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Artist: V/A
Title: African Scream Contest - Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds
Format: CD
Label: Analog Africa
Country: Germany
Price: $21.00
"From Benin & Togo 70s. Spectacular package with thick 44-page booklet and slipcase packaging. This CD is licensed for release in the U.S. later in 2008, unsure if it will have the same deluxe packaging... "Just like with the labels first two releases -- albums by Zimbabwean 70s bands the Green Arrows and Hallelujah Chicken Run Band -- the essence of Analog Africa is clear yet again: searching in dusty warehouses for forgotten music to keep it alive. All the tracks have been officially licensed, usually from the artists who Ben Redjeb also met with for detailed research. He conducted 16 interviews in various cities in Benin and Togo with artists, producers and sound engineers to reconstruct the history of the 70s music scene for the 44-page booklet which also includes many rare photographs directly received from the artists. Like most modern music in French-speaking West African countries, the music of Benin and Togo was influenced by a few main musical currents: Cuban, Congolese and local traditional music, as well as Chanson Francaise. Additionally, the geographical location of Benin and Togo -- sandwiched between Ghana and Nigeria -- exposed Beninese and Togolese musicians to Highlife music. The cultural and spiritual riches of traditional Beninese music had an immense impact on the sound of Benins modern music. Benin is the birth place of Vodun (or, as it is known in the West, Voodoo), and some of the rhythms used during traditional rituals -- Sakpata, Sato, Agbadja, Tchenkoumé and many others -- were fused to soul and Latin music as early as the mid-1960s and later to funk. That fusion is the essence of this compilation. In the late 60s and early 70s, rock and soul music started creeping into the region. In particular, the music of James Brown and Johnny Halladay became immensely popular with university students. It was then that the music scene in Benin really started to take off. What made this musical revolution even more interesting is that most of the musicians could not read music. Often the music they made sounded one semi-tone away from being out of tune, but somehow they always managed to bring all the elements together into something new and exciting. One of the greatest bands of their era, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, who are featured on this compilation, took the Afro sound to another level by showing their musical versatility in many forms. Although they were consciously copying Western artists, they would always inject a dose of psychedelic Afro grooves that would make their music unmistakably Beninese. Their biggest song, Gbeti Madjro is believed to have revolutionized the music industry in Benin in the 70s when the country went through a period of political turmoil. The song is full of raw breaks and the hypnotic rhythms as well as screams à la James Brown -- after this song, many bands in Benin started screaming on their recordings, hence the title of this compilation. Latin-influenced sounds are present on this compilation, too. Ouidah, a city on the Atlantic coast of Benin, is home to a large Brazilian community, or, as they are called in Benin, Agoudas. Members of that community are descendents of slaves who returned from Brazil at the end of the 19th century. Their dances (such as Kaléta and Buriyanj) and songs are still being performed and fused into the traditional Beninese rituals. That, too, can be heard in modern Beninese music. The proximity of the giant neighbor Nigeria can be heard on the track Djanfa Magni which features the amazing trumpeter/ saxophonist Tidjani Koné fronting the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. Koné whose career started in Mali as the founder and band leader of the Rail Band de Bamako, had played with Fela Kuti for a short while hence the strong Afrobeat influence. There are countless stories to be discovered in the extremely well-researched booklet and the music is truly mind-blowing. So delve into the forgotten raw and psychedelic Afro sounds from 70s Benin and Togo and experience the African Scream Contest." -Analog Africa

Artist: V/A
Title: Angola Soundtrack
Format: Double LP
Label: Analog Africa
Country: Germany
Price: $26.00
"Deluxe gatefold 2LP version. Subtitled: The Unique Sound Of Luanda 1968-1976. The nascent Angolan music scene was set on fire by a small group of intrepid singers, backed by an array of super-tight bands and led by extraordinary guitarists who revolutionized the musical and the political panorama of the 60s and 70s. A powerful confluence of traditional rhythms from Luandas islands, psychedelic guitar sounds imported from neighboring Congo, Latin grooves, old school Caribbean merengue and the hard beat of the Angolan carnival bands conspired to create the modern music of Angola. These sounds were immortalized by two excellent recording companies -- Fadiang (Fábrica De Discos Angolano) and Valentim de Carvalho. The great electric bands of Angola were a well-kept secret until the late 90s when France-based music label Buda Musique released a short-lived series of Angolan music compiled by Ariel de Bigault. Inspired and taken aback, the releases proved to be a pivotal juncture for Analog Africas founder Samy Ben Redjeb. From the nine Analog Africa releases thus far, Angola Soundtrack has been the most difficult to create. The travel visa was in itself a struggle and logistically and financially, Luanda is a nightmare. After two unsuccessful years, Samy eventually found shelter at a home in Prenda, a musseque (township) outside of the capital. With the support of Zé Keno, the legendary guitarist of Jovens Do Prenda, he managed to meet most of the composers of the tunes presented here. The anecdotes they provided are numerous. Boto Trindade, guitarist of Os Bongos, abandoned his dream of becoming a football player to support his brothers family by earning money as a musician. A very young Zé Keno went to see his favorite guitarist Marito performing with Os Kiezos and consequently built a three-stringed guitar only to become one of the most sought-after guitarists in the country a mere few years later. Angolan music is truly unique and stands on its own as a sound that can only be found in that part of the world. Rhythms such rebita, kazucuta, semba and merengue, all of which are presented in this latest compilation, might be unfamiliar, but they are superbly melodic, highly danceable, hypnotic, raw and quintessentially beautiful and totally addictive." -Analog Africa

by artist / 0-9    A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z    V/A \   by label