band’s live show he personally invited the London 12-piece to perform on Glastonbury’s West Holts Stage.

It was to prove the centre-piece of a blazing summer season for LAC, as they rocked crowds from Green Man, to Secret Garden Party to Shambala and many more besides.

They even found time to hook up with North London neighbours Bombay Bicycle Club, lending their percussive beats and soaring horns to the rising indie stars’ celebrated performances at Latitude, Reading and the Other Stage at Glastonbury.

LAC’s debut album recorded with respected producer Sonny Simpson (Tony Allen, Polar Bear, Portico Quartet) showcases their potent blend of funk, roots afrobeat and psychedelic rock. The seven original tracks feature vocals from Inemo Samiama, as well as celebrated afrobeat ambassador and Egypt 80 member, Dele Sosimi.

The record has been championed by BBC6’s own Craig Charles who teamed up with LAC for an extraordinary sold out London show earlier in the year.

LAC are now working on new material and looking to break new ground and markets across the UK and beyond.

Band History

The LAC began in 2008 as a loose affiliation of more than 30 musicians from all corners of the globe who found themselves sharing nothing more than a London postcode and a love of Fela Kuti. ‘London Afrobeat Collective’ was exactly what it said on the tin.

In the months that followed, LAC rocked clubs across the capital to the songs of Cedric Im Brooks, Mongo Santamaria, Mulatu Astatke and of course Fela Kuti, winning friends and critical acclaim for the authenticity of their sound.

As gig followed gig, the LAC began to take shape as it is today. A new sound began to emerge; a groove that was unashamedly afrobeat but not afraid to embrace new influences, funk, latin, dubstep, even psychedelia. The line-up shifted until only 12 on the most ugly and battle-hardened remained.

In 2010, under the direction of band leader and rhythm guitar king Alex Farrell, LAC delivered their debut album of original material. Recorded at Livingston Studios with respected producer Sonny Simpson (Tony Allen, Polar Bear, Portico Quartet), the album (simply called ‘LAC’) was a showcase for the band’s original sound, crafted song-writing and skilled musicianship. Calling in favours from some new friends, it also featured guest vocals from Inemo Samiama, as well as celebrated afrobeat ambassador and Egypt 80 member, Dele Sosimi.

Self-financed and the result of many, many hours of hard graft, ‘LAC’ started to pay dividends when it began to reach the ears of some of most influential players on the UK music scene. Funk n’ soul DJ Craig Charles featured the record on his BBC6 radio show and teamed up with the LAC for a sold out club night in February 2011.

By April, the band found themselves in the unfamiliar surrounds of Pilton Working Men’s club, having been hand-picked from thousands of new bands to play a personal audition for Michael Eavis and friends to appear at Glastonbury. LAC rocked the club, won the day and were rewarded with a slot on the West Holts stage alongside acts such as Aloe Blacc, Cee lo Green, Big Boi and Kool and the Gang (they couldn’t do anything about the rain though).

Throughout the summer LAC were in great demand, criss-crossing the UK to delight festival audiences at Green Man, Secret Garden Party, Glastonbury, Shambala and many more. They even found time to hook up with North London neighbours Bombay Bicycle Club, lending their percussive beats and soaring horns to the rising indie stars’ celebrated performances at Latitude, Reading and the Other Stage at Glastonbury.

As summer drew to a close, LAC returned to their home town to start work on their second album. The band spend the winter writing and recording but recently found time to play sell out shows at Passing Clouds and the Hideaway to give audiences a sneak peek at the new material.

As a group, LAC are committed to the ideal that well-written, positive music can enrich society. They believe that by playing sets that get a crowd jumping, dancing and smiling, they can help to create an atmosphere where people feel good and positive about themselves and others. In a society where people so often feel alienated and unsatisfied, they feel that music is a key uniting factor.

By approaching their performances from this standpoint, LAC hope to convey a sense of unity and positivity in all their shows.

Nov 6, 2012

De Frank & The Diggit Ways of Ghana - Dig This Way

This band is probably the same as The Professionals but this album wasn't ever released in Ghana. De Frank was from Cote D'Ivoire but based in Ghana hence the very Ghanaian sound on his recordings. 

A1. Dig this Way
A2. Wonya Asem
A3. Ayee Menko
B1. Let's Go On Tonite
B2. Mye Amawo
B3. Ogya Onyame

Nov 1, 2012

New album: The Macrotones - Darvaza

The Macrotones go beyond Afrobeat

By the time trombonist Nate Leskovic walks in the door last Monday night, his nine bandmates in the Macrotones have been talking in the living room of his Charlestown apartment for over a half-hour. Without interrupting, he grabs a Narragansett out of the refrigerator, pulls up a stool on the far side of the room, and sits down, listening intently but not entering the conversation as the band answers questions ahead of their headlining show at the Middle East Upstairs on Feb. 17. As the interview session begins to wrap up, he finally chimes in with a telling contribution.

“I would just like to stress that we are not an Afrobeat band,’’ says Leskovic, an original member of the group, which has seen various incarnations since its foundation in 2007. “In a way, I think Afrobeat is kind of beat. We are trying to do our own thing with it. It’s a style that’s kind of ‘take it or leave it,’ and we put our own spin on that.’’

This kind of genre hair-splitting isn’t unusual for a band seeking to define its style -“spy music,’’ as they like to call it - which drummer Aaron Duffy says emerged during the recording of their 2011 album, “First Signs of Danger’’ (Young Cub Records). But despite their equivocations, the sound that pulsed from the rehearsal space in Leskovic’s garage an hour earlier owes at least some of its inspiration to the robust percussion flavors and punchy horn sections that colored works from Afrobeat pioneers like Fela Kuti and Tony Allen. The band’s development owes as much to its identification with that genre as it does with its desire to escape the constraints that accompany it.

Case in point: founding members Duffy, Leskovic, guitarist Brian Gagne, bassist John Beaudette, and bassist Nate Smith met upon answering a Craigslist ad seeking musicians for an Afrobeat band, but soon found the group leader’s purist leanings too much to bear (“He literally described himself as the spiritual son of Fela Kuti,’’ is Duffy’s description of their former colleague). Reassembling on their own, they began playing together at Duffy’s apartment in lower Allston and figuring out what their new incarnation would, and would not, be.

“We were originally called ‘Mzungu,’ which means ‘white boy’ in Swahili,’’ deadpans Duffy. “We thought it was too spot-on.’’
Drawing on different musical backgrounds and tastes, the Macrotones eventually found a balance between Afrobeat traditions and American pop, soul and funk flavors that didn’t require a deeper knowledge of Kuti’s politically charged, hugely ambitious productions. Ten-plus-minute jams with multiple extended solos were eschewed in favor of more direct and punchy songs, and the band wasn’t above playing crowd-pleasing Rolling Stone or RJD2 covers when required.

“We’re not trying to be traditional,’’ says saxophonist Andy Bergman. “We don’t try to focus on a direction so much. It sounds like it’s related [to Afrobeat], but one song might rock out more or be funkier. Whatever you thought going into a show, by the end you might think different. It’s kind of a launching point.’’

Though primarily focused on live performances, the group’s creative direction came into sharper focus on “First Signs of Danger.’’ After a low-budget, whiskey-fueled 14-hour recording session resulted in their 2008 debut album, “Wayne Manor,’’ “Danger’’ saw them work with producer Craig Welsch (of reggae group 10 Ft. Ganja Plant) to tighten things up with a more polished sound that drew greater inspiration from ’70s blaxploitation movies and pulpy spy thrillers than from Africa. The result was cuts like “Book It!,’’ a crisply paced groove that sounds like a darker, funkier version of one of Lalo Schifrin’s iconic themes from the ’70s.

“We were here listening to the masters of ‘Danger,’ and somebody had the TV on with no volume watching a movie with a car chase and we recognized that it went really well with that,’’ says Bergman.
As the group begins to disperse at the end of the interview, the subject of what genre the band is (or isn’t) continues to spark discussion amongst them. Various labels are thrown back and forth and auditioned for fitness, but wherever they may fall on the spectrum, the Macrotones are already exactly the way they want to be.

“When people ask, ‘What kind of band are you in?’ I have to kind of gauge what I perceive their musical knowledge to be, because if I say I’m in an Afrobeat band, it kind of soars over their head,’’ says Duffy. “I say we are an all-instrumental band: 10 guys, some danceable jazz, some Afrobeat. I don’t think that genre needs to be traditional.’’


1. Sand and Wind
2. Heat to Kill a Camel
3. Nattitude
4. Shake
5. King Con
6. Cymatics