Africa Airways One & Two: Funk Connection 1973-1980/Funk Departures 1973-1982
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UK release date 22.07.2016
Now this is a VERY welcome release. On CD for the first time, this two-disc delight was first released in 2015 as two separate vinyl compilations. “Africa Airways,” is a deep exploration into the furthest parts of 1970s and early 1980s African funk. Cherry Red has joined forces with London/Paris label Africa seven to collect the two volumes together on CD.
The last decade has seen the untapping of an apparently rich seam of music from the African continent, and this collection uncovers some of the cream of the finest exponents of the African take on the music it directly influenced, that being the funk and disco of the USA.
Featuring music of Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and the international African diaspora, with artists including Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Jo Tongo and Jake Sollo, this is a truly pan-African affair. Full of analogue synths, polyrhythms, rich vocals, jangling guitars and slick production.
The original pressing of the vinyl versions of these two records, sol out so fast that it was re-repressed twice to keep up with demand. So this CD version is bound to sell well.
Of 19 tracks, CD one opens with “Africa Africa,” from Ekambi Brilliant, before “Black Gold,” from Tala A.M. “Kag Am,” from Kemayo precedes Jo Tongo’s, “Jangolo” and then Manu Dibango’s, “Mimbo.” Jo Bisso’s, “Give It Up,” MBongui’s, “M’Bamina, “Jake Sollo’s, “Father Time, Mother Nature,” Choco Date’s, “Sookie” and the closer, “African Souls Band,” from Nande.
The second CD offers nine cuts, opening with Pasteur Lappe’s “Na Real Sekel Fo-Ya. M’Bamina gets a second cut, as do Ekambi Brilliant and Jo Tongo. Bongi Makeba gives us “Don’t Do It,” the opposite message to Oscar Harris & The Twinkle Stars track, “Relax (Before Doin’ Sex.)” Love to hear a plummy-voiced presenter announce that one on a BBC Radio 3 World music programme!
Bozambo and Tata Ngoh fill tracks seven and eight, before the final cut, “Toyota Fantasy,” (John Bryan Edit) from the wonderful Miriam Makeba.
A lovely collection of really infectious music, and a perfect soundtrack for the summer sunshine; great introduction to the bundles of talent there is on this hot and steamy continent. If you cannot afford the air ticket to fly to the country itself, strap in for a first class flight on board African Airways for the price of this double CD package. Have a great trip……….
Words SIMON REDLEY