No matter how far I stray I always seem to come back to the stripped down sound of Wulomei. This neo-cultural outfit led the “back to my roots” movement in Ghana during the 70s (If you haven’t already, check out my previous posts on them).
What’s most amazing is to think that one could be at the Napoleon night club in Accra one minute, catching Some afro-rock house band, and then drive across town and see a band like Wulomei banging out an accoustic set in full tribal regalia. And 40 years later, after all those afro-rock and funks bands have come and gone, Wulomei is one of the few bands from that era that still marches on.
Check them out:
I’ve gone long enough without posting some classic recordings. In order to make up for lost time I humbly offer you some nigerian highlife courtesy of the Rhythm Brothers Band.
Unfortunately, I know very little about this band so I’ll have to let the music, which you’ll find to be akin to the Oriental brothers’ sound, speak for itself. If nothing else, definitely check out the last track , “Daina,” which seems to echo the afrobeat rhythms of Hedzoleh Soundz. Can’t beat that!
Rhythm Brothers Band - Zorro (CORRECTED LINK)
I’ve been trying to make this mix or the last four years. FINALLY, I can present it to you today.
My love affair with old school Kwaito started innocently enough on a sunny afternoon back in 2009. I saw the video for Alaska’s “Accuse” during some throwback segment on TRACE (South African music channel) and I was hooked. A collage of Chuck Taylors and multi-colored beanies were accented by a simple call-and-response chorus over what sounded like (and has been since described by outsiders as) slowed downed chicago house. *(NOTE: This description is far too short-sided. For a more interesting analysis of kwaito’s musical origins check out DJ ZHAO’s write-up on the subject) The music was fun, the images gritty. A perfect combination. Unfortunately, It would take me years to accumulate enough of these older tracks to make sense of the sound and its progression.
Kwaito’s rise parallelled the end of Apartheid and the beginning of democracy in South Africa. The music of that time exuded the collective sign of relief that black south Africans were experiencing. As a result, earlier hits were celebratory and gernerally more party-oriented.
There were exceptions however, including the aforementioned Alaska song, which condemns the negative reputations created by criminal activity, and the declarative “Kaffir” by Kwaito pioneer, Arthur, who’s use of the derogatory term was meant as a stance against blatant racism by the white minority towards the black population.
Of course, the jubilation of independence eventually dissipated, and the music began reflecting a more somber reality. By 2002, the sound evolved into a moodier and darker soundscape, led by the prolific SA producer, DJ Cleo. Before catapulting South African house onto the world stage, he partnered up with a few local artists and began making a newer kind of Kwaito. His production for Makezekele and the late Brown Dash was often complimented with minor chords and theremin-like swirling notes. A new generation was coming of age, and, despite the promise of change after the end of apartheid, their reality in the townships was still pretty grim.
Nowadays, Kwaito has morphed into uptempo South African house, with little resemblance of its slower-paced past. Gone are the Pantsulas, who’s khaki pants, Chuck Taylors and stiff beanies were reminiscent of the Addias jumpsuits of early NYC b-boys. Gone as well is the golden era vibe that seemed to embody some of the same musical qualities of hip-hop in the early 90s.
Its a shame, but luckily for y’all we can try to drift back with this mix. Enjoy!
01 Trybe - Madau
02 Thebe - Philly
03 Mapaputsi - I Really Like It
04 Alaska - Accuse
05 Alaska - Hosherr
06 Copper Head - Copper Head
07 Kabelo - Pantsula 4 Life
08 Mandoza - 50/50 feat. M’du
09 Arthur - Oyi Oyi
10 TKZee & Benni - Guz
11 Chiskop - Ziphiphani Lapho
12 Spikiri - Vat en Sit
13 M’du - Mazolo
14 MaWillies - Gagu
15 TKZee - Delela
16 Aba Shante - Girls
17 MaWillies - Intwejani
18 Mapaputsi - Expect
19 Chiskop - Klaimar
20 Trompies - magasman
21 TKZee - Palafala feat. S’bu
22 M’du - O Suna Mang (Ke Le Teng)
23 Jakarumba - Zong’thola Kahle
24 Jakarumba - Tussen
25 Mshoza - Kortes (Kasi Luv) feat. Mzambiya
26 Tokollo - Ndlovu Yangena
27 M’du - Siya Jola (Pk’Salayo)
Tonight in SF!
So, It seems Mediafire (my preferred of mode of sharing music with y’all) has decided to crack down and suspend any account that may infringe on their term policy. Sucks for all of us, but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.
Oh well, I’ll figure out another site to use. In the meantime, inbox me any requests for re-uploads. Sorry!
This was the first installment of the Sound of Africa mixtape series. I originally posted this on the digging4gold site April 2011.
At the time, the Azonto sound was still developing and was not yet a household name in Ghana. The biggest hit at the time - and one of the songs that led to the Azonto explosion - “Muje Baya,” was blasting out out of every kiosk and open street pub in Accra.
So, after months of dancing to these tunes, My friend, DJ Kev, and I decided to rent some cdjs and lock ourselves up in a dusty Accra apartment for a couple hours to bust out this mix. Looking back, this mix is a great example of the transition hiplife was making into the more house-oriented production of Azonto. If nothing else, it was definitely the launching point for my current musical trajectory. Enjoy!
01. King Ayisoba - Sister feat. Treach
02. 4x4 - Makomah (Miss Doctor)
03 Sway - Sheperd’s Pie feat. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
04. Ruff n’ Smooth - Sex Machine
05. Wande Coal - Bumper to Bumper
06. Mimi - Good Love feat. Sazzy
07. Eazzy - Wengeze
08. Zigi - U Sey Wey Tin
09. Dj Cndo - Amerido (South Africa)
10. 5 five - Move Back (Muje Baya)
11. Stay Jay - Shashee Wowo
12. Timaya - Mama Yekuli
13. Ruff n’ Smooth - Boom Boom Back
14. Adezi - Wo Ma Me Twe b/w ‘My Sweetie’ African Party Break
15. Adani Best - jata Bi (Ga Version)
16. Flavour - Adamma
17. Nana Boro - Eha Ye de (Bebia Awo)
18. J. Martins - Jukpa feat. Bracket
19. Bracket - No Time feat. P-Square
20. J. Martins - Good or bad feat. Timaya
21. 2 In 1 - Hudaada
22. Eazzy - Bo Wonsem Ma Me
23. Flavour - Ashawo (Nwa Baby Remix)
24. Iwan - Who’s bad?
25. D’banj - Ogbono feli feli
26. 9ice - Gongo Aso
27. Kwaku T - Kwaku Tu Tu feat. Eazzy
28. D’banj & Mo Hits All Stars - Pere
29. DJ Zeez - Collabo
30. Bradez - Freestyle (Party Hard Remix)
31. Akoo Nana - Mungu feat. Ruff n’ Smooth
32. Danaeo - Fly