Monday, April 23, 2007


Yahaya Alhaji Zakari and his Awaye Group Vol. 4 Abin Dunia

Side A
Abin Dunia
Saamun Woni
Munriga Mungane

Side B
Muuni Yaaran Super
Seidi Alama
Kubarr Haasada
Ganin Mohammadu

I like this guy's jacket. I also like this guy's squeaky voice, or perhaps that's the just the heat-and-dust warbled tape. The tape is a bootleg of another—its cover is a crooked photocopy and the recording just sounds distant. The distortion is particularly intense, in a good way I think. The mix here is fun too: the bass drum, which seems to lead the whole crew, is louder than pretty much everything else. It sounds like a bass-heavy system playing out of a shitty car, loose pieces vibrating each time the bass hits.

I bought this tape in Ghana on the main drag of a place in the capital called Nima. The neighborhood cassette stands in Nima are great because you can find music and movies from all over West Africa, especially Muslim regions. Nima has a higher population of Muslims than most other parts of Accra. The reason for this tangent is you can tell from this artist's name that he is Muslim. That's about all I know about this one.

N.B.: You might be wondering why the track order of the downloads is slightly different than the track list on the casette cover. Many of the most Awesome Tapes From Africa contain baffling errors on the cassette covers, labels, and/or recorded program. There's often a good amount of guesswork in deciphering these tapes...

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Charles A. Chepkwony Kolu Band Magtalena

Kilyano Ratanga
Yach Busurek
Bakach Chebaigeiyat Sikilai
Kas Imam O Pilista

Above is the first side of a casette from Kenya that my friend Joshua bought for me while he was there... thanks Josh!

This shit has lengthy breakdowns that sound to me like early house music—if it was done on twangy guitars, muffly bass and break-your-bones live drums in East Africa.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Daouda Dembele El Hadji Sekou Oumar Vol. 1

Side 1
Side 2

A griot (or traditional West African storyteller) and his n'goni—which is said to be the African ancestor of the banjo. They weave an epic poem here, trotting along at a leisurely pace. I believe the language is Fulfulde... Anyone know? I enjoy the rhythmically minimal n'goni accompaniment Daouda Dembele provides for himself while he recounts the story of El Hadji Sekou Oumar. A little clackity-click of the finger with the darkly repetitive n'goni phrases goes a long way.

This tape is from Mali. There's a lot of music like this all over the Sahel from Senegal to Nigeria, and beyond. The n'goni is just one of the many instruments used by griots to accompany their stories and praises. Kora is the most internationally famous musical instrument used by some griots.

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