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African pop music


zephonic

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I must say I really appreciate African style guitar also - lively, melodic riffage that blends well with other instruments (including multiple guitarists) without taking up all the sonic space! I wish more American guitarists would listen to these styles and take notes...

 

 

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Well, 20 years is a long time and what was innovative then may seem old hat now, but if you aren't already familiar with his work, you owe it to yourself to check out D'Gary, who is/was the premier instrumentalist from Madagascar. His guitar technique is unique and borrows from many traditions.

 

Recording are available on Shanachie, and some of his works also show up on various Rough Guide compilations.

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I love it.

 

Oliver Mtukudzi does it for me, too. Different style, but good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TClSqKO-M8c

 

American guitarists are -mostly- really annoying. I played with a couple of good good ones for years, who are hip to African and Latin music and I forgot that most of them are not like that. Just the other day I auditioned with a new band, and the guitarist was so freaking loud, I had to crank my eon louder than I ever go on stage-- luckily the drummer had some fresh earplugs for me. Ironically, the guitarist wasn't even playing anything interesting at that ear-killing volume. It would have been a great jam if he would have just stopped playing. Oops sorry about the rant.

 

 

 

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Olivere Mtukudze is great indeed. His stuff is deeper, more thoughtful. He came to Kenya in 2005 or 2006 and I had to miss out because of work. Heard some things on the radio and really regretted not going.

But you can't beat the Congolese and Cameroonians when it comes to party music!

 

Edit: If you like Oliver Mtukudze, you're gonna love Lokua Kanza.

 

 

 

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Any idea where I can find mp3's or even a cd of Awilo Longomba? On Amazon all I can find is an expensive import. Nothing on Calabashmusic.com. And though I usually stay away from itunes, I couldn't find it there either.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pop music is really a fairly unified set of concepts these days & in the case of Africa, much is a sort of "coals to Newcastle" thing, innit?

 

Here's a breakthrough hit from the 1970s:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16UUi61H3sE

& of course, earlier there'd been Hugh Masakela's "Groovin' In The Grass"...

 

Though rythm is always a part oof it, I think the key to the joy in what the "geetar bwais" play is down to the tunings & the solidly diatonic nature of their note selections as much as anything.

 

Question: Several years ago I saw a band, from Camaroon, IIRC, on tour of the USA (they even did a TV spot on PBS.

They did a great show but the most striking thing was that they had a sort of Art Ensemble of Chicago thing going wherein they all had on skeleton make-up.

I've been trying to find out who it was but to no avail.

Ring a bell with anyone ?

 

d=halfnote
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The compilation "The Indestructible Beat of Soweto Vol 1" is available (cheap) on emusic.com.

 

This was the cassette tape that got Paul Simon interested in African pop and ultimately led to the "Graceland" record.

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Olivere Mtukudze is great indeed. His stuff is deeper, more thoughtful. He came to Kenya in 2005 or 2006 and I had to miss out because of work. Heard some things on the radio and really regretted not going.

But you can't beat the Congolese and Cameroonians when it comes to party music!

 

Edit: If you like Oliver Mtukudze, you're gonna love Lokua Kanza.

 

 

Wow, Lokua Kanza is a beautiful singer. It's nice mellow music.

 

What I really crave is the bumpin' dance rhythm, though! I'm really interested to hear more music from Congo and Cameroon.

 

I listen to a lot of music from Mali. Salif Keita, Habib Koite, Oumou Sangare, Mamani Keita. Tinariwen is great too, though with a different vibe from these others. A surprising number of these musicians come to my rural little state! Oumou Sangare played here just last Friday at a festival, but I was working so I missed it.

 

Cameroon.... Sally Nyolo came to my town a few years back. She had an international band with some Paris (or Brussels?) musicians. That show was amazing, in a small room, and I fell in love with her backup singers. Much better than her CD's.

 

So much good music from that continent! Any more recommendations will be eagerly explored!

 

 

 

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Wow, Lokua Kanza is a beautiful singer. It's nice mellow music.

 

I agree! Thanks for posting!

 

I'm bookmarking this thread... My contributions:

 

Spoon slide guy (Hannes Coetze):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PECpA9a_2zQ

 

D'Gary - also acoustic, but quite propulsive:

 

I love his vox too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnBJUQH25SM

 

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Papa Wembe is a true legend on the continent, comparable to -say- Ray Charles or something. The tempo changes in this jam are characteristic for a lot of the region's music.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hK1DvVA1ZR0

 

I wanted to post something Kenyan here, but I'm afraid this country doesn't have a very strong musical tradition.

Edit: Ray Charles is maybe too strong a comparison, but he is huge here nonetheless.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKeCfOSbEq4&feature=channel

 

 

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home: Kawai RX-2 | Korg D1 | Roland Fantom X7

 

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Never mind the video, the music is really good:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA0nP2RJaLk&feature=channel

 

In certain sections of the song, you'll hear that the snaredrum doesn't play quite straight 16ths nor triplets.

 

When I try to recreate that sound in my DAW I find that I need to shift individual hits by 1/64ths (or sometimes even 1/96ths) to get the groove right.

 

 

 

local: Korg Nautilus 73 | Yamaha MODX8

away: GigPerformer

home: Kawai RX-2 | Korg D1 | Roland Fantom X7

 

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Nice link! I've been lucky enough to play a range of African musics over the years.

 

One thing I really learned playing African music that these guys from Ghana or wherever would be influenced by music from all over Africa and the diaspora of African music especially the Afro-Cuban and funk things and that you could cross pollinate musics without diluting them.

 

So when I was in a Ghanaian band we would often play rhumba or South African, Zimbabwean on Congolese influenced music or funk, reggae or whatever.

 

 

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I've always preferred the political stuff so make mine Fela Kuti (his son opened for Dave Mathews this summer).

 

Saw him 1986 in DC. Just great.

 

This is the 5:30 single version of Army Arrangement (the full version runs 17 minutes or more)

 

 

I love the organ work on this cut (Original Sufferhead part 1)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxd66QBRH1c&feature=PlayList&p=567BD91E270BC18C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=57

 

His bio is something else:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fela

 

In 1977 Fela and the Afrika 70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.

 

Fela and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978 Fela married 27 women, many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Later, he was to adopt a rotation system of keeping only twelve simultaneous wives.[6] The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie," which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Fela was planning to use the entirety of the proceeds to fund his presidential campaign.

 

Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. He formed his own political party, which he called Movement of the People. In 1979 he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade but his candidature was refused. At this time, Fela created a new band called Egypt 80 and continued to record albums and tour the country. He further infuriated the political establishment by dropping the names of ITT vice-president Moshood Abiola and then General Olusegun Obasanjo at the end of a hot-selling 25-minute political screed titled "I.T.T. (International Thief-Thief)."

 

In 1984, he was again attacked by the Military government, who jailed him on a dubious charge of currency smuggling. His case was taken up by several human-rights groups, and after 20 months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida. On his release he divorced his 12 remaining wives, saying that "marriage brings jealousy and selfishness."[6] Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt 80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. In 1986, Fela performed in Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope concert, sharing the bill with Bono, Carlos Santana, and the Neville Brothers. In 1989, Fela & Egypt 80 released the anti-apartheid "Beasts of No Nation" album that depicts on its cover U.S. President Ronald Reagan, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and South African Prime Minister P.W. Botha with fangs dripping blood.

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course, other talented folks have come along since but Fela Kuti is still the man. :thu::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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My band got to open for Fela at 3 shows on one of his last tours, at the Fillmore in SF, in Santa Cruz and in Portland at the Pine Street. Amazing shows!

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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Femi Kuti still puts on a good show. The backup singers/dancers made me swoon, shaking that big booty and singing like angels.

 

Never mind the video, the music is really good:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA0nP2RJaLk&feature=channel

 

In certain sections of the song, you'll hear that the snaredrum doesn't play quite straight 16ths nor triplets.

 

When I try to recreate that sound in my DAW I find that I need to shift individual hits by 1/64ths (or sometimes even 1/96ths) to get the groove right.

 

 

I hear what you mean. That's a great feel!

 

It's interesting what you say about Kenya not having a strong musical tradition. Do you think there's a historical reason for that?

 

I tried searching for Kenyan music, but mostly I found hiphop, and some albums made by Kenyans in Canada and the States.

 

 

Some countries seem to produce incredible musicians one after the other. Mali comes to mind... and Cuba. I guess the States, too, but somehow it doesn't count because it's so big and includes many cultures.

 

Here's a song I like by Salif keita (it starts slow but picks up):

http://www.last.fm/music/Salif+Keita/_/Nyanafin

 

He's so well-known that most people might already be familiar with his music. But, appropriate to this forum, one of his early albums was produced by Joe Zawinul. The song above is from that album, "Amen".

 

This tune doesn't highlight the sinuous microtonal ornaments that Salif does. I spent a good month learning to sing "Sanni Kegniba" phonetically so I could imitate his phrasing. It really makes me want to improve my pitch bend technique.

 

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Very interesting thread. But i have to add, saying "African music" does not get the hole spectrume. It's just like saying "American music" - i thing there's so much personality, chalenge, differnce and too many styles and different players around the black continent. Check out Tinariwen, the Touareg group - a hypnotic yet powerful style with many guitars and percussion coming from the deserts of the North. I saw them recently and they're really good. Also the Rai guys - Chaled, Cheb Mami, Rashid Taha - combining pop arab style with rock and even punk.

Check the guitar style from South Africa - all major chords with a very distinctive rhythimc style. Better, see the Paul Simon DVD from his concert in South Africa. There are many great players there.

There are fantastic musicians from West Africa as well. The Malian music is full of them: Amadou et Mariam, kora player Toumani Diabate and of course the greats Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keyta, Baaba Maal and Manu Dibango.

as far as the East part of Africa i highly recomend Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian keysman and maestro. He recodred many albums in the 60's and even played with Duke Ellington when he went to Africa.

 

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