Queen Salawa Abeni & Her African Waka Modernisers. Nigeria

Today’s post shines a light on one of my most precious Tokyo finds, an album by Queen Salawa Abeni,  from Lagos, Nigeria.

I really became quite enchanted with the strong voice and the hypnotic rhythms  accompanying the singer. The grooves -with talking drums- are mesmerizing, while the voice holds strong within all the surrounding drums. The tracks are indexed but were played and recorded as a 17 minute jam as this rare record shows.

The music is dedicated to the memory of Alhaji Haruna Ishola, the King of Apala Music who died at the age of 65 years on 9th November 1983.

She was crowned “Queen of Waka Music” by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in 1992. Waka is an Islamic-influenced, traditional Yoruba music style. Salawa Abeni (born May 5, 1961) is a popular Nigerian singer who became the first female artist to sell over a million copies in Nigeria. Quite an achievement, really.

 Queen Salawa Abeni & Her African Waka Modernisers. Volume 14 on Leader Records LRCLS 44 Nigeria.


Side 1 

Jomi Jomi


National Ladies Club

Late Alhaji Haruna Ishola

Side 2 


United Social Club

Mo Gbe De

Morufu Akilo

Iyo Yo


more Fela Kuti -“Monkey Banana” on Coconut Records, Nigeria 1975

thanks for all the comments and requests for more Fela Kuti. You have asked for it so here it is; a rare 12″ released by Coconut Records in 1975 in Nigeria. The 12″ features the track “Sense Wiseness” on the B-side.

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 Organization -Monkey Banana

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 Organization -Monkey Banana/Sense Wiseness

Coconut Records PMLP 1001 -Nigeria 1975

see also my previous post  Fela Kuti -the black President -Yellow Fever -Decca Afrodisia 1976 and Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa 70 Organization on Kalakuta Records Nigeria

All pictures by Bernard Matussiere -November 28th 1983


Fela Kuti -the black President -Yellow Fever -Decca Afrodisia 1976

he died in 1997 at the age of 59, leaving behind an imperishable work of musical genius, more modern than ever. He developed his own style which evolved over the years into a separate genre of music, Afro-beat.

Through his music, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, unanimously recognized as king of Afro-beat, was renown to pass messages through his music that were both spiritual and anti-government.

Overcoming the countless brutality he was subjected to during his life, Fela was unquestionably the voice the most famous and most effective of the African cause around the world. The many tours that he undertook in Europe and the United States have contributed crucially to know, recognize and appreciate the music and culture of Africa and Nigeria in particular.

In a sarcastic style that belongs only to him, Fela condemned Africans unable to fight for their rights as men in that typical mix of Yoruba and Pidgin English.

Yellow Fever

some Africans use all sorts of chemicals to lighten their skin, so it is the closest possible to the skin color of  a white person and  this practice is called ‘yellow fever’.

Fela condemns this practice in the song ‘ Yellow Fever’  first and foremost to demonstrate a denial of the pride of being Black and second because it is like a disease such as jaundice or malaria.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti & The Africa 70 -Yellow Fever

lyrics ‘Yellow Fever’

Different different fever na him dey

Malaria fever nko?

Hay fever nko?

Inflation fever nko?

Jundis fever nko?

Freedom fever nko?

Yellow fever nko?

na him dey bring the matter now he dey

I say tell dem make dem hear you say

all fever na sickness -original sickness

malaria na sickness -original sickness

hay fever na sickness -original sickness

inflation na sickness -original sickness

influenza na sickness -original sickness

jundis na sickness -original sickness

freedom na sickness -original sickness

yellow fever nko? say original and artificial he dey


Original catch you, your eyes go yellow, your face go go yellow, your body go weak.

But later if you no die inside, the yellow fever go fade away

Artificial catch you, you be man or woman na you go catch am yourself.

Na your money go do am for you.

You go yellow pass yellow. You go get moustache for face.

You go get your double colour. Your yansh go black like coal.

You self go think say you dey fine. Who say you fine?

Na lie you no fine at all at all na lie

my sister who say you fine?

yellow fever you dey bleach you dey bleach

Sisi wey dey go you dey bleach you dey bleach

stupid thing, yeye thing, ugly thing, fucking thing

now let’s get down to the on the ground spiritual game

everybody etc…

 from the album Yellow Fever -Fela Anikulapo Kuti & The Afrika 70 -Decca Afrodisia 1976 (DWAPS 2004)

All pictures by Bernard Matussiere taken in Amsterdam November 28th 1983

Readers Post -William Onyeabor- “Anything You Sow”

Today I want to share some interesting news out of Soul Safari’s mailbox; your comments, requests and music….keep sending!

here’s a hot tip from my collector friend MP Flapp from Very Good Plus

Did you spot the reissue of William Onyeabor- “Anything You Sow”? (ONYEABOR) I believe it is a bootleg. I got my copy today from Honest Jons – what a fantastic LP -stuck an odd branch in African music – the lyrics as well as the music are really a treat.

William Onyeabor was Nigerian. The other LP I’d love is called
“Atomic Bomb”. I first discovered him via the “World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s a Real Thing” compilation. It has the track “Better Change Your Mind” on it which is just out of this world – both lyrically and musically.

It was the friend Mark Crumbie (Baxter on VG+) who pointed me towards a download of the “Anything you Sow” LP – out of the blue the LP gets a re-issue last week. I hadn’t really looked through his discography as the first things I saw listed were those super rare LPs from Nigeria that had never been re-issued in any format. The “Anything you Sow” LP has elements of TGs “Hot on the heels of love” in the mix with low fi synch feel, but a proper funk under current.

Dele Ojo -Afro-Rhythm Roots Nigeria 1976

The impact of Manu Dibango’s ‘Soul Makossa’ on global dancefloors was immense in the mid-70’s. Suddenly, African artists were finding a warm nest in hot Discotheques all over the States and the rest of the world.

The legendary drummer Babatunde Olatunji,  already a household name in the United States  in the early 60’s,  after the release of his groundbreaking album  ‘Drums of Passion’, had also helped to pave the way for other Nigerian musicians like Fela Kuti and Dele Ojo.

This obscure EP  by Dele Ojo contains 6 original songs  that were released in 1976 on the US label African Music Explosion.

Afro-Rhythm Roots

side 1

1-Please Don’t Break My Heart

2-Black Is Beautiful

3-Freedom For All Black People


side 2

1-Edumare Ko Basiri

1-Thanks To God

While searching for more info on this record I discovered an authoritarian article  on the music of Dele Ojo from The Guardian (Lagos) by Benson Idonije  at Wordsbody.  Definitely worth your attention!

Dele Ojo -Edumare Ko Basiri

Various - Nigeria Special: Volume 2  Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6

check also Emperor Dele Ojo & His Africana Internationals on this fab compilation with an exceptional package and liner notes. (Soundways, UK 2010)

Nigeria Special: Volume 2 Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6

Yuletide Griots Riot

last Christmas my review and mix of the past year represented the fertile music of South Africa, this year Soul Safari criss-crosses the whole continent in search of music treasures.

From Sub-Saharan Africa up to Algeria, with the accent on the stringed instrument; guitar, cora, the oud, sekhankula and the Nguni string bow. And poetic stories, in words and mood.

Traditional griot music meets the seductive charm from Algeria, cora from Senegal by Bakary Sissoko and Daouda Diabaté blends seamlessly with pure guitar poetry from Francis Bebey…a Nguni Christmas song by Princess Constance Magogo, jazz & happy Jive from South Africa, Congolese soukous and  rhumba by Orchestre Loga, Nigerian juju dub from Dele Abiodun.

A surprising discovery this year was this album from 1984, ‘Très Fâché, Très Fâché‘ by guitar player and singer Rémi Sah’lomon et Le Matanga from Brazzaville, Congo. Rémi was bassist, singer of varieties, arranger of the National Youth Orchestra of Congo, and at the same time the second bassist in L’ Orchestra Bantou. He made his debut in L’Orchestra Siza Kotoko Ya Gaby. Great soukous tracks on this album!

A selection of  recent finds from the past year mixed with a few timeless classics from the Soul Safari archives. Now, what more can one wish for the Yuletide season?

01. Francis Bebey -Jesu, que ma joie demeure

02. P. Ben Mouhamed & M. Idir -A Vava Inou Va

03. Bakary Sissoko & Daouda Diabaté -Diaka

04. Princess Constance Magogo KaDinuzulu -Bambulal’ uJesu yamaJuda (The Crucified Jesus of the Jews)

05. Raisse Omar Ouhrouche -M’sak Salkhir Awali Ghetella Nite

06. Remi Sah’lomon et le Matanga -Africa Matanga

07. Akendenuge -Aiyan

08. Vicky & L’Orchestre OK Jazz -Mwana Ponaka

09. Opic 17 -Orchestre Lago -Okoyoka Eloko Pona Zuwa

10. Mthunzini Girls -Uyangibiza

11. Elias Mathebula & The Chivani Sisters -Ntela A Tingangeni

12. Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje -Omzala Bakho

13. Dele Abiodun -Confrontation Adawa Super Dub

Yuletide Griots Riot / DivShare

Happy Holidays!

best wishes for the Yuletide season from Soul Safari

Township Soul & Boogie -At The Club- Soul Safari 1 year!

that’s right folks, we started this blog exactly 1 year ago so today it’s the birthday of Soul Safari! Thanks to all visitors of these pages; for your comments, your suggestions and the links.  Keep sending them, it’s very much appreciated.

To celebrate this occasion we present a groovy, funky mix of soul and boogie tunes for your ears only… all records come from our own archives, highlighting the golden African disco days, mid to late 70’s.  Some rare 45’s  by  Patti Boulaye,  (born Patricia Ngosi Ebigwei, 1954),  a British singer, actress  and politician, and who was one of the leading black British entertainers in the seventies and eighties. In her native Nigeria, she is best remembered for starring in the Lux commercials which ran in the eighties.

Letta Mbulu  is a more established South African artist with an impressive career that spans a few continents, her contribution to the mix is ‘Kilimanjaro’, a gorgeous slab of African boogie-disco. That voice!

And the list goes on with some real funky versions of ‘Take me to the river’ by Mara Lauw, ‘Get it’ by The Symbols, a discofied version of ‘Put it where you want it’,  originally a hit for The Crusaders.  And more African cover versions of American boogie & disco hits…

Here’s the full list

01. Mara Louw -Take Me To The River

02. Patti Boulaye -Funky Love

03. The Sakie Special Band -Groovy Cats

04. The Movers -Guava Jelly

05. Sylvia King -Shoorah! Shoorah!

06. Jackie -Disco Jack

07. Fani & The Guys -You Promised Me

08. Blondie -Overtime

09. The Pedlars – At The Club

10. The Pedlars -Right On

11. The K.C.’s -Kansas City Instrumental

12. The Square Set -Love Theme

13. Pappa & Blondie Makhene -Boogie On Up

14. The Movers -Freaky Disco

15. Green Apple -Funky Fever

16. The Symbols -Get It

17. John Moriri & Manzini Girls -We Gogo

18. Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje -Omzala Bakho

19. Manzini Girls -Afro Wig

20. Soul Brothers -Bayeza

21. Pappa & Blondie Makhene -Don’t Burn Your Bridges

22. The Explosions -Mama Wami

23. The Blue Revues  -Spook Mahala

24. The Big Six -Kitla Kola Kuang

25. Letta Mbulu -Kilimanjaro

download Township Soul & Boogie -At The Club here

Freedom Fanfare -The Band of the Nigerian Police

I bought this 10″ by The Band of the Nigeria Police,  from my recent SA haul, just for the cover but boy, the music was a real eye-opener! I had expected some ordinary military march music but to my surprise the music is varied and above all, half of this collection is authentic Nigerian highlife. Imagine bagpipes and highlife from West Africa in one band! The first side offers music of a ceremonial and military character, and side two provides entertainment with a selection of highlife tunes, the favourite dance music of all West Africans.

One of the greatest  and most inspiring events in Africa’s history is undoubtedly the achievement of Nigeria’s Independence, Nigeria being the most heavily populated country in Africa with over 35 million people. The Band of the Nigeria Police pay their own tribute to this historic event with the proud presentation of their first long-playing record ‘Freedom Fanfare’. Formed in 1938, the band have gradually risen to their present strength of 72 Nigerian bandsmen of various ranks, i.e. military band, supplemented with drums, bugles, and even bagpipes. This record shows the musical skill and range of the Police Band in all aspects.

Freedom Fanfare -Highland Warpipes

a more African background is heard in tunes like ‘Uta’ and ‘Tso-o-boi’. The Nigeria Police have many marching songs, very old tunes loved and remembered by all West Africans, but the most popular is, without doubt, the spontaneous ‘Tso-o-boi’ (on the alert). Each man in turn, while marching along, attracts the attention of his company with the shout ‘Tso-o-boi’…which is answered in chorus with ‘Hoy!’. After this introduction follow extemporised lyrics, invariably of an insulting nature towards superiors…but all in good fun!

Freedom Fanfare -Uta

Freedom Fanfare -Tsoo Boi (on the alert)

excerpts from the original liner notes of ‘Freedom Fanfare’ 10″ by The Band of the Nigerian Police, Philips P 13402 R Made in Holland 1968

Aleke Kanonu -Nwanne, Nwanne, Nwanne

Nigerian musician Aleke Kanonu is quite unknown yet he has worked with numerous jazz artists in the USA.

He sang and played kalimba and congas with Stanley Cowell on the album entitled ‘Regeneration’ on Strata-East in 1976.

In 1980 came  ‘Aleke’,  a great afro-beat LP with jazz musicians like Wynton Marsalis.

A year later, an obscure 12″  was recorded in New York with Mr Tolbert , entitled “Happiness / Nwanne, Nwanne, Nwanne”.

Wicked sound! Dig Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango et al but then you are going to love this

Aleke Kanonu meets Tolbert The Miracle Man -Nwanne, Nwanne, Nwanne

I lost track of this record until last night while browsing thru my Disco section where it was stored. Last night changed it all!! I remember buying this , way back in NYC at the time when it was released. There was a short-lived buzz with a few key jocks and interest from the shops but due to short supply it disappeared into obscurity. Rare and highly desirable.