Thursday, March 29, 2007

Africa Soul

A very interesting thing happened to African music in the 60's and 70's as the influence of American soul and funk artists began to take hold. Stars like James Brown and Jimi Hendrix became worldwide phenomenons and their styles would infuse with music all over the world. Combine their new brand of soul music with traditional African rhythms and Cuban influences and a unique sound was born. Fortunately many of these great recordings by the likes of Manu Dibango, Mulate Astatqe and Fela Kuti are finding new audiences thanks to compilations from Luaka Bop, Luv N Haight and UK DJ Gilles Peterson just to name a few.

Super Eagles: Love's a Real Thing

Superstars in their native Ghana, Super Eagles only recorded one album, Viva in 1972. This is a great track that really shows the strong influence of American soul and rock. You can find it on the 2001 collection Senegambian Sensation. Love eesa reel ting!

Peter King: Ajo

Originally released on his 1972 album Omo Lawa, Ajo features soulful horns with more traditional African percussion. This is a tough one for me to sing along with, but the groove is undeniable. You can find this track on 2005's Gilles Peterson In Africa.

Fèqadu Amdè-Mesqel: Asmarina

This is definitely more on the jazzy side of things. It's one of my favorite tracks from the Gilles Peterson's Africa compilation. Originally released in 1974 on the album Yekatit/Ethio Jazz, this tune features a killer jazz flute and electric piano backed by a solid horn section. This track simmers with an almost eerie vibe.

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