Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shout it out!

“I travel to Africa to meet the artists, to ask for permission to use their music, pay for the rights and to ask them to share their story - that to me is fundamental. I also spend a huge amount of time searching for pictures, old posters, documents and obviously for original vinyl, reel tapes, matrices, acetates and so on. To get a better picture of the general music scene during the 70s, I try to locate the people who worked in the music industry at the time, sound engineers, sales managers, club owners, label founders. All this is Analog Africa’s DNA if you like” -
Samy Ben Redjeb

We can thank intrepid modern explorer Samy, founder of Analog Africa, along with fellow excavators Miles Cleret (Soundway Records), Duncan Brooker (Kona Records), Quinton Scott (Strut), Mark Ainley (Honest Jons) and others who continue to rescue music and hidden histories from seventies Africa and elsewhere.

The latest release from Analog Africa is African Scream Contest - Raw and Psychedelic Afro Sounds from Benin and Togo 70s. I'm not sure how Samy sifted through more than 3000 tracks to select just 14. Maybe it was his stint as a DJ at a hotel south of Dakar in the 90s. Whatever the case he is on the right track with the right tunes.

Ouinsou Corneille & Black Santiagos
And the music is only half the story - I get as much joy from reading the detailed notes on making connections with the original musicians and background to the music scene in Benin and Togo.

Roger Damawuzan
But in case you're wondering here are some samples:
El Rego et ses commandos - SeNa Min
Gabo Brown & Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo - It´s a Vanity
Les Volcans de la Capital - Oya Ka Jojo

Its out in stores by mid March on CD and a little later on vinyl. Pre-orders are already available from Sounds of the Universe and other online stores.

Samy, Miles and others make it seem so effortless when these fantastic reissues hit the stores in glorious colour with highly detailed notes and background information. I know it's not. Add to that the pressures of downloading and online blogs providing out of print material and reducing demand for reissues its remarkable that labels like Analog Africa and Soundway continue to survive on the niche markets they have. So whatever you do, do make the effort to buy their products and keep them digging. They are doing a fantastic job.

For further adventures in African musical excavation check out Duncan Booker's story over at the Guardian:
"If I didn't save it no-one else would"


Anonymous said...

Great stuff, I will definitely support this kind of release.

Nick said...

I second that!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Mr Matsuli!
Interesting article about/by Duncan Brooker. Does anyone know what ever happened to him? And his admirable plans?

Jo/No said...

Sound amazing! Very look forward to this release.

In the meantime I've just posted a compilation over at my place,, that might be of interest for Matsuli readers. A roots based collection of some worldspanning blues, jazz, oriental dub and modern swedish folk music. Check it out!

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