Saturday, April 9, 2022

Hip Deep Ghana: Ebo Taylor and the Pioneers of Afro-Funk

Happy Friday, TheBlackList!

Hip Deep Ghana 1: Ebo Taylor and the Pioneers of Afro-Funk

This Hip Deep edition, based on field work in Ghana, tells the story of how highlife turned into Afro-funk. Guitarist/composer/bandleader Ebo Taylor, at 77, is our principle guide, taking us to his hometown of Saltpond to explore the roots of his complex sound, and recounting his highlife years, and his deep study of American jazz in London in the early '60s—all part of a remarkable mix. We also hear from Ghanaian Afro-funk pioneer Gyedu Blay Ambolley and other observers and veterans of this history. Among the figures that interweave this story are James Brown, his most successful African successor Geraldo Pino, and, of course, the creator of Nigerian Afrobeat (a variety of Afro-funk), Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Produced by Banning Eyre in 2014.



Another sweet tease leading up to the April 29 release of Oumou Sangaré's long-awaited album Timbuktu. This is the premiere of the song "Sira," which means "the baobab" in Bambara. You can check it out right here.

The Rumba Kings doc; a Richmond, Virginia-based ethnomusicologist, our own Banning Eyre—all intertwined around a love of classic Congolese grooves, and the book that takes you back to its origins.

"We listened to Tinariwen and Terakaft when we were younger, but also we listened to music from other cultures, sub-Saharan African and also Western music, so you can find those influences in our sound. The feeling is different. It's diverse, but it has the Tuareg core. We are all about the melody, which is a little bit different than traditional songs." Tikoubaouine's Ben Khira, from Algeria talked to Banning Eyre about where their band fits in—and how it stands out—among their Tuareg desert blues peers.

The Africa Online Museum, which launched this week, offers a fantastic visual journey around the continent, and the creators say it will continue to grow in the years ahead.

Philippe El Hage is a pianist-composer from Lebanon who has been releasing original music since 2007. His work is based in Paris, but does homage to his home country. He also represents his Brazilian heritage in the music—making an interesting connection between the two cultures. Sound of Hope is his new album that is the perfect balance of simplicity and virtuosic instrumental frenzy. Certainly, it is a great source of brain-soothe during these times. Endora McNeary is here with the review.


Discover the music of West Africa with this limited edition print-only publication from Songlines magazine. From Mali to Nigeria, Ghana to Senegal, Cape Verde to Sierra Leone, explore the region's musical history, styles and traditions as well as its celebrated musicians, past and present, with recommended recordings, full reviews, exclusive opinion pieces and archival features.

Featuring celebrated musicians such as Angélique Kidjo, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Vaudou Game, Amadou Balaké, Burkina Electric, Mamadou Diabaté, Smockey, Mayra Andrade, Bitori, Gangbé Brass Band, Cesaria Evora, Lura, Tito Paris, Tcheka, Alostmen, King Ayisoba, Santrofi, Pat Thomas, Wiyaala, Les Amazones de Guinée, Ba Cissoko, Bembeya Jazz, Mory Kanté, Manecas Costa, Zé Manel, Eneida Marta, Super Mama Djombo, and more.

Order your limited edition copy for £12.99 + postage

Shows Around New York

Fri., April 8
RBA: Mamadou Diabate & Percussion Mania: Percussion of West Africa
Award-winning balafon (xylophone) master with his cousin Yacouba Konate will be a true explosion of energy on stage and musically on the highest level of traditional African sound fused with jazz and modern elements.

Sat., April 9
A Tribute to Selena at the Lehman Center in the Bronx
The members of Los Chicos del 512 came together for one reason: to bring the magic of Selena to old and new fans worldwide. This concert will transport you right back to 1995 at a live Selena Concert!

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