Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Peace & Love from/for Cote d'Ivoire

Funk & Rock from Ivory Coast? Why not?

Recent years have been rough on the country and its people. I haven't yet had the chance to visit but imagine that Abidjan (& the rest of the country) has lots to offer. Gathering from this collection of tracks, the 1970s led to interesting musical fusions and influences (from Hendrix to Miles Davis and Frank Zappa). I can't wait to hear Vol. 2 (thanks in advance, Cheeku!) .

Don't have the liner notes with me but I do remember that after the recording Charles Atangana sort of dissappeared. I'm sure the Ivory Coast must have many more undiscovered gems; come to think of it, few/no (?) Ivoiran oldies have turned up on the afrofunk reissues and compilations. Anyone in Abidjan reading this blog?

Two tracks: Onguindo (Charles Atangana & Emitais) & Dogbo Zo N'wene (Armand Pascal Lido & l'Ivoiro Star)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

More Syliphone Sounds

Syli Authentic was one of the younger generation's bands in Guinea-Conakry's music revolution. Like Camayenne Sofa, Syli was composed of teenagers, students, spreading Sekou Toure's message (as did all Guinean orchestras). Still, while exhorting the people to farm or praising the president, their grooves remain energetic, a mix of forest rhythms and the urban bustle of the 1970s. Here are two examples: Senero and Nbessoma.

You can find the Syliphone discography here, thanks to Graeme Counsel! And you can also look online for Dr. Graeme's 2006 PhD, "Mande Popular Music and Cultural Policies in West Africa," which he'll hopefully turn into a book soon.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Musique Sans Paroles

Thanks for all the warm comments and having waited! And big thanks to Joe for help with moving around files and setting up a new server! I hope these tracks soothe your jazzy tastes, Joe!

On a trip to Senegal in 2000, I ended up visiting a transplanted Belgian who'd set up a record store in Dakar and meeting a couple of old collectors: from one, I ended up buying about 30-40 Syliphone albums. This is one of my favorite Syliphone albums of that batch: "Music Without Words." SLP 54 from 1976 showcases the skills of a variety of Guinea-Conakry's master musicians. There's Kokoba (Trio Papa Kouyate), Nananina (Sombory-Jazz), and Massane Cisse (Quintette Guineenne), and Bourou (no artist named).

If you love the Syliphone style and want to hear more, that shouldn't be too difficult. In the past years, some albums in the Syliphone Discotheque series have been reissued. If you haven't heard Bembeya Jazz (on vinyl or live, as they're touring again), do look for their reissues. Recently, Graeme Counsel did a very fine job of releasing Authenticite, a great compilation of Syliphone tracks from 1965-1980.