Category Archives: Congo

Cranky Genius: Docteur Nico

Docteur Nico

Docteur Nico

A short thin man, Nicholas Kasanda wa Mikalay, died in 1985 at the age of 44 in the central African country, Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo). In his short and intense life, Dr. Nico, as he was known to his millions of African fans, released hundred of singles, played for Presidents, led (very poorly) his own bands and founded record labels. Quite simply he is regarded as one of the most influential guitar players ever to emerge from Africa, introducing a crystalline tone which was often compared to an electronic keyboard, as well as the sounds of the Hawaiian slide guitar to Congolese music. His late 1960’s band African Fiesta Susika in which he led a three guitar attack has been called ‘the finest guitar threesome ever to grace the company of a single band, anywhere’.

Although he was a musical genius, Docteur Nico was a poor businessman. Though he was able to attract great talents to his band, they never seemed to stay very long, citing, ‘Nico’s poor treatment’ and arrogance. Despite this, at his height (1960’s-mid-70s’) Dr Nico toured extensively all across the African continent, pulling huge adoring crowds at every stop. In the constellation of modern Congolese musicians he is considered one of the holy trinity along with Rochereau and Franco.

Herewith is a simply delightful collection of Dr. Nico compositions from the mid-70s that perfectly sums up his guitar playing style. Full of wonderful, melodious and intricate picking, Hawaiian twang and even a few English language rockers, this is a ‘must have’ album.

Enjoy very much. Very often. Very loud.

& l'Orchestre African Fiesta

Track Listing:

01 Sanza zomi na mibale

02 Angele ozali wapi

03 Canshita

04 Marie Nella

05 Save me

06 Zadio

07 Nalingi yo na motema

08 Nazali bloko te

09 Suavilo

10 Sookie

Docteur is in.

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Congo’s first Guitar God: Henri Bowane

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This a bonzer record.

Henri Bowane was a founding father of that strain of African music that has now become a heritage of the entire music loving world, soukous. He was a guitarist who played with Wendo Kolosy one of the early proponents and creators of Congolese rumba which later morphed, in the riverside and dark alley clubs of Kinshasa and Brazzaville, into the soukous.

Indeed, so influential was Bowane that we should recall a few of his many accomplishments.

1)He was arguably the first guitar god of Congo, playing long free-twirling lines that came to be known as sebene (seven) in reference to the 7th chord. Discos and dance parties where Bowane played would be interrupted mid-solo by shouts of “Sebene! Sebene!”

2) He was Franco’s first boss and mentor, again arguably, being labeled the man who ‘discovered’ Congo’s greatest guitar player.

3) He owned Kinshasa’s first Cadillac.

Not a bad resume if you ask me.

In the mid-70’s he recorded his sole solo album, which is what he share tonight. What a snorter. What a ripper. What a joy. Rumba, soukous and even an English language mid-60’s heavy garage grinder, are the delights you’ll discover here.

Go forth and listen. (Be prepared to grin!)

Double Take -Tala Kaka

Track Listing

01 Sam Ba No

02 Cherie Natou

03 Natali Nato

04 Fou-Nous-La-Paix

05 Monoko Ya Mboka

06 Marie Louise

07 Wabon’kum Blues

H…B.

Happy Anniversary Part 6: Jazz and Related Sounds

BigJazzNight

And so we now come to a tri-partite celebration of jazz sounds as part of the ongoing commemoration of the Washerman’s Dog achieving the milestone of 700 posts (way back a couple of months ago). Thank you again to all visitors, regulars and encouragers along the way, its been a blast and I don’t’ see any reason to cease and desist any time soon.

 

Volume one is entitled Blue Vindaloo. Straight ahead jazz mixed with a fair number of Asian and Asian-inspired tracks by jazz artists from Afghanistan to Japan. Check out the Afghan Jazz Unit’s tremendous Spinboldak Saxophony.

Title track from the Pakistani-American uber guitarist Rez Abbasi.

 

Volume two is titled Afro Jazz and indeed here you will find much jazz from the Continent, as well as soukous, pop and other African delights.  Highlights this time are from Angola!  Title track comes via the mighty Madilu of DRC.

 

Volume three, Blow Baby, Blow is dedicated to outstanding brass, woodwind and brass band jazz. Sax, trumpet, tuba and trombone. Greats and unknowns.  Hope you enjoy.

blue vindaloo

Track Listing (Vol. 1):

01 Time Is Right Dr. L Subramaniam]

02 Beauty Of The Flower [Christoph Stiefel and Lissette Spinnler]

03 Elveen [Wynton Marsalis]

04 Spinboldak Saxophony [Afghan Jazz Unit]

05 Ranglypso [Ernest Ranglin]

06 Painted Paradise [Jiro Inagaki and Soul Media]

07 Fat Mouth [Weldon Irvine]

08 Yes, Sir That’s My Baby [Nat King Cole]

09 Abbaji (For Alla Rakha) [John McLaughlin]

10 Hub-Tones [Freddie Hubbard]

11 Eastern Dawn [Amancio D’Souza]

12 Sueño de Amor (Chachachá) [feat. Cachao] [Bonus Track] Generoso Jimenez]

13 Fried Pies (Take 1) [Wes Montgomery]

14 Tempo De Amor [Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes]

15 What a Little Moonlight Can Do [Billie Holiday]

16 Harlem On Saturday Night [Lil Hardin Armstrong and Her Orchestra]

17 Benson’s Rider [George Benson]

18 The Best Is Yet To Come [Mr. President]

19 Nuit sur les Champs-Elysees(1) [Miles Davis]

20 Awaara Hoon [Sunny Jain Collective]

21 Sina Nari [Hüsnü Şenlendirici]

22 Tanzania [Sadao Watanabe]

23 Summertime [Ahmed Abdul Malik]

24 Garuda [Raga Bop Trio]

25 The Look Of Love [Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66]

26 Quaze Caindo [Ricardo Herz Trio]

27 The Lewinsky March. [Rabih Abou-Khalil]

28 Ma’am A’rif Leh (Gingele) [Salma]

29 Blu Vindaloo [Rez Abbasi]

30 Raga Piloo [Joe Harriot & John Mayer]

++++

beau souvenir

Track Listing (Vol. 2)

01 Johannesburg Hi-Lite Jive [Hugh Masakela]

02 Margret Odero [D.O. Misiani & Shirati Jazz]

03 Muasi Oweli Bela [bolero] [Vicky et l’OK Jazz]

04 Bolingo Ekomisi Ngai Liboma [L’orchestre Zembe Zembe]

05 Kulekule [Konono No.1 De Mingiedi]

06 La Bycicletta [Keletigui et Ses Tambourines]

07 Avante Juventude [Os Anjos]

08 Whiskey et Coca-Cola [Amadou Balake]

09 Black Egypt -Intro [Bukky Leo and Black Egypt]

10 Soweto Blues [Mariam Makeba]

11 Awa Awa [Wes]

12 Koki (Hot Koki) [Andre Marie Tala]

13 Tweta [Mombasa Party and Zuhura Swaleh]

14 Injuria [Jose ‘Zeca’ Neves]

15 Hymn for the War Orphans [Zimology]

16 Na boyi danbinzi [Orchestre Mando Negro]

17 Onyame [Ashanti Afrika Jah]

18 Sogodounou [Nahawa Doumbia]

19 1er Gaou (Ivory Coast) [Magic System]

20 Kyrie eleison [Orcestre Hi Fives]

21 Ting’ Badi Malo [Gidigidi Majimaji]

22 Din Ya Sugri [Christy Azuma & Uppers International]

23 Gidelam [Baaba Maal]

24 Tollon Tollon [Afro National]

25 Ichibanda [Oliya Band]

26 Revolution [Sonny Okosun]

27 Mosquito [Flaming Souls]

28 Beau Souvenir [Madilu System]

29 Black Woman Experience [Geraldo Pino]

30 Despedida [Dimba Diangola]

###

Blow Baby Blow

Track Listing: (Vol. 3)

01 Blue Light [Ben Webster]

02 Black Man’s Cry [Fela Kuti with Afrika 70 and Ginger Baker]

03 Zomaye [Gigi]

04 Minnie the Moocher [Big Bad Voodoo Daddy]

05 Skalloween [Skatalites]

06 From Boogie to Funk part 1_ The Blues [Bill Coleman]

07 Don’t Take Your Love From Me [Frank Rosolino Quintet]

08 See-F [Ceasar Frazier]

09 Instant Groove [King Curtis]

10 Time Is Running Out Fast [James Brown]

11 Satan’s Blues [Don Bryon]

12 i want a little girl [Big Joe Turner]

13 John McLaughlin [Miles Davis]

14 Misterioso [Sonny Rollins]

15 Sida Gangbe Brass Band]

16 The Lonely Bull (El Solo Toro) [Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass]

17 Balkan Reggae [Mahala Rai Banda]

18 Qonqoza [Dudu Phukwana]

19 Got No Money [Dusko Gojkovic]

20 Crazy Mixed Up World [Little Walter]

21 Ad Lib Blues [Lester Young]

22 Need You (right now) [Trumpet Thing]

23 Kuenda Namwendo [The Umtali Chipisa Band]

24 Blues for Harvey [Johnny Griffin]

25 Celestial Bliss [Rahsaan Roland Kirk]

26 Frantic Activity [Rhythm Funk Masters]

27 Struttin’ With Some Barbecue [Louis Armstrong]

28 Asaw Fofor [Melody Aces]

29 African Battle Manu Dibango]

30 How Deep Is the Ocean [John Coltrane]

***+

Stars Come Out: Quatre Etoiles du Zaire

stars

The haze which has hung low over the city for most of the last week is much lighter this morning.  Patches of blue sky and the nearby highlands are once again visible from the window!

 

To match this bright Saturday (which I have promised to myself as a work-free day!) I put on some sizzling soukous  from my friend Rory’s favourite Congolese band,  Quatre Etoiles du Zaire.  This set made in the late 80s in London does not let up from the first note.  Guitars ring. Drums drive the smashing beat.  And Watu’s vocals glide sweetly between both.

 

The Quatre Etoiles came together in Paris in 1982 under the auspices of producer Ouattara Moumouni. Bopol and Syran had been working off and on in Paris ever since the African All Stars split up in 1979. At their urging, former Bella Bella singer Nyboma left Togo, where he had been working with other remnants of the All Stars, and moved to Paris at the beginning of 1982. The trio became a quartet with the addition of O.K. Jazz singer Wuta Mayi, who had shared the stage with Bopol in several bands including Papa Noel‘s Bamboula. The group’s four-song effort for Ouattara, in the up-tempo rumba style that came to be known as soukous, billed them as “4 Grandes Vedettes de la Musique Africaine” (four great stars of African music).

The four musicians adopted a novel approach to organization. Having chafed under tight restrictions as members of other bands, they developed a loose-knit partnership that fostered loyalty to the group while granting freedom for the partners to engage in outside projects. Each musician did session work, and each recorded solo albums, often with the help of one or more of the others.

The musicians officially adopted the name Quatre Etoiles for a second group recording at the end of 1983 for producer Ibrahima Sylla. Known by its lead track, Wuta’s composition “Enfant Bamileke,” the album was a soukous sizzler whose tremendous popularity brought offers for concert tours. Augmented by additional musicians, the group played the capitals of Europe and Africa and toured occasionally in the U.S. Subsequent releases, including 6 Tubes (6 hits, 1986), Les 4 Etoiles (1991), and Adama Coly (1995), were also well received.

Quatre Etoiles du Zaire

Quatre Etoiles du Zaire


Meanwhile each musician recorded outside the group. Bopol’s Manuela and Samedi Soir from the eighties were exceptional. Syran’s Symboise (1990) with the other Quatre Etoiles plus Diblo Dibala and Lokassa ya Mbongo lived up to its claim of employing “the best of Paris.” Nyboma scored two hits in the company of Pepe Kalle, Zouké Zouké (1986) and Moyibi (1988). And, in addition to his largely overlooked solo work, Wuta contributed vocals to Papa Noel’s outstanding 1994 release, Haute Tension.

While they fit the soukous mold—indeed they helped to create it—the musicians of Quatre Etoiles possessed a feel for the conventional rumba that many of their younger colleagues, whose careers were made in Paris, lacked. Each was a pedigreed performer from the heyday of the Congolese rumba, only a generation away from the music’s founders. This connection with the past served the musicians well as they undertook the process of modernization. As solo artists and as a group, the Quarte Etoiles produced a body of work that ranks among the best of the eighties and nineties Congolo-Paris scene.
© 2011 Gary Stewart

 

These four stars score 5 stars!!

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Track Listing:

01 Kabibi Maria

02 Youyou

03 Papy Sodolo

04 Doly

05 Loi de la Nature

06 Double Double

07 Zunguluke

08 Nina

09 Mado

10 Enfant Bamileke

✪✪✪✪

The Best Authorities: New Year’s Mixtape

fitsum_woldelibanos

A few readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve not done my usual ‘end-of-year’ round up of the year’s favourite ten albums.  2013 has been a tough year on several fronts and there were times when I didn’t listen to much music.  Or, when I did listen I didn’t pay much attention. I was distracted by the necessities of the daily round. So there wasn’t a lot of music that sprang quickly to mind when I looked back over the past 12 months.

But to celebrate the passing of (almost) of the Year of the Black Snake (as referred to by the Chinese zodiac) I’ve collected 30 songs from Africa that I’ve really enjoyed since last January.  A bit of old mixed in with several contemporary African sounds.

Happy New Year! And thanks for visiting The Washerman’s Dog.

 

africa new and old

Track Listing:

The Great East African Trip01 Apako Nyingi [Joseph Hellon] A bit of Swahili jazz to open the account. Joseph Hellon is a Kenyan Jazz musician who was due to be a presidential candidate in the 2013 Kenyan Presidential candidate for the PlaCenta Party of Kenya which is under the leadership of Quincy Timberlake. As well as being a well known live performer in Nairobi’s jazz scene he teaches music. Get it on: The Great East African Trip.

 

14 tracks_ Afro Beats02 Arm1 X (Auntie Flo Remix) [Auntie Flo]  Brian d’Souza aka Auntie Flo hails from Goa by way of Glasgow, but now resides in London where he is a resident for Huntleys & Palmers and Highlife. He mixes his own beats on top of African music as well as creating his own Afro-Euro-Asiatic sounds.  Get it on: 14 Tracks Afro beats

 

Who is William Onyeabor_03 Atomic Bomb [William Onyeabor] 2013’s African re-discovery sensation.  Biafran tribal chief, filmmaker, synth-music pioneer and reclusive retiree. Very little is known about this man except that he had a great gift for music before turning it all over to the Lord. Get it on: Who is William Onyeabor?

 

 

USS Sound (la Voix de la Croix) Vol. 1, USS 00104 B’Oba Ya L’Oni [Rev. Zinsou et les Black Santiago] A deep Beninese laid back religious track from the mid-1970s. Ignace de Souza founded Black Santiago in Accra in 1966 and at the Ringway Club was an early ‘founder’ of Afrobeat with Fela Kuti and Geraldo Pina. He returned to his native Benin in the 70s where Black Santiago continued to make music with local and Ghanian musicians.  De Souza is credited with importing Congolese soukous to Benin.  Alas, little is knowable about the Rev. Zinsou himself. Get it on: USS Sound Vol. 1

 

The Ghetto05 Bamayo [Paul Ngozi] Paul Ngozi, born Paul Dobson Nyirongo, was a popular Zambian musician. He rose to the top of the Zambian music scene in the 1970s and 1980s. He first became popular as the band leader of the ‘Ngozi Family’, a band which made a mark as a top local rock group and was one of the first groups to have its music classified as Zamrock. That unique African style is exemplified by this guitar driven groove. Get it on: The Ghetto

 

jeri jeri06 Bamba Version [Jeri Jeri] Jeri-Jeri is the stunning, spectacular collaboration between the renowned Berlin-based producer Mark Ernestus and a griot clan of Sabar drummers from Kaolack / Senegal, led by Bakane Seck, along with guest mbalax musicians and vocalists — including many mainstays of the bands of Baaba Maal, Youssou N’dour and more of the country’s leading musicians. Get it on: Ndagga Versions

Heart Of Uncle07 Benga Taxi [3Mustaphas3] Loads of fun (as usual) as the irrepressible 3Mustaphas3 take a ride in a Kenyan taxi.  Get it on: Heart of Uncle

 

 

Odo Sanbra08 Circle Circle Circle [Occidental Brothers Dance Band International] Chicago’s Occidental Brothers Dance Band International plays classic Central and West African dance music-specialising in soukous, Highlife, rumba, dry guitar and other delights from the great continent. The multi-racial band mixes their backgrounds in traditional African music, jazz and underground rock to bring these classic sounds to life. Get it on: Odo Sanbra

 

durdur09 Dholey [Dur Dur Band] A Somali pop/rock band from Mogadishu, now settled in Ohio. “In the beginning, we used to sing and dance with American music, and later on, we decided to shape our own music in such a way that it is comfortable enough for people to dance with it — for people to enjoy it.”  Shifting gears paid off: The band’s unique pairing of Somali songs with the rhythms of Western funk and soul made it a crowd favorite in Mogadishu. Sahra Dawo one of the band leaders, says one song in particular, Dooyo, could be counted on to whip the room into a frenzy. Get it on: 14 Tracks Afrobeats

Tekitoi_10 Dima [Rachid Taha] Algerian-French Arab rock god breezes in with a magical number. Always solid, always full-on. Get it on: Texitoi

 

 

 

Doomou Ndeye11 Doomou Ndeye [Pepe Fall et l’African Salsa] Legends of Senegal, Pepe Fall et l’African Salsa have played and promoted Afro-Cuban sounds on the continent for 50 years. This is a lively number that takes us on a tour of West Africa.  Get it on: Artisanat

 

 

Afro Rhythm Parade, vol.512 Esin o wewu [Roy Chicago and his “Abalabi Rhythm” Dandies] A top Highlife band from Nigeria in the 1950s and 60s. Unlike his contemporary Victor Olaiya, Chicago infused his music with Nigerian rhythms and talking drums. Winner of the 2013 Best Band Name! The man never got within 1000 miles of Chicago!  Get it on: Afro Rhythm Parade 5 featuring Roy Chicago and his “Abalabi Rhythm” Dandies

 

Addis Through the Looking Glass13 Feqer Aydelem Wey [Dub Colossus] Nick Page – aka Dubulah – first travelled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in 2006 to collaborate with musicians and explore traditional Azmari styles, 60s Ethiopian pop, Ethiojazz and 70s Jamaican dub reggae. There he came across some amazingly talented artists – female vocalists Tsedenia Gebremarkos, a fine, soulful performer and highly successful African pop star, and Sintayehu ‘Mimi’ Zenebe who runs a nightclub in Addis and has been described as ‘Ethiopia’s Edith Piaf’, extraordinary young pianist Samuel Yirga, veteran saxophonist and jazz exponent Feleke Hailu and Teremage Woretaw, a traditional folk singer, an azmari, an exponent of the one-stringed messenqo violin – Dub Colossus was born. Get it on: Addis Through a Looking Glass

Music Safari - The Best Of South African Jazz14 Flowers Of The Nation [Jonas Gwangwa] A majestic anthem of African pride. Jonas Mosa Gwangwa (born 1941 in Orlando East, Soweto) has been an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years. He first gained significance playing trombone with The Jazz Epistles. After the group broke up he continued to be important to the South African music scene and then later abroad. In the 1960s he began to gain notice in the United States and in 1965 he was featured in a “Sound Of Africa” concert at Carnegie Hall. The others at the concert included Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, and Letta Mbulu. Despite that, he was not seen favorably by the apartheid government so left his homeland in the early 1970s. Get it on: Music Safari: The Best of South African Jazz

Pirate's Choice15 Foire internationale [Orchestra Baobab] Kings of Afro Cuban sounds, the legendary Senegalese band, Orchestra Baobab, always hits the spot. Get it on: Pirate’s Choice

 

 

 

K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas16 Hwe hwe mu na yi wo mpena [K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas] An icon of Ghana’s music explosion of the 1970’s, K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas released several albums that fused James Brown and Fela Kuti and Highlife.  Groovily infectious. Get it on: K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas

 

Cape Verde17 Injuria [Jose “Zeca” Neves] Not much is available about this Cape Verdan crooner which is a pity.  But this song drips with that Luso-African lacksidasical feel.  Get it on: Putamayo Presents Cape Verde

 

 

The Sound Of Kinshasa18 Komokosaka Te Na Basi [Jojo with Orchestre OK Jazz]  Rare soukous from 1960s Kinshasa, at the time one of THE happening musical cities on the globe! Get it on: The Sound of Kinshasa: Guitar Classics from Zaire

 

 

Hamid Zahir19 Lil Lil Ya Sidi Aamara [Hamid Zahir] Hamid Zahir does not play the oud of spacious, thoughtful taqasim or subtleties of touch. This is jamming, percussive, rhythmic, driving oud, and nobody does it to death like Mr. Zahir of Morocco. Hamid Zahir got his start playing on the Djemaa el Fna plaza in Marrakech. If you subtract the oud from the mix here, you’re left with your basic Marrakchi dkitikat percussion band: darbuka, ta’rija, bendir, and to turn up the heat, some qarqaba’s. Zahir‘s oud playing fits right in with the non-stop call-response propulsion of this type of music. Get it on: Hamid Zahir EH 1099

 

AuthenticiteÃÅ Vol. 120 Liwa ya wech [Franco et le T.P. OK Jazz] Early 60s recordings from the seminal Congolese band TP OK Jazz, led by guitar wonderman Franco. The influence of Cuban Rumba sounds were still strong in this early soukous music. Liltingly lovely.  Get it on: OK Jazz Authenticite 1

 

Coup De Chapeau21 Lokoko [Thu Zahina] In the late 1960s a new wave swept over Kinshasa’s music scene which went on to flood the whole of Africa with the style of guitar music now known as soukous. Thu-Zahina were the group responsible for that upsurge and the missing link between the classic and the new rumba. This is rumba on the cusp, as the stately big-band style is infiltrated by the raw groove of folk and funk before being overwhelmed by orgiastic solo guitar licks. Comprised of college students aged between 17 and 19, Thu-Zahina made their debut in 1968, giving them two years’ headstart on Zaiko Langa Langa whose career they helped launch. The Congo-Zairean rumba culture was based firmly on the two strands evolved by Franco on one hand and Kabasele/Rochereau on the other.  Add to these ingredients the instrumentation and dynamic presentation of American rhythm and blues and the wildest excesses of Western rock, with the cosmopolitan influence of Los Nickelos and the result is a refreshingly raw and energetic sound. In the six years of their existence Thu-Zahina instigated a total revolution in the most exciting genre of African popular music. Get it on: Coup de Chapeau: The New Wave hits Kinshasa 1969-74

long street22 Long Street [Dva, Big Space] Long Street features a collaboration with South African producer Big Space, and echoes the sound of early UK bleep and bass with a stern melody, breaking down into swirling Detroit-like chords, while shuffling along on a crisp, scissoring rhythm.  More exciting sounds from 2013 Africa. Get it on: DVA Fly Juice

 

African Guitar Summit23 Malembo [Donne Robert] A wonderful and uplifting piece of gorgeous guitar playing and melody making from the Canadian album of African guitar whizzes.  Get it on: African Guitar Summit

 

 

24 Marcelo Tozongana [Max-Sinatra & l’Orchestre Veve] A funky Congolese band that came together in the wake of James Brown’s 1971 African tour.  Max Sinatra was a pseudonym for Bonghat Tshekabu and this version of the band morphed into a smash Trio Madjesi after the leader of l’Orchestre Veve sacked Sinatra and others. max sinatra

 

 

 

Maria+Tebbo25 Maria Tebbo [Sam Mangwana] Sam Mangwana is one of the last of the great Zairean soukous vocalists. A former member of such seminal groups as Tabu Ley Rocherau’s Africa Fiesta and Franco’s TPOK Jazz, Mangwana has steered soukous from the hard-edged sounds of his predecessors. While his former employers were the masters of the relentless, springy, soukous music of Central Africa, Mangwana employs a lighter, more acoustic, more Caribbean, sound. Get it on: Maria Tebbo

 

BowmboiÃà26 Mariama [Rokia Traore] Rokia Traoré is an award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist, born in Mali. Her father was a diplomat and she travelled widely in her youth and was exposed to a wide variety of musical influences. Members of the nobility, such as Rokia, are discouraged from performing as musicians, even though there exists a strong griot tradition among her people. Rokia attended lycée in Mali while her father was stationed in Brussels and started performing publicly as a university student in Bamako. Unusually for a female musician in Africa, Rokia plays acoustic guitar as well as sings, and she uses vocal harmonies in her arrangements which are rare in Malian music. In 1997, she linked with Ali Farka Touré and  won an Radio France Internationale prize as “African Discovery” of 1997, an honor previously won by Mali’s Habib Koité in 1993. As well as guitar she plays ngoni (lute) and balafon. Get it on: Bowmboi

 

Part One (1974-79)27 Mutoridodo [Hallelujah Chicken Run Band] The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band is legendary as the group in which Zimbabwean musician and activist Thomas Mapfumo got his start.  Founded during the brutal, racist colonial regime of Rhodesia, the group came together when the white-owned Mangura Copper Mine hired them as a pick-up group to perform for exhausted miners at the end of their shifts. This music evolved in chimurenga, the so-called ‘soundtrack of the Zimbabwe Revolution’. Get it on: Hallelujah Chicken Run Band Take One

Soul Of Angola - Anthologie De La Musique Angolaise 1965_197528 N’hoca [Tony Von] Another slice of Luso-African pie from the Angolan Tony Von, about which so little is known at least by people outside of Angola. Apparently still active (up to a few years ago) in various festivals.  Get it on: Soul of Angola: Anthologie de Music Angolaise 1965-1975

Docteur Nico & l'Orchestre African Fiesta29 Save Me [Docteur Nico] Nicolas Kasanda wa Mikalay popularly known as Docteur Nico, was one of the giant pioneers of soukous. He graduated in 1957 as a technical teacher, but inspired by his musical family, he took up the guitar and in time became a virtuoso soloist.  At the age of 14, he started playing with the seminal group Grand Kalle et l’African Jazz, led by Joseph “Grand Kalle” Kabaselle. He became an influential guitarist (Jimi Hendrix visited him while on tour in Paris), and the originator of the ubiquitous Congolese finger-picked guitar style, acquiring the nickname “Dr. Nico“. African Jazz split up in 1963 when he and singer Tabu Ley Rochereau left to form L’Orchestra African Fiesta, which became one of the most popular bands in Africa.  He withdrew from the music scene in the mid 1970s following the collapse of his Belgian record label, and made a few final recordings in Togo, not long before he died in a hospital in Brussels, Belgium in 1985. This selection is completely oblique, sung in English in a garage rock style.  Get it on: Docteur Nico et l’Orchesta African Fiesta

Group Doueh_ Guitar Music of Western Sahara30 Sabah Lala [Group Doueh] Group Doueh play raw and unfiltered Saharawi music from the former colonial Spanish outpost of the Western Sahara. Doueh (pronounced “Doo-way”) is their leader and a master of the electric guitar. He’s been performing since he was a child playing in many groups before finally creating his own in the 1980’s. Doueh says he’s Influenced by western pop and rock music especially Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. His sound is distorted, loud and unhinged with an impressive display of virtuosity and style only known in this part of the world. His wife Halima and friend Bashiri are the two vocalists in the group. Saharawi songs are from the sung poetry of the Hassania language. The music is based on the same modal structure as Mauritanian music, however, Doueh’s style is a looser appropriation infused with a western guitar scope, one that relies, in his words, as much on Hendrix as it does traditional Sahrawi music. Get it on: Group Doueh Guitar Music from the Western Sahara

 

Happy New Year