Sunday, July 27, 2008

If you want to dig deeper into African music...

... may I recommend some reading materials?

I’ve previously mentioned the Nigerian blogger known as Comb & Razor. I am happy to do so again. He writes about the kaleidoscope of African pop music with much humor and affection.

Also, he shares some tasty tracks. Like “Happy Birthday” by Harry Mosco, a hardcore funker known to few outside of Africa. As Comb & Razor blogged in April: “If you ever attended a birthday party in Nigeria in the early 80s, I’m sure you’ll remember this track!”

C&R’s isn’t the only African music blog on my blogroll. There’s also Likembe, done with love by Milwaukee’s John B.

Here’s John with Oliver de Coque, a Nigerian bandleader who passed away last month.

John B. also shares obscure and out-of-print tracks. Such as “Goodbye Hully!” by Kenya’s Brother Charlly Computer & the Gloria Kings.

John wrote in May that this single, from the early to mid 1980s, was among the last 45s to be pressed in Kenya... because “record piracy pretty much killed the format.”

An old reference book also has been useful to me in learning some basics about African music. The 1989 edition of the U.K.’s “Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music” provides pithy histories of various national styles, from juju (Nigeria) to mbaqanga (South Africa) to ziglibithy (Ivory Coast).

There is so much out there to explore!


bklyn6 said...

There is so much out there to explore!


When I was on a Fela kick nearly two years ago, I read Michael Veal's "Fela: Life And Times Of An African Musical Icon." Not only did I learn about Fela the man and the musician, I also learned about Nigeria's music scene, culture, politics and history. It was a good scholarly read.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I've always thought Fela's like would make for a good biopic. Hollywood used to make movies like that... but the Brits would probably have to do Fela's story. (Hello? Chiwetel Ejiofor? Ka-ching!)

bklyn6 said...

^Check out the responses to your "Steve Reid in Dakar" post. I'm kind of excited now! :-D

John B. said...

Thanks for the shout out, Dave.

Another blog your readers would enjoy is Frank Soulpusher's Voodoo Funk. Frank's in New York City now, but for several years he was based in Conakry, Guinea and made regular record-hunting expeditions throughout West Africa, after which he would post his finds online. It's some of the wildest, funkiest, nuttiest music you'll hear anywhere!

guzmán said...

If you dig the wonderful diversity of African music you have got to tune into the great jazz station KUVO (you can listen online) and check out Linard Scott's show on Sunday, 'Origins: Orgy in Rhythm.' Scotty plays amazing stuff... please check him out.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thank you, Miguel.