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Papa Wemba R.I.P. (1949 – 2016)

April 26, 2016

Last Sunday Papa Wemba collapsed at a concert in Ivory Coast and died shortly afterwards. To die in the armor is probably just the way he had always wanted it, how shocking this news may seem. Papa Wemba (born Lubefu in 1949) became famous as a young singer when he joined the band Zaiko Langa Langa in 1969.

Congolese rumba (or soukous) was big in the fifties and sixties, when African artists were mixing traditional Congolese music with soul and Latin American and Caribbean rhythms.

The band played a  modern and bold version of rumba, full of tight drums and electric guitars, and therefore Zaiko Langa Langa was very popular with mainly Congolese youth. Not least because of the appearance of the band, always well dressed in the latest imported fashions. But Zaiko Langa Langa was also popular because the band created a true dance craze in the seventies with the very exciting cavacha rhythm.
From 1974 onwards Papa Wemba founded a few own bands. First Isifi Lokole, later Yoka Lokole and eventually the band Viva la Musica.  As a bandleader with this group Wemba wanted to give young Congolese talent an opportunity and the composition of the group therefore changed constantly. Viva la Musica had big hits with songs like ‘African Bokulaka’ and ‘Mere Superior. And Papa Wemba was a star in his home country, especially as one of the leaders of the Congolese La SAPE, a movement which wanted to show with striking and fashionable clothes that Africans could survive very well without colonial rulers.

See also les Sapeurs; battle of the dandies

Too numerous to mention but one of my own favourites must be this collaboration with Hector Zazou from 1983 on the excellent Crammed Discs from Brussels, Belgium. A quite rare and hard to find wave-afro funker.

Zazou/Wemba -Malimba

(Crammed Discs 023 -Belgium 1983)

See also this documentary of Papa Wemba – The King Of Sape/ Papa Wemba Le Roi De La Sape. Not for the fainthearted….

source; de Volkskrant April 25 2016 -Robert Gijssel

 

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Prince 1958-2016 R.I.P Everlasting Now

April 21, 2016

UOMO vogue Prince cover sept 2004

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Discovery of the Week -Thoughts Visions and Dreams -Ray Phiri

April 11, 2016

TVD front watermarked

On my recent safari my attention was drawn immediately to this album, the artwork and the name Ray Phiri performed magic.  Chikapa “Ray” Phiri of course is well known for his work on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album and popular South Africa bands like The Cannibals and Stimela, a hugely successful mbaquanga/fusion outfit which released several platinum-selling albums. But I have never seen this album before….so that’s why it is Discovery of the Week. File under African Jazz, Boogie, Funk, Soul….

 Thoughts Visions and Dreams

A Man-A Dog-And A Cow

Featuring Ray Phiri

TVD back watermarked

Thoughts Visions And Dreams are:

Ray Phiri: guitar; Ntokozo Zingu: guitar; immy Mngwandi: bass guitar; Donald Laka: keyboards; Isaac Mtshali: drums;Emelio Zulfar Hassan: percussion; Mcoy Mrubata:tenor sax; Bakhiti Khumalo

Guest artists:

Teaspoon Ndelu: alto sax;Mandla Masuku:alto sax;Sello Mpatsoane: trumpet

Singers:

Mandisa Dlanga, Marilyn Nokwe, Phumzile Ntuli, Nomuntu Kapa, Beaulah Hashe, Lloyd Lelosa, Wings Segale and Ray Phiri

 TVD label watermarked

A side

“Thoughts Visions And Dreams”

“Step Out Of My Life”

“Nothing Makes Sense”

B side

“Play That Sax”

“Cupid Shoot That Arrow”

“Dreams Of A Missionary”

Recorded in 1985 at RPM Studios Johannesburg.

Released in 1989 Gallo Records South Africa

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GETATCHEW MEKURIA PASSED AWAY TODAY

April 4, 2016
Getatchew Mekuria (photo Matias Corral)

Getatchew Mekuria (photo Matias Corral)

 

GETATCHEW MEKURIA PASSED AWAY TODAY

MARCH 14, 1935 – APRIL 4, 2016
 
Getatchew passed away today. At the age of 81 and after a musical career of 68 years. He was a truely unique saxophone player. Born in the countryside of Ethiopia, he heard the saxophone on the radio at the age of 13 and went to Addis Abeba straight away. He wanted to play saxophone! And soon after that he got himself into the Municipality Band. Later he played in the Haile Selassie Orchestra’s, the National Theatre Orchestra and more.

Since 2004 he played regularly with The Ex. It was his choice after hearing us at one of our festivals. He recognized something in our music which reminded him of the early groups he was in, like the Fetan Band (Speed Band). He loved playing with us and for us it was also an incredible experience. He was always totally himself, full-on intense and dedicated. We played more than 100 concerts and made two beautiful albums together.

The last few years, his health was not very good. He couldn’t really go on tour anymore. As a kind of farewell concert for his fans, we organized a big event in the National Theatre in Addis Abeba. He got lots of attention and respect that night: 1500 people in the audience, three TV stations and a legendary concert. Getatchew was playing while sitting on a chair, but his playing was stronger than ever.

His whole life was devoted to music. With his unique sound and approach he leaves behind an eternal inspiration!

We will miss him.
 
The Ex.
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Black Power -the New Black Dandyism

March 21, 2016

 

sizzling hot couture voorpagina sunday times 7 feb 16

Hello World. Today’s post is a longread so may I suggest to take your time.

At the start of February the SA Menswear Fall 2016 Week took place in Cape Town, as in other capitals of the world. After Paris, Milan and London, the African continent sets its mark on international fashion. Fashion is flourishing as never before in Africa, a legion of ambitious young fashion designers are evolving towards national and international recognition and showing their collections to local and foreign buyers and press. The first rows are complemented by an enthusiastic young audience of bloggers and fashionistas eager to see the latest fashion.

sizzling hot couture voorpagina sunday times 7 feb 16 -detail

model Sanele Xaba

And the amazing thing is that this actually sells. A new black middle-class has the money and interest to actually buy the clothes of African designers. Design boutiques and ultra-luxurious shopping centres offer a shopping extravanga never seen before and are popping up around the big South African cities. Should you be looking for a 40’s Christian Dior jacket, a Balenciaga ballgown from the 50’s, or Jordache bellbottoms, then your retro fix will be satisfied at The Flea Market at the Market Theatre in Newtown, the cultural hub of Johannesburg.

But it’s more than just expensive designer clothes or original vintage haute couture. Fashion is hot not only for style-concious hipsters but is regarded as a highly effective way to create an own identity. It is also a firm confirmation that one who dresses well has style. And the young ‘bornfrees’-the generation that was born after 1991-have style, radiate confidence and success. Besides that, African traditions and the heritage of the ancestors are en vogue.

That is reflected in the book The Black Photo Album / Look at Me: 1890-1950 by Santu Mofokeng  (Published by Steidl in 2013. ISBN 978-3869303109)

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For this book Santu Mofokeng collected private photographs which urban black working and middle-class families in South Africa commissioned between 1890 and 1950, a time when the government was creating policies towards those designated as “natives”. Painterly in style, the images evoke the artifices of Victorian photography. Some of them are fiction, a creation of the artist in terms of setting, props, clothing and pose – yet there is no evidence of coercion. We believe these images, as they reveal something about how these people imagined themselves. In this work Mofokeng analyses the sensibilities, aspirations and self-image of the black population and its desire for representation and social recognition in times of colonial rule and suppression. The Black Photo Album / Look at Me: 1890-1950 is drawn from an ongoing research project of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

DREAM BIG, ACT COOL

Every year The Street Cred Festival brings a buzz to Johannesburg, an excitement in street-culture that unites the hottest and cool young fashionistas and designers. Streetgangs like the Swenkas, Smarties (Soweto), Isokothan (a gang modeled after the Urhobo People of Niger Delta) show that their passion for fashion is not only obsessive by clothes but at the same time their style manifests a passive aggressive form of resistance.

Although financially limited this young generation wants to create their own look, to show the world an interpretation of Africa, a tribute to their ancestors while looking forward to the future. It is hopeful and positive. What is Africa, Who am I as an African, those are the big questions that engage this new generation. Bloggers  like Sartist reflect the search for a new horizon of fashion and dopeness.

THE SARTIST

Sartist

LES SAPEURS & NYC GANGSTA STYLE

Each new movement has obviously predecessors. Les Sapeurs became somewhat of a household name in Congo in the 60’s with their brash dandyism. In New York it was designer Dapper Dan of Harlem who created the flamboyant look and style of rappers like LL Cool J and other heroes of the early hip hop scene in early 80’s.

dapper dan interview magazine 1

Dapper Dan of Harlem

Right on 125th street in Harlem USA, sat a custom high-end clothing boutique owned by Mr. Dapper Dan. Before Kanye, Juelz, Fabolous and some other well known rappers wore Gucci and Louis Vutton, Dapper Dan in the 80’s and 90’s planted the seed for fashion in the hip hop culture. He created one of a kind customized high-end clothing that incorporated highly recognizable accessory logos like those of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, featuring them in non-traditional ways. His pieces were sold for thousands of dollars, and created a sense of what’s cool, what’s new in the streets and ‘in hip-hop’.

The designer describes his way of working as ‘sampling’, an unique interpretation of mixing existing designs and logos with his own interpretation. Dan Dapper ” I opened my workshop in ’82. First I would take little garment bags by Louis Vuitton and Gucci and cut them up, but that wouldn’t suffice for complete garments. So I said, “I have to figure out how to print this on fabric and leather.” I went through trial and error. I didn’t even know we were messing with dangerous chemicals—the U.S. government eventually outlawed the chemicals I was using. We made these huge silk screens so I could do a whole garment. A Jewish friend of mine helped me science out the secret behind the ink, and that was it.”

Diane Dixon coat by Dapper Dan

the Diane Dixon coat

dapper dan alpo coat

the Aldo coat

 

His designs specified the look of hip-hop artists, sporters and those incurred by gangsters. “Gangsters. That’s who I grew up with. Middle-class blacks couldn’t accept what I was doing—you had to be of a revolutionary spirit. Who would be more like that than gangsters? And who would have the money? Hip-hop artists didn’t have any money. They used to wait until the gangsters left the store before they could come in and ask what the gangsters wore. Everybody follows the gangsters. The athletes came before the hip-hop artists. Mark Jackson, Walter Berry. I’ve got pictures of NBA players that I can’t even remember their names. The athletes had money earlier that the hip-hop artists.

FAVORITE CREATION: The “Alpo Coat” [for drug dealer Alberto Martinez] and the Diane Dixon coat [for Olympic athlete Diane Dixon].

source; The Guardian

see also les Sapeurs; battle of the dandies

AFRICAN DESIGNERS LIGHT UP THE CATWALK

Ozwald Boateng is a London fashion designer of Ghanaian descent and co-founder of Made in Africa Foundation, which supports and funds studies for large-scale infrastructure projects across Africa.

Boateng is known for his classic British menswear, done in warm colors. He is considered one of the most successful designers of men’s fashion in recent years. His big break came in 2005 when he worked as designer for the French fashion house Givenchy and dressed actor Jamie Foxx for the Oscars.

His first show in Ghana caused a small revolution. Just like in 2013 during NYC Fashion Week where Boateng showed mainly African prints processed in classic men’s suits on black models. Boateng’s explains his vision on style; “Colonialism has done little good for Africa but it brought the typical Western sense of style and elegance to Africa. Mixed with local traditions this sensibility created a truely new African identity.”

ozwald boateng 2013

Ozwald Boateng 2013 NYC Fashion Week

During the same week in NYC South African born designer Gavin Rajah brought the fantasy element of fashion back to the runway with creations that were eclectic and high glamour. Again, black models ruled the catwalk.

DO NOT MAKE WHAT IS THERE, MAKE WHAT IS NOT THERE

Is the motto of label ACF (Art Comes First/Always Cut First). ACF is an exciting innovative concept that typifies the New Black Dandyism.

In their vision a modern day gentleman stands for Energy, Style, Power and Pride.

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With a collection they call “Dance”, Sam Lambert & Shaka Maidoh of the ACF now launch Avec ces Freres. Avec ces Freres inaugural range sees the duo manifest the authentic spirit of the ACF within a focused assortment of interrelated styles. The essential root of the ACF’s style fraternity is their shared vision of the modern gentlemen in a new age. Elemental to this notion is a zealous commitment to travel and the belief that a near constant state of travel leads to a near constant state of learning. Travel is a journey of discovery. Discovery is the porthole to knowledge. -And the sensation experienced during moments of true discovery and the acquisition of knowledge is equal parts cerebral, physical and spiritual. Discovery delivers “little hits of wonder”, it injects a lasting spring in our step and it makes us want to smile and smile, to jump and jump, to dance and dance.

Lambert and Maidoh have worked to vitalize this simple notion in a fresh travel-friendly wardrobe crafted with intelligence, curiosity and good intention.

From the press release of their Autumn/Winter 15 Lookbook

BLACK POWER

Dark Models dominate World’s Fashion Weeks catwalks…

There are 50 shades of grey, and perhaps even more shades of black. And the blacker the better as South African designers scramble for darker-hued models who are regarded as ‘edgy and classy’. About half the models at the South African Menswear Autumn/Winter 2016 in Cape Town were very dark. They walked for designers including Craig Jacobs, Julia M’Poko of Mo’Ko Elosa and Jenevieve Lyons.

Popular on local runways is Jimi Ogunlaja, a Nigerian-born model and the face of 46664 Apparel, who has been walking ramps in South Africa for brands including Fabiani, Carducci and Craig Port since 2008.

Source; The Sunday Times 7th February 2016

jimi

Jimi Ogunlaja

 

 

jimi-3

model Jimi Oganlaja

 

Sanele Xaba

model Sanele Xaba

Max_Mara_Spring_2012_Backstage_Rtfe_Chi_Bu_HVx

model Akuol De Mabior

couverture-dazed-and-confused

 

During the Paris Fashion 2016 Week black models also graced the Balmain Fall 2016 Ready to Wear catwalk, although the look and wide choice of models was based on the now platinum Kim Kardashian West. Her husband Kanye was sitting front row. His fashion-show-slash-record-listening-slash-party in New York last month drew 20,000 New Yorkers into Madison Square Garden on a freezing Thursday afternoon. The premiere of Yeezy Season 3 and stream of his new album, The Life of Pablo, proved to be the event of the New York Fashion 2016 week—with people lining up hours beforehand to enter. Young, old, invited or not, Kanye fans patiently waited for the doors to open. And once they did it was madness. The power of commercial streetstyle!

Inside Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 Extravaganza

Kanye West -The Life of Pablo pop-up shop

Lupita Nyong’o in Balmain

Lupita Nyong’O wearing Balmain

Lupita Nyong’o

 

Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of Ms. 2016

Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Ms. 2016

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o, one of the hottest black actresses of the moment walked onstage of the Late Night With Seth Meyers-talkshow in a tomato red Balmain power suit. Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan actress and film director. She made her American film debut in 2013 in Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave. She won an Oscar for her supporting role as Patsey. But movie stars, popstars or fashion designers with African roots are not the only forces to dominate fashion in 2016, the biggest influence remains the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama

US First Lady Michelle Obama 2016

See details of the South African Fashion Week

Spring / Summer ’16 Collections

5 – 9 April 2016

http://www.safashionweek.co.za

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Diggin’ in Tokyo & Osaka vol 7 -December 2015

February 26, 2016

tokyo flyers 2016

see also Diggin’ in Japan; vol 5 Tokyo Dec 2014 by MP Flapp

                  Diggin’ in Japan vol 1; Tokyo record shops

in addition to MP Flapp’s previous posts here is his updated report on diggin’ in Tokyo & Osaka -December 2015.

Sometimes the best trips to look for records happen more by chance than design. This is one of those. It’s December and the year is running out. I’ve still not taken a proper holiday. Where’s best place to go to score some vinyl, chill a little, eat well and tactically avoid the commercial excesses of the season? It might come as a surprise that Japan would be the answer.

 

It’s actually a good time to go. It’s out-with the regular tourist season, the flights tend to be a bit cheaper, the hotels tend not to be fully booked, the shinkansen not overly busy, the weather can have an autumnal air, the shops are open every day and many record stores have end of year sales combined with the fact they pull out their top stock for the lure of the salary man’s bonus.

 

I’ve been to Japan more than once to buy records, so have a collection of maps and notes put together over the years with some valuable local assistance as a starting point. Having someone locally to point you in the right direction helps a lot, like anywhere else shops open, close and move, so one year’s good spots don’t necessary hold true for the next.

 

Until a few years ago the best guide to finding stores was the “Record Map”, a Japanese text only book detailing the locations of record and CD stores in almost every city in the country. It was never fully comprehensive, but as a guide it was invaluable. It ceased to be published in 2013. However, a sign that interest in stores and buying used music may be picking up is that the book is back on the shelves as a new and updated edition as of December 2014. The publication date was a bit late for this expedition as I was already on the ground when the book hit the shops.

 

This trip I’ve decided to focus on two locations: Tokyo and Osaka. Fly in to Tokyo spend some days there, travel to Osaka for a few more days, then return to Tokyo for a couple of days, before flying home on New Year’s Eve.

 

In my opinion, even if you drive, the best way to get between and around these cities is with the aid of the JR Rail Pass. Once you have the pass (the voucher is bought in advance of travelling to Japan) you are free to travel on any JR train. There are some exceptions with travelling on the shinkansen. The pass isn’t valid for a small number of superfast trains. However, the majority of shinkansen you can travel on by just making a reservation prior to boarding.

 

One thing I did differently to previous trips was to take a cheap Wi-Fi enabled tablet device. Given the short notice of the trip all I had was a rough plan with nothing fixed. Unlike a number of other countries cafes and bars tend not to have free Wi-Fi. All the hotels I stayed in had free Wi-Fi. So with this in mind all I did was firm up a plan for the day the night before and make sure any maps and the like were in an off-line form for browsing on the hoof.

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3 Tokyo main areas for record shopping

 

For the first few days in Tokyo I usually focus on three main areas: Shibuya (with a side trip to Shimokitazawa), Shinjuku and Ochanomizu (with a side trip on foot to Jinbouchou). It’s a fairly easy circle of stores on the metro and in each of the areas there are enough shops dominated by the spread of Disk Unions to make finding your feet and common titles fairly easy. Disk Union is the dominant used music chain in Tokyo. However, in the vicinity of the stores in Shinjuku and Ochanomizu there are some other great independent stores well worth checking. Sadly a few of the regular spots in the Jinbouchou area (Turntable for example) have closed.

 

Although at least in Turntable’s case the entity still exists. Admittedly off the high street. Enan (the former proprietor of Turntable), having shut the physical store still operates privately and through the pop-up one day record sale. I made it to one such record sale in Jinbouchou. The record sales are usually held in a bar or small hall for one day with a few sellers offering a limited set of stock from boxes. The sale is usually wrapped in a very social setting with both sellers and buyers soundtracking the event by playing records for each other whilst discussing music. More of a house party style event in a bar than a formal record fair. The sales seem to be a welcome new trend, with the stock available and those selling varying from event-to-event.

to OBI or not to OBI

 

There have been some changes in the records available and the prices since my last trip. As of 1st April 2014 sales tax went up to 8%. It’s often possible to see the price less tax and with tax on the price sticker on the record. Very few stores add the tax on unexpectedly, so what you see on the sticker is the price. One type of record I collect is the Japanese vinyl editions of what might be classed as well known releases (David Bowie, Brian Eno, Scott Walker etc). These are the LP versions wrapped by an OBI strip round the cover with an insert or booklet specifically made for the edition. Complete, these records would appear to have become much harder to find over the years and a bit more expensive than they used to be. There are a few that have eluded me for more than one trip now. A complete copy of Fripp and Eno’s “Evening Star” in theory should be relatively straightforward to score. It isn’t. There are plenty of clean copies of great titles at super cheap prices, but complete top copies are becoming a challenge.

 

That said there is no shortage of records from about every conceivable geographical location and genre available in almost every store. There are some highly specialist stores that focus on a specific range of music, but in general most stores are across the board. It’s the main reason I come. It’s not just the availability and price of records (which is usually very competitive), but the fact you can zip round town on public transport and without really trying visit anywhere between ten and fifteen stores in any one day and do the same again the next without covering the same ground twice.

 

 baboab tote bags 2016

Some recommendations?

It goes without saying any of the Disk Unions are worth visiting. The stock turns over frequently and there is always a good range of records for every pocket. Of the independent stores in Shibuya I would recommend a visit to both Sonota (aka Manual of Errors) and El Sur Records. The former is a haven for the most obtuse mondo style records you’ve ever seen whilst the later has a broad range of world music with a healthy selection of African recordings (more CDs and less vinyl these days). One stop on the Keio Line on the express train from Shibuya is Shimokitazawa. Two notable spots here are Flash Disc Ranch for the selection of US used records combined with the sensible pricing policy and Yellow Pop whist not big is always good for turning up 80s alternative titles in top condition. The best Disk Union for Jazz is at Ochanomizu. A short walk from there in Jinbouchou is Record Sya. The store has existed on three floors for many years and is a great source for Japanese releases across almost every genre.

 

After all the digging for records you probably want a music related break for a drink. Tokyo has a wealth of unique music related café/bars. It’s really just a matter of finding them that is often the problem. Very few of these are often at street level and hence noticeable is passing. One distinct highlight of this trip was a visit to Sound Cafe Dzumi in Kichijoji. An upper floor haven for improvised and free jazz stoked with music and literature from the proprietors (Izumi Hideki) own archive. In addition to the Free Music Archive making regular radio broadcasts from the café they host frequent live performances.

Tokyo street scene 5

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Globeat -a worlwide safari- by Stan Rijven

February 12, 2016

 

Vector Globe / Globe Free Vectors Download / 4Vector

Globeat

Intro -Radio program Silver Apples (USA)

Hunting Song –Aka Pygmy (central Africa)

Super Djata Band -Super Djata (Mali)

Ray Mbele –Baobab (Senegal)

Pedro Padrilla Aquinaldo (Puerto Rico)

Kanis Edho Dhen –Glykeria (Greece)

A Statman Kletzer Orchestra -The Chaser (USA)

Leo Fuld –Doina (Netherlands)

Cheb Mami –Idha Enti Bkiti (Algeria)

 

Compiled & mixed by Stan Rijven

Stan Rijven is a popjournalist who ao worked for the national Dutch newspaper Trouw (1979-2014). During the 80s he was a regular dj at squad Radio 100 (Tam Tam International) and hosted for 2 years the VPRO Radio 3 program The World Receiver/ Mundial (1989/90).

Mid 80s he co-founded the magazine Afrika. Combined with his Radio 100-program Stan organised the monthly held Tam Tam Club at Cafe De Pieter in Amsterdam which became a well known spot to hear the latest African pop and World music. At the same time Stan was busy establishing IASPM-Benelux, a global music platform for the Benelux (Paradiso, march 1984). Hence the name IASPM, International Association for the Study of Popular Music. To encourage the ± 40 Benelux members to pay their annual membership fee, Stan compiled this tape Globeat in 1989 as a present. Very rudimentary mixed with one turntable and one double casssettedeck, mixing was purely by feel, without a mixing desk.

Globeat is constructed with a radio-show in mind, covering parts of Africa and some unexpected contributions from Latin-America, the USA and the Netherlands as well.

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