The Global football festival that is the World Cup. The best so far I've witnessed with a genuine feelgood atmosphere and a lot of goals. With Ghana the strongest African contender left in the competition my interest is still deep and I wish them luck. When an African team play you always hear the drums reverberate throughout the stadium. Fascinating mix of cultures and goes a long way to enhance global harmony and understanding. Better luck next time to Ivory Coast and Togo who are out of the competition. Welcome to my African music roundup. Joga bonita.
“Up With People” veteran Yawo started his music career in his native Togo, studying flute, electric bass, and classical guitar. The title of this album might refer to his musical influences as much as the world harmony he so clearly desires. Yawo's feel-good Afropop music straddles the walls between African, pop, jazz, and reggae. Singing in a mix of English and African languages, he calls for freedom, justice, and more bodies on the dance floor.”
“Take Out the Fences” is from the album of the same name and is on general release.
Wen, a guest blogger on the excellent music blog Benn loxo du tacu, drops a post on Ghanaian Hip Life:
“Ghanaian Hip Life is a hybrid of Afro-American hip-hop and West African highlife. It is characterised by rapping over a 4/4 beat, however it differs from most traditional hip-hop with its melodic lead vocals. The rap is mostly in the local languages Twi, Fanti, Ga and Ewe, but also in the lingua franca of the Muslim minority, Hausa. The official language in Ghana is English, though due to migrant relations with the neighbouring countries French is also used. In these songs we hear a more pidginised form of English which contains old expressions from colonial times that are still used today.”
The post highlights the Hip Life group VIP and provides mp3s to the songs “Ahomka Wo Mu”, “Ni Ne Naki” and “Adoley”. Enjoy.
“Ghana's music heritage is very rich with HighLife and more recently HipLife. You only have to go to a Ghanaian party to know what i'm on about. The HipLife genre is really hot with the likes of Reggie Roxstone tearing up the airwaves. More recently the hip hop scene has grown strong. Two of the heavyweights on the scene are Ambassadoz and Wanlov”
mp3s are provided for the two artists featured. Wanlov's “In Ghana” is definitely an anthem as it mentions the black stars of Ghana scoring goals. Hip Hop Braggadocio and appropriate.
Arafat of arafat.blogspot.com talks on a panel discussion, hosted by (Arts & Ideas), on varieties of human migration. Arafat's analyses this discussion quoting extensively from Listening to Music by Yale lecturer Craig Wright:
“The blues…were greatly influenced by the experiences of African Americans in the rural South and reflect African musical practices. In fact, almost all forms of twentieth-century American popular music — blues, ragtime, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, rap, and hip-hope — show, in one way or another, ties to African music. Most of the slaves arriving in the United States came from the western part of Sub-Saharan Africa — from the western part of the continent below the Sahara Desert. Today the countries of Sub-Saharan West Africa have names such as Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, Benin, and Ivory Coast, though in fact the boundaries of most of these nations are more or less artificial lines drawn by nineteenth-century European rulers.”
Arafat concludes his analysis and in his own words:
“The history and evolution of African song and music in America is partly an evidence of admirable human courage: of that elusive phenomenon of resistance even in the most horrible of circumstances. It becomes a story of survival in the face of the worst of injustices imposed by the powerful against the powerless.”
Nikhil P. Yerawadekar of oh word collection talks about his first tour with Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble at the Joshua Tree Music festival in California:
“We got a lot of props from the hippies at the Joshua Tree Music Festival. Hippies like that are really generous and nice and I have to say I enjoyed the time I spent in their company. But as much as I appreciated the kindness, I found myself hating on hippie taste pretty much non-stop during the festival. They put the band up in a classy ranch house a few miles removed from the festival and we spent a lot of time there playing music, relaxing and getting nice. As a result, I only got to see four acts (I missed Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, which was probably the only show better than Akoya), and of the four, I only enjoyed the at-times gimmicky but overall very impressive solo guitarist Kaki King.”
Nikhil gives the festival a thorough review and talks on the state of music. Good read.
Ian Russell of living with mr. flea writes about orchestra baobab of Senegal:
“Orchestra Baobab originates from Senegal, West Africa and was once the house band in a VIP club in Dakar – Club Baobab – hence the name. However, the band members are not all Senegalese, and have brought with them the flavours from their own musical roots to create a delicious blend of African traditional beats to mix with Latin rhythms popular in Dakar clubs in the early 70s. there followed a period where their style fell out of favour and they all went off to find other work but then people got tired of the new pop and so interest in baobab reignited and they all had to give up the real world to play music together – the lead guitarist, Barthélemy Attisso, was working as a successful barrister (that's english for lawyer!) in the interim so not an easy choice for some. when these guys get going they rock! I defy anyone hearing them not to want to get up and get down.”
Ian has also drawn and posted a “Portrait of the artist as african noble listening to orchestra baobab on a boom box”. You have to see this one. Really digging this blog.
Cold Sweat of Lock it down looks at what artists could be featured on a future compilation of African Music:
“After two great compilations on African music focussing on the nowadays vibes instead of looking back, both African Rebel and Lagos Stori Plenti were good for a very positive shout-out on this blog, we figured it's also time for Lock it Down to look ahead. So instead of reviewing an album already released, we now bring you an update of artists that should fit perfectly well on a future comp. Trust us, if these tracks were to be released on a compilation, it would be a killer.”
Cold Sweat goes on to profile the artists Fafadi, Ahlou Bi, Meta & The corner stone, Gokh-bi, As Malick and Wa Flash, all Senegalese artists. Each profile is a short bio on the artist with a link to their myspace.com page to showcase their sound. Yup, sounds like a solid compilation for the future.
“There is much to love about the Lijadu Sisters, identical twins of entirely self-determined nature who sing like birds, albeit carnivorous birds with roomy lungs. The sisters raised a brood of four kids, none of whom allegedly knew which Lijadu sister, either Kehinde or Taiwo, was their respective mom. The Lijadu Sisters seemed to be well in control of their professional destiny and critical of the colonial mentality that pervaded Nigerian record companies. They also had little patience for the male chauvinism that was seemingly part of the furniture in their native Nigeria.”
Count Reeshard provides downloads of a number of their songs. Definitely worth the download for the sheer quality of their music. Enjoy.