World Music. Lazy term. Music out of Africa is so rich it deserves it’s own full section in any major music store. but I could argue with the marketing department all day. My name is Obi and welcome to my first music blog roundup focusing on what’s buzzing on the beautiful continent of Africa and the diaspora.
Benn loxo du taccu (Matt Yanchyshyn) talks on the new album by Mali’s favourite son Salif Keita. The new album, M’Bemba, is indicative of a new trend and Matt writes:
“Like many big-name West African musicians, lately Keita has been sticking more to his acoustic roots and less to the casio synth. While the album still may be overproduced in my opinion there are still some great tracks that highlight much that is great about contemporary West African acoustic guitar music, particularly that coming out of Mali.”
The really cool thing about Matt’s blog are the mp3 links and the special feature where you can listen to a song right there on the site. Salif’s song “Yambo” is posted and he’s also included a link to an interesting interview.
Msanii_XL, blogging out of Kenya, is the one stop for all things African hip hop. He current post profiles a new emcee called blitz. blitz is in the mould of the rap group Dead Prez and focusses on conscious, political, uplifting material. Msanii also gives an interesting run down of his top ten rap albums of 2005.
he talks on rap duo Zion I:
“True & Livin‘….Amp live the beatmaker behind the group completely changed up his entire production and what he came up with is one of the better albums i have heard this year, with Zion I the emcee of the group spitting some realness, minus the thug poser-ism. This Bay area crew dropped some hotness, with varied guest spots “Nerd-rap” fav Aesop rock , Talib, Gift of Gab among others. Fav joints ‘Poems 4 Post Modern Decay’, ‘So tall’, ‘Birds Eyeview’(took a page from commons i used to love her), ‘What u hear’.”
Msanii also posts a podcast featuring Kenyan/African and American rappers (includes “2000 seasons” by Reflection Eternal. heavy)
“The album Living Like a Refugee includes one disc of raw field recordings from the refugee camps in Guinea, and one disc of studio recordings done in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The music — African folk/pop with a strong reggae influence — includes heartbreaking messages of peace and forgiveness, despite what the refugees have been through. A film on the band recently won “Best Documentary” award at the American Film Institute’s International Film Festival. Information on future film screenings and other band news is available at the Refugee Allstars site.
SoundRoots have also posted a song, “Mental Slavery“, off the album for download. Listen and support.
Naija Jams hails 2Face for winning MTV’s African Artist of the year 2005:
“Earlier this month, 2 Face Idibia (formerly of the Plantashun Boiz) was awarded African Artist of the year at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s nice to see one of the so-called “local boys” getting international recognition!”
Naija Jams goes on to talk about how hard it is to get hold of information and music by 2Face and features a 2Face photo gallery:
“The one place I was able to did find 2Face’s Face 2 Face, sent me a poorly packaged bootleg CD-R that was so badly reproduced (copied) that it was completely unplayable… and for $8 (1000 Naira) no less. Complete with a smeared, inkjet-printed, paper adhesive cd-label of an off-center color copy of the original CD. The other films/music cds purchased from the site were more of the same.”
Island of Spice blogs on the richness of South African music and it’s lack of world exposure:
“South African jazz–and the many genres that influence it, like marabi, kwela, isicathamiya and mbaqanga–is amazing, especially when you see live performances and feel the energy the artists bring to the audience. The South African music tradition is as profound and varied and extraordinary as African American music–it just hasn’t had the same international exposure.”
He details an interesting parallel between South African music and African American music:
“But beyond the sad story of “Mbube,” there are great sparks of creativity in the parallel history of South African and American music. The seeds were sown when migrants from rural South Africa brought their indigenous rhythms and musical traditions to the big cities, where they blended new hybrid styles heavily influenced by American jazz and big band sounds.”
BadGals-radio highlights the upcoming Bob Marley celebrations, “Africa Unite“, kicking off Feb 1-6th.
ALTHOUGH THE second annual ‘Africa Unite’ two-concert series is slated for Ghana, Africa, in early February, Rita Marley made it clear on Tuesday evening that the celebrations of Bob Marley’s 61st birthday are not restricted to one continent. Or, in fact, one race.
When we say ‘Africa Unite’ we mean black people anywhere you are. It is not really black by skin, but black by heart,” she told those gathered in the rear courtyard at 56 Hope Road, St. Andrew, on Thursday evening.
I’ll sign off by pointing readers in the direction of africanhiphopradio which is an excellent online radio station operating out of Amsterdam. It covers hip hop from all over Africa presented by famous regional djs and includes interviews and interesting studio banter.