buxton65 asked: Hi, The zipped file of Herb Udemba & His African Baby Party is actually Dele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band. I've been collecting versions of bottom belle, so it would be nice to have this old copy. thanks.
I think I fixed the problem. Can you check and let me know? Thanks for the heads up.
Following our recent post about Okyerema Asante’s Ghanaian disco trip, we have another afro-disco gem, courtesy of Nigerian club queen - Nana Love.
Search for her online and you’ll mostly find various posts about her obscurity, and lack of info. The few bits of useful information come straight from the back sleeve: It was recorded in California, She credited as writer/arranger, and features Nigerian funk heavyweight - Harry Mosco - on the album. She was also featured on the 2010 compilation Lagos Disco Inferno (that’s her on the front cover).
And that’s it.
We sometimes take it for granted that we are often able to discover everything about an artist with a few clicks of the mouse. My experience with Nana Love has reminded me of a time when all one could know about an artist was based on the info off the sleeve and record.
Eba’s “Trahison” is one of the biggest records to come out of Côte d’Ivoire during the 1970s. The song aspired to be an anthem for Francophone africa, much like Prince Nico’s “Sweet Mother” - the influence behind Eba’s song - was for Nigeria. ”Trahison” went on to sell millions of copies and made Eba a house hold name.
But the road to Eba’s immortality had a rough start. Against his wife’s wishes, Eba set out to record in Ghana at Ambassador Studios in 1977 with famed producer Papa Disco and Eba’s pan-african band - The Sanwi Star - all in tow. The session was disrupted by a month-long power outage in Accra. With depleted funds and growing concerns (not too mention his wife’s premonitions ringing in his ear), Eba was ready to call it quits and head back home. Luckily for all of us, the power came back on one sunday morning and he managed to record his signature tune, forever leaving his mark on the African musical landscape.
The migration of Ghanaian drummers to the west can be traced back to the legendary Guy “Kofi Ghanaba” Warren, where - in the 1950s - he played alongside such jazz greats as Charlie Parker, Theolonius Monk, and John Coltrane. Though rarely acknowledged, his presence on the new york jazz scene - a more subdued version of Chano Pozo’s afro-cuban influence - contributed to the afrocentric sentiments found in jazz post-his arrival. The impact left a lasting impression on future generations of musicians. Most notably, 70s rock drummers.
Ginger Baker, of Cream fame, kicked off the trend in 1971, when he traveled to Nigeria and jammed with a host of Nigerian musicians, resulting in a recorded collaboration with Fela Kuti. In 1980, it was Mick Fleetwood’s turn. Armed with his own recording equipment, Fleetwood went to Ghana and produced his 1981 album, The Visitor, at the legendary Ghana Film studios. One of the several Ghanaian musicians he enlisted for the project was a young drummer by the name of Okyerema Asante.
Asante went on to play a contributing role in painting the musical african soundscape that permeated the 1980s rock scene. He recorded and toured the world with Paul Simon for his seminal “Graceland” album, and rejoined Mick Fleetwood in 1987 for another world tour with Fleetwood Mac.
As many side musicians do, Asante tried his hand at a solo career. The recording featured here is from 1980, and starts off with one of the toughest afro-disco songs to come out of Ghana. As we’ve stated before, recordings like these represent the potential direction Ghanaian pop music would’ve gone if it were not for the curfews and coups that destroyed Ghanaian nightlife. And, judging from Asante’s musical and fashion aesthetic, it is also slightly indicative of the premier Ghanaian afro-disco outfit, Osibisa’s, ever-lasting influence on Ghanaian musicians themselves.
An abbreviated version of the song, enittled “Sibi,” popped up on the ambiguous 2003 Disc ‘O’ Lyso compilation. Today we’re happy to present the song - clocking in at just under 14 minutes - in its full glory.
Well Folks, here it is.
Yet another highly sought-after gem from Ghanaian funketeer - De Frank. Much like other renown West African funk artists - Ambolley, Geraldo Pino, Harry Masco - De Frank’s catalogue affirms his admiration for American funk and soul. On “psychedelic Man” he goes all in and does away with most of the highlife and other Ghanaian rhythms found on some of his other recordings - one which we featured a while back - and replaces it with english-induced afro-soul and the occasional reggae number.
Most often, the record is noted for the track “Call Me frank,” but the real standout is the song right after. “Waiting for My Baby” embodies everything I love about Afro-funk: moody organ chords, dirty horn lines, and a driving pulse, all accented by De frank’s signature high-pitched vocals. De frank allows the band to breath over the instrumental, adding little more than the title name as a chorus, with the occasional added line, which he sings just long enough to give the listener a break before ushering back the horns.
This track is beautiful in every way and yet another testament to De Frank’s gifted musical ability. Check it out!
Hey everyone. Here’s the first of several edits we have in store for you.
This particular track takes you to the coast of Belize where the Garifuna people - descendants of shipwrecked African slaves who spread as far south as my homeland of Nicaragua - have been mixing up their ancestral african rhythms with latin and caribbean influences for centuries. The track - off the 2008 release by the Garifuna’s Women’s Project - is a monster in and of itself, and was the last to be recorded for the album.
My man DJ Alarm and I decided to flip it with a little low-end and a few other bits for our dj sets. Hope you like it.
Nowadays, when we hear the word ‘afrobeat’ we can all pretty much conjure up what the rhythm sounds like. However, What is often overlooked, is the various African bands in the 1970s who were looking to make their own sound a household name as well. In Ghana you had The African brothers banging out their afrobeat/highlife hybrid entitled afrohilli, Bob Pinodo with his disco-esque sonobete rhythm, and in Nigeria Victor Uwaifo was modernizing his ancestral Eskassa rhythm by adding a funky backbone to it. But if you ask me, one of the dopest rhythms to come out of this period was the one created by mr. B-boy himself - Tony Sarfo.
Sarfo’s afrosibi rhythm had the distinctive quality of bringing his signature funky drums to the forefront of what what would otherwise be a standard Ghanaian highlife tune. As a result, the songs are given a certain upswing and could easily fall into step with any number of b-boy uprocking tunes from American 70s funk bands. One prime example is ‘Nyame Nni Wo Akyi’ from his first album, which features an open drum drum break in the beginning and then works its way into a frantic drum frenzy towards the last two minutes of the song.
On little Angel however, the sound seems a bit more refined. Never completely dominating the forefront,like on his first outing, but still carrying the rhythm nonetheless. The result is a more cohesive album than Sarfo’s previous efforts and a great example of funky highlife at its best.
*NOTE: I wanted to build upon an earlier post I wrote about this record and finally share the actual music.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
The world has come to know Fela as the undisputed king of afrobeat in Nigeria during the 1970s. Along with fellow co-creator, Tony Allen, Fela Kuti completely dominated the market. Even band like the African Brothers and Ebo Taylor in Ghana, both heavily influenced by Fela’s direction, added their own signature elements, creating afrohilli and afrofunk in the process.
Such a domination in the genre has prevented us from hearing the direct influence Fela’s sound had on his fellow nigerian musicians. People like Joni Haastrup, Harry Mosco, and Pax Nicholas (just to name a few) - all managed to incorporate and expand upon the afrobeat sound, creating something new in the process, but where are all the imitators lurking in the mist who capitalized upon such a golden opportunity. This record by King Bucknor and the Afro Disk Beat Organization is a prime of example of such blatant imitation.
Before I get into the actual music, I have to point out one of my lingering suspicions that this may be the work or another well-respected Nigerian funketeer - Segun Bucknor. Was it a studio creation by some label to ride the success of Fela? Does the name give away Bucknor’s association with the recording or is simply coincidence that they share the same name? I remember when Lion and I found this record and being in utter awe of the shamelessness of it all. So far, I haven’t been able to find any info on this band except for one other record of theirs that popped on ebay some years back. I could be totally wrong about Segun’s role… hopefully, one of you can put my suspicions to rest.
As for the music itself, it is unabashed knockoff. Long, drawn-out intros, social ad-libs, 15-min songs that play out like any number of Africa 70’s well-known tunes. It even has kiltered Saxaphone solos right smack in the middle. Close your eyes and you would think it was a Fela session out-take. I wouldn’t be surprised if this project grew out of a cover band some Nigerian club hired out for their weekend nights.
Judge for yourself.
Our next Party!
Part of my set from this past month’s OAK*TOWN Rooftop Sunset party. Summer music for your dancing feet!