29 January 2009

Cities Part 2 - Africa

In Cities Part 2 we jump from Europe to Africa. So much incredible music has both come from, or has been inspired by, the continent-that´s a given. But what about songs about actual African cities? They´re a much rarer breed. I had two possible choices for a Tabu Ley song, as he also recorded "Nairobi". But I figured that since he hails from Congo (the one that was formerly Zaire) I should go with "Kinshasa", it´s capital, instead. Soukous is my favorite of all African music, and Tabu Ley is king. Here´s a guy that sells out 100,000-seat stadiums in France, yet Katrina & I were lucky enough to see in a small bar called Blind Melon´s in Pacific Beach, California, with literally a dozen other people. He probably fired his tour manager after that show, but it made for one of the most incredible concert experiences I´ve ever had. Kinshasa by Tabu Ley Rochereau, from Babeti Soukous (Plan 9/Caroline, 1989) Moving north from Zaire, we arrive in Nigeria. West Africa´s musical powerhouse was not to be denied, and it gives me a chance to shout out these freakin´ genius Soundway records releases. Comps like this are on the forefront of blowing the lid off a seething continent´s worth of hidden gems. Bring it on! Lagos City by Asiko Rock Group, from Nigeria Disco Funk Special: Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor (Soundway, 2008) With reggae´s strong links to Ethiopia, there were many Addis songs from which to choose. Willie Williams´ paean to the capital, former home of Ras Tafari Makonen-Emperor Haile Selassie, Selassie-I the First, Negus Negasti & Lion of the Tribe of Judah-made the final cut. Addis Ababa by Willie Williams & the All Stars, from Studio One Roots (Soul Jazz, 2001) Bonus Asia track: Hop on the plane out of Bole in Addis for the trip to Narita... Unlike Part 1, where I visited all but one theme city, Tokyo is the ONLY city I´ve been to from this post. That tells me I really need to get to Africa more... noted. Pizz5 mixes all-Japanese lyrics with a swingin´, breezy 1960s style. Here you get a remix from a low-circulated mid-90s EP.
Tokyo Mon Amour (Discotique 96 Mix) by Pizzicato Five, from Combinaison Spaciale EP (Matador, 1997)

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