"The fact that we still pay attention to these great creations some 50 years later, only illustrates the timelessness of their music."
In the 1970s, raw grooves of funk were vibrating through the capital of Cameroon. Following anticolonial struggles in Cameroon in the two decades before, the city of Yaoundé was now an even more vibrant place for music.
Popular local genres like makossa aside (outside of Africa best known by way of Manu Dibango—more specifically, his single “Soul Makossa”), Cameroon Garage Funk shines a light on the underground music scene in Cameroon’s capital. Every neighborhood in Yaoundé had music spots with sessions by independent musicians. But there was a lack of industry and infrastructure to preserve, distribute, and release the music made there. Master reels were handed to the artists themselves or to whoever paid for the recording session.
“Some of the names were so obscure that even the most seasoned veterans of the Cameroonian music scene had never heard of them,” Analog Africa writes in the record’s liner notes. “A few trips to the land of Makossa and many more hours of interviews were necessary to get enough insight to assemble the puzzle pieces of Yaoundé’s buzzing 1970s music scene.”
"Many of the songs from Manzanita's masterpiece have made it onto this compilation of electrifying Cumbia sides from his golden era."
Psychedelic rock dominated the Peruvian radio waves during the 1960s. US and UK records by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Yardbirds, and Eric Burdon & The Animals were widely popular, up until 1968 when Peruvian general Juan Velasco seized control of the country in a military coup. The new regime favored local sounds over imports—a blessing in disguise: new bands erupted, armed with electric guitars and Cuban rhythms to fill the void of the lack of US imports. That’s when Peruvian cumbia was born.
Analog Africa’s Samy Ben Redjeb: “I was in Lima, hanging out with collector-extraordinaire Victor Zela, who had spent the previous few years pouring his passion for Peruvian Cumbia into the blog La Cumbia de Mis Viejos, a real trove of incredible music. But after the birth of his first child, his priorities shifted and he decided to part with some of his rarest LPs. I was one of the lucky few given an early chance to examine his treasures, and when I picked up the album Manzaneando com Manzanita, Victor said, ‘Take it! It's one of the best LPs ever recorded in Perú ... easily in the top five!’ That was all the encouragement I needed… Two years later many of the songs from that masterpiece have made it onto this compilation of electrifying Cumbia sides from Manzanita’s golden era.”
"In the course of digitizing his vast archive of master tapes, Essilfie-Bondzie found a number of masterpieces from the label’s mid-70s golden age that had never been released."
Highlife is a cross-cultural hybrid of African and non-African musical elements, a unique style of dance music that originated in Ghana in the late 19th century. The music blends elements from jazz, brass bands, African dance bands, guitar-centered popular styles, and off-kilter drum rhythms from traditional practices combined with syncopated guitar melodies.
Essiebons Special 1973 - 1984 highlights music from the iconic highlife record label Essiebons by Dick Essilife. His roster featured a who’s-who of highlife legends including C. K. Mann, Ernest Honny, and Ebo Taylor.
"What unites these diverse musicians is their ability to strip funk down to its primal essence and use it as the foundation for their own excursions inward to the heart of Edo culture and outward to the furthest limits of sonic alchemy."
Edo Funk was born in the heart of Nigeria: Benin City, to be exact. A new blend of highlife music with new sounds coming from West Africa’s nightclubs, much rawer than the polished 80s Nigerian disco that followed a decade later. This collection of songs features the genre’s originators who came up in the late-70s with stripped-down, psychedelic-tinged raw funk take on horn-heavy highlife origins.
"From a collision of electric instruments and indigenous traditions, a new style of Zimbabwean popular music was born."
Take One collects hits and rarities by the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, one of the key acts that modernized Zimbabwean music. The songs were remastered from the original master tapes and vinyl sources, all originally recorded between 1974 and 1979.
“[Musicians] began to emulate the staccato sound and looping melodies of the mbira (thumb piano) on their electric guitars, and to replicate the insistent shaker rhythms on the hi-hat,” Analog Africa explains. “They also started to sing in the Shona language and to add overtly political messages to their lyrics. (...) From this collision of electric instruments and indigenous traditions, a new style of Zimbabwean popular music was born.”
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