Msafiri Zawose

Msafiri Zawose: keeping the traditional Tanzanian Gogo style relevant 

Msafiri Zawose

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I’ve heard Gogo a few times, though I think Msafiri Zawose‘s take is the most accessible and immediately enjoyable. Zawose’s music is also the most “modern” sounding because you can actually hear a bass (and some synth!) and it sounds sample-friendly; someone call Kanye West and get some zeze on his comeback record.

Read more about Zawose’s life here.

From Bandcamp:

“Zawose is renowned for his traditional Gogo style music, which relies heavily on the zeze & limba in combination with distinct lyrical harmonies. This rich musical tradition is from the Wagogo people Dodoma in Central Tanzania. Zawose, son of the late Dr. Hukwe Zawose, continues this musical tradition while fusing with more modern styles, creating a truly distinct and unique sound.”

Los Camaroes

Los Camaroes: Analog Africa Rediscovers Cameroon’s Lost Great Band

Los Camaroes

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The next release from Analog Africa is the 1979 final album by Los Camaroes, the legendary Cameroon band with a legendary backstory worthy of some Wes Anderson movie (I can see Anderson entering his tropical Afrobeat phase for his next movie). The full album will be available digitally on September 29th.

From Bandcamp:

“Los Camaroes emerged at the end of the 1960s from the town of Maroua in the northern, predominantly Islamic area of Cameroon. After changes in name, in lineup and in management, they worked their way south to the capital to make a name for themselves; in the span of only a few years they changed Cameroon’s music scene forever, leaving a trail of sold-out nightclubs and monster radio hits in their wake. Then, at the height of their popularity, they broke up.”

Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar: Niger guitarist soundtracks a Tuareg Purple Rain

Mdou Moctar

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Our love of Tuareg guitars is pretty obvious, so of course I have to write about Niger’s Mdou Moctar. Also, I recently (two years late) started listening to the original soundtrack for Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, a Tuareg film reimaging Prince’s Purple Rain in the Saharan Desert. This explains why the album cover looks so familiar and why I’m drawn to this record.

The album was produced by Christopher Kirkley, the man behind the sahelsounds project we often cover here.

Moctar kicks off his US tour next month and will be in New York in September and October. Full dates here.

From Bandcamp:

“Rocking soundtrack recording from “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it,” a revolutionary story of guitars, motorcycles, cellphones – and the music of a new generation. Original compositions from Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar from the film about his rise to fame in the city of Agadez. From the raucous heavy psychedelic to the beautiful pentatonic sublime. Includes original compositions and reverb heavy intermissions film score.”

Mdou Moctar: Facebook Twitter

Class Suicide

Class Suicide: Mid-00’s Kenyan hardcore punk

Class Suicide

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Though not unheard of, established African punk and metal scenes are not well known outside the continent. If you’re going to start anywhere, start with Nairobi’s Class Suicide, a mid-00’s hardcore punk band often credited to be one of the first hardcore bands in Eastern Africa. Debut album Storm The Gates doesn’t sound pretty, but it does everything a punk record should do and is compelling in how it engages and surprises.

Read more about the history of Nairobi’s fascinating punk and metal scene via OkayAfrica.

From Bandcamp:

“Class Suicide was a band that brought the heavy metal and punk rock sounds of Nairobi together for 2 brief chaotic years. A politically driven bunch of crusty fellows from far away en Afrique (Nairobi, Kenya) Croe (guitars & vox) and Gearz (Bass), both formerly of the punk rock band Impish, joined forces with Adam (vox) and Kwame (percussion) who had been playing in heavy metal cover bands in late 2003. Croe had a tape in his car containing songs from: W.B.T.D., Tragedy and Catharsis. The band found common ground in the sounds and style of crust and within 2 weeks already written a handful of songs and performed live. The sound is of deep guttural vocals and violent tones and rhythm. This is balanced by melodies and rhythm both confident and delicate. The band has forged these qualities together with their live energy on their debut release ‘Storm The Gates’ originally released in December 2005 on CD in Kenya.”

Shina Williams and His African Percussionists

Shina Williams and His African Percussionists: Nigerian afro-disco at its finest

Shina Williams and His African Percussionists

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Disappointed by the new Arcade Fire album? Don’t despair! Don’t give up on disco! Listen to this killer Shina Williams and His African Percussionists track, the pinnacle of late ’70s Nigerian afro-disco. The song is re-released via Strut, a UK reissues label specializing in soul, funk, world sounds, disco, post-punk, and industrial music.

From Bandcamp:

“Strut present a brand new 12′ reissue of Shina Williams’ monster Nigerian disco anthem ‘Agboju Logun’, pairing the rare original album version (originally released on Phonodisk Nigeria) with the more sparse 12′ remix which surfaced later internationally on Earthworks. This is the third release on STRUT’S new Original Masters Series.”

Shina Williams and His African Percussionists: Facebook Twitter SoundCloud Website

Sufyvn

Sufyvn: old school Nubian Sudanese percussion and grooves

sufyvn

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I get the same feeling from listening to Sufyvn that I do listening to Tame Impala – a sort of otherworldliness that I can best describe as an ancient psychedelic sound. The Sudanese Beatsmith has been consistently releasing excellent music for the past couple of years, including his latest release, the Ascension EP, out now.

From Bandcamp:

“The second installment of a four-part series. Compositions inspired by Nubian Sudanese percussion salvaged from old cassette tapes in Sufyvn’s hometown of Khartoum…Concept, arrangement, and cover artwork by Sufyvn.”

Sufyvn: SoundCloud Facebook Twitter

Kalahari Surfers

Kalahari Surfers: dub rhythms meets South African punk commentary

Kalahari Surfers

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Kalahari Surfers have been making political and satire music in South Africa since the ’80s, with composer and producer Warrick Sony leading the group for all this time. The grooves on all the tracks sneak up on you, using well-placed repetition and sound recordings. The mixture of dub rhythms and punk commentary makes this an excellent DIY South African group.

From Bandcamp:

“This was commissioned by Microdot Records for their Africa in Trance series – After working on the documentary ” Ochre and Water ” director Craig Matthew gave me permission to use some of the sound recorded during that period. These were chants of the Himba people of Northern Namibia. For further information see the impressive DOXA website: www.doxa.co.za”

Kalahari Surfers: Facebook SoundCloud

Beating Heart

Beating Heart: remixes of African field recordings for a good cause

beating heart

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I’ve been listening to a lot of Beating Hearts lately, specifically its debut release from last year that includes remixes of old Malawi field recordings. This month, the collective released its South Africa compilation, and I’m excited to see what countries the albums cover from here.

Learn more about the organization here.

From Bandcamp:

“[We are] a collective of artists and enthusiasts who believe in the power of music to create a world without borders. Born in the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, the project sprung from a vision to bring the world’s largest archive of African field recordings into the present day. For this album, [we] inspired some of today’s hottest producers to build new compositions using original field recordings made in Malawi in the 1950s…Moving nation by nation, each release from the collective raises monies for the communities that created the original music.”

Beating Heart: Website SoundCloud Facebook Twitter