Landmark South African jazz from 1974 — spiritual and political, shimmering and surging. Reverbed trad and trap drums, mesmeric bass, soaring flute, rocking sax. Warmly recommended.
The first half of the Something Is Wrong CD set, beautifully pressed and presented, with its own twelve-inch-square booklet.
In front, trumpet and tenor saxophone, dominated by a wailing alto sound you can trace through to Dudu Pukwana; the bottom end, trombone or tuba or double bass; banjos strumming away; military-style drumming.
From the fuzzy garage of SA groups like The Gonks, to the raw beat of Ghana’s Tall Emma, with wild representations from Cameroun, Madagascar and Mozambique, along the way. Fab.
1950 and 1952. A variety of dance-band styles, nostalgic, exotic and pioneering all at the same time: pros playing to Europeans in hotels; or enthusiasts, copying the radio, to African audiences.
Precious, late-eighties dance music from Mogadishu. Big group — three horns, four singers plus three backing, two guitars, keys, drummer, two percussionists, bassist — choca with funk swagger and highlife shimmy.
Charlie Brooks’ field recordings from 2002, featuring violin players and throat-breathing singers.
The roots of marrabenta — compelling guitar-playing, and gritty songs about everyday issues, like having kids, sleeping around, snobbery and the supernatural.
Classic Zamrock, cooking up Hendrix and Taj Mahal, the Congolese rumba and Afro-beat.
Zambia’s first independently released pop record. ‘Loose, woozy African spinoff of the Velvet Underground: folk-rock and garage-rock that still didn’t stint on the fuzz-tone’ (New York Times).
Solo Ililonga — a combination of traditional Zambian rhythms, deep funk and unrestrained fuzz rock.
Casio and percussion nut-outs from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Songs about the concrete jungle, infidelity and voodoo, Mchiriku-style.
A funky afro-rock classic, his 1969 debut for Ahmad Jamal’s label by this future director of Amandla (the cultural ensemble of the ANC). Tipped ages ago by the excellent matsuli.blogspot.com.
The kalimba is part of the mbira family, a ‘thumb-piano’; the kalumbu is a one-string gourd bow related to the Brazilian berimbau.
Kikuyu ‘liquid soul’, Luo benga with its rat-tat-tat beat and layered guitars, Swahili afrobeat, Congolese rumba, plus influences from SA and Zambia, disco and funk, coastal rhythms like chakacha. Mostly from 45s.
Luo, Luhya, Kipsigis, Kikuyu, Nandi, Swahili, Wanga and Giriama tribes. Choirs and songs with string accompaniment on guitar, oud, mostly lyres — like the thum, with eight strings, made of cow-tendons.