Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vintage African tunes rock my morning

There is so much great music coming out of Africa all the time ...now, last month, last year... I jammed Dub Colossus A Town Called Addis Sunday morning and totally rocked to Speed Caravan's Kalashnik Love twice yesterday afternoon. (Think of the former as Ethiopiques dub-style and the latter as wankin' oud and bass with electronics from Algeria...oh wait, make that France, now.)

Listening to Gokh-Bi System (Senegal)yesterday, I got pretty psyched for their upcoming show at the Cedar. I like the samples of traditional instruments like balafon and kora in there with the electronics. I like the positive message and international outlook.

Their bookings keep getting getting canceled, but I am holding out hope that we will see Malian desert blues act Toumast at the Cedar one day soon. Probably the one album that I have listened to in its entirety more than any other for the last year or so has been Toumast's debut Ishumar from late 2006.

Rokia Traore (Mali) will warm up this Friday night and chimurenga legend Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe) will bring in his band later this month to shake the rafters - and some butts. Be sure to come early for dj Paul Harding who has some great current and vintage African vinyl.

Ali Farka Toure's son Vieux rocked the Cedar a couple of years ago with his jam band boys , taking his father Malian blues legacy way into the new century. (That was the night my son learned the word "guitar;" after that it was all air guitar at our house, no more air-fiddle or air-banjo.) Gigi's Ethiopian pop disc Gold And Wax was pretty much our soundtrack to summer 2006. A new Amadou and Miriam disc is out in Europe and is due to arrive over here this spring. Sudanese former child soldier Emmanuel Jal's War Child is drawing rave reviews all over the place. Although from what I've heard, I liked his 2005 relase Ceasefire with Abdel Gadir Salim better; his rapping feels more fluid in Swahili and Dinka. And so on and so on.

Gotta love that Senegal Fast Food!

Know what? There has been an amazing amount of great music going on in Africa for a long long time; we just didn't get to hear much of it over here until recently. Crazy things were happening...aside from the Fela and the King Sunny Ade and the Franco. I often send up huge thank yous to the people who put together The Ethipiques colections, the Golden Afrique collections, World Psychedelic Classics volume 3 "Love's A real Thing", the Discotheque 72 and 75 collections (Stearns Africa, I think) and all the rereleased Orchestra Baobab stuff from the 1970's. Somebody somewhere took good enough care of their vinyl that it was able to be digitized for all of us today to enjoy such vintage West African psychedelia. Love it . Love it . LOVE IT! The groovin' rhythms, the screaming organ solos (!!), the low-fi effects on the guitar solos. Beautiful things were happening in this part of the world as club bands were transitioning away from the Latin sounds that were popular in the 1960's and bringing their own heritage and their own languages to create a hybrid that had to have included some bootleg Jimi Hendrix and James Brown cassettes somewhere along the line.

So in the spirit of The Angel of Rock's playlist from last week, I hereby post my Vintage West African Playlist. My partner was playing female vocal alt-country stuff on Pandora Saturday morning and a genre shift was clearly called for. This mix was just the ticket to wash all that away!

1. SuperBoiro Band - Kha Mu Lan Ma
2. Horoya Band - Daba

3. Pivi et les Baladins - Samba

4. Sorry Bamba - Porry

5. Orchestra Baobab - On Verra Ca

6. Number One de Dakar - Yaya Boye

7. Etiole De Dakar - Thiely

8. Ofo the Black Company - Allah Wakbarr

9. Guelewar Ban of Banjul - Warteef Jiggeen

10. Tunji Oyelana & the Benders - Ifa

11. Super eagles - Aliou Gori-Mami

12. Idy Diop - Yaye Boye

13. Ambassadeur International - N'Toman

14. Super Mama Djombo - Dissan Na M'bera ("Suur Di No Pubils")

15. William Oneyeabor - Better Change Your Mind

16. Orchestra Baobab - Yen Saay

I might write more detail on some of these tracks next time, but for now, just know you can find them on the discs linked above.

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On a TOTALLY different note, it's time for the Art Sled Rally at Powderhorn Park this weekend. You've heard of Art Cars? Well, in Minnesota we now have Art Sleds, too and they are going to be flying down the icy hills at P'horn this Saturday. Come watch or create your own. Learn more here.

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