Awesome Tapes From Africa: paying my respects

Yesterday, finally making a links page, I included Awesome Tapes From Africa, a brilliant blog run out of Brooklyn, where the guy uploads old vinyl of unheralded or little known African acts. 

Without exaggerating in the slightest, this is a website that single-handedly made me appreciate African music.  Before this, all I had heard was clips during BBC sports videos or tribal dance numbers in Bond films.  But ATFA is a Pandora’s Box of magic: log on and you can spend hours listening to rap, rock, hip hop, dance, folk and anything else, courtesy of every African country from Libya to Lesotho. 

The site is here: Awesome Tapes From Africa

But meantime, here are five of my absolute favourites downloaded from the site:

MP3: Dynamike – Les Raisons De Ma Colere (zSHARE)  Senegalese rap, beautifully understated and mellow, to the tune of Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Lose Your Lover
MP3: Fernando Moutchatcha – Moutchatcha (zSHARE)  I doubt this is the right name, but who cares – so funky, so fluent, so good
MP3: Geoffrey Oryema – Makambo (zSHARE)  A sleepy daydream, a death spell, a piece of poetry
MP3: Franco & T.P.O.K Jazz – Mario (zSHARE)  Franco’s apparently a Congolese legend; this is sublime jazz-funk
MP3: Mustafa Ouaadou – Track From Les Maitres De La Chanson Amazigh (Live) (zSHARE)  I listened to this in Fez once, and it was perfection: so Arabic and mysterious, and neverending like the city’s medina…

What I particularly love about all of these songs is that I can’t understand the lyrics in any of them – although I still sing along, pretending like an idiot to know the words, and make up my own meanings and scenarios.  The fact that I love them regardless  of lyrical comprension, though, means it must simply be about the music; about the sheer power and pull of good music, and the common, magnificent thrill that comes with hearing any example of it.

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~ by ripamel on 10/10/2009.

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