Dur-Dur Band: Volume 5
Dur-Dur Band emerged in the 1980s, during a time when Somalia?s contribution to the creative culture in the Horn of Africa was visible and abundant. Seeking inspiration outside the impressive array of Somali traditional music that was encouraged at the time, everyone from Michael Jackson and Phil Collins to Bob Marley and Santana were fair game. This recording, which was remastered from a cassette copy source, is a document of Dur-Dur Band after establishing itself as one of the most popular bands in Mogadishu. The challenge of locating a complete long-player from this era is evidenced bythe fidelity of this recording. However, the complex, soulful music penetrates the hiss. In a country that has been disrupted by civil war, heated clan divisions and security concerns, music and the arts has suffered from stagnation in recent years. Incidentally, more than ten years after Volume 5 (1987) was recorded at Radio Mogadishu, the state-run broadcaster was the only station in Somalia to resist the ban on music briefly enacted by Al-Shabab. Dur-Dur Band is a powerful and illustrative lens through which to appreciate the incredible sounds in Somalia before the country's stability took a turn.
Bola: Bola Remixes
Bola: Volume 7
Bola's music aggressively melds sheer force of spirit with a sound not often heard by ears outside the remote Upper East Region of Ghana. His bold fury stems from the kologo--a two-stringed lute with a calabash gourd resonator--and Frafra-language vocals, emitted in raspy bursts. This is some of the most distinct and dynamic music to come out of Ghana since the emergence of hiplife music in the mid-90s. Volume 7, which came out in 2008, is just one entry in a brilliant series of recordings Bola has released on CD and cassette. Although he employs a traditional instrument and the age-old mode of griot story-telling, Bola embraces elements of modern mainstream Ghanaian music--drum machines, synths, bone-shaking bass. Inspired by pioneering kologo greats like King Ayisoba, Bola has taken a dynamic instrument used by traditional healers and herbalists to sing to god in search of advice and taken it to futuristic heights.
Na Hawa Doumbia: La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3
Na Hawa Doumbia's La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 marks the first release for new label Awesome Tapes From Africa, a blog and DJ project known worldwide for shedding light on obscure and wonderful musical treasures from the African continent.
This early recording--made in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1982--captures the dualities inherent in Doumbia's music early on: from a stripped-down, raw backdrop arise warm sonics; expressions of feminism and social issues imparted through spare refrains.
Doumbia's urgent, distinctive vocals and hypnotic didadi rhythm from her native Bougouni have made her a respected voice in Mali for more than three decades. Today she is best known for her contributions to Wassoulou music.
The singer was raised by her grandmother--her mother died shortly after giving birth. But before passing away she predicted Doumbia would be a singer--something surprising, since she didn't come from the jeli (or griot) caste of hereditary singers. Her grandparents resorted to the magical powers of blacksmiths to fight it, but ultimately the prediction proved correct. Doumbia's music is more powerful than magic.