African music (#6)

Coupé-Décalé? I went blank when my lady friend Tchi asked if I knew about Coupé-Décalé. A wiki entry for Coupé-Décalé provides a brief definition:

“The Coupe-Decale created by Doucoure during the militaro-political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire,reflects the aspirations of the Ivorian youth. Coupe-Decale is a very melodious and percussive African samples, deep bases, rythmic and very well accommodated. It is a unique style. Coupe-Decale is about happiness,expresses the day life of the Ivorian society, and also gave an insight into the political situation of the country. The prominent artists of Coupe-Decale are Sagacite (Doucoure), DJ Brico, DJ Arsenal, Papa Ministre with his famous tune “Coupe-Decale Chinois”, and many others talented Ivorian artists.”

I did a quick blog search which turned up loads of results but all in French!! The frustration I feel sometimes. It's one thing not understanding the language to the lyrics of a song (not a big issue because the music vibe plays a big part) and another not being saavy to a huge musical movement because of language barriers. Like the French say C'est la vie. Summer language classes calls beckons. Welcome to the African music Round up.

lura of cape verdeHans of Powershot drops a good review of the recent WOMAD festival which took place in Adelaide, Australia in March. His review mentioned a lot of African acts that performed at the festival:

Cape Verdean singer Lura‘s second show, in the rain on Sunday, was a revelation. Her sensual dancing and vocal style seemed to fit with the later timeslot, showing the various musical styles of Cape Verde, ranging from slow blues to vivacious funk.”

Kanda Bongo Manhe goes on to write:

Kanda Bongo Man‘s Congolese Soukous dance music was a prelude to the glorious Cuban-influenced swing of the legendary Orchestra Baobab from Senegal who kept a mellow, inviting and happy groove. Their version of Coumba, from the classic Pirates’ Choice CD, sang with delight.”

Got a link to Steve Ntwiga Mugiri‘s blog (thanks Sokari) and his latest entry provides an mp3 link to Samba Mapangala‘s song Marina (Listening as I type). Steve blogs on Kenya, Africa, music and “the world we live in”. He's also taking taking requests for mp3s to link on his blog so visit and join in the party.

Nelly a.k.a Faza of X PlastazSoul on Ice reflects on the recent death of Nelly, founding member of the Tanzanian hiphop crew X Plastaz.

“I read of the passing of Faza with great sorrow. I discovered the X Plastaz sound through and it introduced me to that East African slice of hiphop also known as Bongo Flava. The idea of Masai warriors putting their feelings and inner city plight to wax initially sounded gimicky but when I saw a few videos and heard a few tunes i was impressed. I saw what they were about and read up on the crew.”

X Plastaz
Please visit their website and sign the condolence book. Rest In Peace.

Red Ruin has compiled a mp3 list of hiphop songs from across the world featuring an X Plastaz song, “Nini dhambi kwa mwenye dhiki“:

“In recent years the X Plastaz have become known for being the first hiphop crew to use Maasai music and culture in their performance. Maasai singer Yamat (also known as Merege) is now a full member of the group who has joined on tour and in the recording studio.”

Soi Disantra provides an interesting take on African music classification:

“The second thing I discovered: “African music” as I generally imagined it at least, doesn’t really exist. By that I don’t mean that there isn’t a ton of music from Africa; anything but. Nor am I trying to say that “African” can’t be a fair and accurate descriptor – “Afropop,” I think, is a pretty all right broad classification. What I mean is that to take a continent that’s churned out so much rich, amazing and – dare I say – diverse music, and just sorta imagine that it’s all the same was pretty damn naïve. Soukous is not mbalax is not afro-funk is not rumba is not Ethio-jazz is not Afrobeat is most certainly not one of the myriad traditional/tribal musics. Fer example: while they’re both Western forms of music, and pretty closely related ones at that, metal ain’t Merseybeat.”

Ragga DeeLovely Amphibian talks on Ugandan Artist Ragga Dee winning the Pearl of Africa Music Award for best Ragga artiste of the year 2005:

“To give an indication of how monotonous the event is becoming, the man himself, while accepting the award, said the organisers should scrape the raga artiste of the year category, or better still rename it, the Ragga Dee Award.”

reviews a few albums by the late South African Jazz musician Johnny Dyani. On the song “Song for Biko” he writes:
Johnny Dyani

“You know the way that on most CDs the so-called bonus track is not worth listening to – an alternate take that was ditched for quite obvious and audible reasons? Well, in this case the bonus track was the best track: the long, two-part “Lonely Flower in the Village.” It starts with Dyani's amazing bass. You only need to hear a couple of notes to hear that he is a great bass player.”

Mosistworks goes on to “Witchdoctor's Son” and “Good News from Africa“. He's also provided mp3 links to the songs reviewed. Excellent stuff.


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