Awesome Tapes From Africa Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records

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Penny Penny
Yogo Yogo

There’s much more to the story of South African star Penny Penny than his mid-Nineties hit debut album Shaka Bundu, which was a continental smash. 1996 follow-up Yogo Yogo represented personal, political and artistic growth from that exuberant debut, and it now gets a much-deserved vinyl re-issue. 

Hailu Mergia
Yene Mircha

Hailu Mergia is an Ethiopian musician who has 6 decades of music making behind him. Starting out in Addis Ababa in the ‘60s, and into the ‘70s with Walias Band, he eventually moved to the US, where a musically fallow period was filled as a taxi driver. His 2018 album Lala Belu saw him reach new audiences, bringing the sound of Ethiopia to the West. Now he returns with Yene Mircha. He uses a whole host of Ethiopian musicians from his past and present, and at 74 shows no sign of his creativity waning.

Antoinette Konan
Antoinette Konan

Originally released in 1986, the self-titled debut from Ivorian musician Antoinette Konan was based almost entirely around the ahoko instrument - which adorns the album’s front cover. It’s often credited with bringing new energy to the African country’s Baoulé scene, and is presented here via Awesome Tapes From Africa on vinyl and CD. 

Nahawa Doumbia
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne, Vol. 1

Although Nahawa Doumbia is traditionally associated with Wassoulou, a variant of dance music, her first album comprised songs recorded with just her voice and an acoustic guitar. Expect an intimate, sparse album that showcases Doumbia's voice at its rawest. It's the first time 'La Grande Cantatrice Malienne, Vol. 1' is available internationally so get it while it's hot!

Sourakata Koite
En Hollande

Awesome Tapes From Africa by name, awesome tapes from Africa by nature. For the label’s latest trick they pull a reissue of Senegalese musician Sourakata Koite’s 1985 LP En Hollande out the bag. A master of the kora - a 21-string West African harp - Koite lays down a selection of ebullient, trilling tracks here. The frequent kora overdubs give the record a great feeling of motion. It’s no surprise to find out that Manu Dibango and Jacques Higelin are fans of Koite’s work.

Hailu Mergia
Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye

Hailu Mergia’s career was reignited by the 2013 Awesome Tapes From Africa reissue of his LP Hailu Mergia And His Classical Instrument (Shemonmuanaye). The Ethiopian jazz mainstay had made this record in the mid-1980’s with a few keyboards, a drum machine and most importantly an accordion. A hit in his homeland, Mergia saw little of the album’s success - he was living, and still lives, in the U.S.A. when Shemonmuanaye was released. However, the response to ATFA’s re-release of the LP has been so big that Mergia is now back touring and recording new music again (see his excellent 2017 LP Lala Belu). You’ll not hear much like Shemonmuanaye, mind - the combination of pitter-patter drums, jazz-funk keys and slippery accordion is highly unusual and very charming.

Na Hawa Doumbia
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3

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Asnakech Worku

Awesome Tapes From Africa do it again. The label’s newest treat comes courtesy of late Ethiopian singer, actress and iconoclast Asnakech Worku. Her Askanech LP was recorded in 1975 with the aid of ATFA favourite Hailu Mergia. Worku’s sparse, arid take on Ethio-jazz and song is augmented by her masterful playing of the krar (a kind of Ethiopian harp).

Hailu Mergia & The Walias
Tche Belew

This long-lost LP of cross-cultural soul-funk-infused Ethio-jazz instrumentals from 1977 is considered one of the most important recordings of the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The Walias were formed in the early '70s in Addis Ababa by keyboardist and arranger Hailu Mergia, cutting a series of 45s with various singers as well as this entirely instrumental LP, one song of which was removed by government censors. Thanks in no small part to the iconic track 'Musicawi Silt', original copies have been changing hands for literally thousands of pounds, so it's great that Awesome Tapes From Africa are finally making these iconic recordings available to the more casual collector.

Ata Kak
Obaa Sima

Awesome Tapes from Africa is doing great work by bringing Africa’s finest musicians to European ears. Ata Kak was the first post on their blog, and we are happy that Obaa Sima has finally made it onto vinyl as well. The album displays a soulful enthusiasm and musical prowess straight from 1994 Ghana.

Hailu Mergia
Yegojam Marnesh / Yegle Nesh

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Jess Sah Bi & Peter One
Our Garden Needs Its Flowers

An altogether calmer release than we’ve come to expect from Awesome Tapes From Africa here. Jess Sah Bi & Peter One were a duo famous throughout West Africa in the 1980s. Combining the songwriting techniques of their native Ivory Coast with American and British folk styles, they hit upon a great formula for 1985 LP Our Garden Needs Its Flowers. This reissue sees the audio quality restored in order to let these beautiful melodies ring clear as day.

Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band
Wede Harer Guzo

Hailu Mergia recorded Wede Harer Guzo with his Dahlak Band in Addis Ababa in 1978, during breaks from spreading wonderful party dancing among the hotels and clubs of the city. This is the very first time these recordings have been made commercially available outside of Ethiopia: celebrate! On Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Professor Rhythm
Professor 3

Reissue of classic Professor Rhythm album first released in 1991. This album was released around the time hip-hop and house were starting to have an influence in South Africa, while still retaining much of the mbaqanga and bubblegum sounds that had been popular before. Released by the uh.. Awesome Tapes from Africa.

DJ Katapila

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Hailu Mergia
Lala Belu

This is Hailu Mergia’s first LP since the upswing in interest in his music over the past half-decade. The revival is down in large part to the re-release job Awesome Tapes From Africa have done on some of his old records, and as such it’s fitting that Lala Belu should surface on the label. Backed by Tony Buck and Mike Majkowski, the music of Lala Belu is a knotted, swaying hybrid of American and Ethiopian jazz stylings.

Professor Rhythm
Bafana Bafana

Awesome Tapes From Africa’s unceasing quest to widely circulate gems of African music continues with Professor Rhythm’s 1990’s house album Bafana Bafana. This material was a hit in South Africa, channelling bubblegum pop and kwaito styles along with Chicago-esque house. Good times! LP and CD editions.

Om Alec Khaoli
Say You Love Me

From 1985, here is an EP from bass-playing South African songwriter Om Alec Khaoli, created under his own conditions in defiance of the racist apartheid regime. Say You Love Me is a four track set of joyful funky widescreen pop music that you are just going to love. 12” and CD reissues on Awesome Tapes From Africa.


Umoja was the bubblegum pop project of South African musical all-rounder Alec Khaoli. Their crucial album 707 was released in 1988 (at the heart of apartheid) with the intention of bringing people together across race boundaries. In doing so, 707 also defined the bubblegum music style. Now reissued on vinyl and CD (but not tape) by Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Awa Poulo
Poulo Warali

Awo Poulo is a Malian singer playing and living within the Peulh tradition. The hallmarks of this sound include flutes, n’goni and calabash gourd percussion, to which Poulo adds elements from a broader array of Malian music. Poulo Warali is a beautiful introduction into her instantly engaging music. CD / LP release on Awesome Tapes From Africa.

DJ Katapila
Trotro + Bonus Tracks

Awesome Tapes From Africa presents 4 cuts from Ghanaian producer DJ Katapila, who is clearly a force to be reckoned with. These tracks are clean and minimal but also packed with rhythms, leading to frantic dance movements. A well-placed drop of a Katapila tune could really boil things over in the club. 2 of the tracks on Trotro haven’t been pressed to vinyl before, so jump on board!

Awalom Gebremariam

Desdes is a 2007 recording from Eritrean artist Awalom Gebremariam, using the traditional instruments of the krar and the wata. As a cassette and CD release it went down well in Eritrea, but Awesome Tapes From Africa tracked down Awalom (now residing in North Carolina) to get his blessing for a reissue: and here we are! CD or LP.

DJ Katapila

The always reliable Awesome Tapes From Africa return with this ace CD and double vinyl LP from DJ Katapila. Trotro is a fast-paced mash-up of Ghanaian traditional music and modern technology. Katapila sings, shouts and chants over backing that sounds as if it had been beamed from the golden age of detroit house. Ferociously fast drum machines chatter over the minimalist musical forms of gome, kpanlogo and gyama.

Ata Kak
Obaa Sima / Adagya

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SK Kakraba
Songs of Paapieye

SK Kakraba plays a Ghanaian xylophone called the gyil, and Songs Of Paapieye gives us the instrument pure and unaccompanied. There is a welcome buzz to the tone that will be familiar to Konono No. 1 fans, and an inventiveness to Kakraba’s versions of traditional and original tunes that will be welcome to those who like joy. On Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Ata Kak
Daa Nyinaa / Bome Nnwom

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Hailu Mergia
Musicawi Silt / Tche Belew

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Aby Ngana Diop

Awesome Tapes From Africa with another reissue here; this one hopes to break Senegal's Aby Ngana Diop, a famous taasu singer/speaker whose poems and prose were backed by tama percussion. 'Liital' is notable for the striking rhythms Diop creates with her words and the lyrical way her backing vocalists respond. 'Liital' was her only release, initially released on cassette in 1994 to Senegal's acclaim.