Feb 21, 2020

From Belarus: Afrococoa - Champion From Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homepage: afrococoa.com

Feb 20, 2020

Antibalas - Fu Chronicles

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 12, 2020

K. Frimpong & Super Complex Sounds ‎– Ahyewa Special

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

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

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

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