Sep 14, 2016

From Namibia: Black Vulcanite - Black Colonialists


AFTER facing countless questions from fans on when their new album drops, Black Vulcanite yesterday announced that the day had finally arrived. And this time around, it was no April fool's joke.

Titled 'Black Colonialists', the album is a body of work that is themed around a Afrofuturistic theme as is evident from the cover art as well as most of the song titles.

Speaking to The Namibian soon after the announcement yesterday, Mark Mushiva expressed regret that it took so long for the album to drop but noted that is was unavoidable due to certain factors.

“It's really sad to say but a host of things kept us from releasing. Some of them included the fact that we had to migrate in terms of producers and had to start writing everything from scratch. I was also in Europe for quite some time so that played a role as well.”

The 19-track album, by the group, also made up of Nikolai 'Okin' Tjong­arero and Alain 'Ali That Dude' Villet, is well worth the wait, he said, and has a lot of hidden work as well as a concept art booklet. “We wanted to take time to make sure we really put out a very good product.”

'Black Colonialists' is heavily centred around Afrofuturism which is defined by Wikepedia as “a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of colour, but also to revise, interrogate and re-examine the historical events of the past”.

Black Vulcanite has throughout their work gravitated towards this theme and this time around, went a little further. The cover art features African heroes such as Steve Biko, Nora Schimming-Chase, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Daniel Tjongarero Snr, Thomas Sankara, Niko Bessinger, Hendrik Witbooi and Mandume ya Ndemufayo. “When we conceptualised the album, we asked ourselves what we wanted to project. We weaved in all the concepts from our first EP and amplified them. Afrofuturism itself has always been central to the Black Vulcanite motif,” Mushiva said.

The group worked with producers like Maloon The Boom, BeatSlangers and Chris-Tronix as well as newcomers such as Martin Amushendje, amongst others.

Collaborations on the album are packed with surprises, including award-winning duo Star Dust who feature on two tracks, 'Brazil' and 'Waiting for God'. “We've always had a deep respect for a lot of Star Dust's work and after last year's NAMAs when we performed together, we discussed possible collaborations,” Mushiva said. The two groups soon went into studio together. “There was a deep synergy between the way they sang and our songwriting,” Mushiva said of the musical connection that blossomed.

The first video from the album is expected to drop this month but Mushiva declined to give a specific date, saying that they want fans to fully digest the album first.

For purchases, fans can check out the group's social media pages for the numbers of distributors. Negotiations are still underway to get the album stocked in local music outlets.

namibian.com.na

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In 2005, Binyavanga Wainaina published his seminal How To Write About Africa essay. In it, the Kenyan author takes aim at the West for their one-dimensional depictions of Africa (war, famine, dying babies…that kind of shit). A year later, Wainaina’s essay grew into a book and still remains one of the sharpest pieces of satire and political insights in the continent’s literary canon.

This month, Namibian rap outfit Black Vulcanite released their debut album Black Colonialists – a follow up to their 2013 15-track ‘EP’ Remember The Future. As with their debut EP, the album is “a look back at the future”, with heavy Afrofuturist themes over neck-snapping snares, thumping kick patterns and jazzy melodies.

There are plenty of politics too.

“In the name of my fucking poor people, I summon you,” Mark Mushiva kicks off the album. On How To Rap About Africa the trio follow Wainaina’s tradition, knocking down one stereotype after the other. “Black, genocide, famine, safari…” the group lists on the chorus.

Given the collective nervous condition currently being experienced by black people, the world over, Black Colonialists comes across a message for the times. And as Wainaina did with How To Write About Africa, so too are Black Vulcanite staking a claim in constructing a new canon with their latest release.




Sep 9, 2016

From Zimbabwe: The Monkey Nuts


The Monkey Nuts are a Zimbabwean hip hop group consisting of three members: Joshua Chiundiza, Tinotenda Tagwirei and Impi Maph. They have been known for introducing a new sound on the scene in Harare since 2011, and are preparing to break out to the world as they got signed to renowned label BBE (UK) for the release of their EP Boombap Idiophonics, expected to drop on 27 April 2015. We spoke to Joshua for an introduction to a group that could be seen as an anomaly in the Zim hip hop scene, but that’s ultimately a product of the interconnected world in which influences bounce across stages and the internet.

“Have you heard how they catch monkeys in Brazil, Julie? Let me tell you. They put a nut in a bottle, and tie the bottle to a tree. The monkey grasps the nut, but the neck of the bottle is too narrow for the monkey to withdraw its paw and the nut. You would think the monkey would let go of the nut and escape, wouldn’t you? But it never does. It is so greedy it never releases the nut and is always captured. Remember that story, Julie. Greed is a dangerous thing. If you give way to it, sooner or later you will be caught.”

The above quotation is one of my favorites, only this is not Brazil but Zimbabwe and these are The Monkey Nuts! What’s the story? 

Yeah, the name is an interesting one. Wish the story behind it was as insightful as the idiom you referred to. To clarify things a bit, it’s actually The Monkey Nuts, like The Who or The Bhundu Boys, and not just Monkey Nuts. It’s a mere translation of the Shona term ‘nyimo’. Nyimo are known as groundnuts or monkey nuts in English. We just liked it and it seems to catch the attention of people more often than not.

You guys were apparently born and raised in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, a country that has seen a lot of changes in the last decade and a half but someone you seem to have skipped over a lot of thin ice successfully. How did you hone your craft in the years before you ‘caught your break’?

Zim has been going through a bit of a tough time indeed. But Zimbabweans are quite the resilient bunch. And that’s how one has to be in such times, resolute. And it’s on the backdrop of such difficulties that we believe we can push through by offering something creative and innovative. The changes that our country has gone through have been good for us in a sense. They’ve challenged us to think and produce something we believe will be authentic and genuine.

We’ve been at this ‘seriously’ for close to four years now. It’s not really that long actually, but from the moment we started out, we’ve managed to link up with some individuals and organisations that have provided us with maximum support. Organisations like the Magamba Network, Zimbabwe German Society and Alliance Francais de Harare. They simply liked what we were doing and offered to support us.

We basically do everything ourselves in terms of the creative process. We write our own songs, compose and produce the music. We do play instruments (guitar, bass, synth, keys, emcee, vocals), we are a band ultimately, and the fact that we are cousins contributes to that synergy. We have spent a lot of time together and we know each other really well. It’s always mainly just the three of us when we are conceptualising a project and we usually bring in session players for live performances/recordings (drums, mbira, marimba, bass).

What are the examples of contemporary Zimbabwean issues that stir your creative muses and why?
 
We’d like to think that we are experimental and we are often caught up in between two minds. We have our African heritage, but then we also carry that which we have tried to shake of quite unsuccessfully; our colonial past. From our observation, Zimbabwe is pretty interesting in that regard. We are trying to forge out a strong Zimbabwean/African identity, but are yet to fully understand what that actually means.

A lot of what we do, and specifically the way we look at each other from a cultural perspective, is still heavily influenced by our colonial past. Of course one may say, but for how long? How long will you allow your past to lord over you? Well, the moment we understand why it is that we do things in a particular way, will be the moment that it will be easier for us to embrace change.
 
It’s this observation that inspires our music, that continuous clash of two worlds. It’s another reason why we like to work and collaborate with artists and musicians from different genres. Our latest project is a collaboration with a French underground DJ from Marseille [Dj Oil from France, ed.] who’s inspired by jazz/blues rhythms from the 50’s and 60’s. The collaboration also features vocals and mbira from one of Zimbabwe’s leading female musicians [Hope Masika, ed.].

Following the success of Mizchif’s ‘Fashionable’ in the nineties that was a roaring success across the continent, what other Zimbabwean rappers have stepped up to take up the mantle? And what is the average perception or knowledge of the Zimbabwean hip hopper about the celebrated rapper known as MF Doom (Daniel Dumile)?

Daniel Dumile is a bit of a mystery to everyone isn’t he? The US stake claim to his fame more than anyone else. But there is definitely acknowledgement of his Zimbabwean heritage by the Zimbabwean hip-hop puritan, but wouldn’t say that his influence has been that substantial. Mizchif on the other hand, yeah he definitely inspired a lot of heads on the scene. The 90’s was a pretty good era… we had Miz, before him there was Peace of Ebony and Zim Legit [Zimbabwe Legit, ed.] over in the States. There was also Shingi ‘Mau Mau’ who’s still at it and the late King Pinn. Now we’ve got so much more talent on display, emcees like Aerosol, Outspoken, Upmost, San Sebb, Synik, T.Shoc. Fore, Jnr Brown, just to name a few.


Do you imagine that your sign up by BBE will make you a force to reckon with in African hip hop?
We’re happy that we signed with BBE, but this is were the work really begins for us. We’re not really concerned about competing with other artists across the continent. Our main objective has always been to create a global product in terms of our music. Signing with BBE means we are close to achieving that, but there is plenty of work to be done. We are still growing; we are still finding our sound.
What is the state of Zimbabwean hip hop, and where do The Monkey Nuts feature in its social hierarchy?

What is the state of Zimbabwean Hip Hop? Interesting question. Wish there was an easy answer. The talent and work ethic is there, there’s no doubt about that. The scene has grown, but its still pretty small. We have taken a lot from the American blueprint, but done very little to break it down and redefine it for ourselves. In our opinion, there is still a lack of identity, that’s the main thing. It’s this lack of identity that has blunted our creative edge.

We’ve got emcees over here comparing themselves to or duplicating American and Western artists in style and sound. The same goes for the producers. They will gladly sample Nina Simone or Howling Wolf and completely ignore the sounds and rhythms from Zimbabwean music legends like John Chibadura or James Chimombe. It’s not like that with hip-hop acts from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa for example. And that is the main thing we felt we had to find in terms of The Monkey Nuts, identity. And we’re getting there. We aren’t really sure where or if we fit in, in terms of the Zimbabwean Hip Hop hierarchy. What we do know is that we are Zimbabwean and we are making hip-hop, global hip-hop. And that’s the plan for us, to record, release and perform our music on an international platform.

You can ‘catch’ The Monkey Nuts online via their Facebook page or Twitter.

On their Soundcloud page you can listen to the ‘Something Out Of Nothing’ EP which can be downloaded for free here.


africanhiphop.com


Sep 5, 2016

From Zimbabwe: Wells Fargo - Watch Out!




Vinyl Me Please writes:

Every once in awhile an album or band comes out of nowhere and takes over your turntable. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s one of the best parts of loving this stuff in the first place and when it does, you feel like you’ll never be the same. And, dramatics aside, you probably won’t be. There’s a special kind of love you develop for music you wake up one day knowing nothing about and go to sleep feeling overwhelmed by. A special attachment you develop to the things that wreck you.

That’s how Wells Fargo’s album Watch Out! was for us. The people who made this record, and the world it came out of, make for the most compelling and heart wrenching story we’ve ever heard behind an album we’ve featured. No question, the history of this thing is going to shake you up. And the music itself is no less forceful. Released as a call to arms for a blooming civil war and kept from a full release by racist labels, Watch Out! is the kind of full frontal revolution rock that would have made flower children squeamish and Jimi Hendrix weep. There’s so much more I could say about it but we’ve brought in some of our favorite writers to do that for me and I can’t wait for you to read what they’ve put together. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: This album matters in the same way all the great ones do. Because of the freedom it brings whenever it’s played.

nowagainrecords.com

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Wells Fargo were part of a counterculture that has been almost totally forgotten, even in its country of origin. In the 1970s, during the last decade of Zimbabwe’s War of Independence, rock music exploded with a message of unity and hope. Wells Fargo was at the forefront of the “Heavy Music” movement serving as fuel for the fight. Originally released as a series of singles, this is the first time their music has been released since its initial, limited pressing. More than four decades later we proudly present to you, in collaboration with Now-Again Records, Watch Out! for the first time in album form.

vinylmeplease.com 

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Don’t let the all-American corporate name fool you. Wells Fargo were an edgy, guitar driven and politically dangerous band from 1970s Rhodesia — a group that defied the odds of political apartheid and took incredible risks in performing their music. While their sound draws parallels to the more melodic works of Jimi Hendrix and (especially) Black Merda, Wells Fargo cut a unique take on rock n roll; one of haunting melodies and relentless rhythm.

At the time this style of music was known simply and appropriately as ‘heavy rock’ in Africa, and the groups playing in this style adopted the stance of peace, love and unity, all the while being seen as a crucial force in the liberation movement of the continent. Influenced by the screenings of Woodstock, several rock festivals were organized in the 1970s, proving to be culturally progressive — progressive in that they were fully integrated during a time in which segregation was still an ugly reality. “Watch Out”, the group’s most famous recording, was adopted by the liberation movement as a theme song, prompting the menacing investigative arm of the Rhodesian government’s Special Branch to spy on both the group and their fans. It was this political heat that eventually resulted in the brutal beating of the band by police following a concert brought to an abrupt halt.

aquariumdrunkard.com
 

Sep 2, 2016

Vaudou Game - Kidayu



When it came to recording ‘Kidayu’, the new album from Vaudou Game, released 7th October on Hot Casa Records, Peter Solo did not need to consult the oracle, instead relying on the voodoo rhythms and raw afro-funk and soul that has served him so well.

Solo immersed his Lyon companions in the flourishing Afrobeat rhythms of the 1970s along with those of traditional song. But far from being backward-looking, together they deliver an original style of music, dynamic and jubilant. Marked at times by James Brown-style shouts, ‘Kidayu’ pairs voodoo harmonies with funk and blues.Born in Aného-Glidji, Togo, the birthplace of the Guin tribe and a major site of the Voodoo culture, Peter Solo was raised with this tradition’s values of respect for all forms of life and the environment. At an early age, he made a makeshift guitar, and his music propelled him into the spotlight, his undeniable talent earning the respect of renowned African artists. Mastering traditional percussion instruments, his desire to discover the world and to carry his practice forward led him to England, where he became immersed in gospel music and then eventually to France where he calls home today.

The idea of integrating the haunting voodoo lines, sung in honour of the Divinities, into energetic 70s afrofunk, is, in Solo’s mind, an obvious extension of the analogy he found between this voodoo tradition and trance inducers such as the soul, funk, and rhythm ‘n blues of James Brown and Otis Redding.Solo had a vision of codifying the musical scales that are found in sacred songs of Beninese and Togolese vodun music. The terms “vadou” and “voodoo,” which come from the word “vodun,” refer to spirit and name a blended culture of voodoo practices from different West African ethnicities.Entirely produced, recorded, mixed and mastered using vintage material and instruments produced in the 70s, old cassette tapes were the “grigris” (or lucky charms) which proved most effective to ward off digital corruption of their music and allow them to thrive as a tight-knit group with a solid groove.

Kidayu means “sharing” in Kabye, the language spoken in northern Togo, and sharing, is the philosophy of Vaudou Game – both in their recorded music and on stage.

In songs like ‘Natural Vaudou’, ‘Cherie Nye’ and ‘La Vie C’est Bon’, the unbeatable trance rhythm inherited from James Brown and Fela Kuti, icons of Funk and Afrobeat, are evident.

Across ‘Kidayu’, Vaudou Game sound like the big bands from the golden age of Ethiopian dance music but it’s in songs like ‘La Dette’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Elle Decide’ where they show their greatest inspiration; the rumbling soul and funk of James Brown. Raw funky basslines let Solo’s lyrics bounce back and forth until the result is so pulsating and mesmeric you just have to move your feet.The ecstatic voodoo rituals that Solo grew up with are used as a fertile basis for Vaudou Game’s sound. In using the original form, he decorates his songs with guitars, keyboards, bass, rhythms and counter rhythms, and a steaming pair of brass.

Since the release of their debut album ‘Apiafo’ in 2014, Vaudou Game have never turned down the heat on over 130 stages across Europe, Africa, America and Asia and can count BBC Radio 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson as a fan, voting the album ‘Record of the Week’ on his show.On ‘Kidayu’, Solo is joined by Vicente Fritis on keyboards/backing vocals, Jerôme Bartolome on saxophone/percussions/backing vocals, Guilhem Parguel on trombone/percussions/backing vocals, Simon Bacroix on bass/backing vocals, Hafid Zouaoui on drums, and sound engineer Stephane Pauze.

hotcasarecords.com


Aug 16, 2016

Light & Sound Of Mogadishu



There was a time in the 70s when Mogadishu was the coolest place in Africa. It was a city of whitewashed coral houses, colonial arcades on tree-lined boulevards and Italian Art Deco cafes looking over a cobalt-blue sea.

And it was funky. Young women in miniskirts strolled alongside older women in billowing direh. Young dudes in bell bottoms and sporting serious Afros, strutted past groups of men in mabwis kilts and white skull caps. And the local bands – inspired by James Brown, The Doors and Santana – were laying down some of the heaviest organ-led funk on the continent.

Sadly, that Mogadishu is long gone. But its spirit lives on in this collection of 45s just released by Afro7 Records.

The singles were originally released by the local Light & Sound label. The label was an off-shoot of the ‘Light & Sound’ electric appliance shop, both owned by local entrepreneur Ali Hagi Dahir. Not only could Light & Sound sell you the record player, they could sell you the LP to play on it as well.
The recording studio sat in a back room just off the main sales floor. It was the first privately owned studio in Somalia. Unlike the State-owned studios at Radio Mogadishu, here musicians were free to experiment and get into their own groove.

The best tracks from the time are built around the deep groves of Ahmed Naalji and his super-tight Sharero Band. Naalji cut his teeth playing with the Radio Mogadishu Orchestra, but soon became frustrated by the style of music they were forced to play.

It wasn’t long before he started his own band. Originally called ‘Gemini’, they were soon known as the Sharero Band, and shamelessly copied the heavy funk coming out of America at the time. They quickly become the hottest band in Mogadishu performing every weekend at the Jazeera nightclub in the south of the city, the Juba nightclub in the centre and the Al-Curuba nightclub in the iconic hotel of the same name.

This particular release is the first from a new label, Afro7 Records. It’s an off-shoot of the popular website, Afro7.net, which has become the go-to place on the Internet for East African music.
It’s an album of two halves – the first featuring funkier stuff from the Sharero Band, the second focusing on the more traditional sounds from Magool, the biggest female Somali artist of her time.
Personally, I would have loved an entire album of the grinding keyboards and wah wah guitar of the Sharero band. But with Mogadishu Light & Sound only ever pressing 150 copies of each their singles, I understand that they may be difficult to lay hands on.

So I’m simply thankful for Side A. And know it’s going to get a bit of a workout over the months to come.

(Just one more thing: I’m not sure what the sources were for these songs – I can’t imagine they’d be great – but the mastering is excellent. The artwork is topnotch too. So well done Afro7!)

africanrevolutions.com

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Blue and White, the colors of the Somali flag, Blue and White, the colors of Mogadishu. This city, that over the last seventeen years has become a symbol of anarchy and suffering, was once one of East Africa’s most appealing capitals. Friends and colleagues who lived in Mogadishu in the early 1970s remember a city of whitewashed corral houses, with Arabic arches and elaborately carved rosettes, of Italian art-deco cafes and colonial administrative buildings, a city of tree shaded boulevards, and the cobalt blue of the Indian Ocean. They remember a city where young women in miniskirts strolled alongside older women in colorful and billowing Direh, where young dudes grew Afros and strutted, in bell bottoms, past groups of men in ma’awis kilts and white skullcaps. Today, living far from Mogadishu, these friends and colleagues feed their memories with a steady diet of thirty-year old recordings by their favorite poets and singers from ‘back home’.

These rich memories, and reveries, of the early 1970s are captured in this set of 45s on the ‘Light & Sound’ label from Mogadishu. The label was an offshoot of the successful ‘Light & Sound’ electronic appliance store located in the center of the city. The store, which shared a building with the famous ‘Cinema Hamar’ (which was the first enclosed movie theater in Mogadishu), and the label, were both owned by Dahir Omar. The recording studio was located in a back room off the main sales floor, and may have been the first private recording studio in Somalia (at the time most recordings were made in the studios of Radio Mogadishu or Radio Hargeysa). Today, both the store and the ‘Cinema Hamar’ are closed. I do not know how many singles were released on ‘Light & Sound’ (I have not yet been able to track down Dahir Omar, or anyone who worked at the store), but the 45s below represent some of Somalia’s most loved artists.

Blue and White, the colors of the Somali flag, Blue and White, the colors of Mogadishu. This city, that over the last seventeen years has become a symbol of anarchy and suffering, was once one of East Africa’s most appealing capitals. Friends and colleagues who lived in Mogadishu in the early 1970s remember a city of whitewashed corral houses, with Arabic arches and elaborately carved rosettes, of Italian art-deco cafes and colonial administrative buildings, a city of tree shaded boulevards, and the cobalt blue of the Indian Ocean. They remember a city where young women in miniskirts strolled alongside older women in colorful and billowing Direh, where young dudes grew Afros and strutted, in bell bottoms, past groups of men in ma’awis kilts and white skullcaps. Today, living far from Mogadishu, these friends and colleagues feed their memories with a steady diet of thirty-year old recordings by their favorite poets and singers from ‘back home’.

These rich memories, and reveries, of the early 1970s are captured in this set of 45s on the ‘Light & Sound’ label from Mogadishu. The label was an offshoot of the successful ‘Light & Sound’ electronic appliance store located in the center of the city. The store, which shared a building with the famous ‘Cinema Hamar’ (which was the first enclosed movie theater in Mogadishu), and the label, were both owned by Dahir Omar. The recording studio was located in a back room off the main sales floor, and may have been the first private recording studio in Somalia (at the time most recordings were made in the studios of Radio Mogadishu or Radio Hargeysa). Today, both the store and the ‘Cinema Hamar’ are closed. I do not know how many singles were released on ‘Light & Sound’ (I have not yet been able to track down Dahir Omar, or anyone who worked at the store), but the 45s below represent some of Somalia’s most loved artists.

‘Shimbir Yohou’ is one of Magool’s most famous recordings from the 1970s. Addressing herself to a little bird, she sings, ‘where do you fly? Do you serve the people, or do you just follow the air streams? Can you take a message for me? I am lost and tired. Little bird can you find your way? If I tell you where to go, can you take a message for me?’

Hibbo Nuura, who today lives in Rochester, Minnesota, and has been performing for almost three decades, made some of her earliest recordings for the ‘Light & Sound’ label. Born in the Northeastern city of Boorama, she grew up in Mogadishu, and started singing at the age of 7. In 1970, when she was only 14 years old, the singer and composer Ahmed Rabsha discovered Hibbo, and three years later, he brought her to the ‘Light & Sound’ recording studio.

Ahmed Rabsha was born in Mogadishu in 1945, and started singing when he was only 13 years old. He made his public debut in 1963, performing at weddings and parties, and six years later formed his first group, ‘The Soul Full Five’. In 1970, he was hired as a music teacher at the Institute for Traditional Arts in Mogadishu. One of his first responsibilities was to recruit talented young female singers and teach them a new repertoire of patriotic songs (General Mohammed Siad Barre had taken power in 1969, and was just kicking off his ‘social revolution’). In 1974, Rabsha won a scholarship to study music in the Sudan, and by the end of the decade he had moved to Dubai, where he trained the Police Orchestra. He spent the last years of his life in London working on a history of Somali music. He passed away last fall.

This duo with Ahmed Rabsha, which was released back in 1973, was Hibbo’s second recording. She described this music to me as Somali Rumba.
 
These next four tracks are built on the deep-grooves of Ahmed Naaji and his great ‘Sharero Band’. The Naaji family is from the Benadir ethnic minority, who have roots in Yemen and the Persian Gulf, and who were some of Mogadishu’s earliest residents. In the early 1970s, Ahmed, who for many years was a member of the Radio Mogadishu orchestra, formed a band to perform a new style of Somali music; one that was inspired by Santana, The Doors, and James Brown.

His new group was originally called ‘Gemini’, but by the early 1970s it was going by the name ‘Sharero band’. The core of the group consisted of Ahmed on keyboards, Ali Naaji on bass guitar, Anter Naaji on drums, Said Abdallah on lead guitar, and Mohammed Abadallah ‘Jeeri’ on lead vocals. They performed most weekends at the Jazeera nightclub in southern Mogadishu, at the Juba nightclub in central Mogadishu, or at the Al-Curuba nightclub, located in the majestic Al-Curuba hotel. The group split up some time in the 1980s. Today, Ahmed Naaji lives in Yemen, and continues to perform throughout the Somali Diaspora, Ali Naaji lives in Denmark, and a new generation of Naajis is making music in Toronto.

blogs.voanews.com


 










Aug 12, 2016

Benis Cletin - Jungle Magic


Full scale Afro-disco heat here on reissue machine PMG, opening with the mindblowing title track. Benis Cletin’s dog-rare 1979 cut “Jungle Magic” lays a warped synth over a lethal bassline and a slow Afro-disco groove, topping the whole thing off with a unique homage to Donna Summer... Originally released on Afrodisia records in 1979, the result sounds like the the confused love-child of a time-travelling Derrick May and a Nigerian disco queen - timeless eccentricity that you won't be able to resist. From there we traverse through Moog topped funk, village disco and hypno groove, all fusing the organic African sounds with the electronic. If you're looking for that wonky early doors cut to get the crowd moving in the most peculiar way, I'd suggest you turn your attention toward the oddball, AORfro funk of "Fireman".

Patrick says: If you're looking for a psychedelic stormer which sounds a bit like a Nigerian cover of "House Of The Rising Sun" but with squirmy Moogs and Donna Summer style vocals - then you're in luck. "Jungle Magic" is a gorgeous LP of dreamy African textures led off by that massive title track!

piccadillyrecords.com

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This 1979 Nigerian cut somehow contains dark proto-acid squiggles that would captivate Derrick May, a weirdo chant about "jungle magic" that could hypnotize Lee "Scratch" Perry, and a wonky clavioline (?) honk that could mate with geese. We then have Cletin singing a type of "superstition" that outstrips Stevie Wonder's own black magic funk as man, woman and child all change into beasts within the song. Uh…what? (Exactly.)  

residentadvisor.net 

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Regarded as an acid boogie classic, Jungle Magic is a cosmic transmission from the early days of Nigerian disco. The bass lines are lethal. The synths are fat and squelchy. And the groove is non-stop and primal.

Channeling the jungle gods of funk and introducing them to Donna Summers, the title track, ‘Jungle Magic’, takes you to a freaky place you didn’t know existed but never want to leave. ‘Love Forever’ brings a Calypso party vibe while ‘Fireman’ suggests Prince may have been listening to Benis when he wrote ‘Alphabet Street’.

The album was composed and produced by Benis Cletin. He also played guitar and synthesizer and sang lead vocals. George Achini from the Mighty Flames stars on bass and Mambo Sticks, Nigeria’s leading disco drummer, lays down the rock solid grooves.

Benis went on to release three more albums, two of which will be re-issued by PMG soon. Jungle Magic remains the album where he introduced his irresistible brand of psychedelic disco funk to world.

africanrevolutions.com




Tracklist

A1. Jungle Magic
A2. Mr. Teacher
A3. Rain, Sun And Love
B1. Love Forever
B2. Fireman
B3. Beautiful Continent 

Aug 11, 2016

Geraldo Pino ‎– Boogie Fever


When Geraldo Pino rolled into town from Sierra Leone with his Heartbeats, Nigeria had never seen anything quite like them. Slick, tight and playing the latest James Brown-style funk on the very expensive equipment, they soon had the country in their thrall. ‘Made me fall right on my ass!’ a chastened Fela Kuti remembered in 1982. Fans of Geraldo’s disarmingly eloquent enunciation on early albums - re-issued soon by PMG - may shocked the gruff, rawer tones on Boogie Fever. The album starts with a jaunty reggae track extolling the virtues of ganja and, later, ‘Dance Fever’ sounds like it was recorded down in Trenchtown after Geraldo had taken a toke or two of his own advice. Even the more traditional funk tracks like ‘African Hustle’ have a darker, more threatening vibe. Not that that is a bad thing. Boogie Fever is the sound of consummate musician letting his hair down. Or in Geraldo’s case, letting it grow into a tight afro and not bothering to watch his Ps and Qs anymore. - Peter Moore,

"Geraldo Pino came to Nigeria from Freetown in Sierra Leone in 1968 with his band THE HEARTBEATS and quickly changed the music scene completely. He was the first bandleader that brought sophistication into show business. He owned the best musical equipments, his costumes on stage was fantastic, his musicians were good looking guys with afro hair styles. His drummer then was Francis Foster who later played percussion with Paul Simon. Pino got the title of THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS in Nigeria. Girls loved him. I later joined his band with new set of musicians in 1974 as a singer while he based in Kano in the north of Nigeria. To survive in Nigeria those days as a musician you have to be very good on stage and Pino was. His stagecraft was exhilarating, his costumes were dazzling, he command the band and his audience wherever he played with his dancesteps and he became an inspiration to many Musicians. He later moved to Port Harcourt where he lived and died many years ago. Though he is dead, his music lives on through his many songs and this vinyl in your hands. His memory also lived with those who watched him on stage. Ladies and gentle men, this is GERALDO PINO!"

Steve Black


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"What's that Discogs? One copy for sale for £4,495.86? Fuck that! I'mma get this official reissue on the rather marvelous PMG if it's alright with you..."

Second hand piss-takery aside, this late 70s slice of groove heavy Afro-funk regularly changes hands for a monkey, so your bank manager should be thanking those fine folk in Austria. Drawing on reggae, disco and funk, Mr Pino gets up, down and all the way around across six party starting, largely instrumental offerings. Any record which starts with a buoyant reggae-disco ode to Barry's favourite plant life ("Ganja") is gonna be dope (ahem!), but when we're then taken through a bordering on ludicrous Afro-funk rendition of Beethoven's 5th, you know we're in safely wasted hands. You could easily assume this discoid arrangement would be whack, but you'd be better served throwing some shapes to the buzzing Moogs, chiming keys and wild wah guitar which make this beast purr. Things straighten out for the full steam ahead funk of title track "Boogie Fever" before "Dance For Love" opens the flip with a weirdo reggae lilt. If you're looking for the best party of your life condensed into five and a half minutes, then you should probably cast an ear over "African Hustle", crack your knuckles and dive into air piano ecstasy. After that Moog-led madness, there's just enough time to spark one up to the Afrobeat-meets-reggae of "Shake Shake Shake" before the run out groove reminds you it's time to pick the kids up from school. Killer!

piccadillyrecords.com

Tracklist
A1 Ganja (Ganja)
A2 5th Bethoven Africana
A3 Boogie Fever
B1 Dance For Love
B2 African Hustle
B3 Shake Shake Shake