African music #7

Cheikh LoNothing beats a music festival. You meet like the music lovers, people interested in the genre and enjoy the good party vibe. And though you know the lineup in advance you have no idea what antics will be displayed on stage. With these musings I look forward to the 4th London African Music Festival taking place between the 19th and 28th of May 2006. Looks set to be a brilliant showcase with artist like Kanda Bongo Man and Cheikh Lo (left) taking center stage. Get a ticket, catch a show (there are a few free foyer performances so no excuse). Welcome to the African Music roundup.

Found a really cool online African music show, African Beat, hosted by David Vandy and Executive Producer Matthew Lavoie (Voice of America). I really dig Vandy's presenting energy with a beautiful selection of music streaming out of my computer's speakers. What did one do before the internet? Great show (available in various media formats). Soundtrack to this roundup. Enjoy.

First massive big up to MsaniiXL for winning the Kenyaunlimited Best entertainment blog award 2006 (the kaybees). MsaniiXL, in addition to an appreciation post, writes about poet and rapper Muki Garang:
the kaybees

“If “ya'll” havent heard about Muki Garang, he is an emcee that has been doing his thing for minute, he also does poetry(I know one of KBW fam posted something about this but it escapes me who, apologies are in order)”

The post provides a video stream to one of Muki's music videos and some great links to other artists. Muki is a Nairobi based Sudanese rap artiste.

Still on the topic of Sudanese rap artistes Street Knowledge reviews the album, “ceasefire”, by Sudanese rapper, Emmanuel Jal:
emmanuel jal

“You may have heard the story behind this more than the music, but definitely don’t sleep on the sound, which is deep no doubt. Jal’s garnered much press as a rapper who was conscripted as a child into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the war that has torn up Sudan the last few years.”

Emmanuel has an excellent website with loads of media for your enjoyment. Good stuff.

Lock it down reviews a number of records and talks on album “Various Artists: African Rebel Music” (Out|Here Records)
African Rebel Music

“Presenting hits from 10 countries ‘African Rebel Music – Roots reggae and dancehall’ gives a first insight into the new reggae dancehall movement in Africa (including a very informative 24 page booklet).”

Dj earball of SoundRoots celebrates another year in the life of artist Hugh Masekela.

“When you think of Masekela, you have to think not only of his music, but his role Hugh Masakelaas something of an ambassador-at-large for South Africa (and specificically, black South Africa). The stories he tells in his songs capture snapshots of life, past and present, for ordinary South Africans.”

In another post dj earball mourns the sad loss of a friend and honours his memory with a song, “the soul” , from South African poet/musician Mzwakhe Mbuli. Rest in peace.

sungoddess of writes an excellent post on the popular hip hop crew, Orishas, from Cuba.

“Solid percussion and full throated singing features as much as rapping and scratching, and the flow is impeccable. There is a true base Cuban son and merengue base built upon with hip hop back beats, beutiful melodies and a real mix of grittiness and silkiness… it's a fascinating blend. The music is sophisticated, while blending African rhythms in with a very modern hip hop sensibility.”

From the comments you can tell how great these guys are. A Lo Cubano!!

Functional Nomad, writing on dub peotry, blogs about the launch a new/first book of dub poems:
dub poetry

“I was at the launch of d'bi young‘s new/first book of poems last night at the Lula Lounge. I had expected the event to be a love-in, but instead was greeted with a snapshot of a community in action — Toronto's dub poetry, or dubpoetry as Klyde Broox insists, community. Hailing from the Jamaican dance hall and reggae traditions, dub poetry has kept its roots firmly planted in the musical tradition, but with an obvious acceleration of the textual dynamics.”

Reflecting on the event he writes:

“What I realized last night, however, courtesy of d'bi young's outspoken comments on the issue, was that I was witnessing a working-class literary tradition. It brought to mind images of Joe Wallace reading to crowds of thousands of workers, or Dorothy Livesay and Milton Acorn and Earl Birney contributing to social justice and communist causes through their poetry. The connection between the dub performers and their issues/ideas/politics and their audience was perfect and indelible.”

Dub poetry is a very interesting genre and the main champions of the scene are Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Informative post.

Nkem Ifejika of African Shirts writes about the unstoppable UK, Ghanaian born rapper Sway:

“UK hip-hop doesn't get enough airplay or exposure, which is why selling a mere 20,000 copies of an album is considered successful. Shame that, because there are some very good artists out there, and Derek “Sway” Safo is one of the very best. He won a MOBO last year, and was one of several Africans (he's Ghanaian) who did well in an awards show traditionally dominated by winners of Caribbean origin.”

He provides a YouTube video of Sway's latest single “Little Derek”. Sway dropped a brilliant album recently and the skits between songs are hilarious. In one he mimics a young Koffi Anan. Top 10.

I have had a few serious queries on what's good and hip on African Hip Hop. Everything I say so on that note I'll sign off by pointing you in the direction of two of my online music spaces where you can stream and listen to good African hip hop and other African music flavours. ObiThe African Hip Hop Project (name says it all) and Africa, the center of the world (traditional and contemporary stuff). Enjoy and see you next roundup.


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