To Know Without Knowing, Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience’s album, is their second together. A grooving transcontinental gem, recorded in Melbourne, Australia, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Filled with the warmth of the mentorship and friendship of their creative partnership honed over a decade of performing together in Africa, Australia, and UK/Europe. Mulatu Astatke is the father of Ethio-jazz and one of Africa’s most influential and enduring musical figures. Black Jesus Experience is a community of artists, centered around a twelve-piece global-funk-machine born of Australia’s vibrant multiculturalism. Mulatu and Black Jesus Experience met in Addis Ababa in 2009, embarking on both a musical relationship and a friendship that has led Mulatu Astake to describe Black Jesus Experience as, “My favorite backing band” and, “…they’re family.” Mulatu’s great contribution to music has been to combine Jazz and funk grooves with Ethiopia’s distinctive pentatonic scales. His musical genius is the sensuality and sophistication with which Mulatu contrasts these minimalist scales with richly chromatic harmony. But Mulatu’s equally great contribution has been to share both his enduringly unique modernity and Ethiopia’s timelessly spiritual music with the world. Black Jesus Experience treasure the special relationship of generosity, mentorship and collaboration they have been privileged to share with this master musician. To Know Without Knowing is the product of this gift.
Sahel Sounds is proud to announce that legendary Nigerien avant-garde organist Mamman Sani’s Unreleased Tapes 1981 – 1984 is back in print on LP. One of the most sought-after releases in the Sahel Sounds catalog, Unreleased Tapes 1981 – 1984 gives listeners a fuller picture of Mamman Sani’s unique sound.
Experimentation in early electronic music in the Sahara from the singular Mamman Sani. Dreamy organs and droning melodies reinterpret ancient folk tradition into sublime fantastical soundscape. Never before released recordings from the very beginning – unreleased tracks from his first album, recordings of a short lived trio, and a cover of an American folk ballad.
“From a young musician in the 60’s starting out in Addis Ababa to the 70’s golden age of dance bands to the new hope as an emigre in America to the drier period of the 90s and 2000s when he mainly played keyboard in his taxi while waiting in the airport queue or at home with friends. More recently, with reissue of his classic works and a re-assessment of his role in Ethiopian music history, Mergia has played to audiences big and small in some of the most cherished venues around the world. With 2018’s critical breakthrough “Lala Belu” Mergia championed himself and consolidated his legacy, producing the album on his own and connecting with listeners through the sheer creative power of his version of modern Ethiopian music. His subsequent performances revealed an artist who is in no way stuck in the nostalgia for the “golden age” sound. The press agreed, including the New York Times, BBC and Pitchfork, calling his music “triumphantly in the present” in its Best 200 Albums of the 2010’s list. Mergia’s new album “Yene Mircha” (“My Choice” in Amharic) encapsulates many of the things that make the keyboardist, accordionist and composer-arranger remarkable—elements that have persisted to maintain his vitality all these years, through the ebb and flow of his career.
The rock solid trio with whom he has toured the world most recently, DC-based Alemseged Kebede (bass) and Ken Joseph (drums), forms the nucleus around which an expanded band makes a potent response to the contemporary jazz future “Lala Belu” promised. “Yene Mircha” calcifies Mergia’s prolific stream of creativity and his philosophy that there is a multitude of Ethiopian musical approaches, not just one sound. Enlisting the help of master mesenqo (traditional stringed instrument) player Setegn Atenaw, celebrated vocalist Tsehay Kassa and legendary saxophone player Moges Habte from his 70’s outfit Walias Band, Mergia enhances his bright, electric band on this recording with an expanded line up on some songs. Mergia produced the album which features several of his original compositions along with songs by Asnakesh Worku and Teddy Afro.
An artist still reinventing his sound every night on stage during his marathon live sets, this 74 year-old icon refuses to make the same album twice. The album feels as urgent and risky as his concerts can be, pushing the band to the outer limits of group improvisation and back with chord extensions during his exploratory solos. “Yene Mircha” captures this live experience and fosters an expansive view of what else could be in store for this tireless practitioner of Ethiopian music. “
The most difficult project we’ve done to date, this compilation features some of the most obscure Zamrock bands to ever record. None of these bands went on to release albums, some have remained in obscurity even within collectors circles in Zambia. There were only released on 7″ singles like the snotty, proto-punk ‘Watchout’, a number from the post-Amanaz Drive Unit, a group consisting of Amanaz members and legendary bassist Ricky Banda. Blistering fuzz guitars like the 3 1/2 minute solo on Hulk Raiders ‘Mans World’ that can go toe to toe with any guitar solo released during the period. ‘Shoot’ from Mother Breed, a band who went on to record a series of singles which we will be releasing as a full length album in the future, and others like; Mabanga Band, The Ghost Band, Heroes Band, Osauka Band and The Real Savages. The first in a series of compilations featuring obscure Zambian groups that will cover Rock, Disco, Folk and Afrobeat. Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
Hector Sithole recorded a series of singles during the peak of the Zamrock era with the band On Paper. These singles did fairly well locally but over the years have been overlooked and missed by fans and collectors. Featuring rock, afrobeat and soul elements fused with proto-disco sounds that would create a bridge into Zambia’s short-lived disco scene. Hector’s music will appeal to fans of HARRY MWALE and OSAYE. Taken from the original master reels and pressed at 45 rpm for the best possible sound, we’ve limited this release to 300 copies housed in paste-on covers. Highly Recommended and released for the first time ever as a full length.
Aragon’s 85-year-old work formed by top studio musicians such as Tsuyoshi Ima and Tatsuo Hayashi recurs from the “JAPANISM” series! The ethno and ambient style, which is also familiar to Mariah’s “Utakata no Hida”, has been highly evaluated overseas, and has become one that is out of reach from analog fans due to the rarity in the used record market. The dreamy and decadent soundmaking carefully crafted by brilliant musicians in the FUSION / POPS scene over the course of one year and ten months fits in today’s era, unlike anything that was made 30 years ago.
Segun Bucknor was one of the most important figures in the Nigerian music scene of the 70s, despite having only a brief career with his afrobeat unit which in 1972 released this superb album of which originals usually not turn up at any price. A reissue like this on JET RECORDS therefore is long overdue to enable every woman and man with a fondness for African popular music of the 70s to take a closer listen to this gem and fall in love immediately. What do we get to listen here?
Well, the album consists of four lengthy tracks with long instrumental sections that generate a swallowing atmosphere of sheer simmering heat and awakes the primal desire to dance within each and every listener. The first tune „Sorrow sorrow sorrow“ showcases the talents of the band’s brass players with a very prominent lead trumpet and saxophones duelling with each other. In jumps the organ as lead instrument for another long part and despite grooving on repetitive rhythm figures created by bass guitar, drums and percussions with brass instruments and organ adding more intensity to it the solo eruptions and duels in combination with Segun Bucknor’s commanding soulful vocal delivery really brand their progressions, lines and hooks into the listener’s mind.
„Gbomojo“ then combines the dark side of the early 60s post bop jazz with a relaxed, yet fidgety beat that draws influences from both, funk and rocksteady. The brass section creates haunting melodies with a goosebump factor. Then the organ freaks out and embarks on a leading part for a moment. More electric jazz comes to the surface as an important influence for Segun Bucknor, who stated Ray Charles as one of his heroes. Well, one of quite some more as it seems. The ongoing groove of the tune and especially the ticking of a special percussion instrument which is very prominent in the arrangement make this a rather hypnotizing affair. This tune is an all out instrumental but trumpet and saxophone take over the lead vocal duties here. Is this what John Coltrane might have emerged into if he was still alive in 1972? Back to his roots but with more of a groovy approach? Who knows? Segun Bucknor did it.
The title track that centers around the assassination of the popular Nigerian prime minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on January 15th 1966 is again a prime example of haunting afro beat that quite obviously differs from the American funk music of the day. The tune is based on a dense polyrhythmical groove network which builds the fruitful soil for the leading brass section to grow a forest of captivating melodies with more of these commanding vocals thrown in, telling about the political situation in Nigeria around those days and how the people overcame the dark period of time.
Too much darkness and tragedy might spoil the fun in some way so the closing track with nearly eleven minutes of length titled „La – La – La“ comes as a more enlightened groover with happier lyrics and hot blooded rhythmical base upon which fascinating melodies lead a good life. Again the brass instruments get their solo parts but this is more of a dance track. Again the arrangements are a dense plait of instrumental lines, harmonies, vocals and rhythm figures. It is an utter joy to try to follow each instrument individually in this dense sound.
All in all this album really gets you in case you have an affinity for jazz, for funky grooves, for long tracks and for a simmering atmosphere. A classic that still got lost in time to be rediscovered by a new generation of music lovers nearly 50 years after the initial release. Haunting!
Who said that all Nigerian afrobeat from the 70s was dark and though provoking with a melancholic edge despite the ongoing powerful grooves and a more or less political message denouncing the the methods of the country’s leaders to increase their own wealth and power while the simple people suffer. Well, this 1978 album by bandleader Thony Shorby Nyenwi proves this idea wrong. What we have here is a sacredly rare gem, fetching 300 € for a copy in playable condition. A crown jewel of Nigerian afrobeat and funk music that is an utter joy listening to.
Thony Nyenwi’s music is a monument of the genre carved in rock. His vocal melodies are more at the lighter and happier side of life, somehow hypnotizing with reduced note progressions on repetitive rhythm figures that rush through your whole body to make you groove along. A fine funky wah wah guitar sound and a mind blowing keyboard sound including electric piano, farfisa organ and others hook up to add colour to the stoic rhythms. The atmosphere literally cooks. This is certainly more modern with a slightly more polished feel than the political music of Fela Kuti or Segun Bucknor, but still bears an unparalleled intensity that makes this album a dance floor sweeper at each club. Coloured lights are flashing into the white haze from the fogging machines when people in glittering bell bottom trousers and twinkling shirts happily get into the groove. 70s galore. Well, the folks can also shift down a gear and rock out a sweet reggae tune that later on turns into a smooth funk, to add more variety to this black wax jewel.
No matter what Thony and his mates do here, they do it with passion and divine talent.
The arrangements are a dense network of sounds, beats, melodies, voices and it goes on and on throughout the whole record. You as a fan of 1970s black music, funk, reggae, soul, all mixed up in a typical Nigerian way, will be enchanted and become swallowed by the holy cloud emerging from the speakers. A beautiful discovery after such a long time that will bring more joy to a new generation of black music aficionadoes.
“Over the years, they would come to say that the Africans just appeared one day in Jamaica. That two Congo men somehow materialized on the streets of Kingston sometime in 1977, almost as if by magic, speaking not a word of English or patwa. The duo, they say, were musicians brought in by a Jamaican promoter—a woman who ditched them, leaving them to fend for themselves, stranded in a strange land. “What really happened is harder to fully divine. The two young Africans—Molenga Mosukola (aka Seke) and Kawongolo Kimwanga (aka Kalo)—were musicians from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then known as the Republic of Zaire, and had indeed been brought to Jamaica by a woman. But she was not a Jamaican promoter; she was a Frenchwoman named Nadette Duget, an executive at CBS France. “Seke and Kalo were both vocalists and guitarists who also played percussion; one of them also handled the saxophone. Initially, Duget had intended for the recording to take place at Byron Lee’s Dynamic Sounds studio. Somehow, though, the project instead ended up at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark. “When Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo arrived at the Black Ark, Perry was wrapping up the sessions for the Heart of the Congos. He was immediately enamored with the two Congolese visitors and did regard their presence as a fortuitous sign. As he later said in 1992, ‘I know they were sent from Africa, because Africa wanted to make that heart connection in the Ark Studio. So African have to appear in the Ark Of The Covenant to manifest the African drum.’ “Perry eventually completed the work with Seke and Kalo: a deeply rootsy and rugged album under the working title Monama (which in Lingala means ‘Rainbo’). He submitted it to Island, but as they had done with Heart of the Congos, they passed on releasing it. “While it has remained relatively obscure, even as Perry’s Black Ark oeuvre has been rehabilitated and lionized over the past two decades, the album has nevertheless been quietly influential. Its groundbreaking amalgamation of African music and dub anticipated similar experiments by producers like Adrian Sherwood, Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble who would ride to critical acclaim in the ’80s and ’90s.” – Uchenna Ikonne (excerpt from the liner notes)
Rejoice is a very special collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh Masekela’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place.
Rejoice can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers – a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew”, with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.
In Stock March 17, 2020
Afro futurist sensations Onipa unleash their debut album, combining afro grooves, electronics and fierce energy for an effervescent celebration of cultural and musical encounters
ONIPA means ‘human’ in Akan, the ancient language of the Ashanti people of Ghana. It’s a message of connection through collaboration: from Ghana to London, our ancestors to our children, Onipa brings energy, groove, electronics, afrofuturism, dance and fire!
Born out of deep collaboration between long-time friends KOG (Kweku of Ghana of KOG and the Zongo Brigade) and Tom Excell (MD, guitarist and writer of acclaimed jazz/ soul afrobeat pioneers Nubiyan Twist), the 4 piece live show features KOG on vocals, balafon and percussion, Tom Excell on guitar, percussion and electronics, Dwayne Kilvington (Wonky Logic) on synths and MPC and Finn Booth (Nubiyan Twist) on drums.
“As we chase the morphic resonance of African art, sound and movement into new worlds, we find stories of the past answering riddles of the future. Tales of existence and resistance, of our innate ability to positively connect, express, share and create. Tales of extending our natural abilities beyond our own survival, to the survival of the planet, reminding us that our ancient connection with the earth must not be traded for technology and materials.
Through the musical prisms of London and Ghana our influences join together to create a new sound, ‘Savanna Bass’. A fundamental thread of traditional African rhythms, instrumentation and storytelling, interwoven with electronics, urban soundscapes and synth bass. We use technology, but it should never use us, our music is live and about deep human connection.”
Mar & Sol presents the reissue of “Na Cambança” the first album of the big band from Guiné Bissau SUPER MAMA DJOMBO.
The band was formed in the mid-1960s, at a Boy Scout camp, when the members were only children (the youngest was six years old)!
Djombo is the name of a spirit that many fighters appealed to for protection during Guinea-Bissau’s War of Independence.
In 1974, the politically conscious band leader Adriano Atchutchi joined. The group became immensely popular in the young country, which had gained its independence on the same year. They would often play at President Luís Cabral’s public speeches, and their concerts were broadcast live on radio.
In 1980, they went to Lisbon and recorded six hours of material. The first album “Na Cambança” was released in this same year, and the song “Pamparida” which was based on a children’s song became a huge hit throughout West Africa, and an important historical masterpiece that finally see the lights again by the hands of our label.
Released in 1981, the legendary album “Mouhamadou Bamba” is the masterpiece of the Orchestra Baobab, which has dedicated more than ten years of existence. Under the direction of the percussionist saxophonist Issa Sissokho, of the irremovable guitarist Barthélémy Attiso the band records this album at the Golden Baobab studio in Dakar directed and produced by the young producer Ibrahima Sylla.
The Baobab symbolizes both the rooting in Senegalese traditional values and the ability of the tree to reach heights, the sound of the group is a perfect syncretism of Senegalese and Afro-Cuban imaginaries in which the montunos of electric guitars and vocal improvisations in wolof language marry subtly to the rhythms of cuban son and other boleros.
Survival Research present a reissue of Ogyatanaa Show Band’s African Fire Yerefrefre, originally released in 1975. The Ogyatanaa, or Burning Fire Show Band, was one of the more esteemed of the funky highlife groups that rocked the Ghanaian music scene during the 1970s. The band was formed in 1971 by diplomat-turned-composer, musical arranger, organist, vocalist, and record producer Kwadwo Donkoh (a former member of the Uhuru Dance Band), with guitarist and bandleader Nana Ofori-Atta (AKA Ahomansia Wura) and other members that later left the group. The Ogyatanaa Show Band made a rapid impact, scoring second place in the National Dance Band’s competition after being together for less than a year, thanks to their superlative arrangement of the oft-versioned highlife classic, “Yaa Amponsah”, a tale of a mythical woman which became a popular single when issued on Donkoh’s Agoro record label. After issuing a number of other popular singles, the band’s debut album African Fire Yerefrefre was finally released in 1975, the line-up now composed of Donkoh and Nana Ofori with drummer and assistant bandleader Ocloo Jackson, bassist Kobina Gardiner, keyboardist Ofori Frimpong, and vocalists/percussionists Kwaku Dua and Pa Oweridu, plus Nakai Nettley on additional percussion. This outstanding LP begins with the unprecedented extended highlife medley of over twenty minutes entitled “Yerefrefre” which revisits highlife gems of the past; for instance, noteworthy material by giants such as E.T. Mensah, C.K. Mann, Nana Ampadu, E.K. Nyame, King Onyina, Jerry Hansen, King Bruce, and Dr. K. Gyasi are all referenced, with E.T’s anthem “All For You” and The Black Beats’ “Lai Momo” getting special attention. “Mmobrowa” (or “The Downtrodden”) was another popular single issued prior to the album’s recording and listening to the slowly unfolding groove of the rendition included here, it’s again easy to understand the song and group’s enduring popularity in its homeland. Similarly, “Yaa Amponsah” and the religious praise song “Agya Nyame” are total highlife killers encompassed in rousing melodies and complex propulsive rhythms.
The Star Beams album is a bit of an enigma. When we first came across their epic dance-floor monster ’Disco Stomp’ it was on a Disco Calypso compilation, so we assumed it originated from the Caribbean. Years later we worked out how wrong we were and that this nugget was actually from South Africa and taken off an ultra scarce album on JAS Pride records from 1976. The next problem was tracking down an original copy and we don’t think we’ve ever seen our Bongo team member Gary Johnson as happy as the day he turned up clutching a copy under his arm.
‘Play Disco Specials’ was produced by Ray Nkwe who also worked with Mankunku Quartet and The Soul Jazzmen, with all writing credits on the album going to Ray, the recording credited to engineer Robin Ritchie and the artwork to Carol Knowles. Other than this, the personnel of the record remains a mystery, but sometimes a bit of mystery is a good thing. Aside from the disco-jazz-funk of ’Disco Stomp’, which has found it’s way into the DJ sets of Theo Parrish, ’Play Disco Specials’ will appeal to fans of The Star Beams South African contemporaries The Drive, Batsumi and Pacific Express.
The gradual appropriation by the Creole populations of Western instruments and European melodic traditions (quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, scottish, romances, mazurkas), as well as the cultural contribution of committed workers from India laid the foundations of the modern sega.
This crossroads of influences was to continue to grow, especially from the 1950s, when the Birst phonographs arrived, playing all kinds of varieties but also jazz, soul, rock’n’roll, and even Cuban or Brazilian music.
For the Sega, these were the first steps towards a period of intense creativity that would cover the 1960s and 1970s. Amplified instruments arrived, and electric guitars, basses, drums and keyboards quickly replaced violins and accordions. Record production exploded and saw the advent of many micro-labels featuring genius arrangers such as Marclaine Antoine, Gérard Cimiotti, Eric Nelson, Claude Vinh San, or Narmine Ducap who explored the Sega in its many facets. Psychedelic keyboards, fuzz guitars and undulating basses invited themselves on the furious ternary polyrhythms of drums, ravannes, bongos, claves, triangles and maracas, to produce a unique style.
Here are some pearls from this golden age of the segas of Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion Island that are compiled in this volume 2 for our greatest pleasure!
Tough, mid-tempo Ghanaian funk & Highlife grooves from Ebo Taylor Junior, son of the mighty Ebo Taylor.
Originally released in 1978; now extremely difficult and expensive to find in its original form.
Today Ebo Taylor Jnr plays keys in his fathers band that continues to tour when he is able to.
First official reissue of hidden-gem album by Lagos-based bandleader Shina Williams.
Shina Williams ‘Agboju Logun’ was a ground-breaking fusion of afrobeat, electronics, boogie and disco. First released on Phonodisk in 1979 as part of the ‘African Dances’ album, then in 1984 as an alternative version on Rough Trade’s Earthwork off-shoot, it has gone on to attain cult-like status.
So it remains a bit of a mystery how so little has been documented about the follow-up. Shina’s self-titled album was originally released on Help Records in 1980. It differs from the upfront afro-disco-funk of ‘African Dances’ as it diverts into deeper, hypnotic, afro-beat territory. Though listed as a six-track album, each side (composing of 3 tracks) is built-upon one continuous groove with call and response female & male vocals and instrumental solos coming and going as each side progresses. The results are raw, hypnotic, locked-in grooves, which sit perfectly on forward-thinking contemporary dancefloors.
Official Mr Bongo reissue. Replica original artwork. LP only. Licensed from the family of Shina Wiliams.
The world’s first collection of gorgeous pop songs from Frank and His Sisters, a family band from Moshi, Tanzania. Formed in the early 1950s by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara and Maria Regina, the trio recorded and toured throughout East Africa and issued a string of instant classics, capturing fans with their beautifully harmonized singing, clever lyrics, and Frank’s stunning guitar work. Imagine the fingerstyle finesse of John Fahey with a pure pop melodicism, combined with the family harmony of groups like The Carter Family, The Roches, and The Beach Boys, set in the golden age of Tanzanian music!
Frank composed many of his songs while working the land on his beloved tractor (really), and once instigated a house-to-house search to destroy all copies of his record “Yes/No” due to its politically subversive lyrics. He went on to record and tour with the Jambo Boys band before retiring from the music industry in the early 1960s, to focus on his passion for agriculture. But his favorite songs were always the ones he created with his sisters, and we are proud to present 12 of their best.
Previously only heard on extremely rare 78 rpm discs and Tanzanian oldies radio, this album collects the trio’s finest songs, lovingly restored and remastered. We love this music so much that in late 2018 we traveled to Tanzania to meet Frank’s family and collaborate on this album. The result is a colorful 8-page booklet featuring complete lyrics in English, Swahili and Chaga, as well as previously unpublished photographs, extensive interviews and anecdotes, and a biography by Tanzanian musician and radio host John Kitime. All tracks fully licensed from the Humplick family.
We were first introduced to Marumo’s ‘Modish’ album via DJ Okapi’s amazing resource the ‘Afrosynth’ blog, which archives South African bubblegum/disco from the 80s & early 90s. Aside from this blog, this music would otherwise remained unknown outside of South Africa, apart from the most hardcore of
digger and record collector.
‘Modish’ was originally released on Spades Record in 1982 and was recorded by producer West Nkosi, who was a member of supergroup ‘Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens’. He worked with the big hitters in South African music such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Teaspoon & The Waves, Patience Africa and many more. Marumo were made up of a group of musicians from the Athlone School for the blind in Bellville, close to Cape Town. The band members, John Mothopeng, Munich Sibiya, Simon Falatsi and Marks Mbuthuma, had previously played in the groups Batsumi, All Rounders and The Orations and came together to record this versatile album. It covers a wide number of genres from Sotho soul, Mbaqanga, disco-funk, gospel & spacey-synth slow jams.
Flash forward 30 or so years later and lost dead-stock copies of the album start to appear and Marumo’s music begins to be heard across the world in the DJ sets of Motor City Drum Ensemble, Invisible City Editions, Floating Points, DJ Okapi and others.
We included the afro-disco-funk beauty of ’Khomo Tsaka Deile Kae?’ on our Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Three compilation, but felt ‘Modish’ needed to be available and heard in it’s entirety. We hope you enjoy!
Ofege was formed in the early 1970s by a bunch of teenagers at the St. Gregory’s College in Lagos Nigeria. They were largely influenced by the guitar solos of Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page while closer to home, they were influenced by the music of ‘BLO’, ‘Monomono’ (led by Joni Haastrup), ‘The Funkees’, and ‘Ofo The Black Company’.
Due to their vibrant combo of sweet harmonies, hooks & fuzz, Ofege would become one of the most legendary Nigerian groups of all time, with expressive sales and national stardom. At the turn of the century (and because of tracks appearing on various psychedelic music compilations) Ofege would receive international acknowledgment for being the first of their kind and the ultimate West-African psychedelic funk band!
Their first album (Try and Love – 1973) was recorded while the band members were still in high school (average age of 16). It took some years before other albums saw the light since some band members still had to finish school. Further astonishing recordings include ‘The Last of The Origins’ (1976), ‘Higher Plane Breeze’ (1977) and ‘How Do You Feel’ (1978).
How Do You Feel (released in 1978 on Polydor Nigeria) is Ofege’s fourth (and final) album. On this amazing record, the listener is treated to the trademark Ofege sound, but you can also hear the band absorbing some of the other things that were happening at the time (like disco & reggae). By 1978, North American bands like Funkadelic and the Ohio Players that had formerly purveyed raggedly funky rock were shifting their output exclusively towards slicker, more dancefloor-oriented material. These shifts also applied to bands on the European and African continent…and Ofege was no exception. The difference in sound from their earlier recordings sounds organic and can be attributed to the band’s burgeoning maturity & said changes in their musical environment.
Next to the regular band-members, this album has some serious ‘all-star’ guest musicians featured on it as well…Kofi Ayivor (Eddy Grant) on congas, Robert Bailey (Osibisa) on keyboards …and of course the legendary Jake Sollo (The Funkees) who’s trademark solo-guitar work is all over this Ofege record.
How Do You Feel is a an Afrobeat club-classic with some serious funky & spacey disco (of the good kind) mixed through its tracks…a faithful snapshot of what was actually happening in the African soul music scene at that specific period in time. This album shows a perfect glimpse of the late 70’s afrobeat works combining soul, jazzy rhythms & fluid danceability…but when you listen to songs like ‘World Peace’ and ‘Frustration,’ that’s just the basic, rootsy and raw Ofege sound.
Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first reissue of this landmark Nigerian album. This RARE classic (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited vinyl edition (500 copies) complete with the original artwork and exclusive liner notes/pictures provided by Ofege’s founding member ‘Melvin Ukachi’ who also supervised this reissue.
Mesmerising, synth-heavy Nigerian Fuji music from ’88, reissued for the first time by Soul Jazz
“This is the first in Soul Jazz Records’ new series of vinyl-only Afro funk / Afro beat exact-replica, super- rare albums that were previously only ever released in Nigeria. The series starts with Kollington Ayinla’s celebrated 1978 album Blessing, a rare lost classic of Nigerian Fuji music, featuring Ayinla’s sharp political lyrics together with his new band Fuji ’78. Blessing blends the heavily percussive style of Fuji music with a stunning array of modern instruments, including synthesizers, Bata drums and guitars, to create one of the most forward-thinking and heavily danceable sounds ever to come out of Nigeria – a highly successful mixture of profound Fuji rhythms and Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat.
Kollington Ayinla ranks alongside his friend and competitor Ayinde Barrister as the two most important artists to dominate Fuji music from its inception in the 1970s through to the 1990s by which time it had grown to become one of the most popular dance genres in Nigeria. At the start of the 1980s Ayinla started his own record company, Kollington Records, to release his music and remains to this day an extremely prolific artist, having recorded over 50 albums, most of which have never been released outside of Nigeria.”
Tabansi Studio Band – Wakar Alhazai Kano & Mus’En Sofua: four incredible slices of almost- undiscovered late-70s/early 80s Afrobeat magic, but not Fela’s Yoruba/Pidgin Afrobeat.
This is Igbo and Hausa Afrobeat- two very different and rarely heard styles. For the first time anywhere, BBE is proud to reissue back to back two LPs that are so elusive that many Afro heads doubted their very existence until now.
The beats are laid down by the seven legendary Martins Brothers – of ‘Money’ fame- whilst vocals are courtesy of a multi-lingual Igbo legend, Prof. Goddy Ezike, one of the most extraordinary voices out of Africa, up there with Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita, whose half- century career has, like fine wine, simply improved his voice.
Wakar Alhazai Kano and Lokoci Azumi Ta Wuca (tracks 1 and 2) draw on Northern Hausa music, with its Islamic inflections and skipping 12/8 time signatures more typical of the string and wind-based instrumentation of Kano and the broader sub-Saharan musical palette.
Kama Sofos and Aka Ji Ego Ga Anu Nwam (tracks 3 and 4) are sung in Igbo, with all the percussive wonders that Igbo culture has to offer, filtered through a jazzy Afrobeat improvisational spectrum.
Never before. Never again. New Afrobeats, in old bottles.