Kudos to Siemon Allen at the always-worthwhile Electric Jive blog for Miriam Makeba - Tracks Less Travelled (1958-98), a fascinating overview of the work of the great South African diva. There are plenty of audio rarities here and lots of little-known facts. Altogether a must-read and must-listen, and highly recommended!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Saturday, November 14, 2009
If you like the music of Somalia's Iftin and Dur Dur, featured some time ago in this space, let me direct your attention to Andreas Wetter's new blog Kezira, whose latest post features a whole cassette by Dur Dur, recorded some time in the early 1990s.
As Andreas tells it, the developing civil war in Somalia forced the group across the border to Ethiopia, where Africa was recorded and released by Elham Video Electronics in the provincial town of Negele. Vocalist Sahra Dawo, who has drawn raves hereabouts, features on several tracks.
While I'm at it, let me comment on the current state of the African music blogosphere, whose quality has advanced dramatically in the last couple of years. Notable in this regard are three sites - African Music Treasures, Electric Jive and World Service, whose proprietors regularly grace us with their knowledge and insight. This is not to slight outstanding work also by Oro, Global Groove and Freedom Blues, whose copious postings of hard-to-find recordings have forced me to buy a new hard drive. I'm overwhelmed really - I just haven't had time to listen to all the great music that's come my way, thanks to these busy beavers.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I've been feeling bad about not being able to blog recently, but I see some of my fellow African music blogmeisters have also been slacking off this month! In my case the hiatus is due mainly to preparing for our first daughter's upcoming move to college - a big transition for all of us. To protect Aku's privacy I'm not going to say which school she's attending, but we're pretty happy with it, and of course we couldn't be prouder.
So I hope to be back in action in a week or two. In the meantime may I draw your attention to two worthy new additions to the African music blog scene?
ElectricJive specializes in South African jazz and jive, and I'm quite impressed with the first few entries, full-length LPs from Hugh Masekela, Barney Rachabane, Mahlathini and more, definitely worth your while. Then there's Afro-Synth, which for want of a better term features South African "bubblegum music," the synth-infused pop sounds that were all the rage back in the '80s and early '90s. For now the blog features mainly write-ups, but I understand it'll be adding more downloads as time goes by. I told Uchenna over at Comb and Razor this one was right up his ally! Not really my thing, but who knows? It might be yours.
Take care, and happy listening!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
We're all thrilled that Matt Yanchyshyn is back on the scene and posting once more on his blog, Benn Loxo du Taccu, after a long hiatus. Of course, Matt's had pressing business - getting married, for one thing. Congratulations, Matt!
So now that Matt is rested and relaxed he's once again making available the great music we've come to expect from Benn Loxo. Do yourself a favor and check out this post of some of the latest tracks from Dakar. Matt is far more cognizant than I of what's going on in the music scene in Senegal, and writes about the current sensation:
. . . Without a doubt the biggest thing going in Dakar these days is Titi. Ask any mbalax fan in Dakar between the age of 16-30 and you’ll usually get a “Titi, j’aime titi,” which admittedly makes me laugh every time for every immature reason. Titi is a hot little mbalax number - a classically tall, thin and beautiful Dakaroise woman - who gets about as much radio play these days as Youssou’s latest Live at Bercy. I think her voice sounds a lot like Michael Jackson in his child-star, Jackson 5 days. . .It happens that Titi features prominently in Mbeuguel Da Fa Khew Vol. 19, a "pirate" compilation by DJ Fallou & Beug Sa Reuw Productions that I picked up in Little Senegal in New York a couple of months ago. Apart from Youssou N'dour and Viviane most of the artists are unknown to me, but I see they're well represented on YouTube, for instance Pape Thiopet here, also Assane Mboup, Abdou Guite Seck and, of course, Titi herself here, here, and here.
Here then is Mbeuguel Da Fa Khew Vol. 19. It's not generally my policy to post "new" recordings in their entirety on Likembe, but since this is a pirate pressing, I think I can make an exception. . .
Titi - Tayou Mako
Assane Mboup - Aye Beugueunte La
Titi - Love You
Yousou N'dour & Viviane N'dour - Amitie
Pape Thiopet & Ass Seck - Takkal
Khadim Diaw - Moytoulma Dokhou Mbende Bi
Aida Ndiaye (Ndiole) - Diama Noir
Assane Ndiaye - Diamale
Abdou Guitte Seck - Beuss Bi
Gorgui Ndiaye - Yaaye
Youssou N'dour - Sama Gamou
Titi - Music
Youssou N'dour - Niit
Titi - Boulma Taanal
Abdou Guitte Seck - Jangaro
Friday, August 1, 2008
Our friend Aduna is back from Madagascar with un petit cadeau, "Tulear Market Mix," eleven nuggets of wailing vocals and frenzied guitar-picking from that city in the southwest corner of the island. You are wholeheartedly encouraged to download it here.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I've got a couple of posts in the hopper that will be ready to go in a day or two, but I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of worthy submissions over at other blogs.
At Matsuli Music Jonathan Ward of Excavated Shellac, inveterate collector of all things 78 RPM, gives us a wonderful collection of classic music from South Africa, Phata Phata: 78 rpm Records from the Birth of Mbaqanga. Amazingly, these recordings are all from the 1960s, long after 78s were phased out in most parts of the world. Well worth downloading!
I'm continually astonished at the stuff Matthew Lavoie over at African Music Treasures digs out of the Voice of America vaults. This time he's come up with some amazing 45s from early-'70s Somalia. Who would have thought such a thing existed? If you enjoyed the recordings by Iftin I put up here some time ago, hie thee over and check them out.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I occasionally scan the comments sections of older posts to see if anyone's dropped by that I might have missed. This post occasioned the following comment, which I pass on to you. Toke's numerous blogs are a treasure trove of Angolan music, both contemporary and classic.
Hello Mr. John B., Milwaukee from Wisconsin, USA:
greetings from Angola!
Here's Toke fingers from Luanda, Angola.
I've founded your beautiful place, with that incredible familiar sound name (Likembe), and your two articles about Angolan music.
First I would like to express my pride with the inclusion in your links of kuduro of Kuduro.podomatic.com, my junior site where Kuduro music is ready to be downloaded.
Unfortunately, all my files have recently been deleted or damaged by the server, and I'm restarting my slowly local internet process of uploading to the ftp.
I'm learning in the way, in barely two years of internet blogging, being a junior in this activity.
With all respect I would like to share with your beautiful space some of my non commercial work, devoted purely to the world wide spread of Angolan music from different ages:
#1 Kuduro.podomatic.com. Straight from CD-R street Kuduro sellers to your hard drive, the Angolan Ghetto musicians that have no commercial contract but that everybody is listening in the parties, taxis, buses, or in the street - Kuduro rules in Luanda's chaotic automobile traffic.
#2 Milongoyakissange.podomatic.com. Traditional folkloric music from Angola, sometimes mixed with urban modern angolan music that recovered traditional instruments.
#3 Muximangola.blogspot.com. The first signs of Angolan urban music from the 50's to early 70's. From an accoustic beguine to the electrification of traditional Angolan melodies. The anti-colonial-fascist singers.
#4 Trincheirafirme.podomatic.com. On 11 November 1975 the Angolan nation was born under gun shots in the south, in the north, and through the quickly abandon of former colonies by the Portuguese administration and people joining the Portuguese oillets revolution that ended 48 years of fascist dictatorship on 25 of April 1974. Between 24 April 1974 and 11 November Angolan musical production reflected the spirit of the time and was political prolific. That's what we can hear in Trincheira Firme Podcast.
#5 Radiosambilas.podomatic.com. Angolan music from the last 33 years, celebrating Angolan popular musical tastes in all genres.
#6 Menhamazumbi.blogspot.com. Mainly Angolan music with some very rare Angolan records. Other countries' music included.
#7 Vilamorena.blogspot.com. Mainly Portuguese and Angolan anti-fascist music.
#8 Afrikya.podomatic.com, Afrikyamar.podomatic.com, Afrikyaabril.podomatic.com, Afrikya.blogspot.com. Afrikya is a Sunday morning weekly radio show broadcast from Luanda's radio LAC (Luanda Antena Comercial) - the first private radio station after independence - conducted by Maria Luísa, who hosts and directs the Afrikya show from 30 years now, the last 16 years as LAC manager-director. Musical and political ways of Africa.
#9 Animadao.podomatic.com. Angolan and non-Angolan music that can be danced at the discos, now days, every nights, by the almost five millions Luanda's inhabitants.
#10 Neblinametal.podomatic.com, Neblinametal.blogspot.com. Neblina is the first and only Angolan rock band to feature a commercial independent rock CD at 26 January 2006, called Innocence Falls In Decay.
#11 Mptyhead.podomatic.com, Mptyhead.blogspot.com. M'pty Head is the second most prominent Angolan rock band with conceptual internet releases and extraordinary live shows).
#12 Letmikesing.podomatic.com, tessalonia.blogspot.com. Tessalonissenses is the name of the great and only Angolan techno wired band that matters.
I've anothers podocast shows that are not in this subject: Angolan music. But please, try these two ones: Timothyleary.podomatic.com/ and Bluewave.podomatic.com.
I would like to make an article presenting your accurate articles over Angolans music to Angolan Portuguese readers. Hope your agreement.
By the way: that's right! You're right. Since 2002 Angolan nation is in stable military peace and Angolans are proud that they achieved this goal by themselves, after long years of foreign interference. So, national pride, both for the nation and for the tribal origin, is the general feeling.
And 110 $110US per gallon is not hurting. No, it isn't. It provides a 25% economic growth per year.
Thank you for your time and excuses for the length of the explanation in these non corrected almost English words.
All the best to you,
hope everything's going right.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Please join me in welcoming to the Blogosphere our good friend Fabian Altahona Romero of Barranquilla, Colombia. His new Africolombia blog promises plenty of wall-scorchers, not only from Colombia but from Nigeria, Congo and points farther afield. Since starting the blog on January 2o, Fabian has posted: Ernesto Djedje, a cumbia remake of Fela's "Shakara" by Colombia's Pedro Beltran, a number of other killer Colombian 45s (I haven't had time to download them all yet), Nigeria's Imo Brothers, Bopol Mansiamina, and much, much more!
I check the Google Analytics statistics for Likembe every morning, and I'm amazed at the number of hits that come from Colombia, most from the Cartagena-Barranquilla area. There are some serious African music fans around those parts! If you enjoy Champeta and the other African-inflected sounds of Colombia's Caribbean coast as much as I do, and are interested in further explorations, you could do a lot worse than to check Fabian's blog out.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I just had to share this with you as soon as I got it. Matthew's new blog is just incredible. It's great news for African music lovers and I'm proud that I played some small part in bringing it about. Check it out here.
Hello, I hope this message finds you in good spirits. My name is Matthew Lavoie. I am a music broadcaster and producer for the Africa service of the Voice of America. We broadcast throughout Africa in English, French, Portuguese, Amharic, Tigrigna, Oromo, Hausa, Swahili, Ndebele, Shona, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Somali.
I have consulted the discographies of African music that you helped put together for many years, and for the last three months I have been a regular visitor to your Likembe blog. Likembe is one of the most informative and diverse African music blogs I've read. Thanks for all of your efforts!! I especially enjoyed the Daro Mbaye entry, and your recent postings about Somali funk ... great sound files, great videos, and I appreciate the effort you made to talk in detail about particular songs.
Reading Likembe convinced me that blogs can sustain serious discussions of African music. In fact ... I was inspired enough to start a blog of my own to feature recordings from our (the VOA's) African music archives. We have got a collection of over 10,000 audio reels, several thousand lps and 45s, thousands of cassettes and cds. Our collection includes music from every country on the continent and includes rare unreleased recordings that were made for VOA programs (for e.g. unreleased recordings of Fela and the Koola Lobitos, Cardinal Rex Lawson, and many Apala recordings from the mid 1960s - I know you love Nigerian music). Our radio programs, however, are broadcast exclusively in Africa and there are many potentially interested African music lovers who never get to enjoy the recordings we have. I thought a blog might be a nice way to share some of this music. Here is the link...
I am just getting this thing rolling and will add new entries weekly.
I am also hoping that you can help me! The first entry I posted featured the Rwandan musician Bizimungu Dieudonne. I love his music but have not been able to learn much about him. Do you know anything about him? his career? his discography?
Thanks again for all of the great music at Likembe!!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
If you've been around the African music blogosphere for a while you've probably chanced across an incredible site entitled Voodoo Funk. Here an intrepid German named Frank, or "DJ Soulpusher" (right), recounts his adventures digging up old vinyl recordings across West Africa, with a special emphasis on Benin, which, for a small country, has produced an inordinate amount of wild, funky and just plain out there music. The really great thing is, every month or so Frank posts a mix of his latest discoveries. Sure, they're usually scratchy as all get-out, but that only adds to the overall ambiance. Close your eyes and you can imagine yourself sitting in a dusty, stifling record shack in Cotonou, drinking an ice-cold (or not-so-cold) Star or Gulder or whatever they drink in Benin, just rockin' out.
Now Frank's back from another expedition, and he's promising us not one but three new collections of his discoveries. Moreover, he's gone back and reworked some of his earlier postings, adding more material and more "local color." Here's a passage that particularly impressed me:
"....One day, I decided to visit Bohicon, a town about 70 miles to the North of Cotonou. My guide Didier and I travelled in a bush taxi and upon arrival chartered two motorcycle taxis with local drivers who said they'd know some places where we would find records. The first spot was at a store that sold cassette tapes, records as well as radios and all other sorts of electronic equipment. The records were in two large wooden boxes that also contained swarms of large cockroaches and silverfish. Most paper sleeves had been eaten away partially by insects. The closer we got to the bottom, the lesser intact the sleeves and the thicker the bug droppings inbetween records. The air was thick with dust and and a dark layer of dirt and bug excrement started to cake onto my hands and lower arms. When I was finally through with everything, we jumped on our bikes and zoomed across a labyrinth network of dirt roads finally reaching a big one story building with clay walls.
"The owner of the records store who had accompanied us on a third bike introduced us to a very old man who had some white medicine smeared all over his body and was only covered around the waist with a piece of cloth. The record store owner went into the next room and returned, one after the other, with three very large wicker baskets that were stuffed with stacks of LPs and 45s. At one point, thankfully long before our visit, the baskets had also given a home to some sort of hornet who had chewed away almost all cover sleeves right up to the records, leaving round layer cakes of vinyl, paper and cardboard. I found a few records where even small amounts of vinyl had been gnawed off by those eager little critters. Things got really rough when I hit the bottom of the last basket that contained mostly 45s: The hornets had built chambers and tunnels inbetween the records, using a red, claylike substance that I guessed consisted of chewed up record sleeves, earth and hornet spittle. To make things even more bizarre, large pieces of insect shells were baked into the thick, red crust. Otherwise, the records that I could see the surface of seemed unplayed and the fact that most of them were present in multiple copies supported the idea that this was dead stock. I decided to also buy the claycaked ones, including the embedded insect parts. . ."
'Til Frank gets those new mixes posted, here's a little something to get us all in the mood: Poly-Rythmo de Cotounou, from their LP Zero+Zero = Zero (Star Musique SMP 6019):
Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Adin Gbanzon
Update: There is another very interesting anecdote about Benin, and some ultra-rare, unreleased tracks by Poly-Rythmo de Cotouou here.
Update 2: Those three new mixes are online here.