Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Life is a game -MP3-

April 10th 2007

Here is a new mp3 mix with the highlights from my latest trip to Cotonou.
Please click on the image to listen.

00:00 Gnonnas Pedro -okpo videa bassouo
03:55 Ignace Souza -paulina
08:24 Les Rizos De Lome -djoyimavo
11:28 El Rego Et Ses Commandos -viman do wingnan
14:46 Les Volcans -oya ka jojo
22:52 Gilles Sala -mwad's
25:37 Les Sympathics -afrika
32:04 Christiana Essien -life is a game
35:00 Ogassa -ogassa story
42:08 The Faces -shokishoki shombolo
48:29 Black Santiago -dou dagbe we
53:08 Orchestre Poly Rythmo -blues ya de
58:17 Melome Clement -zo tche kpo dote
65:21 The Funkees -ole

The opening track by Gnonnas Pedro is an early, deep Afrobeat recording, proving that Gnonnas blessed us with much more than just the afro-cuban style that he got famous for. This was only the second release on Cotonou's famous label Satel Records. I visited Satel Studios and not only did they have an amazing recording studio but Satel also operated their own pressing plant. Unfortunately, as with many other African labels, they used the "Microgroove" process on 45s that allows a 7" pressing of tracks that are longer than 4 minutes but results in lower volume and more noise. The second track, "paulina" by Ignace Souza gives you another example for this typical "african vinyl crackle"... it's easiest to just accept it as some sort of aural patina... Next comes "djouyimavo" by Les Rioz de Lomé with some support by Orch. Poly Rythmo, followed by a supertight funk track by El Rego & Ses Commandos "viman do wingnan". Next we have "oye ka jojo" by Les Volcans. After the heavy Afrobeat intro, this transforms into a smoking Afro Latin beast that just builds and builds... amazing! The following Track "mwad's" by Gilles Sala was recorded in Congo in the late 1960s and has quite some Mod-appeal. The organ fueled afrobeat heavyweight "Afrika" by Les Sympahtics is one of my absolute favorites... "life is a game" by Christiana Essien comes from one of the lesser known albums by this highly collectable Nigerian artist. Ogassa who were from Cotonou but recorded in Lagos are another possible new discovery that none of my collector friends seem to know and no reference can be found online. The Faces from Lagos are another mega rarity from the Tabansi label that also brought us the incredible Nettey Family LP. "dougbe dagbe we" by Black Santiago is from another LP on Satel that I've never seen anywhere before. Watch out for the break in "blues ya de", another monster funk track by Orch. T.P Poly Rythmo. "T.P" stands for "tout puissant", as I've found out from their drummer Gustave Bentho which translates to "almighty"! definitely no exaggeration when it comes to this band. Next we have a track by Melome Clement, also backed by Poly Rythmo and with some serious space moog action towards the end. Last track is "ole" by the Funkees. I had their "point of no return" record before but as a french press and I sold it again because of the horrid cover design. The Nigerian sleeve looks much nicer as you can see in the latest trip to Cotonou post.

A big "thank you!" goes to RAJ from Soulstrut for hosting this mix!

Watch out for an amazing Compilation on Analog Africa that will include some of the songs that are on this mix and many more, unheard music from Benin in beautyfully remastered quality.

As this will be a legit release that the people who created this mindblowing music will make some money from, I want to urge everybody to go and buy this release once it becoms available. If you don't already own it, rush over to Soundway Records and order their fantastic Poly Rythmo Compilation.


Akwaaba said...

Great selection Frank thanks for the trip ;)

Anonymous said...

thanks for a wonderful afro funk mix again :))

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to listen to this latest mix!


aduna said...

Some very great songs!

Thanks for sharing.


Rasheed said...

Hi! nice work Frank. Thank´s forn your interesting blog. Have a good travel.

John B said...


I just stumbled on this blog by accident & I must say I'm astounded!
I did many of the highlife discographies on this website:


I didn't see an email address for you on your homepage, but I'd like to correspond, if you have the time. My email address is:

beadlejp at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Found you just last week & listened to the Syliphone mix today. Fantastic! If it was a CD I'd be down the road buying it now.


Max said...


Just discovered your blog & it looks great. However, the mix at soulstrut appears to be down--any chance of reposting?

Frank said...

I'll have this mix hosted somewhere else within the next few weeks. There will also be a brandnew one coming up soon.

Crotchbat said...

Hi Frank - love the mix, it hits the spot. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of uploading your mix to sharebee. Thought it might help ease the server load over at soulstrut. Here's the link: http://sharebee.com/93909596 And many thanks for the excellent music! Your blog is a new favorite.

Pano said...

Hi, Frank! I have listened all your mixes and I addmit that I have never listened something so powerful till today! Bravo! Keep up the good your!

busquelo said...

Really feeling your selections. Too bad I missed your set at APT. the Volcans track is bonkers!!! Respect, Busquelo / NYC

blasikin said...

The title track is a revelation! Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hey Frank,
dieser Mix ist einfach wahnsinn.
Vielen dank für was du tust. Ich kann von deinen mixes gar nicht genug bekommen.
Don't stop
Peace, grüsse aus österreich

Keyanna said...

Great work.

Anonymous said...

thank youuu

Harry said...

Frank, I have been sharing your podcasts with friends for a while now, and love your mixes. This one is a new favorite. The Gilles Sala track completely captivated me. I'm really looking forward to your show at Southpaw in a couple weeks and and gonna try to bring a bunch of people to get down to your amazing finds.

Frank said...

thanx a lot for your support!
Southpaw should be fun.

Glad people are still listening to these older mixes!



Anonymous said...

This has been a adventure of the highest heights imho - loving your mixes as much as your writing style / journalism.

Thank you!


Sonic Legacy said...

WOW. Just discovered your blog. Its probably the single greatest treasure of sounds I have come across on the web. WHAT YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY IS AMAZING. Keep diggin in the crates..and sharing. We thank you! Thought you might appreciate this re-make treasure I did as well. Best Regards.