Side one 1. AKAMBA, of south-eastern Kenya, sing the “ng’eta” and stomp out the strond rhythm of a traditional dance. 2. ABALUYIA GROUP, with Africa’s one-stringed fiddle, and a song hummed by a contented villager at nightfall. 3. FROM THE KIKUYU PEOPLE, a song in praise of their leaders is sung by a gaily-attired group of women, in typical style after harvesting. 4. CONCH-SHELL HORN, played in this strange style, can be heard at the Kenya coast as ferry-boats are hauled across the wide creeks. Side Two 1. LUO TROUBADOUR, representative of Kenya’s second larges ethnic group, sings to his “nyatiti” harp accompaniement. 2. MASAI YOUTHS, as they tend thei cattle, extemporize with warrior dreams and ancient battles. 3. KURIA ELDER; with his single-stringed instrument, tells the district new as he strolls along a northern Tanzania country road. 4. TIRIKI MUSICIANS, from western Kenya, sing wryly of their cattle and provide an interesting example of sophisticated African rhythm.
Press to hear SIDE A of the single
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Side one 1. LIONS: Lionshave just brought down a wildebeest and are roaring triumphantly over the kill. As they begin to tear their victim to pieces, they snarl and growl at each other. 2. ZEBRAS: Zebras have got the wind of a lion, and their excited barks can be heard from near and far. 3. WILD DOGS: African wild dogs hunt in packs. When at play or fighting among themselves they utter chitting and twittering sounds. 4. LEOPARD AND BABOONS: The harsh, sawing call of a leopard is answered by a male baboon’s bark of alarm. The spotted cat snarls, and the whole troop of baboons jabbers with excitement.
Side two 1. ELEPHANTS: Human scent has alarmed a herd of elephant. The animals are screaming, trumpeting and grumbling. 2. TREE HYRAXES AND COLOBUS MONKEYS: From the treetops of the forest come the eerie calls of the tree hyraxes and the throaty, throbbing chorus of the colobus monkeys. 3. RHINOS: In dense bush country we come across two mating rhinos and hear their gentle squels and harsh snarls. 4. HYENAS: A lion has made a kill and hyenas bgin to circle around him. We hear their howls as well as the uncanny laughter to which they give vent in high exciement. 5. HIPPOS: Hippos blowing and snorting as they float practically submerged in the water.

Press to hear SIDE A of the single
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Side one 1. GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber): On many saline lakes of East Africa’s Great Rift Valley the Greater Flamingo’s beautiful deep-crimson wings, with their black flightfeathers can be seen. But here is recorded the rare and remarkable sound of a breeding colony, with young. Distribution: Throughout eastern Africa.
2. FISH EAGLE (Cuncuma vocifer): A sound which is very essence of Africa, as blackwingled male and female call and respond in their breeding territories near lakes, rivers and coast. Distribution: From Senegal, southern Sudan and Ethiopia, throughout East, Central and Southern Africa. 3. TROPICAL BOUBOU SHRIKE (Laniarius aethiopicus): A veriety of calls from different races of this bird-beautiful bell-like notes as male and female sing in duet. Distribution: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, SUdan, Ethiopia, SOmaliland, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroun, Congo Kinshasa, Zambia, Malawi. 4. SLATE-COLOURED BOUBOU SHRIKE (Laniarius funebris): In dry thornbush country, slate-black male and female sing attractive duets. Distribution: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan. 5. DIDRIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus): This small, beautiful cuckoo-its upper parts metallic emeral green and bronze and with a white eye-stripe – often varies its call throgh the seasons. It is parasitic, but takes on its young for feeding after they have left the nest. Distribution: Ethiopia, southern Arabia, Sudan, throughout eastern Africa to southern Africa. 6. RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarious): Although this cuckoo is large, it is frequently difficult to observe in tree branches, with its camouflaging chestnut-coloured chest. Sometimes called “the rain bird”. Distribution: Gambia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, through to southern Africa. Side Two 1. SPOTTED MORNING WARBLER (Cichladusa guttata): Despite its common name, this is not a Warbler at all, but related tot the Trush and is one of Africa’s finest songsters and mimics. Whistle at this little bird and it will usually answer. Distribution: southern Ethiopia, southern Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanznia. 2. BLACK-THROATED HONEY GUIDE (Indicator indicator): The male of this interesting species is brownish-grey above, with a distinctive black throat patch, and it havitually tries to lure human or honey badger towards honey bees nests. From tree to tree it flits, chattering and waiting for its followers to catchup. If honey is found, then you must share some with the bird, or trouble will befall you, runs the legend. The song recorded for this disc is its normal treetop melody. Distribution: Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo through to South Africa. 3. RUPPELLS ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha semirufa): A fine songster, favouring woodlands and gardens, this handsome bird is also a beguiling imitator of other species. Distribution: Ethiopia, southern Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania. 4. BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus larvatur): Distinctively golden yellow, with head and wings black, its call is also unmistakable. Distribution: Sudan, Ethiopia, southern Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Rhodesia, Mozambique to the Zambesi River. 5. CROWNED PLOVER (Stephanibyx coronatus): This noisy call warns other birds and animals of the stranger’s approach. Distribution: Ethiopia, southern Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi to South Africa. 6. GREEN WOOD-HOOPOE (KAKELAAR) (Phoeniculus Purpureus): A large bird, which tumbles around the trees in small, noisy groups. In sunshine, the male’s iridescent upper parts gleam greenish-black, its throat deep blue and the remainder of the spectacular plumage, purple. Distribution: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Congo Kinshasa to the Zambesi River, Sudan, Ethiopia.

Press to hear SIDE A of the single
Press to hear SIDE B of the single

From the heart of untamed Africa, where savage nature still reigns supreme, comes this spell-binding series of records which have captured for you-in brilliant hi-fi the stirring sounds you thrilled to during your safari.
Re-live the fascinating excitment and the majestic grandeur of breathtaking Africa unspoilt by the hand of civilisation.

Heartbeat of Africa will conjur up for you, again and again, vivid pictures of growling lion and trumpeting elephant, snarling leopard and lumbering rhino, the rhythmic jangle of tribal dancers, the vibrant throbbing of African drums, the voluptous melodies of tropical birds, and all those memorable experiences which will carry you back, in rapturous transport, to the enchantment that is Africa.

Press to hear SIDE A of the single – 1 Animal Voices of Afria; 2 East African Birdsong; 3 Night at Treetops.
Press to hear SIDE B of the single – 4 East African Drums; 5 Safari Song; 6 This is East Africa.

Undergrünnen are finally ready with the follow-up to the critically lauded and Spellemann nominated debut album.

It was winter again and in Haugesund it rained, if possible, even more than before. There was nothing else to do for Undergrünnen but to barricade themselves in the studio and daydream of sweaty clubs and hot beaches. Roof leaks, the IRS, pining for fast money, deaths in the family and the monotonous bore of working for the post office, influenced and inspired the wild recording sessions that resulted in the new record.

The album’s centerpiece is the hectic, 13 minute long “Nå e me her” (“Now we’re here”). A wild ride with frantic guitar picking, congas and almost chanted vocals. The lyrics have become eerily relevant in these chaotic times, with repeated lines of “I’m not getting any peace”, “what are we doing here”, “have to wait here” and “what do I do now”. Sounds like existential crises in quarantine times, if you ask us.

With Ein revnande likegyldighet, the band takes their music even further than what the debut could. The production is more cheeky, the songwriting is sharper. The songs vary between the two-and-a-half-minute rocker “Burmavegen Baby” to the 13-minute afro-kraut-banger “Nå e me her”. The album consists of six songs that takes the listener on a rhythmical excursion in hip-shaking, unclassifiable rock – in Norwegian.

The Undergrünnen of 2020 mixes 60’s psychedelia, afrobeat, jazz and minimalistic new wave, with Pål Jackman’s biting lyrics about life’s existential nonsense and the unbearable indifference of being. In other words, it still sounds unmistakably like Undergrünnen. As one writer noted on the former album: “It’s as though Paul Simon had eschewed Ladysmith Black Mambazo for ‘Graceland‘ and asked, say, The Monks or MC5 to be his backing band instead AND they sing in Norwegian”.

Ein revnande likegyldighet was recorded in Hauge Sjakklubb, Karmøy, with Vegard Fossum (Beforeigners) as technician, and was mixed and mastered in London’s Eastern Studios by Jason Emberton (Nick Cave, Warren Ellis).

“Nå e me her” is released on Jansen Records May 8th 2020.

‘Harambe’ by Mac & Party was one of the most interesting recent rediscoveries of Kenyan taarab from the past decades. An English language taarab song with the prominent presence of an early synthesizer, it sounded unlike any other Kenyan music that came out during the 1960s and ‘70s. Initially, when trying to license the track for reissue in 2016 (Soundway’s ‘Kenya Special volume 2’ and the 45 RPM reissue on Afro7), we didn’t have much luck in finding out who had recorded and composed the song, or even when exactly it had come out. Comparing discographies of the original label, and listening to other songs that were close enough by catalogue numbers, it appeared to be the work of the late singer/composer Yaseen Mohamed. His sons were able to confirm that it was their father singing on those singles, that Mac & Party and Yaseen & Party were most likely the same band, and that the recordings were done in the early ‘60s.

A closer look at Yaseen Mohamed’s legacy reveals that he was an important figure in Kenya’s taarab music of the 20th century. Between his first 78 RPM record, which came out around 1947, and the last single released in the mid-sixties, his discography spans nearly 50 confirmed releases, and possibly many more collaborations that he was not credited for.
Yaseen was born in Mombasa in the 1920s. His parents were of Omani heritage. Growing up he joined the British colonial army, which allowed him to travel around the region and soak up a wide variety of cultural influences. During Yaseen’s youth, recorded taarab music had become popular across the region, pioneered by a group of musicians from Zanzibar whose musical output from the late ’20s and early ’30s set a trend.

Socio-economic changes in the colony during the 20th century, which transformed Mombasa from a Swahili town of less than 30,000 people, reigned by the sultan of Zanzibar, into a metropole in the newly independent country of Kenya, had a major impact on music culture. These changes were mirrored in the evolution of taarab between the 1920s and ‘60s. Yaseen’s early work is a patchwork of stylistic influences from Indian and Egyptian film melodies, Cuban son, and trendy dance styles such as the twist, mambo and samba, all thrown in the mix with a traditional taarab combo line-up of vocals, ud and percussion. He would later be quoted as saying that “there is no certain thing which is taarab. Even rock is taarab if people just sit and listen”.

By the early ‘50s, Yaseen had joined Assanand & Sons (Mombasa) Ltd., a shop selling musical instruments and 78 RPM records, which was quickly being developed into Mombasa’s most popular music studio. Yaseen was an all-round member on the team, recording his own music, performing as a session musician, acting as a studio technician, and scouting new talent for Mzuri, the in-house label. Apart from singing and composing he became a master of the taishokoto, a musical instrument of Japanese origin which was introduced in Kenya in the 1940s. During this time he started recording with his wife Saada (credited on releases as ‘Mimi’), who joined him on the stage during live single mic set up in the storage room at the back of the Assanand shop.

Yaseen, Mimi and their band were at the forefront of innovation in Mombasa taarab; their small-band approach with newly introduced instruments such as the (amplified) taishokoto, accordion, and the Clavioline, a predecessor of the synthesizer, sounded quite different from the big-band taarab approach of orchestras that were around during the 1940s and ‘50s. Their short songs (limited to 3 minutes per side for 78 RPM releases, and a bit longer when Mzuri started pressing on 45 RPM singles) appeared easy on the ear, but the lyrics were rooted in the intricate Swahili poetry that had been popular among the East African coast for centuries.

In 1962, Yaseen and Mimi got their first child, a milestone described in ‘Nimepata mwana’. From then on, Yaseen focused on working regular jobs, while music remained a hobby. They struggled to make ends meet though, living with their four children in a single-room apartment in Mombasa’s inner city. While Yaseen was of Omani heritage, Mimi’s parents were Digo, a people from coastal Kenya who were discriminated against during the colonial era. Yaseen’s close family didn’t accept Mimi and her kids into the family. In 1972, Yaseen left Mimi and the children to take up work in Oman, which had just started a transition from one of the middle east’s most traditional societies into a modern Arab oil-fuelled economy. Yaseen’s professional skills as an electrician and a mechanic were welcomed as he joined thousands from the Omani diaspora in East Africa in occupying the work force. Despite continuing to make music in his pastime, performing on national television and radio with his taishokoto, and composing a song for sultan Qaboos, he didn’t record any more music. Yaseen returned to Mombasa to visit his wife and sons every few years, and he intended to retire bring the family over to Oman, but he passed away in 1985. By that time, the Mzuri label and Assanand shop were long gone, and the production of taarab in Kenya had started a decline that has nearly decimated the Mombasa scene by 2019. A few of Yaseen’s songs were featured on foreign compilations, some of his recordings can be found on bootleg CDs in Mombasa, but only some of the older generation in Kenya are aware of the remarkable legacy and the impact that Yaseen and his wife have had on Kenya’s coastal music.

The full album LP with 4-page fold-out insert with extended liner notes and the single can be bought seperate through our music shop, with reasonable worldwide shipping prices, use this link to buy directly from us, we also have other Afro7 releases available.

Afro7LINK TO SONG SNIPPETS from Yaseen & Party Compilation LP
LINK TO SONG SNIPPETS from the Single Mac & Party Zandale and Kiss to Kiss single
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