[Music] Ginger Johnson and His African Messengers – Witchdoctor

If Ginger Johnson is a source of inspiration to Afrobeat legend Tony Allen, you know this single is going to be good, and Ginger does not disappoint.  This is raw proto-Afrobeat from around 1967, full of percussive power.  From the Bandcamp site:

In 2015, Freestyle Records re-issued the groundbreaking ‘African Party’ album by the somewhat mysterious figure of Ginger (George Folunsho) Johnson. Recorded in 1967, nearly 20 years after he first arrived in post war London and immediately began performing and recording with London jazz stalwarts Ronnie Scott and Pete King.
Credited by those in the know (including Giles Peterson, Louie Vega, Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen & writer David Toop) as the godfather of Afrobeat, Ginger and his group, The African Messengers enjoyed a varied career as the go to afro-cuban percussion group for recording sessions in the UK, working with Georgie Fame, Osibisa, Madeleine Bell and Quincy Jones – as well as acting us mentor to a young Fela Kuti and members of Cymande who cut their teeth as members of his ensemble. They also performed at The Royal Variety Performance, Ginger’s music featured in the James Bond film ‘Live & Let Die’ and Ginger himself appears on screen drumming in the Hammer Films cult classic ‘She’, and famously performed with The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 1969.
Aside from ‘African Party’, and several Hi Life singles released on the Melodisc label in the 50’s, it was thought that there were no further recordings by this hugely influential musician . Eventually, prompted by the attention afforded the Freestyle re-issues – Ginger’s son Dennis Dee Mac Johnson was contacted by was contacted by Uchenna Ikonne, a renowned African music collector, who told him he had discovered one rather battered original copy of a 45 single, released in the mid 70’s on the short lived ‘Afrodesia’ label,

For Record Store Day 2019, Freestyle are proud to release the 2 tracks on a fresh vinyl 45. ‘Witchdoctor’ is not the track of the same name on African Party, but it and ‘Nawa’ (written by Dizzy Gillespie cohort Chano Pozo) demonstrate a musical progression as funk had stamped it’s indelible footprint on Ginger’s music along with afro-cuban rhythms and jazz.
Thanks to Claudio Passavanti at Doctor Mix Studios in London, who has done quite an amazing restoration and re-mastering job on this long lost music.
Watch ‘The Story Of Ginger Johnson’ mini documentary by clicking HERE!

[Music] Various Artists – Palenque Palenque: Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots in Colombia 1975 – 91

Colombia is noted for its melange of European, Indigenous and African cultures which have produced gorgeous women, amazing cuisine and, of course, some of the wildest music in South America, giving the mighty Brazil a run for its money.

From the Bandcamp website:

Boasting twenty one pulsating tracks drawn from the northern coasts of Colombia, ‘Palenque Palenque!’ reveals a unique and fascinating story of how Afro Colombian music developed from the 1970s onwards and how the local sound-systems in Cartagena and Barranquilla played such an important role in shaping the sound of the Colombian champeta.

Co-compiled by Lucas Silva (resident of Bogota and owner of Palenque Records) and Soundway Records’ Miles Cleret, the album highlights the long relationship that the Caribbean coast of Colombia has with Africa stretching back to the 17th century. Specifically, the rise of the percussion heavy champeta sound, born out of a wave of popularity for psychedelic Afro, Latin & Caribbean music inspired by the DJs of the time.

The influence of the sound-systems spread to local artists as well as re-energising traditional African folk songs and rhythms that had survived since the days of slavery. Record labels recognized the major change in direction from the days when cumbia and porro ruled the hearts of the ghettoes and began employing bands that began experimenting and tapping into these new cultural and musical movements. Disco Fuentes were one of the first labels to recognize this sudden swing and duly signed Wganda Kenya who went onto record some of the first Afrobeat records in Colombia. The trend in recording African music continued at pace with labels like Machuca, Discos Tropical, Orbe & Costeño quickly adapting to the newly adopted sound of the Palenques and bands like Son Palenque, Cumbia Siglo XX and La Cumbia Moderna de Soledad went onto readapt Afrobeat rhythms with a Caribbean slant.

The vinyl version comes as a triple LP with two extra bonus tracks.

“Every track on this revelatory compilation throws a new element into the oddball mix.”
-The Telegraph 5/5

“Abelardo! It’s great music, and it fills a space, stylistically and sonically, that was previously empty.”
-Pitchfork 8/2

A revolutionary comp, giving the African Colombian music community their due.

[Music] Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa


Jeremy Dutcher is a Canadian tenor and composer of Wolastoq hertiage.  He has done an amazing service in preserving the cultural heritage of his people, and the interpretations of this music remind one, as is described on his Bandcamp page, as having the same feeling of Antony and the Johnsons as well as the works of Rufus Wainwright’s more operatic moments.  I look forward to Jeremy digging deeper into his roots.

[Music] Bandcamp Daily: Ifriqiyya Électrique’s Healing Sound Melds Tunisian Banga Ritual With Post-Industrial Noise

April 5 will be a big day in this house, as the French-Tunisian troupe Ifriqiyya Électrique will be dropping a new album.  Bandcamp Daily’s Catalina Maria Johnson does a fine job prepping us for this momentous event.  To be honest, I’m surprised more music isn’t coming from Tunis, a place which has a rich musical heritage.  If there are more musicians like this running around Tunis or in the diaspora, it’d be great to hear them.