Livy Ekemezie, Ebo Taylor and Mulatu Astatke – Discuss

I’ve stumbled upon several artists from African nations over the past few weeks and wanted to share them with you and get your opinions about their music.  In our collection at home we have a few albums by musicians from Africa; they are probably the usual suspects – Fela and Femi Kuti, Bhundu Boys, a couple of great compilations, a band from Ivory Coast called Magic System, which my brother in law bought for me after a trip to see my father in law, who lives in Ghana and one of their songs was constantly on the radio.  The recent death of William Onyeabor introduced me to his music.  Other than that, my shelves are pretty blank when it comes to music from this continent.

From various sources the following three artists came onto my radar.  All different and all fantastic.

Livy Ekemezie – Friday Night.  I know almost nothing about this fella other than he comes from Nigeria and this is a re-release of a long lost EP.  It’s so funky and just makes me want to dance!

Ebo Taylor – Ene Nyame ‘A’ Mensuro.  I know this guy comes from Ghana and this seems to be a remix of a track on an album of his from 1977.  Again really funky.

Mulatu Astatke – Yegelle Tezeta.  An Ethiopian jazz musician.  This track was sampled by Damian Marley and Nas on As We Enter (I think, but happy to be corrected).

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?

18 thoughts on “Livy Ekemezie, Ebo Taylor and Mulatu Astatke – Discuss

  1. I don’t know any of these musicians; of the three tracks I like Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas best.

    Do you like Malian music? If so I suggest Ali Farke Toure and Toumani Diabate, or Rokia Traore, or Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba;
    Congolese? Sam Mangwana or the Rumbanella Band or Tshala Muana or Papa Wemba or Mose Se Sengo (thanks Goneforeign);
    South Africa? SAC Gospel Choir, or Miriam Makeba, or Busi Mhlongo (thanks again GF);
    Mozambique? Orchestra Marrabenta Star de Mocambique (GF again);
    Mauritania? Maluma (GF?);
    Nigeria? The Lijadu Sisters, or King Sunny Ade (GF);
    Cameroon – Kaissa (GF);
    Senegal – Cheikh Lô or Orchestra Baobab (GF);
    Guinea – Bembeya Jazz National or Fode Kouyate (GF);
    Ethiopia – Abyssinia Infinite, featuring Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw (GF);
    Ivory Coast: Dobet Gnahoré (GF).

    I’ve made you a playlist (you see, Earworms is a complete education, I am indebted to goneforeign and others who will doubtless come up with some more). Here is a link for people to add to the playlist (though it probably won’t work):

    • Ali that is amazing! Thank you so much. The playlist does work. I’m still ploughing through it and will let you know what I think once I have.

    • So, Ali, I’ve finally finished your fabulous playlist. Thanks so much, it’s given me loads of inspiration. I particularly liked the last track, Miriam Makeba and the SAC Choir – makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck….

  2. This is Songhoy Blues, out of Mali, a group that Ali introduced me to. The channel, Africa Express, where this clip is uploaded on is also a great place for music.

  3. Hmm, music from a whole continent is a big ask. Some obscurities:

    1. Konono No 1 blend trad Congolese music with electronics (Congotronics)

    2. African Head Charge are On-U Sound’s psychedelic African dub ensemble built, around percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah

    • Thanks Shoey – will listen to that lot tomorrow (working from home every now and again has its advantages). You are right though, it is a bit ask and probably slightly insulting to ask about music from an entire continent! I need to start with some inspiration though and can go from there.

  4. As for your selections.

    3. Really fine groove. Not surprised it got sampled. Lo-fi Microphone at the back of the room recording adds to it’s charm.

    2. Not sure it works as a remix – more of a bolt on, as the electronics don’t seem to relate much to the original, which is a perfectly fine piece of Afrobeat (a genre I find perfectly pleasant, but a bit samey). Here it is:

    1. Will plead the fifth on this one.

  5. My top picks would be: Tony Allen – Bhundu Boys – Miriam Makeba – Busi Mhlongo – Konono No 1- Tamikrest – Tinariwen etc etc etc

    I have an 18 CD compilation and book called: ‘Afrique 50 Ans De Musique’ from Sterns music (Africa – 50 Years Of Music) – it is amazing, the 50 years was relating to an indepentence anniversary I think – if it’s on Spotify it’s well worth dipping into – I’m not sure if I’ve played them all yet!

    A random 13 tracks to entertain! The video to ‘Soul Makossa’ is very entertaining.

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