Togo Soul 70

‘Togo Soul 70’: Hot Casa Records takes us to ’70s West Africa

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‘Togo Soul 70,’ released via the Paris-based Hot Casa Records that specializes in afro-Cuban soul and tropical funk, is a collection of rare Togolese recordings from the ’70s. The music is consistently groovy in its faster and slower moments and includes some excellent guitar work.

From Hot Casa’s website:

“A treasure-trove of rare and unusual recordings mostly recorded in Lomé during the 70’s, a fusion of traditional voodoo chants, raw soul and Afro jazz. Finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn’t become any easier even after few trips all over this west African country bordered by Ghana, Benin & Burkina Faso.

We, at Hot Casa Records decided to select thirteen tracks, a snapshot of some hundreds of rare and often forgotten tapes from the most prolific, professional and exciting phase of the country’s recording history included international stars like Bella Bellow ( who even performed to Maracana stadium in Brazil ) to Roger Damawuzan compared as the James Brown from Lomé to forgotten tapes and brilliant songs in Mina, Kabyié and Fon language. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation highlighting how diverse the music scene in Togo was at the time even if the political context influenced their creation.

A must have for all music lovers and soundtrack of the documentary Togo Soul 70 directed by Liz Gomis & Dj Julien Lebrun!”

Togo Soul 70/ Hot Casa Records: Website SoundCloud Facebook

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Analog Africa

Analog Africa: the German label brings back retro jams from Burkina Faso.

Analog Africa

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Analog Africa is a label based in Überlingen, Germany that specializes in sharing tropical dance music from Africa. This year marks the label’s 10th anniversary, so I’ve been going through many of the old releases and discovering a bunch of great music. Read here to learn more about the label’s impressive history.

So far, my favorite Analog Africa release is 2011’s ‘Bambara Mystic Soul – The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974 – 1979.’

From the Bandcamp bio:

“For its commemorative 10th release, Analog Africa indulges in Burkina Faso, one of the jewels of the Sahel, a harsh and arid strip that straddles the southern Sahara, stretching from Dakar in the west to Djibouti in the east. Formerly known as Haute Volta, Burkina Faso’s sound was organized and nurtured during the country’s time as part of a vast patchwork making up French colonial West Africa.

The rise of a post-independence urban middle class willing to invest in the Burkinabe arts spawned a cadre of singers, bands, orchestras and, most importantly, competitive record labels who all played their part in ushering in a golden age of music in their landlocked nation during the 1970’s – a decade marred by political instability in the country and an era of artistic enlightenment empowering the whole of Africa.

The Sahelian climate fortunately bore no influence on the Burkinabé sound, which is cosmopolitan as it was raw. West Africa was and continues to remain deeply interconnected. In search of better gigs, well-to-do producers and sufficient recording equipment, Burkinabe musicians ventured across the surrounding region, returning home with a wealth of knowledge of their neighbors’ distinctive styles.

The raw sound of Burkina Faso combined Afro-Funk, traditional Islamic rhythms and subtle Afro-Latin sounds brought over by visiting Cuban ensembles. Mandingue melodies and guitar techniques from Mali and Guinea, however, were by far the most defining traits of a potent African mix that distinguished the Voltaic style between 1974 and 1979.”

Analog Africa: SoundCloud Facebook Twitter Website

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Auntie Flo

Auntie Flo: for fans of Four Tet and Gorillaz

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Auntie Flo is Brian d’Souza, a UK artist who’s been praised by The Guardian for his insightful and educational fusion of electronic and world influences. Check out his diverse body of work here.

I had never heard d’Souza’s music before, but after hearing “The Soniferous Garden,” it feels like I’ve been waiting for this kind of mixture ever since this website began – something that immediately hits you but then reveals more texture and color on repeated listens.

From Bandcamp:

“Produced and arranged over an intense, collaborative two day session at the Santuri studio as part of the Ugandan Bayimba arts festival in Kampala in September 2015, the project draws on Senegalese Sabar drumming, the plaintive notes of the Adungu (a Ugandan 10 string harp) and the vocals of Gio Kiyingi, underpinned by d’Souza’s arrangements and drum programming for two tracks clocking in at a healthy quarter of an hour each.

The title ‘The Soniferous Garden’ is taken from the writings of Canadian composer and environmentalist R Murray Schafer, a concept he defines as ‘a garden or place of acoustic delights’ – an aural space of retreat from the oppressive overabundance of acoustic information that characterizes the modern industrial world.

The two compositions are a response to this idea – drawing the listener into meandering, ever-evolving themes that weave in and out of a rhythmic base that is equal parts traditional percussion and electronic production.

The title track showcases the virtuoso Adungu playing of erstwhile Burnt Friedman collaborator Hakim Kiwanuka, and vocals from regular Highlife World Series contributor Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi whilst Rainfall on red earth (inspired by the vivid colours of the landscape around the studio) pushes the talking drum of Mama N’Dieck Seck Thiam to the fore.”

Auntie Flo: SoundCloud Bandcamp Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Agrim Agadez

Agrim Agadez: Sahelsounds’ latest field recordings focuses on Niger’s guitar music

agrim agadez

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Agrim Agadez is the latest release from Sahelsounds, an archival project started by Christopher Kirkley that explores the contemporary sounds of West Africa’s Sahel region. This latest batch of field recordings focuses on Niger’s guitar music.

From the Bandcamp bio:

“Agrim Agadez is a compilation of contemporary field recordings of guitar music from the Sahelian empire of Niger. Focusing on guitar music throughout the country, from meditative starlight ballads, fuzzy Hendrix covers, rag tag wedding bands, to political minded folk guitarists. A beautiful encapsulation of the diversity of guitar as it exists today, recorded over years of travels.

Like most of the Sahel, the guitar is found in every corner of Niger. Whether acoustic, electric, or built by hand, guitars are highly prized possessions and continue to inspire. Every corner of Niger has particular languages, customs, and cultures, and each corner has taken the instrument and transformed it in its own special way: from bar bands of the southern Hausa land, pastoral flock owning village autodidacts, rag-tag DIY wedding rock musicians, to political minded folk guitarists.

Agrim Agadez follows the sounds overheard playing on cassettes, seeking out the once legendary local heroes in their hometowns, and stumbling upon musicians in accidental chance encounters. The resulting record is a document of the guitar as it’s heard, experienced in the open air studios of Niger with a single microphone – with backdrops of children’s voices, crickets, and village ambience.”

Agrim Agadez / Sahelsounds: Website Bandcamp

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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diffie bosman

diffie bosman: blueish ambient electronic music from a pop-minded artist

diffie bosman

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diffie bosman is a Pretoria, South Africa artist who makes blueish ambient electronic music. diffie is also a member of the still moody but poppy trio I Am November.

diffie bosman: Bandcamp SoundCloud

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Mpho Sebina

Mpho Sebina: a promising young soul act

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Gaborone, Botswana’s Mpho Sebina only has one song out, yet “Loves Light” is an assertive introduction to a promising soul career. According to Afripop, we’re expecting an EP and LP soon.

Mpho Sebina: SoundCloud Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Joe King Kologbo & The High Grace

Joe King Kologbo: A rare Nigerian highlife LP finally gets its due

Joe King Kologbo

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Originally released in 1980, Joe King Kologbo‘s underrated ‘Sugar Daddy’ LP will be reissued next month. The rerelease of the Nigerian musician’s rare LP will kick off a string of new reissues of other excellent gems from across Africa and the Caribbean.

Some more info via the Bandcamp credits:

“Strut present the first in a series of essential original LP reissues exploring rare and under-rated African, Latin and Caribbean music classics, curated by Duncan Brooker. In January 2017, the series kicks off with ‘Sugar Daddy’, an experimental highlife / disco outing by Nigerian highlife guitarist Joe King Kologbo. Building his career as a composer and player with Eastern Star Dance Band at their residency at the Atlantic Hotel in Aba, Eastern Nigeria, Joe King Kologbo was forced to flee to Ghana when the Biafran War broke out in 1967. As his son Oghene recalls, ‘when war came, everything just scatter. He lost his house, everything.’

Joe King played with a variety of bands in Ghana including Real Ruby’s, a jazz highlife big band, before returning to Lagos in 1971. By the time he recorded the ‘Sugar Daddy’ LP for the tiny Electromat label in 1980, he was one of the older musicians on the circuit. Oghene Kologbo remembers, ‘My Mum used to say, ‘I hope you don’t go and play guitar everywhere and play around, don’t go and be Sugar Daddy!’ All my father’s friends nicknamed him ‘Sugar Daddy’ so he did the song in a fun way. He was a nice man. He never did ‘playboy’.’

‘Since he was based in the East during his early days, he was not as well known nationally as some of the other highlife players of the time,’ continues Oghene,’so it’s nice that this album is coming out again. It brings back good memories.’

Joe King Kologbo’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ is released in its original artwork and features new interviews with Oghene Kologbo and Sonny Akpan of The Funkees. The album comes remastered by The Carvery, with vinyl pressed at Pallas.'”

The entire LP will be available next month. In the meantime, enjoy “Sugar Daddy.”

Joe King Kologbo: Bandcamp

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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The Nile Project

The Nile Project: musicians from seven African countries unite

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The Nile Project is a cross-cultural musical collaboration among musicians who live along the Nile River. Musicians from Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda come together to write and perform music, each bringing their own styles and languages to the mix. The group’s second release, Jinja (out January 10th), features 10 originals written during the group’s 2nd annual gathering in Jinja, Uganda. Click here to learn more about their mission statement and how they’re using music to benefit communities along the Nile River.

The Nile Project: Bandcamp Website Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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Tumi Molekane

Tumi Molekane: now known as Stogie T.

tumi molekane

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Tumi Molekane (now known as Stogie T.) released “Too Long” back in January, and in the following months, one of South Africa’s most popular rappers released his self-titled debut album under his new name. Tumi is a gem and an exception in rap; he’s an acclaimed and popular rapper who’s maintained a strong 10+ year long career, which is praiseworthy for any rapper in the world. If you like what you hear, check out his work with Tumi and the Volume.

Tumi Molekane: Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
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