2015 Afro Round Up
The Soul & Funk selections might have all been rescued from the recesses of time, but my pick of this year`s Afro & Caribbean releases healthily mixes up the “ancient” and modern.
Rim Kwaku Obeng / Rim Arrives
A privately pressed LP from 1980 put back out there by BBE and passed my way by amico mio Leo Mas.
Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band / Juguya
Great 21st Century Afro LP from Burkina Faso on the Sun City Girls affiliated Sublime Frequencies.
Derek Gripper / One Night On Earth
South African Classical guitarist Gripper covers the Kora music of Toumani Diabate for the always wonderful Matsuli.
Francis The Great / Ravissante Baby
Tunes from the Cameroon recorded in Paris and repressed for the masses by France`s Hot Casa. Thank you to Kenneth Bager for this one.
Mary Afi Usuah & The SES Cultural Centre Band / Ekpenyong Abasi
Lagos Gold from Frank Gossner`s Voodoo Funk. When I played this in Tokyo the word that was used to describe it was “sophisticated”.
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band
I`ve covered this three times now. Easily in my top ten records of the year.
Africa Airways One: Funk Connection 1973-1980
A statement of intent compilation from new label Africa Seven. The highlight on this for me was Ekambi Brillant`s “Africa Africa” (Johnny Wakelin`s “In Zaire” meets the Jesus & Mary Chain`s guitar feedback). Mentions also need to be made for their Tala A.M. retrospective and their reissue of Manu Dibango`s “Ceddo” soundtrack.
These Eyes / Soca Hustle
The Invisible City Editions chaps with a crazy Caribbean 7.
Christopher Vs. Swahili Ally / Doadoa14
Auntie Flo & Esa Williams` highly commendable Highlife project and label has taken music workshops to Cuba, and Kenya, while the latest installment featured artists and collaborations forged in Uganda. The E.P. made a few end of year lists (Leo Mas, Paul “Claremont 56” Murphy, …).