Drowned in Sound

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Today has been a washout weather wise. I’m not complaining though as all afternoon I’ve been listening to this tape dug in Ethiopia several months ago and I must say, IT IS BLOWING MY MIND!! Not being able to read Amharic, means that I have no idea who the artist is or the names of any of the tracks. The recording is terrible with drops in volume on some songs, tape warble, constant hiss and the last track is cut out halfway through, but  I still love it because the quality of the music shines through. Please if anyone can give me any information on this artist, the album or the track names, I would be very grateful. I’ve included the whole tape – it definitely warrants being heard in its entirety. Right, back to listening.

Update: Song writer – Tesfaye Lemesa. Image of Artist on cover – Muluken Melesse. Side A. 2. Feels sad when i can not find you 3. Almazewae (Song for a lady named Almaz) 4. When can i meet you ? 5. Is it it a sin to love ? Side B 1. Youth of Harar 2. Why 4. Not my personal ownership 5. Me & you only.

Thanks to Seyum Berhe for the information.

Side 1:

Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

Track 4

Track 5 Side 2:

Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

Track 4

Track 5

Track 6 2013-08-24 17.27.222013-08-24 17.27.59 2013-08-24 11.29.25

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Play That Funkee Music

During the 1960s and 1970s Nigeria, and more specifically Lagos, its creative hub, was producing some of the greatest West African bands. Groups such as Blo and MonoMono were creating heavy psych-rock music, in the vein of Santana and Hendrix, but putting a distinctive African stamp on it that made it dance floor friendly. With the arrival of The Funkees, hailing from Aba, in South East Nigeria, Lagos’s dominance was no longer a given.

The band was formed in the early 70s, towards the end on the Nigerian Civil War and after a few changes in line up, they settled with Jake Solo (Guitar), Harry Mosco (Guitar), Chyke Madu (Drums), Danny Heibs (Bass), Mohammed Ahidjo (Vocals) and Sonny Akpan (Congas). In 1973 the band’s popularity sky-rocketed and they were invited to London to record and perform. They played in several clubs in London, notably Ronnie Scott’sand recorded their first LP, Point of No Return, for Amba Records.

Point of no Return LP

Point of no Return LP

Things started to turn sour and after a few years Jake Solo left the band to join Afro super-group, Osibisa. The Funkees recorded a final LP, Now I’m a Man, in London and returned to release it in Nigeria on EMI in 1976.

Now I'm a Man LP

Now I’m a Man LP

Today’s selections are two tracks from the first album, that were re-released a year later by Black Magic records on a 7inch single. Abraka is a highly charged instrumental featuring Sollo’s wah-wah guitar licks and great percussion. My personal favourite is Ole, one of the great songs by the band. Everything comes together perfectly; it’s smooth, the guitar is to die for, the drum break is out of this world and its so Funkee!

Abraka

Ole

Record details:
The Funkees – Abraka / Ole (1975) – Black Magic (BM 114)

funkees-abraka-black-magic funkees-ole-black-magic
Thanks to 45cat for the label scan – it is a far better quality than my photo of the label

Soundway Records have released a lovely retrospective on the band, collecting the best tracks from their two LPs and 45s, that I highly recommend picking up.

Gbah Eugene and the Ziglibitiens

A quick post for today, mainly because I do not have much information on this record or the band, plus it has been a long week!

Gbah Eugene with backing from the band Ziglibitiens has recorded this single on the large Ivory Coast label, Badmos. The band seem to have been named after the huge African hit Ziglibitien by Ivory Coast’s most popular musician Ernesto Djedje.

Today’s selection is the A side Ayamtchere. It is a great upbeat track complete with joyous vocals, lovely horns and a swirling organ.

Have a nice weekend!

Ayamtchere

Record details:
Gbah Eugene Et Les Ziglibitiens – Ayamtchere  / Nin Poa Ninhe (197?) – Badmos (BB 244)

ivory1 ivory2 ivory3 ivory4

Appearances Can Be Deceptive

image00213It has been a several weeks since the last post, but with this, I hope it has been worth the wait.

The Volta River and its three tributaries, the White, Red and Black Volta, form a region in Burkina Faso in the North and Ghana in the South, where the rivers feed Lake Volta, the largest natural reservoir in the world. The region is not only geographically rich; it contains numerous tribal groups with the Ewe making up a large part of the population mainly in Ghana, but formally Togoland, and the Gurma in Burkina Faso in the North. With bands like Super Volta Jazz and Amadou Balake the music in this region is, unsurprisingly, pretty special.

Featured today is a single from prolific Orchestre Volta Jazz. They have recorded over 30 7 inches for Burkinabé label Disques France-Afrique; a fullish discography can be found on Radio Africa’s great site here. The band was formed around the same time as Super Volta Jazz in the 1960s but did not appear to start releasing until mid to late 70s. This could explain why despite today’s record being released in the late 1970s it is appears musically to be from a decade earlier.

The A side is a Congolese style piece but the B side has a great 60s Garage sound to it. Having a love of Garage this really ticks the boxes for me. The guitar break could have easily been written by The Sonics or The Dirty Wurds.

BOSS!

B.B. Peyrissac

Bi Kaméléou

Record Details:
Orchestre Volta Jazz – B.B. Peyrissac / Bi Kaméléou (197?) – Disques France-Afrique (LGVD 1.089)

Volta1Volta2Volta3Volta4