Roving bandit recently made a few music recommendations, and Michael Clemens asked for more. I’ve been traveling in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi the better part of the last year and I’ve managed to collect a fair amount of African music from gospel to rap. Much of this will not be new to seasoned listeners, and I’m ignoring a lot of classics, but this is what I’ve been enjoying. I’ll list the artist, country, and a song that I really like:
- Brenda Fassie (South Africa) - Vul’indlela
- Magic System (Côte d’Ivoire) - Premier Gaou
- Miriam Makeba (South Africa) - Pata Pata
- Bad’s Diom (Mauritania) - Koune Ak Sa Vibes
- Napo De Mi Amor et ses Black Devils (Benin or Togo) - Leki Santchi
- Onipa Nua (Ghana) - I Feel Alright
- Ebaahi Soundz (Ghana) - Oshitℇ
- The Very Best (Malawi) - The Warm Heart of Africa
- Letta Mbulu (South Africa) - Welele
- Rose Mhando (Tanzania) - Yesu Nakupenda
- Roger Damawuzan (Benin or Togo) - Wait for me
- Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars (Nigeria) - Yabis
Finally, I heard sawa sawa le, by Flavour, every day in Nairobi and frequently in Ghana. It was easily the song that I heard most in my travels and I became curious about it. The song is actually a dance remix of Nwa Baby, and Nwa Baby is a cover of an earlier highlife song (called sawa sawa le) by Rex Lawson. You can find more info and listen to the earlier versions here.
If you want more music, the blog Awesome Tapes from Africa has a large, otherwise hard to find selection of older music for download. Unfortunately, I don’t know the legal situation surrounding the tapes and I am quite sure that the artists aren’t getting any money out of it. I would also recommend the labels Analog Africa, Soundway, and Syllart productions. Honest Jon’s also has a great selection of African music for sale.