Honest Jons logo

Mazembe finally arrived in Nairobi in 1975, having left Zaire some five years earlier. The first years were lean, but in 1977 they smashed it with the single Kassongo… Magnificent East African rhumba 45s.

Assorted mbira, mouth bows, karimba, story-songs, mulanji flutes, panpipes, drums.

Elmore Judd in Nairobi with Joseph Nyamungo and Charles Okoko.

TP’s is an uglier-than-ugly edit, with no let-up for thirteen minutes, layered and shot with synth washes, bleeps and alarms, galloping drums, clattering percussion; Burnt’s mix is more chilled, lithe, dubwise.

No-shame housey Tsonga-disco and hands-in-the-air rave banged out on Korgs and Ataris in 1994 South Africa. It sold tons, rocking stadiums from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Namibia and Mozambique.

Likembe thumb-piano get-togethers, yodels and ekidongo harps, leg-rattles, vocal knees-ups, magwala horn groups, flutes, xylophones and drums.

Popular song, often with bow accompaniment, sometimes mulumba (stuck in the mouth and scraped); and the jazzy mazurkas, waltzes and country-dance of kamtole, for string ensemble and bass drum.

An astounding compilation of the breakneck Shangaan dance output of the Nozinja studio in Soweto, recorded between 2006 and 2009.

Daniel Owino Misiani’s great benga, from Kenya. Clattering percussion, pumping bass, dazzling and nuts guitars. Overproof, five-minute, dancefloor shots.

His fine guitar-picking and upbeat, carefree songs brought George Sibanda from Bulawayo the fame throughout southern Africa — and he was versioned in the US — which drove him to drink and an early grave.

Thirty-five precious, stinging selections from an HMV run of more than four hundred 78s, recordings made in Uganda and Kenya from the mid-1930s till the mid-1950s.

The bangwe board zither, gourd kazoo big bands, tuned likhuba drum ensembles, virtuoso xylophone, a capella singing.

Sena and Ndau mbiras; Shangaan singing, drumming and xylophones; Chopi reedpipes and timbila xylophone orchestras, little girls playing ocarinas; Gitonga drums and singing horns.

Swahili funky-disco, this collaboration between a singer from Zanzibar and the house veteran and DFA-associate Maurice Fulton.

Ligombo and nanga trough zithers, lamellophones, drumming, a flute requiem, Zanzibar grooves, a panpipe ensemble, a makondere horn band.

Six hundred Chagga singing on the slopes of Mt. Meru; one hundred Gogo on the plains near Dodoma. Funny songs by the Nyamwezi in Dar-es-Salaam; wigasha dance songs by the Sukuma near Lake Victoria; Masai chants.

Mostly unaccompanied singing; also with musical bows — just knockout, some of the most beautiful music there is —  flutes, and guitars and concertinas.

HIs LP debut, released in 1976 at the height of the Rhodesian war — incendiary chimurenga (‘struggle’) dance music, which transposed mbira rhythms to the guitar, and in its lyrics demanded revolutionary change.

Singing, amongst ditlhaka reedpipes, and the lesiba mouth bow.

1234