Side One 1. KILUME DANCE, of the fun-loving Akamba people, is sedately energetic and traditionally restricted to elders-of both sexes-of this large Kenya ethnic group. 2. TYPICAL OF BORDER DISTRICTS of Uganda and the eastern Congo is this enchanting beat, played by two leisurely drummers as evening falls. 3. SPIRIT-EXORCISM, a rhythm of Kenya’s Teita people, in a rare, secret ceremony called “upepo” 4. GAY GIRIAMA, of the Kenya coastland, play their drums under the palms when the hot African sun makes work a burden.
Side Two UGANDA DRUMS, in a banana grove outside Kampala, capital city of one of Africa’s most beautiful countries. 2. CHUKA DRUMMERS, from Embu District, Kenya, perform precise and measured dance movements, carrying their tall drums between their legs. 3. ABOARD A DHOW, sailors celebrate a home-coming with happy rhythms. 4. KAMBA DRUMMER-some of Africa’s most accomplished-are urged on by dance leaders eager to call villagers into the moonlight.
Side One 1. KILUME DANCE, of the fun-loving Akamba people, is sedately energetic and traditionally restricted to elders-of both sexes-of this large Kenya ethnic group. 2. TYPICAL OF BORDER DISTRICTS of Uganda and the eastern Congo is this enchanting beat, played by two leisurely drummers as evening falls. 3. SPIRIT-EXORCISM, a rhythm of Kenya’s Teita people, in a rare, secret ceremony called “upepo” 4. GAY GIRIAMA, of the Kenya coastland, play their drums under the palms when the hot African sun makes work a burden.
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
Press to hear SIDE B of the single
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.
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.
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).
It’s a been a long while with no posts at all, and what about all those dusty Kenyan 45’s that are lying around that need another review or a bigger audience? Well, there has been so much other stuff going on that we’ve (we? Well it’s just me, one guy) just haven’t had time to do it. I promise more focus on this in the future with a fresh blog post on a regular basis. We generally put up new vintage singles in our music shop every week, so check in on the shop through this link every Friday! What we have now is the last in line of a series of special DJ twelve inches we’ve been doing for the last years.
Let me tell you about this one: the label these songs originally came out on was CBS Kenya, a local franchise of the American Colombia records which focused on local artists and imports to the Kenyan market in the late seventies and early eighties. With local pressing facilities at hand, there’s a number of international big names whose music got released on the Kenyan CBS imprint, ranging from Madonna and ABBA to Queen, and even Pink Floyd. There are also West- and South African and Caribbean artists, such as Caiphus Semenya, True Tones and Bunny Mack. For this release we focus on disco, boogie and reggae by local artists. The familiar Black Savage band (see AFR7-LP-03) is featured as opening act on this EP with their very last recording. By the time ‘Fire’ was put to wax, only band leader Gordon Ominde was left of the original line-up. Here he teamed up with Ali ‘Rastaman’ Magobeni, another veteran of the Kenyan music scene, for a reggae crossover sound that could fit a hit in the Kenyan music market of early 80’s.
In the early years of CBS Kenya, before the ‘Fire’ single was released, Nigerian Desmond Majekodunmi was at the production helm running the CBS recording facilities. His Nigerian/American wife Sheila was a profiled singer in Nairobi at the time and the couple had several recording dates in Kenya. We’ve picked one that has a slightly quirky disco backing, but with the great voice of Sheila Majekodunmi in front. Read the full story of the Majeks in this write-up by renowned Nigerian music journalist Uchenna Ikonne, following Superfly Records’ recent reissue of their late 80’s Nigerian Polygram album.
Flip the 12 inch and you’ll find two great cuts by the mysterious OVID group. In coastal fashion, the lyrics to ‘Karibuni’ were aimed at tourists: “Welcome, welcome to Kenya”. The drum machine vamp and vocals serve as the intro to a more electric club cut with nice soulful vocals. ‘Operator’ is an uplifting reggae track.
A1) Black Savage ‘Fire’|
A2) Sheila and Desmond Majek ‘Got the Feelin”
B1) OVID ‘Karibuni’
B2) OVID ‘Operator’
The Sudanese London collective The Scorpios have been making waves the past few years after the Afro7 release of their acclaimed debut release. Voted album of the week last summer by Gilles Peterson, many have come to treasure this great album that shines more and more upon repeated listenings. A future classic for sure!
We’re really glad to be able to offer more music from The Scorpios, this is their new hot single straight off the press! Two sides of Sudanese magic recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios, ‘Mashena‘ is a take on the classic Sisters Al Balabil tune. The new version is spiced up with a tight percussive backbone, huge drums, flute and the lovely vocals of talented Regia Ishag. One for the dancefloor! Flip the single and you’ll find a beutiful slowburn traditional gem Samha. Comes in bespoke jacket and lovely custom made labels. We only made 500 of this so head over to the Afro7 music shop to secure your copy of the single. Their second album will be out later this year but catch them live at UK’s WOMAD – World Festival at Charlton Park 26-29 July!
A) The Scorpios ‘Mashena’
B) The Scorpios ‘Samha’
Etuk Ubong (born June 25, 1992) is a trumpeter, composer and bandleader. Hailing from Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria, raised in Lagos, he started playing at the age of 14 thanks to his mother’s encouragement. The past years he has been very active in Nigeria but also seen on spots in London and other European countries. Check out his previous albums Songs of Life and his Miracle >(due out on vinyl over summer!)
Following the Nigerian musical tradition of powerful protest songs against injustice and corrupt goverments, Etuk has penned two original numbers targeting todays state of affairs. It never manifest, they never fulfill their promises. They are meant to Provide good roads, stable Light, Free Education, Free Health Care Facilities, Jobs and security. With this brand new Afro7 single Labeled Earth Music, Etuk Ubong and his band raises up a fierce rhythmical storm, drawing traditions from funk, high-life, jazz and afrobeat. Laced with tape effects, delays and spiced up rawness by Neo Funk’s new wonderboy Estonian Misha Panfilov, it’s a sureshot mover for this summers tropical dancefloors. Not to be missed, head over to our shop to grab your copy!
A) Etuk Ubong ‘Black Debtors’
B) Etuk Ubong ‘Collaboration of Doom (C.O.D.)’
Located on Nyali Beach, south of Mombasa city lies Mombasa Reef Hotel, maybe the grandest of all the classic Kenyan hotels, run and managed by the same family since the mid-seventies. Catering westerners to safaris and snorkelling, and providing local acts of art-acts and music, including the hotel’s then house band the Mombasa Vikings. A band name undoubtedly suited for the many Nordic tourist that frequently visited. If you wanted to bring back some of the magic, musical souvenirs was offered for sale after the nightly musical show and another way for the band to make some extra needed pesa.
Fast forward somewhat 35 year the original Beach Rhythm’s Mombasa Roots seven-inch vinyl single with these two tracks finds Sweden’s own Rickard Masip in some now defunct Stocholm shop, he was mindblown over the music of the b-side track Mama Matotoya, it’s not exactly afro-beat more of a hybrid, heavy percussive with a a tip of chakacha rhythm pattern, a flute solo ooozing with jazz sensibility.
The Ensemble consisted of Tony Rusteau on Reeds. Abdalla ‘Dala’ Hamisi on Percussions and vocals, the late Ahmed ‘Emil’ Juma on lead guitar (…of later Mombasa Roots fame) Keneth Lucas on bass, Clement Fernandes on acoustic guitar, Bernard Pu Cheok Chuen on drums and Bruno Da Silva (who still works at the hotel to this day) and Richard Rusteau on perucssion and effects. The band was a fine example of how good it gets with a daily playing schedule and excited crowds.
We’ve been a fan of this 45 for a long time and the original still is extremely rare (only two copies known to have been found in Sweden!) We had to make a replica and with the help of Carvery’s Frank Merritt and Racuba’s Adam Isbell it’s finally available again sounding fresh and better than it ever did. 100% officially lisensed from the original band members!
A) Mombasa Vikings ‘Kibe Kibe’
B) Mombasa Vikings ‘Mama Matotoya’
Finally back with a blog post and it’s the release day of the special Them Mushrooms EP. Kenyan musical journalist Emmanuel Mwendwa has written a nice little article about the band, read it here. If you want to get your hands on our new twelve you can order direct from us, or you can check out what shops stock our releases in this interactive map. Here is the original single that has the cathcy ‘A Little Love’ and ‘Akumu Nyar Kisumu’song on the flip. As Emmanuel describes the lyrics Akumu Nyar Kisumu is a coyly crafted love song, a suitor’s lamentations about sleepless nights and desires to propose nuptials to the lakeside beauty…
A) Them Mushrooms ‘A Little Love’|
B) Them Mushrooms ‘Akumu Nyar Kisumu’
One of the great Somali female vocalists of her time was Faadumo Qaasim, from the Benadiri ethnic group. She passed in 2011 but the composer Said Harawo is to this day still living in Mogadishu and working at the National theatre of arts. Though constant menacing threats of the Al Shabaab towards music and culture, it’s sad to say the fear has put restrains on his movements. He rarely leaves his house these days. The song Majogo means I am not here. It’s a love song. She is singing how she is unavailable for love. At the same time she says “I am so in love with you my body aches” Another classic case of being love sick. So instead of welcoming love, she would rather chase it away.Berflasana is sung by another artists who is sadly not among us anymore. Ahmed Sharief Yusuf, also from the Benadiri tribe with roots in Yemen, where he relocated after the civil war. Berflasana means we are going to farm. Somalis are typically nomad culturally, where farming is very limited. Back in 60s and 70s the government introduced programs to promote farming. This song talks about the pros and cons of farming. It says that we are going to farm if we want food. If we don’t farm we going be depend hand-outs or aid. This single is now available again from afro7.net. head over to the shop and grab your copy. Special thanks to Keynaan Cali for the translations!
A) Faduma Kassim ‘Majogo’|
B) Ahmed Sharief Yusuf ‘Berflasana’
Born in Nyeri in 1953, Rachel Wanjiru, aka Tanya Ria singing came at an early age, as a dedicated Christian in the Kikuyu tribe choir practice is day to day routine. It was in 1977 Kenyan music journalist Nick Ayub and producer Joe Rogoiyo took her to the studio and recorded Do the Smasher and Love You Didn’t Want backed up by the Trippers band(not to be confused with the Tanzanian outfit) led by Francis Njoroge on Keys, Berry on guitar, Charlie Muthemba on bass and Franco on drums. However it was a short-lived singing career, she was professionally a physiotherapist and that took over her time. Sadly Tanya Ria passed in 2013 only 60 years old. It was to her family great surprise they stumbled upon her mother’s recordings on afro7.net by googling her stage name. It was the first time they had heard these songs! Back on wax again as a limited single, with press out centre and silk pressed custom sleeve. Check out the tracks below and buy direct through our order page.
A) Tanya Ria ‘Do The Smasher’|
B) Tanya Ria ‘The Love You Didn’t Want’
SCREW RECORD STORE DAY! We would have had AFRO7 01 & 02 singles available by this date, but they didn’t make it. On the positive side, we got this one in our store: The Scorpios A west London based Sudanese band playing Traditional tribal songs about family, love and religion from central Sudan. The songs which were played at weddings get together’s, religious ceremonies and events. Many of the musicians moved from Sudan after the Islamist take over and play music coming from a 60’s and 70’s inclination. At that time there was a melting pot in Sudan with many western influences with roots in South American, Funk and Rock&Roll. Sudan was always the country at the Horn of Africa country most willing to mix these influences. The music consists of Arabic rhythms with guitars, heavy bass and synths and sometimes horns supported by heavy percussion and drums. The music consists of songs either sung by women or men depending on the nature of the songs. Much of this music is slowly being forgotten by newer generations from Sudan. This limited single is just a teaser for the full album coming later this year. Hear or download full mp3 tracks in the links below. If you like it head over to the store to grab your copy!
A) The Scorpios ‘Yaelhajarok (They Leave You For Me)’|
B) The Scorpios ‘Yadob Yadob (A New Beginning)’
‘See Lamu, see Paradise’ describes the archipelago of Indian Ocean Islands off Kenya’s northern shores. Each Island has its share of Arabian Nights’ history, often only preserved in song and folk-tale, and this collection contains recordings of music which has all but disappeared into the mist of Time. Under the palm trees beside the white sand beaches, on sea-going dhows and in time of traditional celebrations, singers and instrumentalist give you songs of long ago with authenticity and lilting loveliness. A1) Song Of The Coconut Climers: ‘Life is a gift from God’, is the message from this gay melody. A2) Flute Among The Sand Dunes: On the eve of a celebration, soft music of the flute floats hauntingly in the Lamu air. A3) Lamu Love Song: A poem of dreams – treasure and a wedding bed made of Ivory tusks, sung here in a narrow backstreet by Hadija Hamisi. A4) The Siwa Horns Of Lamu: As sailing dhows return from their long sea-journeys, captains order the traditional Siwa horns to be Blown. A5) Ocean Song: In a beautiful melody, accompanied on the bow-harp Uta, Athman bin Khamis tells the love of the sea. B1) Uta Dance: The abundance of the coconut crop brings this happy celebration from the pickers, with their UTA bow-harp. B2) Zumari Music: A wedding celebration by the high-pitch traditional wind instrument of the islands. B3) Love Poem of Mwana Kupona: Lessons of the happy life and successful marriage. B4) Matondoni Celebration: The women of this little village gather, with drums and horns, to dance the age-old Vugo. B5) Coconut Climbers Dance: Warm nights are gladdened by the enchanting music of this dance by the coconut gatherers.
And now for something completely different! The Black Savage group, famous for the rare mid-70s EMI LP. The band line-up featured one prominent member; Job Seda, better known as Ayub Ogada (later released an album on Peter Gabriels Real World label) In a Pink Floyd-esque landscape these two tracks are oddball and unique enough to go unnoticed. Completely without any noticeable local rootings, except the lyrics. There is an uncanny quality over them and both songs complete with anti-hunting lyrics “Save the Savage, don’t shoot ’em down, they are trying to survive, they have feelings too…You know people, I think it’s very strange. How would you feel if someone was wearing your skin, or wrapping it around their feet, have you ever stopped to think, that all these animals all over the world, you know they have feelings too, bet you never thought of that, there you go shooting them down hanging them up on your wall to hide the cracks!”. Thanks to Jumanne Thomas for finding the tunes!
A) Black Savage ‘Do You Really Care’|
B) Black Savage ‘Save The Savage’
“One of the best Kikuyu disco tracks I’ve ever heard…!” Rickard Masip said having found few copies of ‘Family Planning’ on his last trip to Kenya in 2013. Often the continuing search for something fresh and original can be a striving fare, especially when you have to look through thousand and thousands of dirty old singles. Even though there are many Kikuyu Benga singles, few have the magnitude of By Law’s KIRU1 and KIRU6. Over a hypnotizing groove with a heavy backbeat, Family planning tells us the story of a family dispute between husband and wife, set in a traditional Kikuyu rural setting. The bone of contention in the marriage is that the wife has had enough with giving birth to more kids. They have 8 kids so far but the arrogant and rude husband is still not satisfied and wants more. Though grim it may seem the outfall is the man accept the humble argument of the wife. Notice the slight shift to a more Soukouss driven beat towards the end of the track. The bass heavy ‘Mumbi’ is in more positive fashion a classic love song about the authors passion for a woman he named the song after. He goes on tour to Nyeri where she is from and tells all the other guys to lay off his true love. Massive thanks to Moses Mungai for the translation! Both these tracks are now officially licensed and available as 12-inch through our own in-house label Afro7 records, limited to 350 copies in a heavy custom silk pressed sleeve. Both tracks extended and reworked by Finnish supreme Didier Selin. Buy it now!
A) Kiru Stars ‘Family Planning’|
B) Kiru Stars ‘Mumbi’
Glad to announce that the first compilation on our own in-house label now is available for purchase through the Shop. Light & Sound of Mogadishu comes as first of it’s kind, a unique compilation of tracks from the seventies Somali scene. Light and Sound was a was a small label and shop that operated in the ‘Cinema Hamar’ complex downtown Mogadishu. Vinyl singles was shifting hands among electronic equipment and lighting products. From the funky fused organ led rhythms of The Sharero band to the mesmerizing voice of Magool. Light & Sound had the sounds of the times! The vinyl has 7 tracks, the digipack CD has 8. Compilation comes fully remastered with liners and pictures. Read the press release through this link. In shops from the 29th of august. The bonus track on the CD is the excellent guitar percussion driven ‘Jacil Dheeg Malago Qury’ Hear part 1 and 2 in the mp3 link below. Translated to “Is Love Written in Blood?” thanks to Risto Nevanlinna for letting us borrow the original for the master and Lidwien Kapteijns for the translation of the song title.
|A) & B) Magool ‘Jacil Dheeg Malago Qury’|
Le Nzoi aka The Bees originated sometimes in the early seventies assembled by the famous vocalist Edo Gang, who’s been in bands like Les Bantous De La Capitale and T.P.O.K. Jazz. The Edition Populaire was a label owned by Franco, and this gem of a tune ‘Declaration’ was recorded on a mobile recording studio Franco used for all his sub-labels. Never discard a Congolese track after the first minute, it starts cooking mid-way. The Bees start to sting real hard here at 1:45! Departing from a call and response duet a killer guitar riff kics in and meets the sax solo half-way. This track can be looped throughout the day and night, it has everything you need!
|A) Orchestre Le Nzoi ‘Decleration’
B) Orchestre Le Nzoi ‘Ou Est Le Probleme’
In times of “Feelabration” here at Afro7, we’ve tried to trace the Afrobeat sound in the East and Central Africa. Are there any musicians from Kenya, Tanzania or Congo that can match the prowess and sound of Nigerias Fela Kuti and his counterparts? The closest we come to trace this sound is Johnny Bokelo’s ‘Nakupenda Sana’ that we posted a few years ago. A Congolese artists in the ranks of Verckys and Franco. Mbuta Teka’s Orchestra Baya Baya (an offshoot of Veves) released this track on the Tanzanian state run label Kwetu. A rumbling backbone, funky guitar lick, jazzy horns and a soaring organ line. A different kind of opening jam! Sadly for us Soukous fans it doesn’t really take off in part 2 but still some amusing solos and and quirky lyrics. “Kidogo Sana” means “a pinch..” or “very little.. ” in English. “Alright man! That is new sounds from Africa!!” Enjoy…
|A) Orch. Baya Baya ‘Kidogo Sana Pt. 1’
B) Orch. Baya Baya ‘Kidogo Sana Pt. 2’
Hazar Imam or Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan is a British Shia Muslim imam and business magnate. His following in Eastern Africa extends to great recognition for his religious role and aid work. Given the fact that there are several development aid institutions, including health and education services with his name on it. In occasion of his 1981 visit to Kenya this single was issued by Ismailia Women’s association. Sung in Swahili ‘Karibu Karim’ delivers classical Indian instrumentation spiced with a cool 80s synth, catchy chorus in a trad meets modern package. Notice the slight taarab feel over the arrangements. Sadru & Zeenat Kassam on vocals. Music by Shiraz. Lyrics by Mansoor. Enjoy!
A) Shiraz with the Sunny ‘Karibu Karim’
B) Shiraz with the Sunny ‘Believe me, Na Badlenge Hum’
Announcement from the SOUNDS EXPRESS label! Straight from the hot press! Ladies and Gentlemen it’s the NEW SUNSHINE BAND! The second single from the band that has been creating FUZZ around your door, keeping the elders awake and the youngsters dancing their feet! Don’t miss out on the fun it’s the hottest sounds around! Evan and Sam at their catchy best! You don’t believe it? BELIEVE ME, BELIEVE IT! For distribution and commercial inquiries visit Waceke Nganga Music Store River Road, Nairobi.
A) New Sunshine Band ‘What do you Feel?’
B) New Sunshine Band ‘Believe me, Believe it!’
We’ve been digging through the Ken-Tanza label, check the new stock! One of favorite outputs is this monster modern RUMBA take, and a fine example of how a tune can sound totally different from part 1 to part 2. No info on the band on the net whatsoever. Credited to Solomon M. Kombo. I suspect it might be a offshoot group. Tune delivers tempo, and a superb-guitar drive, drum laden breakdown. “Hay-Hay” Cosmic!
A) Kenya Super Rumba ‘Mpende Mwenzio Pt. 1
B) Kenya Super Rumba ‘Mpende Mwenzio Pt. 2
About time we brought out another Taarab single, it’s taken a while as they are bloody hard to come by. Some of the bigger Kenyan Taarab labels like Pwani, Mzuri seem to be hard trace even in sales and auction lists. Taaarab is coastal music, Arabic fused rhythms of the Swahili coast, expanding from the south shores of Tanzania, Zanzibar and to the north shores of Lamu in Kenya. Often in small settings with Harmonium, wooden flutes and indian percussion. Omari is praying for his dead parents and he see them in his dreams. “Samahani” is a song about forgiveness.
A) Omari Commander & his Group ‘Samahani’
B) Omari Commander & his Group ‘Omari Baba Mzazi’
AbaGusii or more common Kisii people are a tribe located on the western parts of Kenya near Lake Victoria. This single showcases straight from the roots benga in luo tradition, bouncy tempo with drive and the guitarist shifting dynamics gives the track a certain cosmic appeal. The release also goes into A. P Chandaranas treasure trove of Kenyan and Tanzanian released music. The label was distributed from the small town of Kericho. If anyone can enlighten us with identification of the platter object shown on the label we’d be delighted.
|A) Shem Onderi & Nyamwari Band ‘Robert Nyamgwono’
B) Shem Onderi & Nyamwari Band ‘Ebisio Bia Byasae’
First feature of 2014 is a doublesided Kikuyu Disco burner. Private production by Jimmy Wa Eunice distributed by Centre Music store Nairobi. Steady beat with little variation, it’s the stone hard groove and the basic but very infectious melody line that sets the mark. Guitarist steps it up a notch and starts his improvisation in the last part. Turn the single around and you have another track that is just as good as the first one. If anyone have any information about the producer or the band, or the record store for that matter please leave a comment.
A) Kahurika Brothers ‘Muka Wa Mikora’
B) Kahurika Brothers ‘Kairitu Roiko’
With a good dose of Reggae and Eddy Grant’s magic touch, Nigerian born Sonny Okusun had a big international hit in 79 with the political fueled ‘Fire in the Soweto’. 2 years earlier he had released ‘Papas land’ a key Africa record that had impact spanning from west to east. Kenyans own pop star Slim Ali’s version features great horns, wah-wah, moog, and sassy vocals .. this is the version I personally come back to. Released on the mystical World Records label, responsible for catering the Kenyan music market with domestic artists but also acts ranging from pre-War Señor Soul to Kylie Minogue.
|B) Slim Ali ‘Papa’s Land’|
Famous band from Tanzania, this release was before they changed their name to DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra after a sponsor deal. Notice the name typo done by the Kenyan label press. Read Werner Graebner excellent notes on the band over at East African Music.com This number translated to “Gossip among people” is a great showcase number; fluid rumbling backbone, fierce guitar interplay and fantastic horns. We’ve glued both parts together so you can hear the song in it’s entirely .. even put in the drop noise of the needle in the start. If you are curious about other releases on the label follow the label logo graphics on bottom right.
|A&B) Orchestre Milimani Park ‘Fitina Za Watu’|
Anyone who is interested, and ready for a short history brief in last century’s Kenyan music scene should read Doug Paterson’s excellent introduction notes to Soundway’s compilation Kenya Special. Doug makes a point about Kenyan bands being tuned in to international sounds around, and The African Pioneers ‘My Loving Sister is a great example. First off, it’s a weeding song, not a very uncommon feature in East African matrimonial celebrations. But this one is sung in English. A punchy guitar riff with a nice catchy melody, and the arrangements takes some quirky turns and leaps that adds to the appeal. Enjoy!
|A) African Pioneers ‘My Loving Sister’|
MOTO MOTO, a subsidiary label of A.I.T records, a Kenyan distribution source for Tanzanian bands. Acts like Orchestra Dar International, Vijana Jazz, Jamhuri Jazz Band and Urafiki are frequently featured. Check out our sales selection for a roundup with audio snippets. If you have special interest check out the book on the subject of Tanzanian popular music written by Alex Perullo. We feature a 45 that was dug up by extraordinaire French digger and DJ Grégoire de Villanova. A great funky doublesider with kick ass guitar, heavy organ and drums in the mix. Some are put off by the slightly mannered vocals, but we think it rocks just as hard .. black black is beautiful indeed! Psst! If your destined to find the song on vinylt there is is also a slightly cheaper French RCA pressing.
|A) Sunbust ‘Let’s Live Together’
B) Sunbust ‘Black is Beautiful’
JOSEPH KAMARU – 1965-2013 48 YEARS IN MUSIC – AND STILL GOING ON! Backing up a dozen releases and half a million records sold, this is a name on the Kenyan music scene you cannot avoid. Like his kikuyu counterpart Daniel Kamau, JK also had his own vinyl record label imprint with KENYA UNITED SOUNDS. The success of his seventies outings ensured him a prolific career mastering all the ups and downs of the Kenyan music scene to this day. He has been performing Gospel music the recent years. Read the Daily Nation post “The memoirs of a musical maverick” and see the K24 feature “Where are they now” on YouTube. The Über funky driven ‘Mukurara Nake’ a is not a political fueled track but merely the classic emotional interaction between a man and a woman. Sung out in the Kikuyu language a man comes home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man, the disdained man is not angry, this is something he has been suspecting for some time… as the lyrics goes: Since we have known each other a little over 1 year you should know when I am mad. Look at my eyes and see proof that I am not mad. No matter what you do even if you lock the door with chairs and locks, I will still leave so the two of you can sleep together. I was so prepared, I had dressed up for you, brushed my teeth so I can kiss you but sadly now I will go home and sleep alone staring at the roof. Stop pretending that you don’t know your other lover just because am here. Stop making him look bad in my eyes because no matter what you do am leaving. Thanks to Moses Mungai for the translation.
|Kamaru Celina Band ‘Mukurara Nake’|
Dug up by Duncan Brooker in the late 90’s, and later to be compiled on the first wave of Africa rare groove-comps; AFRO-ROCK on Koda an Strut. ‘MABALA’ is a Kenya instrumental funk classic! Layered with spacey Moog effects, a bluesy guitar lick, stripped sax and cool spoken female vocals it showcases the Yahoos in great form. A band who have several noteworthy releases on different labels, note the Taarab collaborations with vocalist Hafusa Abasi. Their largest output however was on the Matata and KWE labels. Judging from the musical output of these labels I’ve come to believe the band was performing in tourist circles, if anyone have any more history of the Yahoos band please let us know.
|Fathili & The Yahoos Band ‘Mabala’|
In all its splendor here is the original Kenyan ‘AFRO-ROCK’ label pressing from the mid-seventies. Let’s follow the lifespan of this song: 1977 – second pressing released in France . 1978 – Used in BBC documentary on African Music. 2001 – Compiled on Duncan Brooker’s Afro-Rock volume 1. 2005 – A remixed NYC/Cuban version with hip-hop vocals is released on Yerba Buenas Island Life album. 2006 – opens up the Last King of Scotland film, as soundtrack. 2010 – Afro-Rock Vol. 1 re-released by Strut with additional unissued material by the same artist. It could be interesting to know what Ismael himself gained from all this renowned fame. Ironically enough it seems from this deleted article that it was Kenya’s large on-going acts of music piracy that shelved his career back in the day. And sadly enough the article also tells us that Ismail Jingo passed away in Mombasa some years ago. In the light of its day ‘FEVER’ was obviously inspired by its West African contemporaries. With its catchy refrain, funky base and killer horn section it was unquestionably a hit record when it was released and to this day. Allegedly a dead rare original LP from Jingo also exists.
|A&B) Jingo ‘Fever’|
There is something very appealing about these early Ethiopian Philips singles. Especially with the picture sleeve. They often come with a very high price tag, if it’s in the right condition. Musically a league of it’s own. This monster of a doublesider showcases Mulatu Astatke at his creative peak. He had just returned back to his homeland from the US ready to shape what later became the Ethio-Jazz sound. Here in a collaboration with the renowned Ethiopian singer Tilahun Gessesse, who he also recorded several other great singles with. You can find them over at Peter Piper’s great Modern Ethiopian Music Discographies. ‘Emnete’ was reissued on 10′ SNDW10001 by Soundway. ‘Tezalègn yétentu’ is avaiable on éthiopiques-17: Tlahoun Gésséssé from Buda Musique.
|Gessesse & Mulatu ‘Tiz Alegn Yetintu’
We’ve been busy updating the shop side of things this summer, you can now actually order original Kenyan sevens directly from the blog. You’ll find the different categories under music shop on the right. There are only a 100 singles added so far, we will add more during the next months. The elusive Almasi label is always interesting as the styles in the music differs from each release. Can’t find much information about the band but it’s pretty certain they originate from the town with the same name in the Rift Valley province. Note that in seventies Kikuyu Benga the foremost and predominant instrument used is the guitar, it’s nice to hear an organ in the arrangements for a change.
|A) Nyahururu Success ‘Wendo wa Mithaiga’|
Finally a track by the legendary Kenyan military band Maroon Commandos, ‘Adeh Deh’ delivers in afro-pop fashion with a pinch of reggae in the mix. With a catchy sing-along lyrics and a sweet feel-good melody. A significant horn section sets the pace of the tune. If its a Maroon Commandos track, expect killer horns! Formed in 1970 by the legendary band leader Habel Kifoto, its military band origins quickly established the group and landed a deal with Polydor in 1971. A success story that landed a string of hits over a span of 20 years. Several 70’ties tunes from the Maroons will be featured on this blog in the coming months
A) Maroon Commandos ‘Adeh – Deh’
In the exciting evolution of Benga the Kikuyu artists implemented a fast paced rhythm, duo vocal harmony with several layers of guitar comp, melody and a minimalstic steady bumpin base/drum beat with little variation. This receipt seem to have worked as there are several Benga tunes perfected in the same style, often new incarnations of the same melody but with different vocals. Peter Kigia (Wa Ester) had a big hit with the B-side of his own privately financed MPP label. Rickard Masip made us aware that the artist is still ongoing with this youtube clip. Enjoy the original release from 1991! Who said the 90’ties was boring?
|B)Chania River Boys ‘Reke Tumanwo Biuu’|
You can image what kind of influence Manu Dibango’s mega hit ‘SOUL MAKOSSA’ had on this slice of East African Disco funk. In typical Kenyan fashion, the common phrase “ASANTE SANA” is used repeatedly in the refrain. Meaning “Thank you very much” and with the included cheeky female sexual groans you can do your own further conclusions on the lyrics. Both sides in one mix. Enjoy!
A&B) Said w/Wyne Barnes ‘Asante Sana’
Ohh! Special nightclub pressing, or is Jera Inn a hotel? Probably a mid seventies pressing and it seems the only output on this label is this excellent Cavacha tune by the Great Boma Liwanza. Another Congo import group that recorded and released in Nairobi. The group also had a full LP release and 45 outputs on major labels as Africa, ASL, Pathe & Super Musiki du Zaire. Check out Muzikifan.com for more info on the band. The interplay between the guitar and the horn section is super, and the intricate drum rhythm that sets the pace of the tune. Both sides roughly edited together. Enjoy!
A&B) Boma Liwanza ‘Jera Inn Pt. 1 & 2’
Congo band with both Kenyan and French pressings. You can find some great stories about this and others bands in Gary Stewart’s book “Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of Two Congos”. Orchestra Bella Bella released this single in 1974 and the lyrics of this particular song deals with prostitution; “I Nganga, what do you want me to do. My work is my livelihood. You find me money, my brothers. I will help you” A slightly rough sounding pressing, but dig the sassy guitar play and horn-section, and the nice handmade label design of Elengi. There is also a mini bio on the group on Tim Clifford’s excellent KentanTanza vinyl site.
|A&B) Orch. Bella Bella ‘Nganga Pt 1&2’|
A sweet vocal number by the Elgonets, a group that had quite a few releases on different labels. Listen to the great driving guitar/drum shuffle beat that lays the mood for the crooner ending the track; “God bless Africa, Africa we love, with wild animals, with oceans and woods, god bless the continent Africa, Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, use your bow and your machete and guard it. The togetherness of Africa is worth great goals. Look at it and what it offers, wild animals, lions, crocodiles ..” Thanks to Irine Nzungula for the translation.
|A) The Elgonets ‘Umoja Wa Africa’|
Probably a hit song, as this is one of the more common Ahma singles. Appears to be the Greece pressing without the picture sleeve. Great double sider in typical hypnotic Ethio-style fashion, oozing with timeless quality. Arrangements provided by the all famous Mulatu Astatke, vocals by Menelik Wossenachew and The All star band providing the sounds. ‘Belew Bedubaye’ utilizes the Ethiopian scale in full with a clever piano line, cool chorus, handclaps and a dirty sax line improvising over the main theme. ‘Tezeta’ has a more dreamlike mellow kind of vibe, listen repeatedly and picture yourself on a warm day in Adis with a Hakim Stout in your hand. እንጆይ ትሀ ሊስተን ..
|A) All star band ‘Belew Bedudaye’
B) All star band ‘Tezeta’
Digging through thousands of Kenya 45’s has proven one certainty, labels marked “Afro rock” provides positive results and usually in a funky manner. In this case, a full on quality double sider from Latapaza Band. The single was unearthed sometime in the 90’ties by Duncan Brooker, if you haven’t read the story check out this 2001 Guardian article on his ventures in Kenya. He released the b-side here ‘Odi-yo’ as a Kona promotion 45 for the forthcoming Afro-Rock 2 sampler, a compilation that never came. A shame because this stuff really hits the spot, some great guitar work featured and a catchy vocal effort on both sides of the 45. Produced by Love peace & happiness .. check!
A) Latapaza Band ‘Maziwa Ya Chai’
B) Latapaza Band ‘Odi Yoo’
No it’s not the new IPHONE 5 we are presenting here, it’s the B-side of a Kenyan single released on the Kikuyu label late 70’ties. It’s one we’ve come to like during the last few months as it features some cool drumming, a distorted wah-wah guitar and wicked bumpin’ base. In typical Kikuyu style you can’t help but hum along to the refrain. Another love sung we presume as we can clearly hear “I love you” in some of the vocals. Listen to the tempo change at 02:22!
|B) Kiratu & his Group ‘Yanagiria Kayo’|
We keep the trend of posting dancefloor oriented material and this track is no exception. It’s a cover tune of a Loi Loki Tok song. And it’s a hard one; heavvy driving percussion with a neat chant, dirty wah-wah, fierce horns and a wicked synth riff. Released by Polydor East-Africa, judging from the Mijikenda tag on the label this is from the Coastal regent of Kenya, most possibly a Mombasa band. Major thanks to Rickard Masip of Tropical treats fame for this one.
A) Cobra ‘Wari Wa Pt. 1’
About time we posted something proper funky. A Killer ghetto production with a huge break, catchy horns and a infectious moog lick high up in the mix. And wait till the trumpet solo hits in the end. We’re suspecting this might be a cover of something coming out of the US in mid seventies? The WRC label is a weird one, with local cover productions, reggae hits and a lot of mediocre disco stuff. We’re glad Nairobi native George Fombe produced this one, as nearly everything that has his name on is gold. Where is he today and who said Kenya can’t be funky?
|A) Silver Survivors Experience ‘Funky-Station’|
The cool label name pretty much sums it up. We can’t find any info on the band and our KENTANZA source tells us it’s the only release on the label out of two singles. A top notch traditional track here with a happy driving beat and a great guitar lick. And we love the way the harmony vocals works here. From the Taita tribe sung in the Kitaita language, closely related to Swahili. The lyrics tells another story about moral and ethics, don’t be careless and play-away with your life.
|A) Gonda Success Band ‘GOnda Ya Bara Isanga’|
It’s late 1980. Imagine yourself sitting in a local bar downtown Harare with a cold Zambezi by your side. The comfort and mood is just right as the red neon light paints a positive atmosphere in the bar. There is a stage there and it’s starting to get crowded! L’Orchestra Les Igao band has come all the way from Kenya and Congo to perform their newest hit. “African Disco Zimbabwe” It’s the end of an era as colonial times are history, you can feel the joy in crowd and the rush of the band. Big ups to fellow crate digger Christian Mikkelsen of ONA fame for turning up a copy of this beauty from the collection. We have no info on the band but you can read more about the City Boom label on Kentanza vinyl. Enjoy!
|A&B) Les Igao Band ‘African Disco Zimbabwe’|
We haven’t found any information on the label nor the artist here, looks like a private one off. Great label design, is that a horn upside down? The music speaks for itself here, a religious Kikuyu duet with a great slab of horns and funky guitar drive. In tradition of similar sounding Kikuyu groups at the time (Lulus band, Rift Valley bros) the sound on the b-side is nearly all instrumental. Note the funky change-up at 1:35 and wait for the bass solo! This smells of dancefloor potential. Probably from around mid seventies 75 or 76. Enjoy![audio:http://www.afroseven.net/songs/Band-sauti-popote-ithui-riu-pt12.mp3|titles=Band sauti popote – Adam Na Hawa pt1&2]
We have been up and down the coast of Kenya’s Swahili land scouting for records but we never came across this little 45. It was just a few years ago tropical master digger Rickard Masip turned up a copy in his own homeland of Sweden. Obviously a souvenir brought back from the Reef Hotel Mombasa (still running today!). A killer funky instrumental double sider. Percussive, organ, wah-wah and tribal vocal chant. Infectious! The band also released a full album by the name of the Vikings ‘African songs’, recorded in Switzerland. Both songs from the single are featured on the lp but the 45 take sounds earlier and better to our ears. [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/mombasa-vikings-kibe-kibe.mp3|titles=mombasa vikings – kibe kibe]
One of many Lulu’s band singles. A prolific Kikuyu group that recorded for several labels, the groups private D.K. Undugu Sounds was run by the groups leader Daniel Kamau. Expect excellent loud pressing and tight production, simple funky aural esthetics’s as tight drumming, catchy vocals and a thousand dollar guitar riff! Perfect for the dancefloors of 2012.
|B) Lulus Band ‘Nguinio Nuu’|
Another Kenyan Congolese import band. And another AIT subsidiary label. There is no information to scout on the NET whatsoever on the band, although they released three other singles on the same label. Build up around a lovely hummin’ chorus, great atmosphere and a kickass tropical guitar harmonic ostinato, listen when it goes jazzy and the horns kick in midway .. what a tune! Both part 1 and 2 from the single assembled in the audio.
|A&B) Orch. Teke Teke Libala ‘Libala Bombanda Pasi’|
Here is a gem of a tune from Orchestra Bana Ekanga. Apparently a group that was an offshoot of the famous BABA NATIONAL, read more about the band and Baba Gaston on the excellent Muzikifan’s article Congolese bands in east Africa, The song features an Intricate drum beat with a beautiful female vocal effort by Nana Akumu wa Kudu of Pepelepe fame. Don’t believe the hype? Listen in and get hypnotized! [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Orch.-Bana-Ekanga-Haraka-Haina-Baraka.mp3]
A duet for a change, a very sweet growing slow-burn track musically labeled Coast, strangely it has this Ethiopia vibe to it. The Famous Nyahururu Boys was a Kikuyu band with frontman James Wahome who is credited for the tune and the label. As it is sung in Kikuyu we can’t find anyone who can translate it, but we’ve got it confirmed from our Swahili source it’s another love song 🙂 Listen in while it build towards the end ..
|A) Famous Nyahururu Boys ‘Mwendwa’|
If we got our facts straight ‘L’orchestre Masantula’ is a Tanzanian group, released on an AIT subsidiary label. ‘SAUDA’ A nice traditional track with a nice uplifting edge: driving percussive backing, guitar, sax and cool chorus. Curious about the message of the song we had to consult with our man in Nairobi, unfortunately he lost his mobile phone so we will have to wait to get the lyrics translations sorted out. Anyways we’ve merged both sides of the vinyl platter so enjoy the whole track! If you like this track we suggest you buy it, it was compiled on Essential East African Hits Volume 2 and The Essential East African Collection Vol 2. [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Orch.-Masantula-Sauda.mp3|titles=Orch. Masantula – Sauda]
Massive thanks to MitMitta music for supplying us with another winner from Mahmoud Ahmed. Built up around a thriving beat, majestic horn section and a great poppy chorus, it sounds as fresh today as it did back in 1974. We are thrilled to hear that Mahmoud Ahmed is still around and performing. Next 45 update comes from Tanzania. Stay tuned! [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Mahmoud-Ahmed-Gebtout-yehon-fikren.mp3|titles=Mahmoud Ahmed – Gebtout yehon fikren]
So it wouldn’t be long before we featured our first Ethiopian Track. Big thanks to our man Vemund in Addis for sorting out a trade. Mahmoud Ahmed a veteran on the Ethiopian scene for nearly five decades delivers here a great mellow soulful performance, backed up with a great rhodes lick and horn section by the Dahlack Band. Oozing with excellence and released on his own private label Mahmoud TV & Radio house. Again we’d love to hear the meaning of the lyrics, please post if you have something to share. [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Mahmoud-Ahmed-Yefikir-Woha-Temu.mp3]
We hit the first day of 2012 with this brilliant track from The Uppers hailing from Ghana. Unfortunately we don’t have much information on them except their former band name was Uppers International and they released a couple of singles on Polydor. With a mellow groove, keys, funky drumming and a jazzy trumpet and tenor-sax solo the scarce 2.50 track-time will have you wanting more. Also we’d love to know what the lyrics are in English, post a reply if you can translate. [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Uppers-chapter-two-Samari-bolga.mp3|titles=Uppers chapter two – Samari bolga]
Happy X-MAS to all our followers! Here is a track on the polygram subsidiary label Tsavo. For those of you who are familiar with the name your reference might be the Kenya national parks; Tsavo east and west. Although the name has a more dreadful meaning in Kikamba, check the facts on Wikipedia. This Lingala track from Orchester Sombo Sombo is all about joy and has all the right ingredients for a party number. A great guitar lick, dirty horns and cool vocals! Enjoy! See you in 2012! [audio:http://afroseven.net/songs/Orch-Sombo-sombo-sombo-sombo.mp3]
|A) Orchestra Sombo Sombo ‘Sombo Sombo’|
Johnny Bokelo, the counterpart of Congos renowned Franco Luambo had a belt of labels and groups during the seventies and eighties. Like many other Congolese musicians he went to Kenya to finance and release his music. In this case, the song “Nakupenda Sana” is sung in Swahili, meaning again “I love you ..” A tight guitar lick, thematic horns with a neat breakdown. Somewhat reminiscent of a Manu Dibango tune. If you heard it before it was booted with a bogus name on a French 70’ties lp called Kouloukoko du Zairie.
|B) Conga Internationale ‘Nakupenda Sana’|
I’m wondering if this group is the same group as the Eagles lupopo, if anyone have any information please let us know. The track is credited Yusuf Omar and Suddy Mohamed. Lupopo released several singles on the same African Eagles label so there must be some connection. I’m loving the sax work on this track, it opens up with a traditional romantic lingala flow and goes uptempo with a cool nearly free sax solo at the end. Definitely a standout!
|A) Eagles Band ‘Nyumba Imepigwa Na Radi’|
Here is a tune that is fairly easy to find if you scouting eBay regularly. One of the coolest artistic label designs, and a definite standout when you are digging through hundreds of 45’s. The music is a powerhouse of a lingala tune, starts in usual traditional style and slowly builds up with a killer guitar lick and a restless horn section. Brilliant! A pity the pressing is a bit low-fi. Check out Izile Topoke – Butu pt1 And if you can’t enough of that our in-house DJ BAZ has made an exclusive EDIT of the track cutting the best part aimed straight for the floor. Download high quality .MP3 and .WAV files here!
|A&B) Topoke ‘Butu’|
The Green rovers, a band that released several 45’s with some of Kenyas biggest labels. One of their better tracks is this very righteous take with the AIT subsidiary label Moto Moto. A cool baseline hook with a sweet vocal chorus and an underlying synth line. Even the drummer get’s his due in the cue! ‘Dynamite’ indeed. Over to the translation section, Masikini means in Swahili “unfortunate” The message of the song is be grateful for what you have, don’t try to get more on behalf of other people. Then you heart is black. And that message still packs a punch today, 33 years later. Enjoy!
|A) Green Rovers Band ‘Masikini’|
The small Umoja label only released this and two other singles as documented on the great KenTanziaVinyl site. Dug up by Sweden’s own tropical master digger Rickard Masip. A cool synth line sets the pace with a nice vocal harmony effort. And wait until the horn section let’s loose. Great track. In Swahili Umoja means togetherness. And ironically the text of the songs is not about the continent, it’s about a guy who has lost his love. “Asia you’ve done bad things, you have scared me and given me sorrow. Why did you leave?”
|A) Orch. Bimalee ‘Asia pt.1 ‘|