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OLD WORLD (inc Asia, Arabia)

African Discographies

Greetings, Platterbugs!

Updated 1 July 2024

New & Worthwhile

Nigerian Guitar Roots, the latest 2CD compilation from Yoshiki Fukasawa, who gave us Ghana and Congo comps, is available in Europe from Far Side music. Special Discount for readers of Muzikifan: at checkout enter the code "Nigeria" to get 15% discount (offer lasts until the end of July)

New from Kokoko! "Butu" (on July 5; I think the bassist is channeling Joy Division)

Carnatic violin and orchestra by Ganesh Rajagopalan

Etrain de l'Air from Sahara announce 100% Sahara Guitar new music from Timbuktou "Lalla Haoua"by Asmaa Hamzaoui; her album available from Glitterhouse

via Ted Jaspers
Smiling Osei new single, "Yede n'aase ma wo"

via John Beadle
a new movie based on an incident in the life of Fela's mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is on Amazon Prime

reissue on budget vinyl of Les Filles de Illighadad from Niger: "At Pioneer Works"

Afro-Colombia roots by Sexteto Hijos de Benkos

Iranian movie music: Chess of the Wind by Sheida Gharachedaghi & Mohammad Reza Aslani

via Tony Pitt, old but neglected! (the music, not Tony)
Fasa Yiriba from Burkina Faso

Fifteen places to legally download music online (via Internet Archive)
(disclaimer: I have not researched this further, let me know if you find something good!)

Coming soon

Africa Negra Antologia vol 2, all previously unreleased tracks! August 2

Hunter's music from Mali: Tribute to Toumani Koné by Nfaly Diakite; there's also a video

Real World Records found some unreleased Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan material in Peter Gabriel's closet: Chain of Light will come out in September

via Tony Pitt
Senegalese percussion coming soon from Moussa Lo

& also, Chicago Sound System, with Nicole Mitchell (flute) featuring Ballaké Sissoko (kora)

On Tour

Okwy Osadebe and Highlife Soundmakers International
Cal Plaza, Grand Performances, Down Town Los Angeles, California Sat 27 July 8 p.m. FREE
Freight & Salvage Berkeley July 25 8 p.m.

Ivorian singer Dobet Gnahoré (Joe's Pub, Jul 2; Freight & Salvage July 18) releases new video "Ayoka." Her new album "Zouzou" on Cumbancha is available on bandcamp.

(Further out) Ebo Taylor & Pat Thomas (Ghana) will tour USA, including UC Theatre, Berkeley on October 18

Emel Mathlouthi, revolutionary Tunisian-American singer-songwriter (Freight & Salvage Sept 8)


a lovely topical song by Fred Kish "Alesi"; Congolese guitar at 78 rpm, from Matthew in the Jazz Bunker, which was part of his recent, unmissable Unboxing African 78s video


Mansour Seck, Malian singer/guitarist. Seen here on a memorable tour with Baaba Maal

Denyse Plummer, calypsonian from Trinidad
"Petit Pierre" Yantula Bobina Elengesa, last surviving musician from the African Jazz supergroup who played the 1960 Table Ronde in Brussels

Latest Muzikifan Podcasts

(Note: The muzikifan podcasts are hosted on
Soundcloud; please subscribe on their site)

The Hoof Man Returns: a visit from
Jerome Ogola, Monk of the Shrine, aka the
Hoofman, with music from Kenya, Tanzania
and Congo

Abide with Me with Franco, Stephen
Osadebe, Beguen band, acoustic East Africa
and brass bands

N'DARILA (One World Records)

As you know West African societies have entire families who are griots: hereditary musicians or praise singers. Kankou Kouyate is no exception, being the niece of the great Bassekou Kouyate, genius exponent of the n'goni. And he shows up to add sparkle to thee cuts on this album. Otherwise her voice is backed by a group of cousins, dubbed Les Etoiles de Garana, assembled for this album, comprising a medium and bass n'goni (Madou Kouyate), Lassine Kouyate on tama (talking drum) and other percussion, and a second percussionist to double on calabash, congas, and shakers. A kora player (Sefoudi Kouyate) appears on two cuts and in addition we hear keyboards and trumpet here and there. A lot of the music was improvised in the Bamako studio, based on traditional riffs. Kankou has a rich, warm voice and though she has been called "the Malian Nina Simone," we do not need trite comparisons. I feel she needs to be recognized for her originality and message on human rights.


Gabi Guedes is a percussionist from Brasil. He started playing conga at the age of ten and now has over 50 years of experience performing. For this Afro-Brasilian album celebrating black mothers, he put together a group called Pradarrum to showcase a range of style, including jazz and traditional terreiro songs associated with Candomblé rituals. There are two female singers, Ellen Oléria and Márcia Short as well as acoustic and electric guitar, trombone and trumpet players and, of course, a lot of percussion. The balance is great and the jazz quotient high, although of course the pundits will claim it's "afro-beat" to try to push up sales. With ten tracks, a couple of them covers, the group range through samba and funk styles as well as jazz, but always reaching back to their Angolan roots. "Senhora mãe" brings a clarinet to the fore, while "Pèrègún" brings the trombone up front; the backbeat on this track is astounding, reminding me of Jamaican Burru drumming, no doubt there is a connection. In fact the guitar on here also reminds me of Ernie Ranglin so perhaps they decided to dub it live. You can watch a recent live performance here. I can't find this album on bandcamp, in fact he does not seem to have a label, but it is available to stream and download on Qobuz.

KAIRO (Nulla Cruising)

This is a traditional kora album from the Gambia in West Africa. According to the publisher's Youtube page it is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon etc. So I don't know how they are going to recoup their costs with this kind of marketing. I suppose if you don't have access to free streaming on amazon, you can buy MP3s for $8. Bakary gets into the groove fast and stays there, both hands riffing and vamping on his instrument. He is either double-tracked or using an echo effect on "Samakoro," which reverberates around and around and made my head swim. However, if you are a fan of kora, Kamaso is an adept and really shines on this hour-long set. It's mostly high tempo and he rips through it as if he has practiced for years for this moment. Other than that, I can't tell you anything. There are no liner notes, not even song title translations, so it is there, ethereally, in the air, should you choose to seek it out.


The expression "low-rider soul" conjures up a lot of images — to do with hot summers in the city, car radios, bongos in the back, and much more. This album, a one-shot by a band and label who vanished as soon as they appeared in 1972, features a gem of the genre, "There's no other girl." It appeared as a single and then had organ overdubbed for the album to deepen the soul quotient, which pours out of the speakers with a smoky slow groove, the horns punctuating the laid-back groove, which has boogaloo backing the sweet vocals. Then we head to the first of three guaguancós, "Cuando llegué a Borinquen," which likewise balances bouncy percussion on timbales and congas with punchy horn lines. Bobby Marin was the producer and you'd think this would have taken off, but it was the time of the Fania revolution and many little labels came and went in their shadow. Alternating between ballads and driving, spiced-up tracks may not have pleased listeners who might have preferred grouping the hot tracks together. Who knows? The B side kicks off with a cha-cha-cha "María Isabel," which sounds dated. They cover "Tibiri tabara" and end with another soulful ballad, but I reckon it was their first single that clicked, and that will bring DJs to this disc.

Year to date

(click on maps at the top of the page to get to continent of choice)

June 2024

Okwy Osadebe & his Highlife Soundmakers' Ifunanya is filed in Nigeria pt 3
Ballake Sissoko and Derek Gripper is filed in Old World miscellany
Bassekou Kouyate & Amy Sacko's Djudjon is filed under Mali part 6
Kiki Valera's Vacilón Santiaguera is filed in Cuba 4
Yasser Tejeda can be found in the Dominican Republic
Tidiane Thiam is filed in Senegal 4
as is Tidiane Thiam with Amadou Binta Konte
Grupo Polo Montañez is found in Cuba part 4
Sonora Nelson Ferreyra went to Peru

May 2024

Les Belgicains is filed under Congo Classics part 2
Kolonel Djafaar's Getaway is filed in Olde Worlde misc
Brooklyn Sounds' eponymous disc is filed in Latin/Salsa, New World
Cumbia Sabroso vol 2 is filed in Colombia part 3

April 2024

Franco & OK Jazz compilation from Les Editions Populaires is under Congo Classics 2
Maliheh Moradi and Ehsan Matoori are filed in Iran
Los Guayabo Bros went to Colombia part 3
Rough Guide to Murder Ballads went to USA, of course
ShazaLaKazoo can be found in the Balkans

March 2024

Ngwaka Son Système with Iboto ngenge is filed in Congo part 4
Meanwhile Congo Funk! has gone to Congo Classics part 2
Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams El Din with Ousoul is filed in Arabia
Adama Yalomba is filed in Mali 6
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba in concert can be read about in Mali Live

February 2024

Afrika Muye Muye! Tanzanian Rumba 1968-70 is filed in Kenya/Tanzania part 3
Wagadu Grooves from all over West Africa is filed in Mali part 6
Mohammad Syfkhan can be found in Arabia (though he lives in Ireland)
Gao Hong with Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde are in Old world miscellany
Aguidavi do Jeje are found under Brasil 3

January 2024

Mama Sissoko Live is filed in Mali part 6
The return of Dieuf-Dieul can be read about in Senegal part 4
Principe y su Sexteto are found in Venezuela
Said Chalaban is filed in Morocco



Essentially the best of this website in condensed form:




















"Essential reference guide to the Congo guitar king" — SONGLINES 64 **** (four stars)
"I do not know anybody who has such immense knowledge of African music. Congratulations." — Gerhard G (a purchaser)

BACK IN PRINT (Second edition, November 2012)

By Alastair Johnston

Poltroon Press, 2012, expanded to 88 pages; list price $19.95.
Available now. Click HERE for details.



all of the writing on this site is copyright © 2004-2024 by alastair m. johnston

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