Cumulative Index of African Music CD Reviews
The Antibalas Orchestra has taken the ideas of Afrobeat developed in Nigeria in the '70s and adapted them to a modern context. Clear debts to Afrobeat star Fela Kuti emerge through energetic, jazz-inflected funk with a political angle.
The trio known as Blo was born from the funk explosion in 1970s Nigeria. This retrospective covers their ten-year history, spanning a range of music from psychedelic sounds through heavy funk and fresh disco. There's no doubt at any point where these guys are from.
Fela Kuti's music brought together a global spectrum of sound. This recording, made shortly after Kuti returned to Africa from the United States, feaures Cream drummer Ginger Baker as guest artist. Tasty tunes, tight band, liquid flow.
John Miller Chernoff, an anthropologist, sociologist and musician, assumed a valuable role as documentary historian when he produced this recording of a traditional fiddle performance from the Dagbon people of northern Ghana. The dominant instrument, a one-string violin, makes a tremendous impact at a visceral level.
In this excellent book, Tenaille examines influential musicians from all over the African continent. He provides information about distinctive styles, history and influences, and essential recordings representing a huge variety of approaches. A fine introduction and a valuable reference.
Badenya is an active group of musicians in NYC who play pieces drawing from the traditions of the Ancient Empire of Mali. Spare and open, this music sounds timeless and contemporary all at once.
Twenty years after reigning supreme as the most popular band in Senegal, Orchestra Baobab reformed to record this mellow, attractive collection of Afro-Cuban music, including a version of the classic "El Son Te Llama."
A worthy followup to Liberation Afrobeat, this funky, jazzy record recalls the heyday of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, especially in the interlocking rhythms, which keep the groove rock-solid and allow the other instrumentalists to soar.
Another comeback album, this time by a band with decades of history and popularity in West Africa. Guinea's Bembeya Jazz, a twelve-piece group dominated by horns, vocals and guitars, recalls the golden era and provides a strong call to dance. Griot guitarist Sekou Diamond Fingers Diabaté is largely responsible for the mood and style of the music.
Souad Massi has made significant strides since she left Algeria for Paris, and this, her second release, comes across in a personal, sincere, honest wayrevealing the melancholy and romance of her world and a variety of influences that have crisscrossed the Western Mediterranean over time.
With the help of David Murray, a true veteran of multicultural embrace, Senegalese saxophonist Abdoulaye N'Diaye makes his debut a combination of African-American jazz and instrumentation with West African traditions and instruments like the kora and djembe.
By making use of modern production tools, Malian singer and ngoni player Issa Bagayogo tweaks ancient musical traditions and instruments to yield a modern, affable, groovy mix.
This attractively packaged double-disc set reissues two albums that Malian master blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure made in the early '80s. It's a fine complement to the rest of his output, especially in the way it reveals the raw roots which newcomers to his music may not yet have discovered.
Along with Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi has kept the flame of traditional Shona music from Zimbabwe alive by creating fertile hybrids with other southern African idioms, as well as modern instruments and styles. Very accessible, but unpretentiously deep at the same time.
Mad Max mutant roots from the dirt poor Kinshasa suburbs. Crudely and heavily amplified bass, tenor, and treble likembes (thumb pianos); scrap metal drums and percussion; and sonic distortions which, accidentally but wonderfully, lend the music the character of Western heavy-electronica.