‘Tired of pre-conceptions around African music, Mbongwana Star are creating their own identity, fusing traditional Congolese rhythms with post punk and electronics inspired by life in the townships around them, “making magic out garbage”’—some tracks on YouTube: Malukayi (ft. Konono No. 1); Shégué; Nganshe; Kala. You can listen to their debut album From Kinshasa in full on Soundcloud (some reviews 1, 2, 3). [more inside]
According to the Daptone Gold compilation liner notes (auto-playing music, click on "Biography"to read the notes), written by Pitchfork contributor Douglas Wolk, "the world capital of soul" has moved from the US ("between Memphis and Detroit, with occasional stopovers in New Orleans, Cincinnati and elsewhere") in the 1960, to Lagos in the 1970s, then it went into hiding, finally reappearing in Brooklyn, with Daptone Records. Let's go back - why Lagos in the 1970s? [more inside]
Forty eight, uh-huh, count 'em, FORTY EIGHT Fela records are now available for streaming. Make you hear this one!
Graham Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole are a musical trio from Scotland. They first met at a local hip-hop night for under-16 youth in Edinburgh, where the music scene is more focused on indie rock than beats and rapping. They started collaborating a few years ago, and now go by the name Young Fathers. They mix rap, grime, modern R&B, afro-beat, noisy samples and more, though they write music from a pop-perspective, and consider themselves "pop boys." They have two short releases that are something between EPs and albums, plus a handful of singles. Their primary releases, Tape One and Tape Two, have been (re)released on the US label Anticon, and they have a handful of official videos: Deadline, Sister, Rumbling and Romance are the first four tracks from Tape One; I Heard is the first video from Tape Two; The Guide is separate single to stream and/or download, for free on Soundcloud.
OkayAfrica keeps up to date with pop culture and news from across the continent. Africa In Your Earbuds gives DJs and musicians from across the diaspora the chance to curate a playlist or mixtape of their favorite African and African diaspora music. Chief Boima of Dutty Artz starts off Africa In Your Earbuds. [more inside]
"In Calabar they have over two hundred inches of rain a year. This night they proved it. Everybody got soaked. It's a wonder no one got electrocuted."
Seven intense minutes of Fela Kuti and The Africa '70 performing in a night club in Calabar, a small Nigerian port city, in 1971, filmed by Ginger Baker. Seven years later, in one of their last performances before The Africa '70 disbanded, they performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival: V.I.P. (Vagabonds In Power), Power Show, Pansa Pansa (part 2), Cross Examination of the African Colonial Soldier.
Amerigo Gazaway combined the music of Fela Kuti and De La Soul to create Fela Soul. All the tracks along with liner notes and album commentary are available free for download here. [more inside]
Fela! is a musical based on a period in Fela Kuti's life when the musician faced off against Nigerian government soldiers. The musical was off-Broadway for a month in 2008, and about a year later opened on Broadway, running until January of 2011. Nominated for a number of awards, the musical presented a number on the 2010 Tony Awards show, where it won 3 awards. The show is now touring, including an opening in Nigeria just before the recent elections. If you can't catch it touring, the Broadway cast recording is streaming. Bonus: M.O.P (Movement of the People), Fela's 37 minute long song for the political party he founded. [more inside]
Fela: Music is the Weapon is a documentary film from 1982 featuring a wealth of live concert footage (from his club in Lagos, "The Shrine") as well as interviews with the legendary Nigerian singer, bandleader and social critic. Here's part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. [more inside]
World Passport Music – 75 hours of free world music in mp3/podcast format. Afrobeat, Cuban Diaspora, Haitian Kompa, Salsa, Highlife, Rumba Congolaise, Kinshasa-Nairobi Sounds, Afrijazz, Calypso, Hawaiian, American Jazz Roots, Yoruban Ejeki Jo... Let’s Dance!
Voodoo Funk - 11 African funk mixes from a vinyl archaeologist in Guinea
No Condition is Permanent. World music, and African music in particular, often falls into two categories: pleasant and inoccuous, or the fetishized other. Even speaking of "African" music is misleading. Senegalese mbalax doesn't sound that much like Camaroonian makossa. And I don't say this as some great authority; I'm still just at the beginning of the learning curve. So come along with me. There's the broad Benne Loxo du Taccu, the sidebar of Mudd Up!, the great (and self-explanitory) African Hiphop, Stern's Music (this link going to a more accessible Thione Seck), Aduna (for Francophones— my middle-school French gets me by, but I'm really there for the music), Du Bruit (more Francophones, with an emphasis on vinyl sharities), and Worldly Disorientation (which covers all sorts of world music, but has some excellent African stuff). Have I missed anything great? Recommend it in the thread. I tend to prefer the psychedelic and dubby stuff more than straight folk styles, but that's me.