Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Max Tannone

Friday, July 15th, 2011


//cover by Joe Dichiara

I’m not much for mashups; typically mashups are either all concept (refer to the overrated Grey Album) or strictly dance affairs (like the killer Radio Soulwax series).  Every now and then though, someone mad scientist comes up with a great, simple concept and then delivers the goods.  Max Tannone turned heads with his Jay-Z / Radiohead project, brilliantly titled “Jaydiohead.”  That project had a little too much irony for my taste, but the actual tracks were expertly blended, so I was glad to hear Max is back with a new one.  Ghostfunk blends Wu-Tang’s (arguably) best MC, Ghostface, with rare African funk, High-Life, and other 70′s beats.  The concept is loose enough that there isn’t a specific group or genre to get tied down with, and GFK’s raps are typically over vintage soul or R&B, so the rhyme style fits the vintage grooves perfectly.  This is basically the best mashup album I’ve heard in a long time, possibly ever.  And it’s free!  Go get it!

Max Tannone – Make It NY
Max Tannone – Three Lords
Max Tannone – The Same Girl

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Exuma

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Exuma was the stage name of Tony McKay, a Bahamas born musician who pieced together an uncommonly unique style of music from his influences; calypso, junkanoo, reggae, African and folk music as well as his fascination with obeah, Caribbean folk magic/religion similar to voodoo, which makes its way into a lot of his lyrical themes. Oddly enough, Exuma started out in the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 60′s, probably got bummed out by the eternally annoying Joan Baez (I would have) and dropped it to hammer together a 7-piece island mash-up. Reminds me of a lot of jamming African funk, but with a twist of mysticism and island smoothness (countering his rough, gospel-like howl), not to mention a few slower, heart-string-tugging soul ballads.

Exuma – Exuma, The Obeah Man
Exuma – Dambala

Fela Kuti & The Africa 70

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I could have posted any of 50 different Fela Kuti songs here, they all have a similar tempo, similar themes and a similar swing – and they all rip. Fela mixed African styled jazz & funk with an upbeat West African music style called highlife to pioneer a style of music he called afrobeat. He became hugely popular in Africa, not just for his music but for his social and political views, and his constant middle-finger to the endless succession of military-based dictatorships in his native Nigeria and throughout Africa. With his family, bandmates and others connected to his music, he formed a commune-style compound complete with a club and recording studio, which he declared independent from the state of Nigeria (Ouch! FUCK you Nigeria!). With the fame came the pussy, and Fela ended up with so many wives (I think around 100 total) he had to rotate them from year to year, so that he only “technically” had 12 wives at one time. Unfortunately, one of his many many wives gave him AIDS, which he suffered from secretly until he died from AIDS-related complications in 1997. As a former boss (and suspected wife-beater) once told me, “if you’re going to have 100 wives, you’d better know how to regulate”.

Fela Kuti & The Africa 70 – Who’re You

Zamrock

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Stones Throw affiliate Egon started a label a while back called Now-Again records and has been putting out a consistent string of releases that we have overlooked for sometime. They recently started licensing albums from Zambia’s 70s “Zamrock” scene in conjunction with Zamrock pioneer Rikki Ililonga. Starting with the seminal bands Witch and Amanaz, Now-Again has begun the process of bringing to new light a collection of albums that were heavily influential to many US and British rock bands. Anyways the story of Zamrock is really interesting and you should read more about it here and if you need some persuading, just give a listen to the samples below. The first lines of Witch’s ‘Strange Dream’ are pretty amazing and seem super far away from my current reality – which makes it that much more interesting.

Witch – Strange Dream(From Lazy Bones)
manaz – Khala My Friend (From Africa)