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Paa Kow presents Modern Afro-Fusion from Ghana

July 30, 2014

 Paa Kow 3

Take the beat of Ghana’s traditional sound, add some American flavor, and mix it with Paa Kow’s stellar drumming chops. That is the musical recipe for a flavoursome sound, a “new” sound as Paa Kow (pronounced Pah – Ko) describes it. Whatever you call it, Paa Kow’s blend of traditional West African styles with American and Caribbean music surely is a highly danceable sound driven by intricate rhythms. After all, the man is known as a world-renowned percussionist, bandleader, composer and teacher born and raised in Ghana.

Due to its cosmopolitan geographic position on the African continent Ghana has always been a melting pot of many styles of traditional and modern music. The best known modern genre is Highlife until the introduction of Hiplife in the late 1990s. The originator of this style is Reggie Rockstone, a Ghanaian musician who dabbled with hip-hop in the United States before finding his unique style. Hiplife basically was hiphop in the Ghanaian local dialect backed by elements of the traditional High-life.

While living in Accra, Paa Kow had a chance meeting with a traveling student from CU Boulder (CO, USA) named Peyton Shuffield. He was looking for a highlife drummer to study with and, after talking with various Accra musicians, all roads led to Ghana’s best and youngest talent. The friendship was instantaneous and Paa Kow was invited to the University of Colorado as a guest artist and teacher.

 His musical and cultural exchange with musicians in the U.S. gave rise to his Afro-Fusion sound. With his group, Paa Kow put together materials for his debut album “Hand Go Hand Come.” The material was an early masterpiece of rhythmic precision, talented lyricism, and original fusion of West African Pop with Jazz impressions.

Paa Kow is currently touring across America and will release his second studio album ´Ask’ in August of 2014.

“Fakye Me (Forgive Me)”
from his upcoming album Ask, out 8 /19!

Paa Kow Ask

 

See full information on tours, bio and more on Paa Kow Music

Inspired by his musical and cultural exchange with artists in the U.S., Paa Kow and his orchestra fuse traditional rhythms, time signatures, and the Fante language from Ghana with funk and jazz to create an Afro-Fusion sound set apart by its “flexibility and finesse” (Modern Ghana).

 

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4 hour music special -South African jazz, soul & funk -Listen@Radio 6 Vrije Geluiden (VPRO) -26th July 2014

July 27, 2014

Radio 6 Vrije  Geluiden (VPRO) -20.000h-24.000h

een 4 uur durende muziekspecial over Zuid Afrikaanse jazz, soul & funk door dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. In dit programma gaat samensteller Eddy De Clercq terug naar de geschiedenis van jazz en de diverse invloeden van Nederland en Engeland in de muziek van Zuid Afrika. Vooral in Cape Jazz is dit duidelijk terug te horen maar ook in latere stijlen als township jive & kwela jazz zitten elementen welke Westers aandoen maar verweven worden met typische Zuid Afrikaanse melodieën en zang. Maar ook de excellente soul-jazz uit 1969 -een belangrijke periode in dit genre- komt aan bod, alsook de Mzansi House van 2014 naast enkele eigen producties van Eddy De Clercq & Friends, opgenomen in Zuid Afrika. Luister!

Radio 6 Vrije  Geluiden (VPRO) -20.000h-24.000h

A 4 hour music special about South African music; jazz, soul & funk by dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. In this program, compiler Eddy De Clercq dives deep into the history of
South African jazz and the various influences of the Netherlands and England on the music of the country. Especially in Cape Jazz these influences are clear, but also in later styles as township jive & jazz kwela  Western genres like R&B and jazz are interwoven with typical South African melodies and vocals. But also the excellent soul-jazz of 1969-an important period in this genre- is discussed, as well as the Mzansi House 2014 alongside some of Eddy De Clercq’s own productions, recorded in South Africa.

The programme is presented in the Dutch language, but the music speaks for itself. Listen!

Vrije Geluiden 26 Juli 2014

dj Eddy De Clercq & presentator Frank Jochemsen

Vrije Geluiden Radio 6 20.00h-24.00h -26th July 2014-Theme: South Africa

 

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4 songs to keep peace in Kenya

July 11, 2014

Naïve? Oh well, only wishful thinking…

Slim Ali and The Hodi Boys -Sweet Mother -Kenya 1977

Slim Ali and The Hodi Boys present The Sound that made Kenya famous a.o. with the hard driving Benga beat spread from Malawi to Senegal and South Africa…

Read more on the multi-cultural melting pot of Kenya’s music on the excellent Addis Rumble blog

Rare album from 1977 released in South Africa, tough to find and presented here as today’s post. Peace!

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Slim Ali And The Hodi Boys -Sweet Mother label A. gecomp

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Slim Ali & Co in the studio -Credit: Fusion Magazine archives

Addis Rumble blog (thanks for the pic of Slim Ali & Co)

 

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Go See Afrika Festival. Hertme Twente 5-6th July 2014

July 4, 2014

 

IMG_0911-19cebf2845 IMG_2749-c9487e2603

Ah Glorious Summer! Now that the weather finally feels tropical here in Holland, it’s time go out and see some new African bands –and a few old favourites too-  at the Afrikafestival in Hertme, Twente. Now in its 26th year

 From 13:00 on Saturday 5th of July right through to 01:00 on Sunday 6th of July, there will be six groups playing. Three will be performing in the Netherlands for the first time and one of the groups will even be playing in Europe for the first time– a European debut!

 The festival starts with Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa from Morocco. This group is often used to close the show at festivals, but in Hertme they will be the opening act. The Gnawa trance of Aziz will evolve into the heady trance of the BKO Quintet from Mali in which the hunters-ngoni from the Wassoulou area and the griot ngoni meet.

Singer Nancy Vieira from Cape Verde with her swinging ballads provides a haven of rest in the afternoon. They are one of the most promising new live bands in Ghana. This is their European debut – an exclusive for Hertme. Do not miss the chance to see this new exciting band performing for the first time outside Africa.

As night begins to fall, it will be time for Black Bazar. This group brings a mix of rumba and soukous from Congo. Next on stage will be Debademba from Burkina Faso/Mali. Both groups delivering us with an explosive dance party on this summer night.

Sunday 6th of July is the day of the big names.

At 12:00 o’clock the day kicks off with the magic and virtuoso guitar playing of Teta from Madagascar.

Mamar Kassey are an old acquaintance of Hertme having played there in 2008. Since then, they  have become one of the top African bands.

Yacouba Moumouni -Mamar Kassey photograph by Daniel Cohen

Yacouba Moumouni -Mamar Kassey
photograph by Daniel Cohen

The excellent Ethiopian Circus Debre Berhan will amaze you while Fendika provides explosive music and ‘shoulder-dance’.

habtanesh circus derbere behan by Andy Moor

hisak & ashenafi circus derbere behan by Andy Moor.

The first African circus working with disabled and deaf people

The amazing Ethiopian Circus Debre Berhan was formed in 1998 in the town of the same name, three hours away from Addis. One can find circuses all around Ethiopia, in Addis Abeba and in various smaller towns. Although it’s not an old tradition in the country circus has a very important impact on communities, as they often mix stories about society (violence on women, HIV prevention, etc.) and more straightforward performances. The Circus is working with more than 100 acrobats, including children.

One of the important features in this circus, however, lies in the fact that it employs performers who have physical disabilities as well as those who are deaf. It is the first African circus working with disabled people. These performers, both those in the children’s act and the adult’s act, are extremely talented. Circus Debre Berhan’s shows open with the children’s beautiful and often very challenging acrobatics, followed by the adult act, which is staggering in its intricacy and difficulty. The performances are usually held in public spaces such as markets and main squares where possible in order to reach and entertain as many people as possible.

At the moment, Circus Debre Berhan is touring all over Ethiopia with its hundred or so performers split into small groups, to cover the vast countryside. If it continues its success, it will hopefully help change perceptions of disability and stigma.

melaku &zenash -fendika by Andy Moor

melaku & zenash -fendika by Andy Moor

 

nardos - fendika by Andy Moor

nardos – fendika by Andy Moor

  Fendika (Ethiopia)

Ferocious five-piece band with two phenomenal dancers

 

Fendika is a troupe of highly accomplished Azmari musicians and dancers. Founded in 2009 by Melaku Belay, a leading dancer, the ensemble is based at Melaku’s famous music club Fendika Azmari Bet in Addis Abeba. In Ethiopian culture, an Azmari bet is a traditional house of music where people come to be entertained, informed, and sometimes playfully insulted by the Azmari, who serve as current events commentators while they dance, sing, and play for tips.

Melaku is one of Ethiopia’s foremost dancers of the eskesta, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements. Growing up as a street kid, Melaku learned many regional dances of Ethiopia. He has travelled throughout Ethiopia to learn the dance traditions of the country’s 80 tribal groups. The musicians and dancers of Fendika present a cultural journey starting in the highlands of Tigray, Wollo, Gonder, and Gojam and so on.

 

Melaku Belay, dances;

Zinash Tsegaye, dance;

Misale Legesse, kobero (trad. drums);

Endris Hassen, masinko (one cord violin);

Nardos Tesfaw, vocals.

 

The biggest highlight of the 26th Africa Festival will be the historic reunion of Les Ambassadeurs. One of the members of this legendary group is Salif Keita. Together with his colleagues from the 1970’s, he will play the finest Malian music from that period.

Habib Koité hardly needs no further introduction. He closes the festival with his new band. It will also be the presentation of his new CD Soô.

listen to some live recordings of previous editions of the Afrika festival in Hertme, Twente

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Abagandayi -Asithembel’ Enkosini -Zulu funk 1984

July 2, 2014

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Abagandayi was produced by Sidwell Duda who also worked with singer Don Laka and Denis Yekani And  The Movement ‎ in 1984. That’s all I could find as information on this obscure record. The music flutters between Mgqashiyo and funky organ and electric guitar driven rhythms. Listen to a few of my favourite tracks of this album.

Great cover by the way! Does anybody know what year and type of vintage American car Abagandayi drives?

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Abagandayi -Awuzwa Ngani

Abagandayi –Isililo

Abagandayi –Nomathemba

Abagandayi -Siyakubona -Njalo

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Safari Souvenir Volume 2 -rare Kenya music 1981-Them Mushrooms

June 16, 2014

So if you want to sample the best music from Kenya that was popular in the 70’-80’s, before the infiltration of reggae  and hip hop then try this rare selection of Kenyan artists. Compiled by Justus Musyoka. It features four tracks by the band Them Mushrooms founded in 1969,  playing mostly Chakacha, some Benga and also some reggae in later periods. Another Kenyan legend is guitarist John Ondolo, then there is Bozuwa and Bakambi N’kela. You will enjoy this ageless music.

Various   ‎– Safari Souvenir Volume 2 (Polydor ‎– SSLP 002) Released in Kenya in 1981

safari souvenir vol 2 cover front

safari souvenir vol 2 achter

safari souvenir vol 2 label A

A1 – Them Mushrooms  – Kenya Hakuna Matata

A2 – Them Mushrooms  – Bonde Kwa Bonde

A3 – John Ondolo – Safari Kilimanjaro

A4 – John Ondolo –  Ahsante

A5 – Bozuwa   Nights In Nairobi

A6 – Bakambi N’kela   Soweto’s Voice

safari souvenir vol 2 label B

B1 – Bozuwa  – (With My) Hands On My Heart

B2 – Bakambi N’kela  – Kilimanjaro

B3 – Bakambi N’kela  – Wewe Bwana

B4 – Them Mushrooms  – Mateseo

B5 – Them Mushrooms  – Mombasa

them mushrooms

The Best of Kenya Songs

Them Mushrooms

released in 2013 on CD (Africha Entertainment (TM) Limited)

Or buy  Safari Souvenir Volume 2  at Discogs

See also Safari Souvenir Volume 5

 

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Township Soul & Boogie Vol 11-Jonathan Butler

June 2, 2014

Today’s post features an early record by Jonathan Butler, one of South Africa’s most respected and well known jazz artists in the Cape Jazz genre. Few people will know that this artist started his career as a teen idol in the same vein as Justin Bieber. The album ‘Spotlight on Jonathan Butler’ contains a selection of uptempo soul & boogie tunes and some classic soul ballads, produced by Peter Vee for Clive Calder productions.

jonathan butler front cover

Born and raised in Athlone, Cape Town, South Africa, during Apartheid, Butler started singing and playing acoustic guitar as a child. He began touring at the age of seven when he joined a travelling stage show, and was later signed up to perform on a string of hit recordings, turning him into a local teen idol. His debut single was the first by a black artist played by white radio stations in the racially segregated South Africa and earned a Sarie Award, South Africa’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards. In 1975 his cover of “Please Stay” by The Drifters reached number 2 in South Africa.  The same year his cover of “I Love How You Love Me” by The Paris Sisters reached the Top 10 as well.

jonathan butler back cover

 

In 1978 he found the inspiration and encouragement to begin expressing himself as a composer and songwriter when he joined Cape Town’s best known jazz/rock outfit, Pacific Express.

jonathan butler -die burger March 25th 2014

Jonathan Butler -clip from SA newspaper die burger March 25th 2014

Butler was signed to Jive Records in 1977, and in the early 1980s he moved to the United Kingdom, where he remained for seventeen years. His international breakthrough came in 1987 with his Grammy-nominated hit single, “Lies” which reached #25 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and his cover version of the Staple Singers song “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”, which he performed with Ruby Turner.

Butler maintained a loyal following in the 1980s and 1990s, in South Africa, the United States and Europe. In 2006,  he was a featured vocalist on the album Gospel Goes Classical, produced by University of Alabama at Birmingham music professor Henry Panion. This recording, featuring arrangements by Panion, Tommy Stewart, Michael Loveless, and Ray Reach, rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Gospel chart, and No. 3 on the Classical Crossover chart. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award for his single “Going Home”.

Also in 2008, Butler guest-starred on George Duke’s Album Dukey Treats, alongside the late Teena Marie on the track “Sudan”, talking about the disasters of Darfur.

jonathan butler label 1

Jonathan Butler -Our Love

Jonathan Butler -I’m On Fire

Jonathan Butler -Build It Up

jonathan butler label 2

Jonathan Butler -I Love How You Love Me

Jonathan Butler -Sunshine In The Morning

Jonathan Butler -Sending Out An S.O.S.

‘Spotlight on Jonathan Butler’ MFP 54748 -South Africa 1975

see also the official website of Jonathan Butler

Source: Wikipedia

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