Posts Tagged ‘Reading material’

Fun: Some African Musical and other Resources.

September 28, 2013

Where did it start this morning?

This truly eccentric (now defunct) blog site titled Big Head Stevenson which has the wildest musical cloud categories I’ve ever encountered.

Spend some time exploring as it is quite an education in the world of highly marginal sounds and genres. Very taken with his Soul and perfectly ghastly Krautrock selections, and all the African categories are killers. Unfortunately, the sound files appear to be corrupted or beyond my skill set.

When one reflects upon the big musical influences of one’s life, there are no straight lines. By way of example, liner notes on a cassette I purchased of James Chance and the Contortions Live in New York led to a massive binge on Fela Kuti LPs….months of my student scholarship in fact. Short of becoming an international gunrunner, this was the only way of extending the musical boundaries into Afro Beat.

The truly overwrought Mr Chance’s version of JBs King Heroin. 1980. Pre- rehab, rehab,….

Anyway, todays less than linear straight line went from Big Head Stevenson’s blog to The Guardian and music wonk Alexis Petridis HERE on Who is William Onyeabor??

So lets get down with some Lagos funk circa the 1970s, positive lyrics encased in electro-funk. Funk bass lines and brass riffs to die for. And your IQ test for the day: Just what is it about funk musicians and their preference for cowboy hats???

OMG, that is fucking great, so lets have it again.

Onyeabor self-released 8 albums between 1978 and 1985, and his biography is a bit hazy. According to liner notes quoted by Discog, he has enjoyed an interesting life to put it mildly:

William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio……. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill.

Beside the Born Again thingy, there is also mention of an English law degree.

Anyway, 13 of his best tracks have now been rereleased on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label.

Interested in extending your knowledge of Afro Beat. Here is an interview with master drummer Tony Allen, the power house who anchored over 30 of Fela’s records.
And you can read about his biography on THIS SITE, which I follow on my twitter account.


On the internet radio front, try RadioPalmWine Nigerian Igbo Radio, and if you are into talking books, try Misha Glenny’s McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime. Glenny has an excellent if hilarious account of the genesis of the Nigerian 419 scam set within the context of the Potemkin state institutions of post-colonial Nigeria and the Biafran civil war where the Igbo people were on the receiving end of induced famine and global indifference. Subsequently deprived of access to the corruption possibilities offered by the institutions of State, the Igbo turned their attention to other means of fraudulent gain. Initially via the fax machine, and then to the instantly global possibilities offered by the internet. Educated and highly creative folk who cleaned big time before the scam became too well known.

For a fictional account of the Igbo perspective prior to and during the Biafran civil war, try Half of a Yellow Moon by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half way thru this tome at the moment, and its nice to have the female protagonist perspectives of the two sisters.

Back to the 419 scam and think of it as payback for colonial greed. At least that is how many Nigerians view the whole scamming thing. “I go take your money and disappear / 419 is just a game, you are the loser I am the winner.”

Now, if the peasants in Tubbyland paid their taxes, I would be buying all 28 volumes of Ethiopiques, a free ranging and diverse collect of Ethiopian musics covering the 1960s and 1970s. Google album cover images HERE.

However, like peasants the world over, they ignore their fiscal duties to the State/Me, while privately gorging and guzzling themselves into oblivion when I’m OS on goodwill visits, surfing safaris etc. Consequently, we will have to settle for some Ethiopian funk courtesy of Ethiopian TV with a bit of salacious babe dancing thrown in for good measure.

All linked out.

It’s nice to have a new follower:
This site is well worth a visit.
Subtitled: Why the internet is a joy to the world.
Came across this tremendous article in Pop Matters: Lagos Disco Inferno by David Maine which was a review of a 70s compilation release. The title speaks for itself. David, a writer who bears a resemblance to Richard Brautigan, and who runs his own site focussed my attention on another site run by David Gossner, a music archaeologist/indie music entrepreneur of older Nigerian sounds.

All the above are worth a visit, especially the latter since you will be purchasing a copy of Lagos Disco Inferno. I know you will, after listening to Grotto’s Bad City Girl taken from the above compilation. And if the montage of really bad babes gets you all hot and bothered and leads to domestic discord, don’t ask me to mediate.

See ya.