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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

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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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South Africa celebrates 20 Years of Freedom & Democracy

May 17, 2014

during my record hunting trips, I often encounter the most unusual records which attract my attention. Like last Queensday -today it’s called King’s Day- at the end of April in Amsterdam when the city becomes one huge flea market and people sell their junk, sometimes rare records too…

At first I thought it was a reggae album, because of the colors of the artwork but  I found out that the record contains music of a somewhat less light sensible topic. Music of the liberation movements of South Africa ( ANC ) and Namibia ( SWAPO ) and the People’s Republic of Angola.

The ANC is  in power since 1994 and has once again won the elections in 2014 so it is 20 years ago that the ANC came into power as  the leading party in South Africa’s democracy. Certainly a time for celebration for some but unfortunately not for all. Sometimes it is forgotten -or unknown- how much support the African National Congress received from abroad during their struggle for freedom, especially from a country like the Netherlands. Many exiles received a warm welcome in the small country on the North Sea in the 70′s and found numerous organizations which were committed to help to fight the struggle against apartheid.

maatla cover
The LP Maatla!, the title which translates as ‘power’,  features  a number of songs that were collected by several staff members of the Medical Komitee Angola during a visit to South Africa in 1976. Released as a private pressing by Medical Komitee Angola in Holland, this LP is a document of a bygone age. Or am I mistaken?

One the of the songs that is featured on this album is a militant song called ‘Sizoba dubula ngembhayimbhayi’ sung by the Sechaba Choir ANC in Xhosa. The text translates as;  the farmers flee; we shall chase them and shoot.

 

zuma sings

Sechaba Choir ANC -Welele

a song in Xhosa, in which Nelson Mandela (the then leader of the ANC who was imprisoned on Robben Island at the time) is requested to support for the problems of his people in these difficult times. The people no longer sleep at home but go into the mountains to fight against the ‘Boers’.  Vukani Mawethu-People Awake! Join the African National Congress military.

Sechaba Choir ANC -Rolihlahla

This is Mandela’s African name. This song is sung in English and adresses the President of the ANC, Nelson ‘Rolihlahla’ Mandela to lead his people to freedom

Sechaba Choir ANC -Shanyelan’ Amabala

variation on a traditional song that was sung when cleaning an open place for an important event. It calls the children in South Africa to prepare for the arrival of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the ANC that  will come to fight as one destroys scorpions.  (sung in Zulu)

Sechaba Choir ANC -Wobaleka

Umkhonto coming. We are the spear of the nation; We have suffered long enough; we want to be free. Freedom for Africa. (sung in Xhosa)

Sechaba Choir ANC -uMachel

a song in honor of Samora Machel, and Agostino Neto, who fought for their independence of the reactionary forces. It is intended to encourage Oliver Tambo, Sam Nujoma and the Patriotic Front in their fight for freedom. (sung in Xhosa)

maatla label 1

 

maatla label 2

 

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Soul Safari ebay auction

May 1, 2014

Greetings fellow music lovers, Soul Safari’s eBay auction starts today with new additions weekly.

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Throughout the entire month of May Soul Safari will be listing field recordings, folk, private pressings, township jive & kwela jazz, African jazz, soul & boogie, mbanqaga,and much much more with absolutely no reserves.

Records that have been presented on these pages over the last five years are now on auction. So here  is your change to grab some rare African vinyl  as I am cleaning out my shelves to make room for new music.

 

Soul Safari's ebay auction

Soul Safari’s ebay auction

 

Soul Safari's eBay auction

Soul Safari’s eBay auction

Some highlights; a collection of ultra rare and seldom heard field recordings from ILAM, recorded by Hugh Tracey. These records were purchased many years ago directly from ILAM in South Africa from what was left of their unsold stock. All records come in their original cover with the labels attached to the back cover and are unplayed, in brand new mint condition.

More  Soul Safari favs like great 45′s by jive kings The Soweto Boys, mbanqaga queens The Manzini Girls  are now on auction.

Soul Safari's eBay auction

Soul Safari’s eBay auction

See Soul Safari’s eBay auction starting today.

Thanks  for your support and best of luck, happy bidding!

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