Undercanonized African Records

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Wombatz
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Undercanonized African Records

Post by Wombatz »

this thread comes out of listening to old sunny ade rips. one of them was great, starting out really minimal, and one of them was rather average, and after i'd closed the tab i had already forgotten which was which. i've been listening to the old island lps for decades, and to a compilation cd of earlier stuff that i have, but still i don't know what the great sunny ade records are. (reissues as compilations is a big part of the problem, though that's slowly getting better.)

i bought the two stern's guides to contemporary african music, but they're very basic (if anyone can recommend a guide closer in quality e.g. to the penguin jazz guide, please do).

so i'll use this thread as a notebook, posting candidates for my personal pantheon when i come across them, editing or maybe deleting when they fall out of favor. anyone else is heartily invited ... please follow one rule though: no general recommendations of artists and no compilations (no matter how important or influential), these must be proper releases or they will not be canonized.

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Ebo Taylor: My Love and Music (Ghana 1975)



a recent favorite, this has been issued on cd. it's from the circle of pat thomas, who was involved i a couple of other seminal records such as these incredible two:

This is Marijata (Ghana 1976; also recently reissued)



Uhuru: The Sound of Africa (Ghana 1975)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Amanaz: Africa (Zambia 1975). the best in zamrock, this has been reissued several times ...


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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William Onyeabor: Atomic Bomb (Nigeria 1978). really at least half of his records belongs here, will edit one day, this is just the first i heard. complete oeuvre meticulously reissued by the guy from talking heads.


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Sir Victor Uwaifo: Jackpot (Nigeria 1981). another artist with several great records, but i don't yet know which they are. except this belongs among them:


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

Post by Wombatz »

last one for now:

Atakora Manu: Disko Hi-life (Ghana 1981)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

Post by Steve Minkin »

(wish I could figure out how to embed videos on this site!)

Three of my favorite African artists. Don't know if they are undercanonized or not. (Not sure what African artists are widely known outside of Africa other than Fela Kuti, Abdullah Ibrahim, Toumani Diabaté . . .)


Orchestra Baobab -- love all their albums, this is from Specialist In All Styles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtrTFd5 ... JETI4dCE7_

Doctor Nico -- this was the favorite an old friend who owned a record store in Petaluma and had an extensive African collection
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF0ZJH4 ... D87A19FEC5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVTHrXv ... DD87A19FEC

Rokia Traore -- have loved all the several albums of her I have https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYpfIUBYKM0

the record store owner mentioned above really dug Johnny Clegg, although I've never come to share that enthusiasm.

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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From Geraldo Pino and the Heartbeats:
- Let's have a party (1974)
- Boogie Fever (1978)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band - Tche Belew (1977)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Mulatu Astatke featuring Fekade Amde Maskal - Yèkatit (1974)
A (classic/famous) excerpt :

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Ahehehinnou Vincent & Orchestre-Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey (1973)

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Steve Minkin wrote:(wish I could figure out how to embed videos on this site!)
quote one of us, and you'll see the bbcode and the url format

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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thanks antoine! i definitely second the two ethio records.

Admiral Dele Abiodun: Mo Ke P’Oluwa, Super 11 (Nigeria 1979). another artist with a deep discography and as far as i can see there are zero (?!) reissues. this is my favorite of the ones i have heard:




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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Chief Osita Stephen Osadebe: Ana Masi Ife Uwa (Nigeria 1988). i'd file most of his output under just nice, but this relatively late effort, while certainly old-fashioned, does everything right (cheating a bit since i haven't found the shortest of its three tracks, so i have to trust it won't spoil the whole record). (as a rule of thumb, i'm more into trumpets than saxes for this kind of music (fela also played very nice trumpet early in his career, and it's a pity he had to switch, since i can't stand his sax playing (so there will be no fela from me here)).)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

Post by Antoine »

Mahmoud Ahmed - S/T (~1975)
Another ethio-standard:


Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gabru - The Hymn of Jerusalem / The Jordan River Song (1970)
Like Debussy / Chopin in Ethiopia...


Orchestre Régional de Kayes (1970)

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Antoine wrote:Mahmoud Ahmed - S/T (~1975). Another ethio-standard
indeed, he has several strong records!


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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thomas mapfumo (while hardly underrecognized) is one of those whom i mostly knew from two fantastic compilations, so it appeared as if his music always stayed the same, except sometimes it had more guitars and sometimes more mbiras (and one compilation had him crooning a silly but charming waltz). singles were an important medium for him, so compilations actually make sense, but these were mostly album tracks (and no discographical detail whatsoever, so i never knew from what album). it's been only a couple of weeks, since the topic has come up for me, that i've been listening to the single albums properly, and it's much more exciting. his first solo record, Hokoyo! (1978) with the Acid Band, is partly a bit rougher (therefore underrepresented on the comps), more like a traditional guitar/sax dance band of the time. Gwindingwi Rine Shumba (1981) is the officially canonized masterpiece (no beef with that, though the first three are all essential) with interlocking guitar lines and the best songs. Ndangariro (1983) sounded wrong to me when i first got it decades ago in some paris store, because there was phasing on the guitars and clipping on the drums as if it were the 80s, and back then we didn't trust an african with a studio, things had to be 'authentic.' then there's a string of comparably forgettable albums (well, yes, it was the 80s), and then in 89 his awesome guitarist jonah sithole, who had played all the mbira-like lines, left and was replaced by actual mbiras ... that starts with Chamurnowa (1989), so there's probably a record from around then which belongs up with the first three. for now, one track each of those:






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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Celestine Ukwu and his Philosophers National: Ilo Abu Chi (Nigeria 1974)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Thanks, Antoine! After a mere 427 tries, I've got it!



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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Khalifa Ould Eide & Dimi Mint Abba - Moorish Music From Mauritania (1990)

Many people may know Dimi Mint Abba and this album in particular (which was oop for many years). One of the great albums in any genre, by one of the most talented singers of her era. Desert Island Disk for me.