Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You can call it Soweto

So for the past some-odd days I've been throwing up some African music inspired by the latest issue of Wax Poetics. Amazingly, I'm not out of new stuff yet. In fact, today I've got an advance track from a compilation that's due out in a couple of weeks. When African music comes up, typically it's the sounds of West Africa that spring to mind, led by Fela Kuti at the forefront of course. Truth be told though, there is a whole lot more to the continent's music than Highlife and Afrobeat though. Travel down to the southern tip of Africa and you'll experience a whole different sound.

That sound had a small chance to shine back in 1986. Any of you remember Paul Simon's Graceland album and tour? While You Can Call Me Al didn't exactly exemplify African music at its finest, Simon worked with South African artists that he ended up bringing all over to play with him. Unfortunately, listeners quickly tired of the South African vibes, and we're left with the memory of Paul and Chevy Chase bantering back and forth in the video.

Strut Records is planning on releasing a three volume series named Next Stop...Soweto which hopes to right this. Volume 1, which is the album that's soon coming out, pulls together tracks that explore the township jive sound. Volumes 2 and 3, which will be released over the spring and summer of this year, cover rare SA soul, funk & Hammond R&B and the country’s rich jazz scene. If you listen come to the table expecting it to sound like the Nigerian music most people are familiar with (if they're familiar with any African music), you'll be in for a surprise. Try out Kuya Hanjwa below to experience it for yourself and then check out the album's site to stream more of it

Visit the album's official website and the Strut Records Site.


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