On International Women’s Day 2018 the Africa Seven label dropped Mothers’ Garden, a collection of tracks by female artists from the continent of Africa. Follow-up Return To The Mothers’ Garden: More Funky Sounds Of Female Africa 1971 - 1982 repeats the trick, presenting ten essential tunes from the likes of Christy Essien and Miriam Makeba. Check Oby Onyioha’s ‘Enjoy Your Life’, a Nigerian disco delight that has long been a favourite among crate-diggers.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the fifth entry in the ever wonderful Africa Airway series? What I can tell you is that it features boogie tracks from the likes of The Black Bells Group, Dikalo and Mekongo President representing Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, and more. So which was it? I leave that up to you.
Take a full dose of African psychedelic rock with this heady compilation. Africa Airways Three (The Afro-Psych Excursion 1972 - 1984) features a fine roster of rich grooves, cosmic highlife, fuzz conga and psych swing band music, from artists including Ifang Bondi, Manu Dibango, Sory Bamba. Vinyl release on the Africa Seven label.
The reissue-philes at Africa Seven drop a compilation from acclaimed Sierra Leonean group Afro National. Led by Sulay Abu Bakarr, his wife Patricia and former Sabanoh Jazz Group member Ayo Roy Macauley, Afro National’s blend of West African rock styles, jazz and Hi-Life made them big stars in their home country throughout the 1970s. African Experimentals (1972-1979) collates some of the group’s deeper, most dancefloor-friendly cuts.
Africa Seven - the label behind the Africa Airways series - drop another nice collection of old grooves. These tracks are all by artists who identify as female, a gender which has been woefully under-represented in the African 70s/80s reissue explosion of the past decade or so. Hopefully compilations Mothers’ Garden this will start to redress the balance. Contains tunes from Miriam Makeba and Letta Mbulu, among others.
The people at Africa Seven unearth another lost gem with Charly Kingson’s 1978 LP Born in Africa. Kingson - cousin of Manu Dibango, no less - recorded this album after relocating from Cameroon to Germany. It’s a record of popping synth-funk and hi-life disco, with tracks like ‘Nimele Bolo’ and ‘Nanga ‘Boko’ still sure to set the dancefloor on fire. Kingson’s cracking voice, part Maurice White and part Fela Kuti, remains front-and-centre throughout.
African Funk Experimentals 1975 to 1978 is an extremely enticing name for a record isn’t it? And Tala A.M. doesn’t disappoint, throwing out slice after slice of compelling afro-funk, always driven by amazing rhythms and led by tight guitar. Compilation of tracks cherry-picked from various of Tala’s records, on Africa Seven.
Pasteur Lappe is a prime exponent of the Sekele sound in Cameroon through the seventies and eighties. He really and truly has it going on, as even a cursory listen to his 1979 debut album will prove: this music positively sizzles with funk, swing, and muscular groove fun. A wonderful record, put into proper circulation by the Africa Seven label.
J. M. Tim & Foty were a creative duo based from Cameroon working on funk and disco. This LP on Africa Seven presents just two years of that hard work. And if you need a seal of approval just know that god like genius Missy Elliot has sampled one of these tracks. So what are you waiting for?
The latest in a series that has the first on its fourth repress, Africa Airways here takes us to a land of forgotten disco anthems from '76 to '83. Commendable spirit has gone into unearthing and compiling such a fantastic and diverse collection, further cementing the importance of the continent in recent music history.
African Funk Experimentals (1975 - 1982) is one of the most enticing album titles I’ve heard in a good while, and the music does not disappoint. This is a compilation of Cameroonian musician Ekambi Brillant’s further-out funk tunes, and boy does that man know how to work a groove. Vinyl LP reissue on Africa Seven.