baptizum

African Music

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this will be a fun thread! :excited:

Magnificant Goldberg i know that you will educate us all!!!!!

and maybe, some day, an african music forum!!! :crazy::P

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One of the live music highlights of the year for me was Angelique Kidjo at Jazz Alley. It was strange to hear her in this type of venue. In Montreal or Paris she would be playing a large hall with plenty of room for dancing. At first things were pretty subdued at Jazz Alley, but when she really got warmed up and invited everyone in the audience (as many as could fit!) onstage to dance with her all hell broke loose. The waiters had quite an obstacle course after that, people dancing everywhere. A hot show. She is an artist you need to check out live.

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for some reason afrobeat is one genre that wore thin a lot more quickly than i expected. i never need to hear another kuti cut again.

i saw an afrobeat band a few weeks ago-a jewish guy and a latino guy on keyboards and another jewish guy DJing sort of in the back and two african-american women backup singing and doing call and response with the keyboardists. it was incredibly inauthentic in every way but very amusing. others disliked it.

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Congotronics!

Okay, not traditional, and, in the end, I do prefer traditional, but I never tire of running into contemporary, imaginative, inventive resourceful musical groups on the streets of...Mali, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso...

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Congotronics!

Okay, not traditional, and, in the end, I do prefer traditional, but I never tire of running into contemporary, imaginative, inventive resourceful musical groups on the streets of...Mali, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso...

First time I heard Congotronics, I thought it was an electric piano. :tup:lol:

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I would add to the list a band worthy of discussing

Tiniwaren

By the way Baptizum, glad that you're still around.

Edited by Van Basten II

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I would add to the list a band worthy of discussing

Tiniwaren

By the way Baptizum, glad that you're still around.

I have been enjoying their recordings immensely. They played in Seattle recently but I wasn't able to go. Bummer! The next time they pass through the area they're high on my "must hear" list.

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Oh yes!

Start with Youssou. The Wikipedia discography only covers material issued in the West. A discography that is as complete as we can make it is here.

http://biochem.chem.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~endo/EAYoussou.html

It was, of course, Youssou who introduced me to Mbalax getting on for twenty years ago. I have a helluva lot of his recordings. Generally, it's better to get the ones he issues on his own label, Jololi, which is now about the second biggest record label in Senegal, rather than those made specially for western markets. The Senegal-targeted music is much more exciting, the rhythms much more flexible (particularly up to the mid nineties) and rather more like the way jazz musicians bend time or play more than one rhythm/time signature simultaneously than conventional dance musicians. He said, of that music, that white people couldn't dance to it and I guess that's true for non-jazz fans. If you're used to hearing musicians playing with time, then you can dance to it.

Youssou is absolutely ADORED by the Senegalese, to an extent to which I think no western popular singer would even think of aspiring in relation to their own countries. I saw him in 1997 in St Louis, Senegal. The army had roped off the town square in front of the Governor's mansion and erected a couple of stands for the rich folk to sit in - it cost about $3 to get in the stands, $1.50 to stand around in the square. So I was in one of the stands, directly behind a group of aging serignes, the aristocrats of lady traders, dripping with gold, swathed in tulle. They were between their late sixties and eighties. I thought they'd just come along because it was a charity gig but no, once Youssou got going, they were singing along with him and knew all the words to the songs on his latest album (Lii), which I'd bought only the week before. It goes without saying that the poor and the young go for him, too. And also, people of all the main tribes in Senegal love him - and all tribes play Mbalax, which Etoile de Dakar, the band with which Youssou came to prominence and took over, developed.

Oh yes, in the early eighties, Youssou was as cutting edge in Senegalese music as Trane was in jazz. He's an object lesson that you don't need to be unpopular to be avant garde.

But while Youssou definitely rules the roost, even after all these years, in Senegal, there are numerous other great bands and singers there. My favourite Mbalax bands/singers are:

Ouza

Lemzo Diamono

Fallou Dieng & le D L C

Alioune Mbaye Nder & le Setsima

Kine Lam

Souleymane Faye

Moussa Ngom

Ablaye Mbaye

Ndiaga Mbaye

Super Diamono (I prefer their work from before the time Omar Pene took them over)

Thione Seck

Assane Ndiaye

Assane Mboup

Alioune Kasse

Soda Mama Fall

Royal Band de Thies

Fatou Laobe

Fatou Guewel

It may be hard for westerners to distinguish between these bands, all of whom play the same type of music. But it's no more difficult, really, than it was in the early sixties to distinguish between Jimmy Smith and the many other Soul Jazz organists who were around at the time - but many, nonetheless, said it was a field of Smith plus imitators.

I guess I'm a fairly serious collector of Mbalax - I have 325 Mbalax albums, which is a fair proportion of all that have been made (though I only have about half of Youssou's own albums - 35).

MG

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Now spinning:

Alpha Blondy was very hot last time I passed thru Cote d'Ivoire.

post-236-1199064891_thumb.jpg

post-236-1199064907_thumb.jpg

Edited by BeBop

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for some reason afrobeat is one genre that wore thin a lot more quickly than i expected. i never need to hear another kuti cut again.

i saw an afrobeat band a few weeks ago-a jewish guy and a latino guy on keyboards and another jewish guy DJing sort of in the back and two african-american women backup singing and doing call and response with the keyboardists. it was incredibly inauthentic in every way but very amusing. others disliked it.

honestly, fela is only second to coltrane on my all-time best artists list. but, that's not to say that all african music is afrobeat. afrobeat is really a pretty narrow genre that only houses the kutis, the various members of afrika 70 (namely tony allen) and a few odds and ends bands like the daktaris.

if you're not at all interested in anything funk or jazz related then definitely check ali farka toure. his music is slightly more western sounding than the other guys in the first post. he plays a very john lee hooker-esque style blues. standouts would be his debut self titled album and his '06 (i think) release Savane.

Edited by baptizum

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for some reason afrobeat is one genre that wore thin a lot more quickly than i expected. i never need to hear another kuti cut again.

i saw an afrobeat band a few weeks ago-a jewish guy and a latino guy on keyboards and another jewish guy DJing sort of in the back and two african-american women backup singing and doing call and response with the keyboardists. it was incredibly inauthentic in every way but very amusing. others disliked it.

honestly, fela is only second to coltrane on my all-time best artists list. but, that's not to say that all african music is afrobeat. afrobeat is really a pretty narrow genre that only houses the kutis, the various members of afrika 70 (namely tony allen) and a few odds and ends bands like the daktaris.

if you're not at all interested in anything funk or jazz related then definitely check ali farka toure. his music is slightly more western sounding than the other guys in the first post. he plays a very john lee hooker-esque style blues. standouts would be his debut self titled album and his '06 (i think) release Savane.

Along somewhat similar lines, though not blues-ish (more akin to singer-songwriter "folk" if I was forced to make a comparison) I'd recommend checking out Geoffrey Oryema. He has written some of the most haunting, ethereal songs that I've ever heard.

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It was nice to see Alpha Blondy's name come up so soon. Agreed! He's a MF.

Other African reggae artists that have strongly affected me over the years include:

Majek Fashek

graphic_majek_fashek.jpg

His recordings are good but his live shows are tremendous.

The late master, cut down in his prime by a murderer's bullet, Lucky Dube

luckyduberip.jpg

"Different Colours, One People"

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Nice idea for a thread.

I have a very specific question:

I got heavily into African music in the 1980s, but became less interested as a number of my favorite artists started giving up their distinctive regional styles in favor of a more generic "World Music" style (i.e. Soukous, Makossa, Afro-Beat), usually for financial reasons.

On the other hand, I am sure that a lot of great African music was made in the last 15 years. What is the consensus among people who still follow African music closely? What are some of the best records made in the last 15 years, in particular by newer younger artists who would not be on my radar screen? (I still pick up a few newer albums from people I know well like Salif Keita.)

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for some reason afrobeat is one genre that wore thin a lot more quickly than i expected. i never need to hear another kuti cut again.

i saw an afrobeat band a few weeks ago-a jewish guy and a latino guy on keyboards and another jewish guy DJing sort of in the back and two african-american women backup singing and doing call and response with the keyboardists. it was incredibly inauthentic in every way but very amusing. others disliked it.

honestly, fela is only second to coltrane on my all-time best artists list. but, that's not to say that all african music is afrobeat. afrobeat is really a pretty narrow genre that only houses the kutis, the various members of afrika 70 (namely tony allen) and a few odds and ends bands like the daktaris.

if you're not at all interested in anything funk or jazz related then definitely check ali farka toure. his music is slightly more western sounding than the other guys in the first post. he plays a very john lee hooker-esque style blues. standouts would be his debut self titled album and his '06 (i think) release Savane.

Along somewhat similar lines, though not blues-ish (more akin to singer-songwriter "folk" if I was forced to make a comparison) I'd recommend checking out Geoffrey Oryema. He has written some of the most haunting, ethereal songs that I've ever heard.

thanks, i'll check it out

Nice idea for a thread.

I have a very specific question:

I got heavily into African music in the 1980s, but became less interested as a number of my favorite artists started giving up their distinctive regional styles in favor of a more generic "World Music" style (i.e. Soukous, Makossa, Afro-Beat), usually for financial reasons.

On the other hand, I am sure that a lot of great African music was made in the last 15 years. What is the consensus among people who still follow African music closely? What are some of the best records made in the last 15 years, in particular by newer younger artists who would not be on my radar screen? (I still pick up a few newer albums from people I know well like Salif Keita.)

here's a couple pretty good ones to check out

isnebo and faadah kawtal - divine (2002)

majid bekkas - africa gnaoua blues (2001)

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ali fakre toure is (was) very long island hippie trying to play djembe freshman year of college to me. i can't go back.

like that foday musa suso/herbie hancock album or material live in japan.

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been diggin' this one lately

Getatchew Mekuria and the Ex on Terp

Terp Records

I'll absolutely need to check that out! I've seen a cut or two by Mekuria/The Ex on a DVD compilation (off French/German arte tv, from the Frenche festival "Banlieues Bleues") - terrific!

Also I picked up the Mekuria disc from the Ethiopiques series:

484114.jpg

Just yesterday I found pianoriental by Maurice El Medioni (for roughly 1 euro!) on the same label (Buda Musique) that puts out the Ethiopiques series:

313FC1GF9FL._SS500_.jpg

Looking forward to playing it!

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i haven't heard that particular ethiopiques volume ^ but all the ones i've heard are really good!

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To me saying "African Music" is akin to saying "American Music" -- there are so many different regions, cultures, and traditions.

I especially find myself drawn to the guitar music of Southern Africa/Madagascar, and the Touareg music of the Sahara. And the traditions in Mali.

If you are looking for some great music recorded in the last 15 years, go with this:

51A13CVANHL._AA240_.jpg

This was the best concert I have ever seen, hands down.

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I appreciate the recs, guys. I will certainly check those albums out.

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for some reason afrobeat is one genre that wore thin a lot more quickly than i expected. i never need to hear another kuti cut again....i saw an afrobeat band a few weeks ago-a jewish guy and a latino guy on keyboards and another jewish guy DJing sort of in the back and two african-american women backup singing and doing call and response with the keyboardists. it was incredibly inauthentic in every way but very amusing. others disliked it.

Fela tracks do often have a certain similarity to each other, but then so do a lot of hard bop jazz tracks. If I never got to hear another Fela cut my life would be much the poorer, and I've heard a ton of them.

You equate some lame copy with afrobeat, but you recognize that it is just a lame copy, not the real thing.

Afrobeat may have worn thin with YOU, but don't fail to realize that is just you and that it perhaps has not worn thin with the general population. We are still absorbing the impact of afrobeat and other similar African music into our consciousness and we will be for years to come, I think.

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I agree, GREAT idea for a thread.

I've barely scratched the surface of African music- it is so diverse and so many recordings that are obscure but hard to find because they barely made it onto tape, to say nothing of the radar screen of most music buyers.

Some favorite CDs from my collection:

Baaba Maal & Monsour Seck "Djaam Leeli"

Thomas Mapfumo "Chamunorwa"

Mwenda Wa Byeke -Studio Album

Guitar Paradise of East Africa

Indestructible Beat of Soweto Vol. 1 (success of this one spawned a run of others, first one is still the best)

Tinariwen "WAter of Life" the newest one, only one I have

I'm looking for an obscure CD that called "African Acoustic: Guitar Songs Of Tanzania, Zaire And Zambia". Anyone seen that one?

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I'll put up two for now.

One album that I absolutely love (Malian) :

41PCVNQ578L._AA240_.jpg

Toumani Diabate | Djelika

And a recent find (Congolese) :

10965449_155_155.jpeg

Mbilia Bel & Seigneur Ley Rochereau & l'Afrisa International | Eswi yo wapi

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