Each Wednesday, The World Africa presents three musical novelties from or inspired by the continent. This week, it’s time for reissues with several vinyls by Fela Kuti, a selection of tracks from Ségou’s Super Biton and an album by Cape Verdean Tchiss Lopes.
“London Scene», de Fela Anikulapo Kuti
It was partly in the legendary studios of Abbey Road in London that took shape in 1971 what would become known worldwide as “afrobeat”, an extension of the Nigerian highlife revolutionized by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Aged at the time of 33, the musician is back in the British capital (where he studied from 1958 to 1963) to record, at the request of the EMI label, the five tracks that will make up the album. London Scene.
Fifty years later, Partisan Records gives it new life on vinyl (after having already reissued it in 2010), but the New York label does not stop there: on December 10, it will release a set of seven albums. vinyls by Fela, by Why Black Man Dey Suffer (1971) to Overtake Don Overtake Overtake (1989), edited by his son Femi and Chris Martin, of the group Coldplay.
“Afro. Jazz. Folk Collection vol. 1 “: Super Biton de Ségou
Fruit of a collaboration between the labels Meriuba (Mali) and Deviation Records (France), the first volume of the collection “Afro. Jazz. Folk ”, released in mid-November on digital and vinyl, brings together eight tracks from Ségou’s Super Biton recorded in the 1970s, selected by the last three members of the group – Modibo Diarra, Mama Sissoko and Aboubacar Kissa (died in April) – and remastered by sound engineer Raphaël Jonin.
Born in the 1960s, this formation of nineteen members made itself famous thanks to its skilful blend of Bambara tradition, electric guitars, brass (saxophone, trumpet …) and Cuban influences (congas, bongos), which gave it was worth to be crowned “national orchestra” in Mali and to occur in France, in Germany and in the Netherlands in 1986.
« Ja Bo Corre D’Mim », by Tchiss Lopes
Let’s take off for a bit, towards the Cape Verdean island of Sao Vicente, where Narciso “Tchiss” Lopes was born in 1959. In Mindelo, the child is passionate about football and the guitar, before leaving the archipelago in 1980 when a one-party regime was established. He settled in Portugal then in Italy, where he obtained a contract on a Greek cargo ship that would take him for eleven months from Nigeria to Brazil via Poland.
Back in Rome, he devoted himself to his musical career and, in 1984, gathered three musicians from his country to record in three days the seven tracks of his second album, Ja Bo Run From Me, who sings exile to tunes influenced by funana and reggae. It is this opus that the Italian label Arabusta Records reissued at the beginning of November on digital, CD and vinyl.
Find all the musical favorites of the editorial staff in the playlist YouTube of World Africa.
Ghanaian highlife in all its flavors
Ghana, paradise for « diggers » ? In any case, the unearthers of musical treasures have something to fill their ears with this fall, with three reissues straight out of the 1970s and 1980s. Thus, at the beginning of November, the British label BBE released two albums by Atakora Manu, Omintiminim and Afro Highlife, where the Ghanaian highlife is enriched by synthesizers considered at the time as revolutionary.
Then, in mid-November, it was Kalita Records, also based in London, who unveiled Asew Watchman and Mabre Agu, two nuggets of « burger highlife » (a sub-genre born in the diaspora) signed Wilson Boateng, cut for the dancefloor and accompanied by remixes.
Finally, on December 10, the Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies will continue its exploration of the archives of the Vis-A-Vis group (which we had already spoken about) by reissuing The Best of Vis-A-Vis in Congo Style, an album released in 1976 and which, as its name suggests, combines highlife with Congolese rumba.