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World Music Picture Archives

Easr and Eye

CD Africa CD
Echoes of Africa -
Early Recordings 1930 - 1950
Various Artists
SM 16242

"Echoes of Africa" offer 24 rare recordings from the early days of the African record industry, hardly heard in the West before. Concertina bands and doo-wop singers from South Africa, accordion groups from Kenya, West African brass bands, unaccompanied vocal and drum ensembles from Nigeria and Tanzania, plus bands from East Africa with their Arabic influences, reveal a huge variety of early African pop music and more traditional styles.

Artists included are Willie Gumede, Al Usthadh Umar Awadh Ban, Sitti Binti Saad, Lagos Mozart Orchestra, Abibu Oluwa, Darktown Strutters, Abdo Shamakh

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Africa Raps -
Senegal, Mali and the Gambia
Various Artists

There is still a wealth of vibrant and exciting music on the African continent which is scarcely known in the West. This CD presents jewels from the hip hop scene of Senegal, Mali and the Gambia, which until now could be only found in the music cassette shops of those countries.In Dakar alone you can find more then 2000 different rap bands spearheaded by Positive Black Soul, widely regarded as the founders of that country's rap movement. Their hit 'Boul Fale' kick-started the whole scene back in the eighties.

Given the West African griot tradition, the rise of rap music in Senegal and Mali shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though, as Africa Raps shows, the genre's local (Francophone) proponents have sensibly refused to buy into hip-hop culture wholesale: instead of the back-biting, immorality and violence of American rap, the form is used here almost exclusively as a platform for political grievance and social commentary. Gokh-Bi System's "Xaesal" decries the use of skin-bleaching agents by African women; Abass Abass's "Urgence" offers a nightmarish account of an accident victim's poor treatment by the Senegalese health service; CBV's "Art. 158" attacks the section of the country's criminal code that penalises possession of "yamba" (marijuana) and even Rizlas; and rappers such as Omzo, Sen Kumpe, Da Fugitivz and DaBrains criticise political corruption. The standard of chatting is generally high, though not all of the rappers have voices as appropriate to the task as the gruff, guttural tones of BMG 44. While most of the Senegalese contributors opt for the international rap style of breakbeats allied to acoustic guitar loops, string pads and keyboard figures, a few, such as Gokh-Bi System and Positive Black Soul, along with Malian rappers such as Tata Pound and Les Escrocs, bring the region's native kora music into the new world of breakbeats and banter. A fine compilation from a German label whose splendidly diverse catalogue covers everything from rembetika to reefer songs.

No drums, but these slow, off-kilter rhthms carry enormous weight, as the Mangas, his hat tilted over red eyes, dances alone across the taverna floor.

The Independant 7/12/2001

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For further information, ring 01422 842212 and ask for Christoph Wagner. 

If you would like to be kept informed about new releases or receive a comprehensive catalogue, email us at info@klang-records.co.uk

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