african blues

african blues on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - Browse our selection of content tagged 'african blues'.

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

The previous album Amassakoul by these extraordinary musicians and desert tribesmen from the southern Sahara was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 and turned up in quite a few critics picks of last year. If anything, this album -- dense, driving, intense, poetic and shot through with mercurial, stinging guitar work -- is superior to...

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In the Western world the offspring of famous musicians often have a hard time if they choose to follow in the footsteps of their parents: witness the case of Julian and Sean Lennon. But in other cultures, notably in India and parts of the African continent, there is not only an acceptance but an expectation that children will take up the same...

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Many decades ago now Paul Oliver wrote his then-definitive and still useful The Story of the Blues (Penguin, 1969). My recollection was that at the time there was also a tie-in double album which he compiled, and which I taped from a friend's copy. The startling opening track -- startling to me anyway -- was by the Fra Fra tribesmen from...

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The shrink-wrap that this exceptional album came in provides the clue: "blues woman mauritanienne, transcende les frontieres musicales". And Amen -- or more correctly Allahu Akbar -- to all that. Malouma isn't "blues" in the same way that say Etran Finatawa or Tinariwen (see tags) are: if you are desperately looking for a...

Thione Seck; Orientissime (Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Thione Seck; Orientissime (Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

There are some who think that "world music" is corrupted by outside influences, and that the folk musicians of various parts of the globe should be time-locked so as to retain some degree of authenticity. Such paternalistic purists bang on about how tragic it is that musicians from the Sahara use synthesizers, or that sitar players...

Various Artists: Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 (Sound Way)

Various Artists: Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 (Sound Way)

In the past few years there has been a remarakble rediscovery and re-issue of music out of various parts of Africa: Elsewhere has previously noted the comprehensive (and enjoyable) Funky Lagos collection, the early years of Fela Kuti collected on Lagos Baby, the Geraldo Pino compilation, the exceptional Authenticite compilation of artists from...

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

The Flight of the Conchords’ astute parodies have spoiled some music for us -- and the opener here where Jimi Tenor oozes darkly “lean against the wall, I want to do it dancehall style with you baby . . . I got my tightest pants on” sounds so close to a Jemaine sleazy rap you’ll laugh aloud. That’s the intention,...

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars:Rise and Shine (Cumbancha/Ode)

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars:Rise and Shine (Cumbancha/Ode)

These guys certainly have a great back-story: in six years they went from languishing in a refugee camp, through being the subject of a doco (see clip below) to Oprah. They appeared on the Blood Diamond soundtrack, their self-titled debut album won widespread praise and for this one they went to New Orleans and recorded with producer Steve...

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

After decades of almost becoming the biggest star out of Africa and commanding a global audience (support from Peter Gabriel, the 7 Seconds single with Neneh Cherry, Mandela concerts and so on) N'Dour must find it frustrating that he never quite made the leap that Bob Marley did out of Jamaica. His early albums remain his best -- although...

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

As we know, for every breakthrough band there are a dozen or more who can successfully coattail. Tamikrest come from the same area -- geographical and musical -- as the great Tinariwan and Etra Finatawa so create a kind of hypnotic desert blues . But where their two predecessors have established a genre and staked out territory within it, the...

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

In a way this album was inevitable -- although has come from an unexpected source. The whole "Sahara Blues" style of Etran Finatawa, Tinariwen and more recently Tamikrest has always lent itself to being brought to wider attention by collaborations with European musicians. The co-joining of Anglo-alt.folkers Tuung with...

Various Artists: Afro-Rock Volume One (Strut)

Various Artists: Afro-Rock Volume One (Strut)

This 12-song compilation pulls together rare and unreleased Afro-beat from the likes of the pre-Fela star Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone (with Heavy Heavy Heavy) to the 12-minute rolling, organ-driven groove of Yuda from Dackin Dackino and the explosive, dirty funk of Das Yahoos (Booker T taking a trip) and the Booker Band (with slippery...

Etoile De Dakar: Once Upon a Time in Senegal (Sterns/Southbound)

Etoile De Dakar: Once Upon a Time in Senegal (Sterns/Southbound)

There is not exactly a shortage of collections of African music from the Sixties and Seventies these days: Fela is well covered so are the rumba scene out of Zaire, the Rail Band from Mali, the Syliphone label from Guinea, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Geraldo Pino, Congotronics from Kinshasa, Soweto township jive, high-life . . . If you can't afford...

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Here's a true meltdown of many African styles from a multi-culti/multi-continent group from Brixton which pulls together juju guitars and a horn section, brings in some rolling Afrobeat percussion of the old style and deliver the brew with a dose of palm wine warmth and Ghanaian highlife. Purists may bemoan the all-in collision of sounds but...

Cheikh Lo: Jamm (World Circuit)

Cheikh Lo: Jamm (World Circuit)

This inventive singer, writer and arranger from Senegal hasn't appeared at Elsewhere since is wonderful Lamp Fall on '06 at which time I observed he was like a Paul Simon from an alternative universe: he assimilates and explores musical styles and genres to create something his own. This even better album -- cleanly produced by Nick Gold and...

Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80: From Africa with Fury; Rise (Border)

Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80: From Africa with Fury; Rise (Border)

The musical offspring of the great founder of Afrobeat Fela Anikulapo Kuti have an unenviable career path to follow, especially Seun and Femi who choose Afrobeat as their chosen vehicle. Femi has embraced remixes and on his recent Africa for Africa outing edged more towards a pop version of the boiling and urgent style, and Seun delivered...

Etran Finatawa: Introducing Etran Finatawa (World Music Network) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Etran Finatawa: Introducing Etran Finatawa (World Music Network) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

From the same emotional source and geographical location -- the sub-Sahara around Niger -- as the thrilling and now well-known Tinariwen comes this equally extraordinary band. Their mesmerising guitars have no exact counterpart in Western blues, folk or rock (although every now and again something eerily familiar pops out) and that alone --...

Various Artists, Congotronics 2 (Crammed Discs)

Various Artists, Congotronics 2 (Crammed Discs)

The first volume of this impossible-to-have-anticipated meltdown of cheap electronica, traditional instruments like thumb piano, vibrant percussion, ropey production and chant-sing vocals from the suburban dance clubs around Kinshasa was picked as one of his 10 best albums to get you through winter by Jim Pickney (DJ Stinky Jim, who has...

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

The late Toure was one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge out of the musically fertile region around Mali in the last century. The area -- from which numerous slaves were taken to the United States -- was the crucible for music which, after the Middle Passage, became the blues. Much of Toure's music invited comparisons with John...

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Singer-guitarist Lo from Senegal is a man whose music observes no boundaries: on previous albums he's brought a warm Cuban sound into the context of African juju guitars, had Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown's band arrange the horns, and he seems to like a jazzy saxophone alongside talking drum. It's an intoxicating tropical cocktail and for this...

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

World Music compilations are often pretty dodgy affairs and this one is no exception. So I'm not really suggesting you might want an album that starts in a place where Cambodia psychedelic rock meets America, then heads off to Algeria, the Sahara and Niger (the great Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa respectively however, see tags), the States for...

Nuru Kane: Sigil (Riverboat)

Nuru Kane: Sigil (Riverboat)

Raised in Dakar, Kane often sounds like a Mississippi bluesman in the solo tracks here. At other times with his small band he bridges North Africa with trancelike music not dissimilar to that of the Gnawa of Morocco then looping back to his birthplace and Senegalese music. Quite the world citizen, he lived in Paris in the late 90s, played...

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