Africa – A Few Favorites – 2013

Africa – new records

Ben Zabo – Ben Zabo
Abdullah Ibrahim – Mukashi Once Upon a Time

Mokoomba – Rising Tide
va – Red Hot + Fela (iTunes)
Bombino – Nomad
Owiny Sigoma Band – Power Punch

Africa – Reissues

va – Angola Soundtrack 2 Hypnosis, Distorsions & Other Sonic Innovations 1969 -1978

William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 5 Who is William Onyeabor
Sathima Bea Benjamin – African Songbird
Le Grand Kalle – His Life, His Music
Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo De Cotonous – The Skeletal Essences of Afro Funk 1969-1980 Vol. 3

comment, new records: It was a very good year for new music from Africa, a year that pops out because Ben Zabo and Makoomba and Owiny Sigoma Band front for about a dozen releases that provided similar jaw-dropping listening experiences. Ben Zabo gets the nod to share the top spot because of the heavy dose of afrobeat he brings to his Malian vibe. Zabo provided this year’s ‘Zani Daibate’ moment. Not only because he’s a friend and my favorite musician does Dr. Ibrahim top my estimation. He makes elegiac records and Mukashi was released the year his beloved wife Sathima suddenly passed away. But, there’s more: turning eighty this year, Ibrahim seems to me to be working at a high level of spiritual intention with Mukashi–so the fine date featuring flute, clarinet and two cellos struck me as exceptional even by the artist’s high standards.

comment, reissues: The flood of house shaking classic African music continues apace. Angola Soundtrack 2 Angola Soundtrack 2 Hypnosis, Distorsions & Other Sonic Innovations was crazy-good, and number one for me, and it possessed the best title too! The most important record date of the late Sathima Bea Benjamin, the greatest jazz singer Africa has produced so far, came back into the light. Known qualities flesh out the top of my list, yet I could have thrown darts at the best of the rest to decide.

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