Awesome Music from Africa

A little look at a handful of exciting music released this week which concentrates on new and forgotten music from the African continent. First up Awesome Tapes from Africa‘s first official release as a label. The blog has been uncovering obscure music from across Africa for over five years now but this week heralds its first ‘official’ release. The cassette chosen for such recognition is Malian singer Nâ Hawa Doumbia’s La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3. This album was originally released in 1982 before the singer became well-known via her collaborations with French musicians and producers such as Frederic Galliano and her appearances outside of Mali. ATFA001 will be available on MP3, CD, Vinyl and will also be re-released in its original format through a limited edition cassette version.

Next up some more music from the ever-reliant Akwaaba Music who have recently re-located to Ghana. This release is put together by Akwaaba and Chief Boima and concentrates on the ‘hipco‘ (Hip-Hop) and ‘gbema’ (indigenous influenced electronica) styles from Liberia. These two styles are at the heart of Liberian popular music and Akwaaba’s Benjamin Lebrave first came across the country’s bustling and youthful music scene while visiting the Buduburam refugee camp:

There is a great little introduction to the styles via the label but for some more in-depth comments read Chief Boima’s various pieces on the musical and political context of the compilation on Cluster Mag and Africa is a Country. Very interesting reading, especially relating to the recent Liberian elections and the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. You can download the Liberian summer anthem ‘Damyarea’ (area song) taken from the album via Soundcloud, check out Boima’s celebratory hipco/gbema mix below and purchase the whole compilation from the usual suspects (Itunes, Bandcamp, Amazon).

Junior Freeman & African Soldier – “Damyarea” (area song)
Chief Boima – Lone Stars Mix

Last but certainly not least, the Saharan Cellphones project we looked at earlier this month returns this week with a special remix package called Music For Saharan Cellphones. The idea was to get a host of producers to remix the original tracks, these remixes would then be transferred onto tiny SD cards before being released back into Kidal’s cellphone community, where the music was first discovered. Luckily for those who do not live in Kidal, the remixes are also available for a ‘name your price’ download via Sahel Sounds’ Bandcamp.

The next step for the project will see Sahel Sounds and Boomarm Nation release Mdou Moctar’s “Tahoultine” with the Gulls remix via 7″ vinyl in November. This will be followed by a vinyl pressing of the original ‘Music from Saharan Cellphones’ album on vinyl.

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