Jun 22, 2021

From Chile: Newen Afrobeat- Curiche

Second LP from Newen Afrobeat that resume the research of the chilean orchestra with the masters of afrobeat and their visits to afrobeat´s homeland in Lagos, Nigeria. A extremely energetic album that talks about inequality, migration, female rol, indegenous cultures and more. 

newenafrobeat.bandcamp.com 

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Album opener ‘Vuela Junto a Mi’ (‘Fly with me’) is a successful fusion of afrobeat and Andean music, with crisp brass and a clever rhythmic conversation between the chattering kit beats associated with Tony Allen and Andean drumming.

Spanish replaces afrobeat’s lingua franca pidgin on Curiche, adding a different feel to tunes like ‘Come y Calla’ (‘Eat and shut up’), which channels Fela Kuti’s directness in a searing critique on power.

Like the modern afrobeat of the Kuti dynasty (Seun and Femi), Newen’s tunes also begin with an instrumental break, but come to the matter (the vocal) earlier than Fela would on his songs, which often took up one side of vinyl!

‘Voraz’ (‘Ravenous’) is one such standout track about the frenetic pace of daily life, with a tempo to match, elastic guitar lines and the driving Igbo woodblock that keeps time called okpokolo.

‘Open Your Eyes’, the single track on the album to feature a Nigerian musician in Oghene Kologbo, is perversely a less memorable composition.

Kologbo played guitar in Fela’s Africa 70 and contributes the lead vocal here, which, to be fair, is not playing to his strengths.

Afrobeat, like reggae, has been globalised, and it would be interesting to hear what the genre’s elder would have to say about it.

Curiche, then, is a decent addition to this movement, with Newen at their best when bringing their own musical vocabulary to the music rather than imitating.

rhythmpassport.com 

 


Jun 14, 2021

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Dahomey - Le Sato

 

Acid Jazz Records continue their exclusive licensing agreement with Albarika Store, the legendary record label that defined the sound of Benin and influenced the entire region of West Africa and beyond.

Recorded and issued in 1974, Le Sato is one of the earliest releases on the Albarika label and it is also one of the deepest.

Sato is the term for the traditional rhythms that soundtrack Vodun (Voodoo) rituals and ceremonies in Benin. Performance of Sato is reserved for these sacred rites, which evoke the spirits of the dead and can last for several days and attract hundreds of people. Sato rhythms cannot be played outside of Vodun.

A large ceremonial Sato drum is used, which measured over 1.5m in height. This drum is played using wooden stick beaters, the drummer dancing while playing. The Sato drummers are supported by percussionists and other drummers playing smaller drums. Together, they create unique, layered, trance-inducing poly-rhythms. 
 



 

Jun 10, 2021

V.A. Edo Funk Explosion Volume 1 (by analogafrica)

 

It was in Benin City, in the heart of Nigeria, that a new hybrid of
intoxicating highlife music known as Edo Funk was born.
It first emerged in the late 1970s when a group of musicians began
to experiment with different ways of integrating elements from their
native Edo culture and fusing them with new sound effects coming
from West Africa ́s night-clubs. Unlike the rather polished 1980 ́s
Nigerian disco productions coming out of the international
metropolis of Lagos Edo Funk was raw and reduced to its bare
minimum.

Someone was needed to channel this energy into a distinctive sound
and Sir Victor Uwaifo appeared like a mad professor with his Joromi
studio. Uwaifo took the skeletal structure of Edo music and
relentless began fusing them with synthesizers, electric guitars and
80 ́s effect racks which resulted in some of the most outstanding Edo
recordings ever made. An explosive spiced up brew with an odd
psychedelic note dubbed "Edo Funk".

That's the sound you'll be discovering in the first volume of the
Edo Funk Explosion series which focusses on the genre’s greatest
originators; Osayomore Joseph, Akaba Man, and Sir Victor Uwaifo:

Osayomore Joseph was one of the first musicians to bring the sound
of the flute into the horn-dominated world of highlife, and his
skills as a performer made him a fixture on the Lagos scene. When he
returned to settle in Benin City in the mid 1970s – at the
invitation of the royal family – he devoted himself to the
modernisation and electrification of Edo music, using funk and Afro-
beat as the building blocks for songs that weren’t afraid to call
out government corruption or confront the dark legacy of Nigeria’s
colonial past.

Akaba Man was the philosopher king of Edo funk. Less overtly
political than Osayomore Joseph and less psychedelic than Victor
Uwaifo, he found the perfect medium for his message in the trance-
like grooves of Edo funk. With pulsating rhythms awash in cosmic
synth-fields and lyrics that express a deep personal vision, he
found great success at the dawn of the 1980s as one of Benin City’s
most persuasive ambassadors of funky highlife.

Victor Uwaifo was already a star in Nigeria when he built the
legendary Joromi studios in his hometown of Benin City in 1978.
Using his unique guitar style as the mediating force between West-
African highlife and the traditional rhythms and melodies of Edo
music, he had scored several hits in the early seventies, but once
he had his own sixteen-track facility he was able to pursue his
obsession with the synesthetic possibilities of pure sound, adding
squelchy synths, swirling organs and studio effects to hypnotic
basslines and raw grooves. Between his own records and his
production for other musicians, he quickly established himself as
the godfather of Edo funk.

What unites these diverse musicians is their ability to strip funk
down to its primal essence and use it as the foundation for their
own excursions inward to the heart of Edo culture and outward to the
furthest limits of sonic alchemy. The twelve tracks on Edo Funk
Explosion Volume 1 pulse with raw inspiration, mixing highlife
horns, driving rhythms, day-glo keyboards and tripped-out guitars
into a funk experience unlike any other.
Double LP pressed on 140g virgin vinyl comes with a full color 20-pages booklet.

 hhv

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Sometimes you just want to kick your shoes off and relax and cut some rug. And with the first volume of Edo Funk Explosion you can, gloriously. Packed full of infectious, committed funk music from the Benin City of the late 1970s, there is a part of me that hopes the record will become the soundtrack to an increasingly carefree, virus-banished future. It’s an intoxicating prospect: sounds dug up from an often turbulent Nigerian past that can now, after 40 years, apply a healing balm to a fretful and lonely present. But for now we should note that Edo Funk Explosion is the latest chapter in the story of a remarkable label, Analog Africa.

Samy Ben Redjeb’s obsessive diggings into forgotten or marginal musical histories from the African and South American continents have (sometimes literally) unearthed sounds that have quietly set cultural agendas this past decade. That should come as no surprise as Analog Africa releases brilliantly reveal the age-old process of people listening to other things from elsewhere and then making something concrete and special from their imaginings. Something we can continue to celebrate. Previous label series, such as Diablos Del Ritmo, for example, have highlighted the crossing of music styles established on the seas routes between Colombia and the west coast of Africa. Edo Funk Explosion is yet another example of music’s essential, pollinating properties.

Edo Funk Explosion also documents the story of the 16-track Joromi studios, set up in Benin City by Sir Victor Uwaifo in 1978. Concentrating on three of the style’s big hitters (Osayomore Joseph, Akaba Man, and Sir Victor Uwaifo) the record goes for the jugular, aiming to get us up on our feet with half a dozen slabs of tough, enervating Edo Funk.

The backstory is one we’ve heard before in different places; a sound-obsessed Head – in this case Sir Victor Uwaifo – making crazed electronic sounds in a home-built studio in the late 1970s. Like Martin Hannett, King Tubby or Lee Perry, or Romania’s maestro of weird sounds, Rodion GA. Like these others, Uwaifo took local traditions and contemporary socio-cultural and political concerns and threw them all together like herbs in a pot of stew. There is a real sense of Uwaifo, Osayomore Joseph and Akaba Man and their respective bands really going for it here and probably why tracks like ‘Iranm Iran’ and ‘Aibalegbe’ feel utterly intoxicating.

None of the tracks sound like they were made to meet the requirements of a particular audience, they feel like the artists want to go to places fast, even if some sonic elements fall by the wayside or get battered by the ride. Sometimes this all-or-nothing attitude gives the music on this compilation a raw, punkish feel, though they are primarily built to make people dance. The aforementioned ‘Iranm Iran’ is about as funky a funk track as you can wish for. Slippery as an eel, the track wriggles through its allotted 5 minutes with a distinct feeling of elan. The low organ coming in sideways – and the funny chirpy squeaks and squawks that pop up on a lot of Sir Victor Uwaifo recordings – really grease the beat. ‘Aibalegbe’ gently moulds South American traditions into a spacy groove, mainly courtesy of a splurging synth. and ‘Orono No de Fade’ by Osayomore Joseph and the Ulele Power Sound also assembles itself loosely around a lovely, life-giving  groove. The softer, maybe more reflective side of Edo Funk can be heard with Akaba Man’s bubbling ‘Ta Ghi Rare’, a pleasant seven minute brew full of mild psychedelics such as a weird squeaky synth, an ever ascending bubbling bass and an aqueous guitar lick that turns up to throw things off course five minutes in. Plus a beat that seems intent on playing footsie with the rest of the track. All in all a fantastically disorientating experience.

There is plenty of politics bubbling away under the surface. The opener ‘Africa Is My Root’, from Osayomore Joseph is a no nonsense funky stomp that is very much a pan-African rallying call. Joseph’s ‘Who Know Man’ and ‘My Name Is Money’ have the structural feel and direction of Fela tracks but the way both tracks are balanced on gentle guitar licks make them calls to shake hips to, than raise fists.

It’s a superb release.

louderthanwar.com 

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Nigerian Edo Funk, as presented in this impeccable compilation from Analog Africa, is a mixture of afrobeat, disco, and funk, tinged with overtones of reggae, and incorporating traditional Edo languages and instruments. In contrast to the slicker Lagos highlife sounds a couple of states west of Edo state’s capital, Benin City, the music is characterised by sparse, repetitive arrangments which call to mind minimalism and dub. The Benin City of the 70s and 80s was oil-rich and enjoying a period of stability following the end of the civil war in 1970 – audiences there were cosmopolitan and adventurous and wanted highlife grooves with a twist that combined local styles with an international vibe.

Eschewing the scattershot approach of your average compilation, Edo Funk Explosion Vol. 1 shines a light on three of the era’s biggest stars, presenting a portmanteau of the work of Sir Victor Uwaifo, Osayomore Joseph and Akaba Man. In many ways it’s a journey into a vanished, vanishing world – the informative liner notes compare the elegance of the 70s architecture with the pretentious villas favoured by today’s affluent classes and reflect on the contradictions of a country coming out of civil war and suddenly awash with foreign cash. A newfound self-confidence was tempered by inevitable political corruption and anxiety over how to express a modern, distinctly African sensibility.

You can hear this in the first track, ‘Africa is My Root’ by Osayomore Joseph and the Creative Seven, with its mocking chorus, ‘You are dancing like a white man / you are dancing like a fool’. And with such a timeless opening sentiment it hardly matters what the rest of the LP is like. Genius. In context, the song is making a serious point about the social mores of post-colonial Africa and about encouraging an authentically African sense of self-confidence in throwing off the trappings of a foreign, exploitative culture. Out of context, I’m like totally guilty as charged here.

Joseph is cast as the political conscience of the album. A flute player, his future career was seemingly decided by an early formative encounter with Fela Kuti. Although no recordings of the two playing together survive, Fela was an admirer of Joseph’s playing and seems to have inspired the younger artist’s forthright political stance. Returning to Benin City on a mission to funkify his hometown, Joseph’s lyrics lay into government corruption and constantly return to the racist legacies of colonialism. His skewering of the dictatorship in the 1990s saw him vanish into Nigeria’s prisons for weeks at a time.

Osayomore Joseph is not a subtle man, and so much the better. ‘I am the minister of peace / the minister of criminals / the father of the devil’ he sings on ‘My Name is Money’, over a languorous rocksteady beat. It’s hard not to like the guy.

The dub influence is heard most clearly on the outstanding ‘Sakpaide No. 2’ by Sir Victor Uwaifo and his Titibitis. A titibiti, fact-fans, is the Edo name for the bee hummingbird (why, what did you think it meant?) It’s the smallest bird in the world and its cleverness has earned it a place in Edo mythology as the king of the birds. Anyway, ‘Sakpaide No. 2’ is utterly gripping stuff, full of the offbeats and tension and the expansive echo you associate with dub. There’s more though – Edo Funk is never just one thing – the rhythms and textures are so layered with whacky, improvised touches within these minimal parameters that you could easily mistake this for Can if it wasn’t for the edgy, staccato energy behind those horns.

Uwaifo, regarded as the most innovative musician of the era, is a synesthesiac who sees music as shapes and colours and was influenced by the rhythmic patterns of brightly coloured Akwete textiles. Edo Funk focusses on his work from 1978 onwards when he was fully ensconced at Benin Cities Joromi studios and able to play with all the latest synthesisers and effects. Dip into the instrumental bits of ‘Iranm Iran’ for a sense of the guy’s studio chops. Electronic effects warp the horns, rhythm guitars and organs into something unique – a cheeky liminality between cold studio trickery and the thrill of performance.

This sense of playfulness can also be found in the songs of Akaba Man, chock-full of exuberant and unexpected noises. Akaba Man’s work is preoccupied with finding a spiritual dimension to a disco beat – the cover of his most famous album, Obo, shows him carried down from on high upon an enormous supernatural hand. He’s got a more soulful thing going on as a vocalist compared to Joseph and Uwaifo, and a smoother command of melody which more than makes up for the relative lack of drama in the arrangements and production. Arguably, his music is the most direct and the most in tune with its Edo roots. In ‘Ogbov Onwan’, every detail is at the service of the song. While I couldn’t pretend to have much of an idea what he’s talking about, there’s no doubting how it comes over at gut level – from the opening guitar riff to the opening up of the melody into the jams that propel us from one verse to the next – this is killer stuff.

Picking out a trio of artists like this works well, enabling a deep dive into their scene and drawing out all kinds of interesting points of continuity and difference that a wider selection of voices might obscure. And as you’d expect from Analog Africa, this is a ridiculously good stack of tunes. An essential compilation and hopefully the first of many.

godisinthetvzine.co.uk 

 


 

Jun 8, 2021

Joro - Manipulation EP


 

Long JORO are a 10-piece afrobeat band from London, England. The band formed in early 2016 and released their selfrecorded EP in July 2016. This release featured a mix of original music and new arrangements of some of their favourite afrobeat tracks. The band consists of musicians from a range of musical backgrounds who have come together due to their shared love of afrobeat and groove music. The band’s past musical experiences in jazz, hip hop and rock come through in their music and create a unique take on the traditional afrobeat sound. In August 2016 their version of the Fela Kuti classic Zombie was featured on US radio show, The Afrobeat Show with DJ Meredith. 

pizzaexpresslive.com 













joroafrobeat.bandcamp.com

Jun 4, 2021

Vaudou Game - Noussin

 

 
African, funky, sarcastic, bewitching, green, ecstatic: these words collide to describe Vaudou Game and all of them are true. Noussin is the fourth album of the french Afro Funk band. Forced into lockdown, like much of the planet, Peter Solo and his Vaudou Game had no choice but to retreat into the studio. A reunion to once again invoke the spiritual forces of the Voodoo Deities. A reunion that was Initially imagined for an EP…yet these spiritual forces behind that imagination yearned for something more, and as we all know, these forces are impossible to push away once they have decided to stay. Under the strain enforced by the current socioeconomic climate, as much as by the environmental peril that faces us all today - they diverted the course of the groove towards daring new vibrations. Without extinguishing or diminishing its highly communicative power, they released Vaudou Game from its origins of pure Afro-Funk to gradually engage into compositions which crystallized themselves into tones resembling more rock than funk. On this fourth album, with an entirely revisited line-up, Peter Solo separates for the first time in his career from his brassy guard, leaving saxophone, trumpet and trombone outside to invite an arsenal of keyboards to define, with him, this new voodoo sound. A sound, as usual, built on vintage and precise analogical material - grime even on the white side of the tape, a blunt instrument used to blanket anything that strived to shine too much in the mix. Graced with tapered guitars stringing out rhythmic bumps or withdrawing a few beats to indulge in infectious solos, this album is boisterously alive with vintage 70's Funk, infused with a few digressions into other ethers of the funk timeline, nicking different sounds and frequencies to render the black and white keys of an inspired keyboard to reach new euphoric levels of melodic acidity. Tearing off the enigmatic mask to reveal his true face: on a few titles, Peter Solo ventures outside of his sacred voodoo range to reconnect with his London years, these titles feature small nods to the time he spent in “The Smoke” where the incantations of British music culture were written within him. Noussin which means “Stay strong” in Mina, a dialect spoken in the south-west of Togo. Noussin, a message of hope as much as a call to come together to weather the turmoil and to come out better on the other side. Don’t let them grind you down…Noussin!
 


 
 

 

May 5, 2021

From Lithuania: Ojibo Afrobeat

 

Unfortunately cannot find any information ...

Ojibo Afrobeat

@facebook.com

@soundcloud.com 



Apr 26, 2021

Pierre Sandwidi – Le Troubadour De La Savane

  

 

Twenty years after he died, french label Born Bad Records pays tribute to Pierre Sandwidi, one of West Africa’s most outstanding and adamant artist.

Born in 1947 in Boulsa, a small village in central Upper Volta, Pierre Sandwidi studied at the Zinda Kaboré high school in Ouaga in the early 60s.

Popular music that sprung up from Burkina Faso owed much to the music from neighboring countries like Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast or Benin, and to the longing for “cultural authenticity” conveyed through Guinean music. In capital city Ouagadougou, as well as in Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina’s cultural capital until the 1980s), the first two decades of independence saw the upcoming of such orchestras and artists as Amadou Balaké, Georges Ouedraogo, Volta Jazz, l’Harmonie Voltaïque, Les Imbattables Léopards, Abdoulaye Cissé, Tidiane Coulibaly or Pierre Sandwidi.

Nicknamed “the troubadour from the bush”, Pierre Sandwidi stands as one of the finest Voltaic artists from the 1970s. He belonged to an unsung elite of Francophone artists such as Francis Bebey, G.G. Vickey, Amédée Pierre, André-Marie Tala, Pierre Tchana or Mamo Lagbema. His entire released output consists of less than ten 7 inches, two LPs and a bunch of cassettes. A man from the provinces, he always favored social engagement and carefully crafted lyrics over instant fame. His words and music challenged General Lamizana’s dreary presidency, which ruled the country from 1966 to 1980.

Along with his friends Jean-Bernard Samboué, Abdoulaye Cissé, Oger Kaboré, Joseph Salambéré or Richard Seydou Traoré, he was part of the “vedettes en herbe” movement. Their songs were played on the national radio before even getting the chance to be released on a single, recorded live in the studio – a straightforward technique favored by most Voltaic musicians over the decade.

In 1970, Pierre Sandwidi traveled across the country, working for the state and learning much from the Upper Volta’s many cultures and history. Involved in trade unions, he followed his own musical path. He observed changes at stake in his native country. In 1971, he won the first prize in the ‘modern singers’ category of a national competition. He also joined as a guitar player the National Ballet of Upper Volta, modeled after Guinea’s “African Ballets”. With them, he traveled to Niger, Ivory Coast and Benin, before visiting Canada in 1973.

Back home, he met Bobo-Dioulasso cultural entrepreneur and Volta Jazz boss Idrissa Koné, who offered him to record a few songs for his own imprint, Disques Paysans Noirs. Sandwidi then delivered Lucie, a romantic song in the classic mandingo vein (‘diarabi’ or ‘love song’), while combining Afro-Cuban influences (by way of Congo) with French songs. He only had his bicycle and a guitar to conquer his young love, while others drove cars or rode motorbikes. Penniless but full of love, he walked in the steps of both Abdoulaye Cissé’s L’homme à la guitare and Amadou Balaké’s Bar Konon Mousso.

As a trade unionist and a member of the African Independence Party, he opposed General Lamizana’s politics, denouncing the lack of morality and the corrupted new administration in Ouagadougou, while praising the virtues of the working class and the wisdom of farmers. In 1975, Pierre Sandwidi recorded two more singles at the Maison du Peuple for CVD (Compagnie Voltaïque du Disque). Using an Akai recorder as a soundboard, he was backed by Super Volta’s mighty guitar player Désiré Traoré. In spite of such a raw recording environment, his mature voice revealed new harmonic possibilities.

In 1976, he recorded 3 more 45s with L’Harmonie Voltaïque as a backing band. Tond yabramba (“Our ancestors”) was the peak of this fruitful collaboration. A sinuous organ allowed Sandwidi to reach new heights, with a stunning melody that became instantly familiar. Recounting his country’s chaotic history, it stood as one of the continent’s best political songs. A true lesson of history, this song has been played enough on the radio to gain cult status.

In 1977, he delivered the amazing Yamb ney capitale (“You and your capital”), one of his best songs, with masterful guitar by Super Volta’s Désiré Traoré. Once again, he fought against ailing morality and rising individualism in the country’s capital. Sandwidi praised the virtues of country dwellers, enhanced by Ghanaian lo-fi keyboards wiz Father Ben. The b-side Mam ti fou is another instant classic, dealing with the loss of identity and an ever-increasing race for profit. This single sold over 3,000 copies, a true achievement in one of the world’s most destitute countries.

In 1979, while in Abidjan, Pierre Sandwidi recorded his first full length LP with the help of Voltaic Prince Edouard Ouedraogo. It confronted once again his country’s true state of affairs. He launched his own ‘callao’ dance, as a homage to this Sahelian bird that bounces instead of walking.

During the Sankara years (1983-1987), Sandwidi took part in the cultural animation of his neighborhood as a militant of the mighty CDR (Comité de Défense de la Révolution). After Sankara’s fall in 1987, Sandwidi distanced himself from politics, focusing on writing new songs and plays. In 1995, he delivered his last piece of music: Cousin Halidou, released through Moussa Kaboré’s Bazaar Music. Being of fragile health, Pierre Sandwidi passed away in 1998, leaving a beloved and dedicated family behind.

His funeral had a national echo, while new generations are slowly rediscovering a great body of work. Sandwidi used to tell his family that one day, some interest would come from abroad regarding his artistic legacy. Twenty years after he died, this compilation stands as a vibrant tribute to one of West Africa’s most outstanding and adamant artist. 
 
 



Mar 26, 2021

From Portugal/ Brazil: Carapaus Afrobeat - Dois

  

Shortly after arriving in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2017, guitarist Zé Victor Gottardi joined eight more Brazilian and Portuguese musicians to form Carapaus Afrobeat. Before landing on the old continent, Zé had already played in the Abayomy Afrobeat Orchestra, of which he was one of the founders, and had also played with Jards Macalé and Céu. His goal with Carapaus is to revere African music, faithfully following the concept of the word afrobeat: “beat of afro origin”.

“I realized that the afrobeat scene was very vague [in Lisbon], there was only one band, They Must Be Crazy, [who are] very good by the way. I booked a Fela Day, which is an event to celebrate Fela Kuti’s birthday, and I set up Carapaus for the occasion. The members were very well chosen, they’re all monsters”, says Zé.”On the guitar with me there is Gabriel Muzak, who played with Frequency Selectors and Funk Fuckers, as well as Adriana Calcanhotto. On the drums there’s Del, who has played with Roberta Miranda. On keyboard there’s Cláudio Andrade who has accompanied Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben Jor and Seu Jorge for 10 years. On the bass Ricardo Dias Gomes, who played with Caetano for 10 years. On the trumpet, Cláudio Gomes, one of the band’s two Portuguese [members]. He’s very active in the Lisbon music scene. On the trombone André Pimenta, also Portuguese, on the sax Alexandre Pinheiro, a saxophonist from Belém do Pará, who is fundamental to give a more Amazonian smell to the band. In percussion we have Duvale, a master who has ruled the timbal wing at the samba school of Mangueira (Rio de Janeiro), in addition to playing with Gabriel o Pensador and Sandra de Sá”.

This musical quality, added to the lack of afrobeat bands in Portugal, helped Carapaus quickly gain prominence. His commitment to maintaining all the original cadence of the African rhythm is clear on all eight tracks of the group’s second album, Dois. The influences of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen (who played on the single “Do Allen / Diabo na Terra”, along with with Boss AC and Oghene Kologbo, which preceded the album’s release) are evident. But it is not only the Nigerian source of afrobeat that supplies components. The bases also have funk, jazz, ska, elements of Portuguese musicality and spicy Afro-Brazilian seasoning, taking references from Naná Vasconcelos, Tim Maia, Elza Soares and from the batuques of African religions.

“We like to be broader with the issue of influences. We have Afrobeat in the name, but we take it more literally. Everything we like came from Africa: jazz, blues, funk, hip hop… everything had a direct influence from the African continent or its immigrants, so we think it makes more sense for us not to just be stuck with the Nigerian style of playing”.

This whole merger generates good results. The texture created also reveals the Latin DNA that Carapaus music has in its genetics. The different experiences used lead to a groove with Latin American rhythmic patterns, despite being recorded in Europe across two sessions. It has a swing. Some videos of live performances show the energy that the group led by Zé transmits. However, their upcoming performances had to be cancelled, as with everyone else, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, just at the moment when they had found their space, ascending in the Portuguese music scene with their new album freshly released.

“There was no time to do practically anything. At first we were very weak, and little by little we resumed our activities the way we did. We recorded a series of songs at home, literally each one at home, and it was super cool. [The videos are on YouTube.] But we are resuming contacts with festivals, sending material and doing what we can”, says Zé with optimism. “We have content already recorded for about 2 more records, but we still have to relaunch Dois, since we were unable to play as we had planned. We hope that in 2021 we will be able to circulate in Europe, because the band has extreme potential”.

 soundsandcolours.com

 

Mar 23, 2021

BCUC - Emakhosini

 

Hailing from South Africa, the seven-piece band BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness) has released their newest album Emakhosini, an EP featuring three tracks that capture the sound of ancestral, indigenous musical traditions while also including contemporary and controversial commentary on modern Africa.

Each of the three songs, though all very different, contain the essence of ‘Africangungungu,’ the name BCUC has given to their ‘afropsychedelic’ music. The tracks are best described as vibrant—each is buzzing with the distinct energy that BCUC brings to all of their music and performances. A mix of traditional indigenous South African music with funk, hip-hop, and punk-rock influences, BCUC’s music is nothing short of unique. As vocalist Kgomotso Mokone declared, “We bring fun and emo-indigenous Afro psychedelic fire from the hood.”

The album also tackles the issues of modern Africa head-on, including commentary on the harsh realities of uneducated workers. One song from a previous self-produced EP expressed views about a national idol and was so controversial that it was ultimately removed from the album. Despite this and other criticism regarding the group’s refusal to identify with a single social or political movement, BCUC sticks to their philosophy of creating “music for the people by the people with the people.” This philosophy is expressed in the video for the final track, “Nobody Knows (the Trouble I’ve Seen), filmed in Soweto.

Although Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness faces criticism for their stances, their commitment to representing the voiceless, speaking on important social and political issues, and exposing audiences to indigenous music is admirable. Emakhosini perfectly represents and lives up to the rebellious, lively spirit of the group.

blackgrooves.org 

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There may be stirring harmony vocals, but these dynamic, ‘afropsychedelic’ artists are anything but bland.

BCUC, AKA Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, are a young seven-piece band from Soweto who are shaking up South African music. Vocals and sturdy harmony work have always played a dominant role in township styles, but here the tradition is updated and reworked with the powerful but subtle use of drums and bass.

They play lengthy songs (the opener lasts nearly 20 minutes) that mix ancient and modern influences in a style that is distinctively South African, and includes soulful, elegant playing with passages that are as dramatic and frantically menacing as the best Congotronics bands in Kinshasa. BCUC have an impressive sense of dynamics, allowing songs to develop, fade away, change direction and then build to an often furious climax. Insistent, inventive bass guitar work holds it all together, as in Moya, which begins with a brooding riff and distant chanting, before the voices and percussion take over. Then there’s another switch, as echoes of what sound like ancient African war chants give way to cool, soulful vocals from Kgomotso Mokone, the one female member of the band, before the drums and chanting vocals return. 

Elsewhere, what they call their “africangungungu” and “afropsychedelic” music includes passages of sturdy township styles. There are stirring harmony vocals on Insimbi that would provide a reminder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo if it weren’t for the drums and bass riff. The final track, Nobody Knows, brings further surprises. It starts off with a reworking of Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, the gospel classic that has been recorded by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Sam Cooke, but is then transformed as chanting, rap and percussion take over. Those who fear that South African music is becoming too bland, or dominated by US influences, should take heart.

theguardian.com

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After a year of intensive touring in Europe in 2017, the group from Soweto is back with a second album. Emakhosini is as stunning as their first album, Our Truth, released in 2016 to accolades in the French media. As on their first disc, the band offers two long pieces of funky tribal trance, Moya and Insimbi, that by their intensity evoke the Afro-beat of Fela even though they were not inspired by it. Because the music of Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (which can be translated as “Man on the move towards his freedom of conscience”) draws on the South African cultural roots of the group’s members — Zulu, Sotho, Shangaan — to invent a contemporary electric version of their musical traditions. On these ancestral rhythms and spiritual songs, BCUC builds a music tinged with soul, rap, and a driving by a punk energy. 

roughtrade.com 

 
 


Mar 2, 2021

Recently discovered ... positively surprised: BCUC - Our Truth

 

A stone’s throw from the church where Desmond Tutu organised the escape of the most wanted anti-Apartheid activists of Soweto, the BCUC band rehearses in a shipping container-turned-community restaurant, where their indomitable outspokenness echoes in a whole new way.

Make no mistake, this buzzing township has lost none of the creative, rebellious energy it had when the “Rainbow Nation”, with its now less-than-vibrant colours, emerged twenty years ago.

Like its elders, Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness sees its music as a hedonistic trance, but also as a weapon of political and spiritual liberation.

Artistic heirs to Philip “Malombo” Tabane and Batsumi, they seek to give a contemporary voice to the ancestral traditions of indigenous peoples. Jazz sounds of 1970s and ‘80s productions have been replaced by hip-hop influences and a punk-rock energy.

It all started about twelve years ago in a community centre workshop. The format of the band hasn’t changed much since that time, but its musical language has been greatly refined. While vocals and percussion have always driven their music, in the past they’ve explored “electronic” avenues and for many years even included a rock guitar that swung between folk and free jazz.

BCUC found its magic formula in 2013, however, when they folded a frenzied electric bass into the simple drum-and-vocals mix.

And that’s the alchemy of “Africangungungu”, the name they’ve given to their “afropsychedelic” music. Both on stage and on this album (their first commercial production), their songs refuse to be formatted. Their “incantations” in Zulu, Sotho and English and their funky modulations extend over twenty minutes in a whirlwind of sound reminiscent of Fela’s Afrobeat.

Nguni rhythms mix with Tsonga rhythms, the whistles of Bhaca and Shona miners meet the traditional Imbomu horn, while ancestral war songs and Ngoma busuku (night song) choruses mingle with the soul music of singer Kgomotso and the raging rap of Jovi and Luja.

“Yinde”, which opens “Our Truth”, means “the road”: a symbol of the distance left to cover towards a fairer South African society. Similarly, “Asazani” (“we don’t know one other”) pleads for a reconciling of all the components of the “Rainbow Nation”.

BCUC’s willingness to look these social and identity questions in the face has already led to the banning of one song from their only self-produced EP, which points the finger at a national idol. But neither this event, nor the criticism to which they are exposed by their refusal to belong to a specific movement, can change their minds. “Music for the people by the people with the people” – a people they refuse to box into one community, to circumscribe to one skin colour.
  

bcuc.bandcamp.com 

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IN A NUTSHELL

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) present their first commercial production 'Our Truth', featuring their very own genre of afropsychedelic music - 'Africangungungu'.

GO ON...

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness sees its music as a hedonistic trance, but also as a weapon of political and spiritual liberation. Artistic heirs to Philip “Malombo” Tabane and Batsumi, they seek to give a contemporary voice to the ancestral traditions of indigenous peoples. Jazz sounds of 1970s and ‘80s productions have been replaced by hip-hop influences and a punk-rock energy. While vocals and percussion have always driven their music, in the past they’ve explored “electronic” avenues and for many years even included a rock guitar that swung between folk and free jazz. BCUC found its magic formula in 2013, however, when they folded a frenzied electric bass into the simple drum-and-vocals mix.BCUC’s willingness to look social and identity questions in the face has already led to the banning of one song from their only self-produced EP, which points the finger at a national idol. But neither this event, nor the criticism to which they are exposed by their refusal to belong to a specific movement, can change their minds. 'Music for the people by the people with the people' – a people they refuse to box into one community, to circumscribe to one skin colour.

rhythmpassport.com



Feb 28, 2021

Reissue of "Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Dahomey" (Superlfly Records)

 

 
I finally received my vinyl of  "Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Dahomey" re-issue from Superfly Records ... and it's amazing as always with Orchestre Poly-Rythmo...
 
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**1000 copies** We’re proud to introduce the new Superfly reissue of ultra rare 70’s Nigerian collection of some of their best 45’s, full of funky psych killers, check ‘Wodeka Roe’ or the hit ‘Gbeti Madjro’ (though every single track is dynamite!). As usual, beautiful quality repress with paste on covers made in Japan, Obi and 180grs vinyl, limited to 1000 copies only!

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo are much more than a band. They’re a window into the culture of Benin and the music associated with the Vodoun traditions of West Africa. They’re also a reflection of the impact funk music made throughout the region, not to mention an enduring symbol of creative drive – having produced their early work during times of political and economic instability, managing to access the better-equipped EMI studio in Lagos to achieve the best sounding recordings possible.

 soundohm.com

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Benin is not exactly one of those countries from which new music is constantly being reported. One name - although the one name is such a thing - that regularly draws attention, even through reissues, is the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey. Also known as Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, Le Tout Puissant Poly Rythmo or L’International Poly-Rythmo, the musicians from Cotonou, Benin's largest city, have identified themselves as a band in around nine variations of their name. Listed under these names from 1968 onwards, their greatest period was in the 1970s, from which the single titles collected here come from. Their music mixes traditional styles of the country with jerk, the local term for soul or funk. Although one could say that this sound, whose influences include Afrobeat and Highlife, also integrates a few portions of rock into its rhythms. In a good sense, because the polyrhythm clearly dominates the groove, but the drums thrash in every now and then. It sounds a bit different from what you're used to from a Tony Allen, for example. What does not harm the music at all, the energy simply transmits itself energetically in an even more direct sense. Tout puissant!


 

 

Feb 5, 2021

Femi Kuti & Made Kuti – Legacy

The influence of the legendary Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti is displayed gloriously with the next two Kuti generations connecting on this joint release. Legacy + is in fact two albums, with one each presented by father and son. Femi Kuti, Fela’s son and former Egypt 80 band member, has been a driving force of Afrobeat and the power of music to change the world for some years, but it’s Femi’s own son, Made Kuti, that now steps up to present his own vision.

 As Femi was preparing his album - Stop The Hate - he invited Made, who plays bass, alto-saxophone and percussion on his dad’s album, to release his own debut record ‘For(e)ward’ alongside his own in a joint package. It’s a smart yet honestly touching move on his and the label’s part: and naturally pays dividends to the listener. 

Femi Kuti’s output on Stop The Hate is relentlessly fierce and funky, and for his eleventh album there’s no easing off the pedal. Kuti Senior delivers messages of freedom and positivity that are as bold and defiant as they’ve ever been: central themes of the album focus on corruption in Nigeria’s local government, equal rights and the end of police brutality for Black people. Pure and powerful and dispatched with experience and confidence, it’s Afrobeat+ direct from the source.

On Made’s ‘For(e)ward’ album, we’re presented with a wealth of influences added to the Kuti Afrobeat formula, with the talented musician also performing everything on the record. While the hypnotic basslines, rhythms and horns inherited from previous generations are vital ingredients, Made takes more than enough turns to make this record his own.

He studied at the famed Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (the same place his grandfather Fela studied, back when it was known as Trinity College), while also soaking up the riches in London’s underground scene, and the city's diverse influences of club music, dub, hip hop, punk, jazz and other improvisational disciplines are audible in his music. The song’s powerful messages come from his own perspective, with the direct effects of years of political negligence and corruption, alongside sexual harassment of and inequality for women, brought to the fore. 

The (Positive) Force is strong in the Kuti family. Fela would no doubt be proud of what the next generations have delivered here - one continuing to play at the top of his game, the other emerging with promise, both still fighting for the people.

www.gigwise.com

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The contemporary End SARS protests across Lagos come more than four decades after Fela Kuti’s Zombie album launched its musical uprising against the methods of the Nigerian militia, who responded by raiding his Kalakuta compound, burning down his studio and throwing his 77-year old mother out of a third-story window. They come four decades after Fela married 27 women on the same day, either for misogyny’s sake or to delegitimize the government’s claims that he’d kidnapped his backing band and dancers, depending on which sources you read. A life’s worth of rebellion assembles this kind of political nuance to a man whose influence seeps through Afrobeat and into the fabric of a country’s resistance.

Take the centrepiece of Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela’s Rejoice – a feverish, limbless hard-bop holding Fela’s legacy on the shoulders of a street parade: “Lagos never gonna be the same, never, without Fela!” He was Afrobeat’s originator, who mystified the concept of rebellion, combined the greatest freedom-searchers in Blue Note jazz with the euphoria of highlife and escapist groove of American funk, and peddled joy as an act of opposition. In parallel to Northern Soul’s takeover of postindustrial Britain, Fela’s rebellion mobilised a world whose resistance hit under the dense fug of igbo smoke, with a shamanic trance and an open invitation to dance away the hardship.

In the years since his death, Fela’s legacy has been joyfully upheld: his son Seun still fronts Egypt 80, Knitting Factory have meticulously reissued his solo archives and the legendary communal moments at the New Africa Shrine, while the likes of Ginger Baker, Questlove, Brian Eno and Erykah Badu have curated selections of his work alongside essays and political commentaries. As the archeological dig of a lifetime’s work continues to show the historical weight of Fela Kuti, Legacy+ adds urgency to the tradition – a double release as one, comprising Fela’s son Femi Kuti’s new album Stop The Hate and Femi’s son Made Kuti’s new album For(e)ward. It’s an instant masterpiece in supplementing the heft of a surname. The music isn’t Fela’s, but the feeling is the same, and the protest is current. 

Stop The Hate is the literal father album of the collection. Lead single ‘Pà Pá Pà’ is a groove-filled checklist (“I want you to listen to me well”) and its scope is extraordinary. Femi calls for structural and social change in government; the need for clean water, safer roads and working electricity is demanded in the same breath as gender equality and continued resistance against corruption. Circular grooves lock on key lyrics: “Stop the hate” and “Stop the land grab” sound the visceral frontlines of protest, while the organ-laden, trumpet-heavy ‘Na Bigmanism Spoil Government’ stands with a vicious, Fela-worthy critique of power. 

Made’s contribution on For(e)ward swirls into the mental strains of resistance. The hypnotic locked groove – “free your mind and set your soul free” – picks up from the closing track of his father’s album, but the message after three minutes of mesmeric, sprawling future-Afrobeat holds a demand for freedom that you won’t find on Stop The Hate. Made plays every instrument on the album; ‘Your Enemy’ and ‘Higher You’ll Find’ become possessive with spiralling horns, instrumentals and brass cacophonies that conjure an internal Fantasia. As Tony Allen went on to reject lyrical content to find his loose-limbed percussive protest, For(e)ward conjures as much of a tempest with furious strums and astral horns as it does with words.

Subjects cross between albums; Femi’s ‘Young Boy Young Girl’ is the utopia that Made’s ‘Young Lady’ longs for, uncovering the sexual scandals at the University of Lagos. The wide-eyed circle jams of Made’s ‘We Are Strong’ look to solve the same injustices lamented in Femi’s ‘You Can’t Fight Corruption With Corruption’. The most striking moment in Legacy+ is Made’s monologue in ‘Different Streets’ to the somber effect of ‘Sorrow Tears and Blood’, ruminating on Fela’s message: “Grandpa was not predicting the future… we must now understand just how scary it is that we are facing the same problem from the ’70s, and think for ourselves how hard we must work collectively to be free.”

On their own terms, neither body of work is starkly more enthralling than its contemporaries. Yet what makes Legacy+ such a remarkable collection is how each album brings vibrance to the other and revitalises Fela’s archived resistance. There’s something in the family name that feels as vital now as it did forty years ago.

www.loudandquiet.com