Monday, November 26, 2007
I recently heard a track from this band for the first time and it hit me like a Mack Truck. Analog Africa posted a couple songs from a 1/4" reel he found while visiting Benin. The second song, Gnon A Gnon Wa, drops my jaw every time I hear it. I immediately went searching for full albums from the band. While they have numerous releases in their own country, there are only 3 available in the US, and only one that is readily so - the compilation The Kings Of Benin Urban Groove 1972-80. Kokoriko, track seven on this disc, spills butterflys into my stomach every time the backing vocals kick in at the chorus. Give it a listen and you'll see what I mean.
TP Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Contonou - Kokoriko
As for the video, it's not footage of the band itself, but it's sure to please all the same.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I know very little about Alhaji K. Frimpong. There's a severe paucity of information about him on the internet. In fact, I've only heard two songs. But that's all it took for me to fall unquestionably in love. What I have found out is that he's part of the Ghanian/Nigerian Highlife movement. It seems he only released two albums: Okwantuni (1995) and Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu! (1998). And he's no longer with us (2005 - R.I.P.). Both albums are long out of print. The songs I've heard can be found on the Ghana Soundz Compilations. This track appears on Volume 1. Check the Moog solo towards the end of the song. Off - the - hook:
K. Frimpong And His Cubano Fiestas - Hwehwe Mu Na Yi Wo Mpena
If you know any more about Alhaji or have access to more of his music, please contact me!
Update: Came across scans of 2 K Frimpong album covers ( with his Cubano Fiestas) at the fantastic Voodoo Funk. This leads me to believe the Wikipedia post that puts his discography at just 2 releases is incorrect. Got some answers? Pass 'em on.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Mahmoud Ahmed has found a certain popularity thanks to the resounding success of the Ethiopiques compilations and the use of many of these tracks in the Jim Jarmusch film, Broken Flowers. Defined by simple repetitive melodic motifs and hypnotic beats, Ethiopian Jazz in general and Mahmoud's music in particular is perfect for a variety of moods. You're equally as likely to belly dance as slip into an transcendent stupor listening to this track from his 1986 retrospective release Ere Mela Mela (rereleased as Ethiopiques Vol. 7):
Mahmoud Ahmed - Embwa Belew
Afropop Worldwide offers up an excellent biography on Mahmoud in the context of the developing Ethiopian political crisis and famine over the last half of the 20th century.
Monday, November 12, 2007
On Genclik Ile Elele, Mustafa Özkent blends funk, psychedelic, and break beats with Turkish instrumentation to create an immediately mezmorizing groove.
Mustafa Özkent - Burçak Tarlalarl
Orginally recorded and released in 1972, Genclik Ile Elele was recently unearthed and rereleased by UK label, Finders Keepers. Find out more about Mustafa and the album's release.
This blog is here to bring attention to world music. Certainly there are plenty of blogs that do this so what separates this one from the rest? It's the person writing it. So I'll tell you a little about myself and you can decide if you want to pay attention to yet another web rant or tag another address to your RSS feeder. I am a music lover and a musician. My love of music expanded beyond traditional radio rock when I was a teenager. I moved from the Police to the Pixies to Fugazi and then to an ever more obscure world encompassing early 90s hardcore and Chicago/Louisville avant and post-rock. I've dabbled in 60s and 70s jazz fusion, funk, hip hop, classic rock, ambient, soundtrack, and folk. I've played in many bands over the years, most recently, Ghost Stories and The Long Winters. My love for a band or song stems from the artist itself rather than the genre. I find this holds true for most music lovers. The richness and depth of a song speaks to the listener far more than the genre the music occupies. That said, I feel there is music happening far outside the confines of western pop that everyone would be excited to hear. Music that undeniably is taking a stronger place in shaping today's western music. This folk art or "world music" is becoming more readily available thanks the mad rush to unearth so many artists whose recordings have long since gone out of print. How do you sort through it all? Hopefully this will be a good starting point.