Friday, November 16, 2007

Deeper And Deeper -MP3-

November 16th 2007

While it's still mainly Afrobeat and raw African Funk that I'm after,
I find myself increasingly intrigued by music that I wouldn't be able to play in a club and normally would have ended up in my trades box. Now I put them into my rapidly growing "home listening" crates...

Click on the image to listen:

00:00 Leon Keita -l'amour ne s'achete pas (Mali)
09:12 Samuel Tchomagni - makom ma bobe (Cameroon)
14:28 Wini & Fefe - ekue gblea nu (Togo)
22:45 Poly Rythmo - eke mi akbe (Benin)
26:34 Johnny Achille - kou na waze (Benin)
29:26 L'Harmonie Voltaique - killa naa ye killa (Burkina Faso)
32:00 Balla et ses Balladins - bedianamo (Guinea)
35:40 Johnny Achille - hovenou n'dje (Benin)
40:00 National Badema - nama (Mali)
50:54 Poly Rythmo - igbala (Benin)
57:37 Gnonnas Pedro -ma wonwo (Benin)
61:17 Ahissin le Philosophe - vi akue (Benin)

The mix starts out with Leon Keita and what could be described as at the same time deep albeit pop-flavored Mandingue. Maybe someone out there has a better way to define this, I'm still pretty much a beginner when it comes to these sounds. Whatever you want to call it, check out the amazing organ solo!
Samuel Tchomagni from Cameroon follows next and again, I had no clue what drawer to put this in. John b. eventually filled me in that this style is called "Bikutsi".
Wini & Fefe from Togo deliver some psychedelic, syncopated, trance inducing monster track that I enjoy more and more with every listen. Another typical example of extreme musical tightness delivered in such a loose, casual way that it reaches a whole new level of "cool". It's also pretty funky actually...
Why is it that I can't seem to be able to make any sort of mix without including one if not two tracks by Orchestre Poly Rythmo? I guess the reason is that the Tout Puissant Orchestre Poly Rythmo is the mightiest musical force of West Africa. Their output as far as quality, variety and quantity are concerned overshadows pretty much any other group of musicians or singular artist I have so far encountered in over 10 years of intercontinental record digging in Europe, the US or in West Africa. Here they bless us with a Sato, a traditional Rhythm from Benin that -as mentioned before, I in my humble opinion consider to be the root of all things Afrobeat.
On my last trip to Benin, I found another few 45s by Johnny Achille who already blessed us with his mighty "Mede Woui" a few mixes back. Again, I don't quite know how to call this... African Folk Blues perhaps? Really, if anyone out there knows, please school me!
Also on my last trip, while staying in Parakou, the daughter of the owner of Parakou's largest record store Disc-Adam, dressed up in her Sunday best, golden jewelery and all, brought me to the house of a car mechanic. The car mechanic, obviously under the influence of Sodabi (distilled palm wine kinda like moonshine in the southern US) wore a pair of oil soaked pants and nothing else. he proclaimed how he was a big fan of Franco and other Congolese stuff. For a little demonstration, he threw a record on the turntable, cranked up his stereo all the way and began to dance and actually lip-sync along with the song that judging from his mimics must have been along the lines "I really seriously love you and if you don't love me back, I'm going to have to kill myself". Disc-Adam's daughter who was sitting directly behind the performer grew increasingly concerned about having her floral patterned Sunday dress stained with motor oil and said something like "hey, watch out, don't fall on me" when our host responded "non... si je tombe sur toi, c'est bon!" Anyway, I found three copies of a 45 by L'Harmonie Voltaire from Burkina Faso with the incredible and slightly spooky Afro Jazz track "killa naa ye killa".
Just because it matches nicely this is followed by Balla et ses Balladins with "bedianamo". This is an old find from back in the days of Mr. Mafa's Record Store
Another haunting blues by Johnny Achille follows next. I really hope I'll find more stuff by this man. His later records seem to be more Rumba which I really don't like but his early material is just amazing... check out the drum break!
National Badema's "nama" is a pretty well known Mandingue classic from what I heard but what is it about this weird distorted electronic sound that starts cutting in about a minute and a half before the end? Did they do this on purpose? What the hell is this? Is this also on the re-release versions of this song?
Sorry about the noisy, brittle sounding and crackling quality of Poly Rythmo's "igbala". The record is actually shiny and clean, maybe even unplayed. That's a rough African pressing quality for you.
We continue with a slow tearjerker by the great, early Gnonnas Pedro.
Ahissin Le Philosophe and "vi akue" is Beninoise Folklore at its finest and ends this little voyage into the deeper regions of West African Music.

I recently saw a re-issue of the National Badema LP from the 80s that has the following information on the back cover:


Anonymous said...

mats in sweden says : wonderful mix (as usual)
many many thanks

aduna said...


So good, interesting and detailed as always.
Thanks a lot to have shared with us this incredible and so exciting last year of adventures,experiences,stories & all these beautiful musical discoveries & rare pearls you had sent us.
Big Up, keep on, take care, excuse my bad english & thanks again.


John B. said...

You've outdone yourself, if that's possible. That Togolese track is one of the most seriously bent things I've ever heard, but every tune here is pretty outstanding.

I love the funk/afrobeat stuff you post, but please don't limit yourself stylistically.

The Cameroun tune sounds like Bikutsi, not Makossa.

Frank said...

Thanx for the thumbs up and even more thanx to john b. for schooling me on Bikutsi...

zim said...

I'd second John's request that you post more of the non-afrobeat stuff - this is a great mix.

regarding the nama feedback - its on the reissue as well at least on the stern's lp les nuits de bamako (which is fantastic), at around the same juncture - though the reissue is about 23 minutes long, if you'd like I can post it

Frank said...

Thanx for the info Cheeku,
I guess I also have the 23 Minute version... I only used the first 2/3 of the track for the mix because after that point it turns into something much much slower and it's also a bit difficult to put a 23 minute track onto a 1 hour mix... It even sounds like it was edited before pressing to get rid of more weird noise. You think it's feedback? Sounds really strange. I have a friend who does experimental music with old analog Synthesizers (pre moog) and this reminded me of some of the sounds he's using.

calumbinho said...

Wow, this is definitely one of the mixes I've enjoyed the most!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you would post the whole Funkees album Now I'm A Man. Been looking for it for a long time. I really like your blog and the music you post

Frank said...

I don't really have the time to post entire records... uploading stuff always takes forever and I enjoy it much more to do mixes.


gotz said...

first i must thank you so much for the music, Frank, you're falling into african truth, you just entered in a different and yet to be praised dimension : african pop music is a whole bomb !

some of these should definitely find their way in your mixes even if i fully understand the immediate gratification a straightful funky/groovy tune can add on a dancefloor...(sorry i'm boring). What I mean is that you must be triping and it's so great that you try to check all the music you get. Respect.

don't blame the rumba, discover it !

I really hope (like most of us above) this will end up in some more good comp' and parties.

you're a funky ethnologist man, drived by the musical quest of the're definitely on your way to the truth of music in its shrine

(sorry i'm tripping listening to the mix and my english est trés bad)


arsi from finland said...

amazing stuff.
thank you for posting all these mixes.

Anonymous said...

mats says : to anonymous
many people share funkees now im a man on soulseek but that record cant be compared with franks mixes
they are the best imho

Evan said...

Total agreement with John B; these more "traditional" music mixes are certainly as deep as the funk. I was an afro beat fan (= I listened to Fela, Antibalas, Budos Band and the Soundway and Strut comps) before finding your blog about a year ago and my experience with your mixes has been that the more you invest yourself in the various nuances and sounds of afro funk, the more you train yourself to appreciate and want to hear the more traditional sounds afro beat has as part of its source. Anyone listening carefully should hear how this stuff grooves just as hard if not deeper. So in short, you rule in every possible way Frank [insert ass-kissing face here, but whatever, you are doing a supreme job at this]. As for not being able to avoid including TP Poly in any of your mixes, why in the world would you want to? They're my favorite African act now thanks to your mixes.

zim said...

you know frank, after lstening some more I don't think it can just be feedback on nama - sounds almost like some of the sound distortions & tricks you'd hear on a lee perry record.

by the way the spooky guitar kinda fits the meaning of the song, which I gather was about a ferryboat overturning and killing a group of schoolgirls going to a independence celebration

gomad361 said...

Definitely one of your finest and most consistently exciting mixes, the only thing I'd heard before was the National Badema cut.

Many thanks.

Frank said...

Cheeku, that's an incredible piece of information on the lyrics, adds a whole new dimension to an already very capturing track... and if they really did these sounds on purpose, I'm even more blown away by it.

Thanx for your input!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm very happy to have found you via Likembe. Deeper and Deeper is blowing my mind. If it were vinyl it would already be worn out.

Anonymous said...

Indeed a fantastic mix this one!

Frank, when I see your smiling face on your pictures I wish I was in your shoes!

Can't wait for you to come to Belgium to spin some records! I would be happy to arrange you something...

ciao and keep digging deeper and deeper!

Frank said...

Hey Steve,

I'd love to come to Belgium.
My next visit in Europe will proably take place around June/July next year.

get in touch!

Dr.Frank said...

Excellent mix, great selection of "obscure" authentic African music from the 70s, I love it!
Sorry I have to disagree with John B but the Cameroonian track is typical early makossa, surely no bikutsi which has a different rythm and is sung in a different language.

Anonymous said...

it's a makossa, for sure.
the well-versed dr. frank is right.
digger frank, the togo track is way out there and great!
keep it coming!!!!!!
chris meserve

Anonymous said...

the noise on nama is not the previously described sythesizer nor a studio effect, but the sound of mental traffic in frank's mind as he tries to go to sleep after a heavy listening and palm wine session. we will treat you when you come to new york, frank, rest assured, but it is likely palliative care only, as there is no cure. smiles, chris m.

Frank said...

I Played "Nama" to a Mandingue speaking friend and he was very shook by the lyrics. He said that the weird noise was clearly recorded to ilustrate the sound of the dying engine of the boat as the motor eventually completely descends into the water. Zim was right, this is a song about a tragic boat accident.

dj needlz said...

Frank -
Your lovely Deeper&deeper, show me your backside and big mama's hi-life mixes don't seem to be posted on konzeptlos anymore. Hopefully temporary...
DJ Needlz

Frank said... seems to be down temporarlily. I've derouted all the links to my friend Greg who was friendly enought to host everything as back-up. You're a life-saver Greg!

david said...

bonjour franc,
vraiment extra super bien, cette music. j'ai découvri la semaine dernière, et jusque'là j'écoute touletemps.
dans un moins je vais à mali pour quelque moins et avec ce soul dans lôreille me réjois encore beaucoup plus..
yes man, continuer.

Teko said...

hey man i was wondering if you have a track called akplokplo or egbea nye me tsi le gbeo by Wini & Fefe...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for some really great mixes! Especially this one!
Cheers from Sweden