highlife

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as highlife.

Papa Noel: Bana Congo presents Papa Noel (Tumi/Elite)

Papa Noel: Bana Congo presents Papa Noel (Tumi/Elite)

Congolese rumba (or its pop imitations) accounts for around 70% of all music bought by Africans in Africa, a measure of the impact that the touring Cuban rumba bands of the Forties made, and how pervasive their horn-driven sound has become. Papa Noel is a veteran of the Golden Age of Rumba in the Forties and Fifites, and his guitar sound...

Various: Authenticite; The Syliphone Years 1965-80 (Southbound)

Various: Authenticite; The Syliphone Years 1965-80 (Southbound)

In a beautiful sleeve featuring stamps from Guinea and with an informative booklet, this double disc collection takes you to the heart of music from this small African state (population about 10 million) and includes material by the very famous Bembeya Jazz National and their peers on the Syliphone label. It seems when Guinea became...

Batucada Sound Machine: Rhythm & Rhyme (Border)

Batucada Sound Machine: Rhythm & Rhyme (Border)

The first album by this big and boisterous band was a live outing recorded at Womad in 2005. It didn't do it for me and was one of those "guess you had to be there" albums. But it was clear that aside from energy and enthusiasm (which they had by truckloads) they certainly had some musical chops and their set sounded like an...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information (Strut/Border)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information (Strut/Border)

A couple of years ago a very generous Elsewhere subscriber sent me some albums in the Ethiopiques series, music of all persuasions from Ethiopia (mostly club singers and jazz on the ones I received) which were as unexpected as they were enjoyable. I'm told that vibes/keyboard player Mulatu Astatke got a whole disc to himself because he was...

Various: Next Stop . . . Soweto (Strut/Border)

Various: Next Stop . . . Soweto (Strut/Border)

Subtitled "Township Sounds from the Golden Age of Mbaqanga" this lively, groove-oriented and guitar jangle collection of 20 songs comes from Strut, the same label which has brought you various Nigerian and Ethiopiques collections -- as well as the terrific Mulatu Astatke album and the Inspiration Information series. This is the...

Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu Steps Ahead (Strut)

Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu Steps Ahead (Strut)

This transplanted jazz musician from Ethiopia (vibes/keyboards) has been one of the major (re)discoveries of the past few years. His ascent continues on this album which drifts to life on the airy, almost ambient opener where muted trumpet pokes over long and languid horn lines to create a post-Kind of Blue dreamscape. Then it springs up a...

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 2 (Strut)

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 2 (Strut)

Following on from the recent and pretty cool Next Stop Soweto (volume one, obviously) comes this even better collection, this subtitled "soul, funk and organ grooves from the townships 1969-76". This is a steamy collection of 22 tracks -- many of them with some real guitar sting as much as funky grooves. In fact when the...

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 3; Giants, Ministers and Makers (Strut)

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 3; Giants, Ministers and Makers (Strut)

Subtitled "Jazz in South Africa 1963-1984" this is the third volume in the excellent Strut excavation of crucial SA music which has previously picked up Township jive music and mad funk/psychedelic sounds. This collection is the least of three: the improvisations often sound constrained, in other places where the players let go...

LLoyd Miller and the Heliocentrics: Lloyd Miller and the Heliocentrics (Strut)

LLoyd Miller and the Heliocentrics: Lloyd Miller and the Heliocentrics (Strut)

Both London's Heliocentrics and their label Strut have an admirable practice of getting different artists together for projects (see here and here) and sometimes they just soar. This is one such project, the Heliocentrics with multi-instrumentalist Miller who grew up on Dixieland/New Orleans jazz but then, when his dad was posted to Iran in...

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

In 1970 George Melly wrote Revolt into Style, a witty and sometimes scathing look at how the revolutionary, anti-establishment figures in pop art and culture had been assimilated into the mainstream as just another fashion/style accessory. You'd wonder what Melly might make of Nigerian firebrand musician and lightning-rod political...

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...

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

DJs like nothing more than unearthing obscurities – makes them hipper than thou – but UK archivist/platter-spinner and all round good guy Frank Goesser does us a favour with this collection of a dozen late Sixties/early Seventies sides by Afro-soul singer Theophile Do Rego (aka El Rego) from Benin. In the brief but excellent...

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Copies of this uplifting album by Diabate from Mali come with an intelligent and interesting DVD-doco which shines a light on the culture of the griot -- a caste of hereditary musicians-cum-storytellers and counsellors to the influential -- and also explains that unusual band name: Diabate wanted to bring together the traditions of the griot...

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