Brand new spot. Brand new weekly! Join Oct. 10th for the grand opening of AU Lounge (2430 broadway across from Mua) as we launch Mondial Afrique with residents: Oakland legend dj Fuze, Juan G , Mpenzi & dj Claude. African/caribbean goodness #oakland #aulounge #skelewu #firstfridays #suruclothing #umojafestival #african
A mix of african rhythms & bass from the diaspora and beyond featuring champeta, semba, highlife, african re-edits/remixes, Malian desert club music…etc.
Nana Amoo-Mensah I aka Pat Thomas is a national treasure in Ghana, affectionally referred to as “Mr. Golden Voice,” but his success early on, much like the success of many other funky Ghanaian vocalists, was in large part due to his working, and personal, relationship with the legendary Ebo Taylor.
During the late 1970s & early 80s, these two were THE Ghanaian musical dynamic duo. They recorded several full length albums together, including “Namba” under a group called Super Sounds for Abotar Records, and a self-titled funky calypso LP for Pan African Records, among others. Each release was an affirmation of their love for funk as well as their willingness to diverge from the status quo of popular ghanaian highlife.
They first started working together when Pat moved to Accra and joined the Blue Monks, the house band for the Tip Toe night club (led by Ebo Taylor). When it was time for Ebo to record his first solo album, the seminal My Love and Music LP, he recruited Pat to voice the afro-funk gem “Odofo Nyi Akyiri Biara.”
As Pat’s popularity grew, he developed into a magnificent band leader in his own right - he spearheaded the funky/reggae-tinged Sweat Beans band, he released a couple of solo disco projects, and even had a hand in introducing Marijata to the world. But none of these projects seemed to stand in comparison to his amazing solo album,”Stage Two,” which we proudly introduce to you today.
The album comes swingin’ right out the gate with a monster number, “Let’s Think it Over.” The song features a a heavy set of drums and Pat crooning to a love in jeopardy. After a reggae infused second song, we are treated to one of the biggest afro-funk songs to come out of Ghana. “We’re Coming Home” is by far the epitome of african b-boy anthem - up-rocking drums, a funky bass line, and lyrics that straddle between a sense of melancholy and frantic urgency. For me, this is the quintessential Pat Thomas song.
There are a few more signature African reggae tunes, and equally good funky song, “Sweet Gloria,” to round out this amazing album. I can’t recommend it enough. Enjoy!
The “manicero” rhythm is probably one of the most prolific rhythms in all of popularmusic. from Cuba to the congo, west africa to the US, it has been redone, replayed, and re-imagined countless times. As a humble tribute to this massive medley, we decided to boast up the bass on the Alegre All-Stars’ 1976 descarga verison featuring salsa heavyweights - Charlie Palmieri & Johnny Pacheco. Enjoy!
If you’ve ever seen freshislife perform before - either alone or with his band Afrolicious - you know that his energy is second to none. He’s like a afrobeat punk rocker, inciting his audiences with pure adrenaline from up on stage, all the while accenting the music perfectly with his unique reggae-tinged vocal stylings. A great combination, if we may say.
Get to know him better in this UMOJA 2014 artist profile!
Here is our first UMOJA African Festival artist profile video! Watch it and get familiar with the amazing Naima Shalhoub.
For more info on the UMOJA African Festival + Inter African Soccer Tournament in Oakland, Calif. check out:
I wanted to share a small tribute mix to Ghana’s fallen hiplife soldier - Castro the Destroyer - who reportedly drown on July 6th while on a boat trip in the Volta Region.
Unlike some of his other contemporaries, Castro managed to remain consistent throughout his 11+ year career, often straddling between hiplife, Azonto, and hip hop all while producing hit after hit.
Even as Ghana’s musical trends changed, his love for Ghana’s heritage remained part of his repretoire, and is evident in his early songs like “Toffee,” and “Sradenam.” His unmistakable falsetto voice was reminiscent of his highlife forefathers, and added an endearing and long-lasting quality to his music.
In 2009, while I was living in Accra, Castro had his breakout hit - “African Girls” - featuring the recently denied blackstar footballer, Asamoah Gyah. The song not became the soundtrack to Ghana’s summer, but it reached audiences far outside of its borders - ushering in attention on the rising Ghanaian hiplife scene the was evolving into Azonto.
This mix is not comprehensive by any means, but rather a small collection of some of my favorite songs by - and featuring - Castro. I hope you enjoy as we send our love to this mighty musical talent. Rest in Power, champion.
Dome Na Mendowo
Ohemaa - Wutah Kobby (feat. Castro)
Olofofo (feat. Godwin Dash)
African girls (feat Asamoah Gyan)
Meko Me Shody - Batman aka Samini(Feat. Castro)
She Dey do Me
Do The Dance feat. Asamoah Gyan
Wu Nti ft Bisa Kdei
Ayooo - Cash Unit (feat. Castro & Screwface)