Friday, May 10, 2013
Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument
The next Awesome Tapes From Africa LP release is by Hailu Mergia, the Ethiopian one-man-band accordion/keyboardist extraordinaire. Hailu made his name in Walias Band and later went on to do some visionary solo recordings. Hailu Mergia's beautiful and surprising 1985 foray into traditional Ethiopian songs via analog synth, electric piano and accordion has been remastered and will be available June 25 on LP/CD/MP3/C60.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Massinko—DJ Mengie (NYC) & DJ XL Yafet
OK here's something you don't hear every day. In Bahar Dar I came across this NYC house-meets-Ethiopian traditional music cassette. I had to buy two copies, this one was so surprising. Blessed with Amharic club diva vocals, masinko riffs and an excellent I-don't-give-a-fuck creative swagger, this is one of those unique recordings that keeps me interested in this Awesome Tapes From Africa project.
If you're like me and you still cherish your 90s drum n bass/jungle mixtapes and/or you ever went to a rave back in the day, this tape might be extra compelling.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Groupe El Badil—Cassette 3
Islamic chants as a vehicle for a varied and compelling array of rhythmic directions. Every song is different. I dance to the electronic super-charged second-cousin of drum n bass joints, I sway to the more acoustic, chorus-focused songs. I am going to be listening to a lot of this.
Groupe El Badil have some recordings available.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Tafese Tesfaye—1989 Zemana Getem Derasi
In observance of Great Lent, here is begena (bass lyre, King David's harp) music from an Ethiopian Orthodox monk, circa 1996 (1989 according to the Ethiopia calendar). Contemplate your sinning ways and get with the minimally stark low-end rumble of this ancient instrument.
BTW—Dur-Dur Band Volume 5 (ATFA004) comes out next week, March 19, on LP, CD, MP3 and limited edition cassette. Get yours here.
ALSO—Go deep into Sudanese, Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean music videos and Ghanaian TV sit-com, Nigerian cinema, tons of African TV advertisements and more at ATFA-curated weekend of YouTube videos on Network Awesome.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Kompilation Moytoul—Hip Hop contre le Sida
Mariano (Bibson / Maxi Krazy)
Xolu Chando (Gaston / Bouks)
Yaye Balma (Billy Joe / KT)
Xippi te Xoi (Laye B)
Nit Ki (Big D / Fatim / Pacotille)
Year 2000 Senegal rap-ragga-dancehall all-star compilation to raise awareness about AIDS.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Madiodio Gning—Sultanu Arifine
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Rap Guinéen Remix
Rap Guineé from the early aughties, chock full of traditional instruments and new-jack hustlin. Feeling this.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Chief (Dr.) Sikiru Ayinde Barrister—Fuji Explosion
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Sound Makers International—People's Club of Nigeria Special
People's Club of Nigeria Part One
People's Club of Nigeria Part Two
This is some classic shit from a classic personage of Nigerian highlife excellence. Take two of these and call me in the morning.
Also, feel free to download and vibe to this track from the upcoming ATFA release by Dur-Dur Band (coming March 19 in all formats on all continents).:
Friday, January 04, 2013
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Blind Musical Flames—Flames Morale
Positive greetings from essential Sierra Leonean sight-impaired super-group Blind Musical Flames. Welcome to 2013. We're starting light for now here at Awesome Tapes From Africa, deeper heavies to come. Hope you like simple pleasures, some dancing and a little bit of reggae.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Eli Ikwerre Marunma
Mind Your Way
Eli Rumuji Wegbom
Jump for joy to Nigerian praise singing and traditional drumming, spinning in hypnotizing cycles. I'm actually feeling dizzy. Despite the balance of lilty harmony and aggressive pulsing, this tape, produced outside Port Harcourt, takes me want a siesta.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Very excited to announce the next Awesome Tapes From Africa release. Dur-Dur Band Volume 5 comes out March 19
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Mamadou Camara dit Bikadi—Sognina
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Kouchouam Mbada—Swèga Menzui
Ton Ngoùla (Jolie Jolie)
These cyclical ruminations surely spell elation for many a Cameroonian social function.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Finekeba Fali Camara—Raconte la Vie de Madou Hakilidouman de Fana Vol. 1
Vibe to griot tales from Mali today. The excellent instrumental and vocal accompaniment to this makes for a deep chill-out record. Settle in for the long haul. Ah, the life of Mr. Madou Hakilidouman. He apparently hails from Fana,which lies in a particularly culturally fertile part of Mali. Let that subtle, on-point guitar/n'goni work sneak up on you and feel thankful this gem made it to magnetized polyester.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Conakry By Night
Bee Labe Labe
*—Super warbly tape alert. Apologies for the awesome, nearly unlistenable effect.
Rap from Guinea, steeped in that quintessential urban West African stew of hip-hop, soul, dancehall and traditional rhythms and sounds (FAC Alliance lists Fulani, Susu and Mandinka inspiration on their website). There might be a touch too much reggae at times for me but I'm captivated by the overall vibe Nondi K, Pap G and Mista X are repping here. Frank Bessem's great encyclopedia has some more background here.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Thanks to my pal Patrick Seabase—celebrated fixed gear bike athlete—for this cassette from Eritrea, which he picked up while filming Asmawa, a documentary about a beautiful and challenging bike trip down there. This is a highly addictive take on Eritrean Tigrinya-language Bahlawi music. Legit modern sounds culled from relatively ancient means. Patrick says he heard this tape over and over again while traveling in Eritrea. I have been playing it on repeat myself and I am thoroughly obsessed.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
National Youth Choir of Namibia—Namibian Images & Sound
Friday, August 31, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Jean Claude Bamogo—Panaki Panazoe Mix 2
Mam Nonga Foo
Panaki panazoe *
Here is a late period album of intricately rendered dance jams and low-key phone-ins from Burkina Faso's Jean Claude Bamogo (who was in old school awesome band l'Orchestra Super Volta). It is what it is, even legends don't make 100% perfect tapes. The good tracks are really good.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Monday, August 06, 2012
General Kollington Ayinla & His African Fuji Eaglets Lakukulala
Tiwa Laye Nfe
Olorun Lo Jona Mo'le
Tiwon Oto, Tolorun Oto
Bi General Gborin Tuntun De
Karaye Ma Se Damu Awa
The Late Journalists
Alh. Sulaimon Oyegbemi
I can't get enough Nigerian fuji music these days. Here is a particularly deep one from a king among men. 1991 wishes you a blessed day.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Yedenou Adjahoui et son Groupe Folklorique d'Avarankou R.P. Benin
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Gyedu Blay Ambolley and the Steneboofs—Simigwa Soca
Bend Down Low
Ehuruw A Whewhe Beebi Koto
Somewhat rare version of this late-era recording by the Ghanaian hiplife originator/highlife innovator Gyedu Blay Ambolley. His 1975 lp Simigwa is a collectors' fave. He is still around playing shows, worth checking out.
RIP to Ghana's President Atta Mills.
Monday, July 09, 2012
This is an awesome tape from Morocco: passionate and virtuosic on a track to track basis. A slight to yodel in the voice when things get intense. Wall to wall nimble hands and fingers. Get in the zone with Lahbib Boutaxi. I recently did and I don't think I've been the same since.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Sandwidi Pierre—Vol. 3
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Who wants to hear an Amazigh futurist ensemble actively big-upping Souss region traditional rhythms (i.e. ahwach) while presenting their music in a context of more cosmopolitan practices? I do. These guys have been doing it for decades with much success. They have made many, many records. Bliss out to tracks 1, 3 and 4 right now.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Sawamites Lhmak Hmaki Avec El Miloudia
Obviously. More magic from Morocco.
Bola on tour in Europe coming up!:
July 27 / Basel CH // City Beach
July 28 / St. Gallen CH // Palace (+ SHANGAAN ELECTRO)
July 29 / Biesenthal DE // Sommerfest
August 1 / Berlin DE // Festsaal Kreuzberg (+ GROUP DOUEH)
August 2 / Berlin DE // Trickster
August 3 / Sejerø DK // Sejerø Festival
August 5 NL / Venlo // Zomerparkfeest
August 8 NO / Oslo // Øya Festival
August 9 SE / Stockholm // Trädgården
August 11 FI / Helsinki // Flow Festival
Monday, June 25, 2012
Ne Dona Bara Kola
Hard rockin' balafon (balani in Bambara) and serious talkin' echo-y vocal incantations for this rainy afternoon. Dude is named after his instrument (Seydou Koita aka Seydou Balani), this definitely isn't his first rodeo on this West African xylophone.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Berber singer Hadda Ouakki hails from the Middle Atlas region of Morocco and has a beautifully onomatopoetic name. I enjoy this recording from beginning to end, but the first track is super fun. Thanks to my special lady for scoring this recently in Chefchaouen.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Ouza et ses Ouzettes—Tawatal
Monday, June 04, 2012
Hallo Dawe—Volume 3
Oromo music from Ethiopia via the singer Hallo (or Hello, Haloo) Dawe. The raw recording and effusive performance contained herein is worth the lo fi and almost anxious feeling of the whole scenario. Get buck with the unhinged acoustic guitar accompaniment below a sharpish, tense female vocal exposition. Thanks to Mitamitta and Andreas for sending me this one.
OH YEAH--Bola Remixes digital ep coming out next week. Features reworkings of Bola tracks by ITAL, Lamin Fofana, Miles Seaton (akron/family) and Blue Hawaii (Icy Demons), and Anzano & Palermo (Magic Touch/Mi Ami)!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Alekpehanhou Roi du Zinli Rénové
Agbon Hou Agbon
Ta Hoho Mon Non
Nou É Kon Gningnin É
Gni Dokponon Homé Do
Mi Nou Mi Ni Mon Midé Gbô
Na Non Sô Tin Tché Mè
Polyrhythmic spirals courtesy of this zinli music cassette from Benin, for your journey to the other world. I am reveling in the beautiful, unified restraint of the elements here, boiled down to a persistent essence of drums, bells and vocals that linger like smoke in the mix. The eminently informative VOA African Treasures blog has some details on Alekpehanhou and the state of traditional music listening in Benin.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Sekouba Bambino Diabate—Syli National
Friday, April 27, 2012
Orchestre Régional de Ségou—SNAC 2001
One of the things I love about music in Mali (in general) is that the music that you hear out on the streets in urban areas has such palpable roots in traditional music from the villages. You never feel like you're listening to bubble gum pop of the masses. This government supported band has been crushing it in some shape or form for many years.
Bola's new release for Awesome Tapes From Africa is out now and available on limited edition cassette (see links on sidebar at left).
Awesome Tapes From Africa DJ sets coming up...Coming back to US soon!:
30.04 Gothenberg SE / Clandestino Festival at Röda Sten
02.05 Milan IT / La Triennale
11.05 Antwerp BE / Scheldapen (Cassette Connection tour with DJ Cinnamoon and Sebcat's Taj Mahal)
12.05 Brussels BE / Recyclart (Cassette Connection tour with DJ Cinnamoon and Sebcat's Taj Mahal)
18.05 New York NY / Santos Partyhouse Spencer's GIFs w/ Teengirl Fantasy, Ablehearts, Tim DeWitt
19.05 Brooklyn NY / 285 Kent w/ Lamin Fofana and Chief Boima
20.05 New York NY / Lisa Cooley Gallery at 7pm
23.05 Boston MA / Spectacle w/ Debo Band
25.05 Seattle, WA / CAIRO
26.05 Portland OR / Holocene w/ Sahel Sounds
28.05 George, WA / Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge
Saturday, April 21, 2012
I saw in the news Mugabe is at death's doorway. Here's to hoping for freedom for all in Zimbabwe ASAP. Let's pray the bozos who've been propping the Old Man up the last few years don't take over.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Yvonne Chaka Chaka—Sangoma
Come A Little Bit Closer
I'm Gonna Stop Loving You
I could only hold off on posting a Yvonne Chaka Chaka joint for so long. Her contributions to electronic dance-pop in the 80s, and later to South Africa in general, are immense and make for a good newspaper profile.
From SA post-disco trailblazer to her current work with the UN and as the face of Lifebuoy Soap, Yvonne Chaka Chaka remains a busy and successful lady. Two thumbs up.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Pass-PAss AK Farlu
Charismatic and tricked out mbalax from a stellar vocalist who has played with crucial Senegalese dynamo Orchestra Baobab and other well known Dakar-based ensembles. Mboup is simply one of the most incredible singers I have ever seen/heard.
Next week Awesome Tapes From Africa hits Los Angeles for some special shows:
Thursday, April 12 Future Roots Array by dublab w/ Cut Chemist, Duppy Gun DJs (Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras), Boss Harmony (the riddim specialist of Dr. Who), Mor Elian, Frosty
Friday, April 13 Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction at Ace Hotel Palm Springs during Coachella, 12pm-5pm curated by ATFA, featuring Peaking Lights and Secret Circuit
Saturday April 14 No-Chella at the Claremont Colleges
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Manka Le Phallang—Mokhosi
Ngoka Kenna Feela
Linyane La Tau
Tlo Hella Batho
E Tang Taba
This 1989 Basotho famo music recording from fascinating land-island-within-South Africa Lesotho oughta set y'all straight for a minute. Accordion and bass heavy. Nice n' smooth. Add to that high-pitched super-hot (perhaps a bit too hot?) whistling and the real mood of this music shakes out.
Forthcoming Awesome Tapes From Africa release by Bola comes out Tuesday, preorder here or your favorite record shop.
ALSO--Super stoked to let you know Awesome Tapes will be taking an extended hiatus for a 5-month surfing and sailing adventure in Southeast Asia. Be well.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Lamissa Bengali—CAN 2002
Ce Boda Muso
Jump for joy, this is blazin Senoufo balafon music from Mali at the hands of a mallet maestro to the extreme. Rock to these husky vocals as well, mes potes. Lamissa Bengali (or Bengaly) is joined by a coterie of Bengali brothers (Djakaride Bengali, Mamoutou Bengali, Seydou Bengali, Sidi Bengali). This man knew how to carry the torch of his regional traditional sounds, stuff the whole family can enjoy, circa 2001.
BTW—check out this music video of Bola (forthcoming release on Awesome Tapes From Africa) doing his thing.
Catch me DJing those phenomenal (and sometimes fickle) tapes in Hamburg at the Golden Pudel on March 28 or Berlin (supporting Konono no.1) at Gretchen on March 29.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Alhaji Ayinla Omowura—Ati D'Ariyo
Warbly low end, complex bubbly rhythms that are part Yoruba talking drums, part bad tape... I love the almost meandering, laid back apala tempo, at one point a precursor to faster, more frenetic fuji music (with which I have lately been obsessed).
I have always enjoyed the solo and chorus vocals throughout this late 70s apala joint by one of the king practitioners of the genre. Oh nice, iTunes has a few other recordings by Nigeria's late great Alhaji Ayinla Omowura.
Monday, March 05, 2012
Djon Ti Laban Lô
This might not be my favorite tape ever but this content and rhythmic Ivorian guitar/accordion meditation on middle-of-the-road tastefulness could not come from a more angelic-looking man, who happens to go by the name of Mr. Guitar. Longest sentence ever.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Issa Coulibaly dit Trih Issa
Please make way for Mr. Issa Coulibaly (
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Muungano Cultural Troupe—Volume 17 Mambo Yapo Huku
Mambo Yapo Huku
Taarab music from Tanzania's long-running and legendary Muungano. This tape gets the award for wily, sinewy and swirly lo-fi keyboard tone of the year. Similar in crucial melodic and rhythmic ways to my earlier faves from Dar es Salaam, Jagwa Music. Stop by Afropop Worldwide for extensive cultural/social/political background on taarab in general.
Awesome Tapes From Africa DJ sets in Europe coming up in March, come say hello if you're nearby...Presented by Spex:
01.03. CH Bern / Bonsoir
02.03. CH Lausanne / Le Bourg
08.03. DE Berlin / Africaine 808 @ Soju Bar
10.03. DE Duisburg / Aula Im Festivalzentrum
15.03. IT Venetia / Teatro Fondamenta Nuove
17.03. IT Bologna / Locomotiv
28.03. DE Hamburg / Golden Pudel
29.03. DE Berlin / Gretchen (+ Konono No. 1)
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Glittery and glammed out Manding pop from Guinea, perfectly balanced between traditional and modern persuasions. Vocals cut sharp, kora never dull, everything else falls into place / makes you want to dance. Don't stop.
Awesome Tapes From Africa DJ sets in California coming up:
Feb 6/San Francisco//Aquarius Records In-Store Whatttttt (5-7pm)
Feb 8/Los Angeles//Nomerica at Naya on Sunset (formerly Tantra)
Feb 10/Los Angeles//Top Tape by dublab at The Hyperion Tavern
Feb 11 San Francisco//Tormenta Tropical at Elbo Room
Friday, January 13, 2012
Bola Volume 7 Coming April 2/3 Worldwide
Listen to the track "Abayetidu Ma" from the forthcoming Awesome Tapes From Africa release by Bola. He is a singer and instrumentalist from Bolgatanga, Ghana who has been putting out tape after tape of ridiculously energetic and thoughtful songs for the last few years. I almost died when I heard this Volume 7 tape for the first time. Bola's intense Frafra-language vocals, along with his shredding kologo—a two-stringed lute—boosted by bass-heavy, angular keyboard melodies and dance floor-ready drums. I am fascinated by Bola's take on a traditional instrument and musical style. Look out for this release in early April on LP/CD/MP3/limited edition cassette.
Bola "Abayetidu Ma" by awesometapesfromafrica
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Hoping someone can provide some details on this excellent recording.
Happy New Year to all of you.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Ding Ding Djello—Koumandian
Hommage à nos mamans*
Daff mi Yakh
Ecoutons nos Parents
*—Made me feel/think something
Guinean rap from a group of well-educated lads, who big up their school with the album title (Koumandian Keita is the largest private school in Conarky). Established Senegalese rapper Sister Fa helps on vocals. Senegalese and German producer/musicians Bob Dynaa and Steven Töteberg (who ran a very important studio in Dakar for the youth called Maison Yes, where this was recorded) produced and mixed the album. Not much info about the group themselves...I think this is from the late '90s. Meh, this album is mediocre but tracks 3, 4 and 9 made me feel like sharing it.