Sep 2, 2014

RhoDeo 1435 Roots

Hello, Danish fascist Rasmussen continues showing his ugly face as Nato Secretary General, an all to eager puppet to the US warmongers. Senate Bill 2277 is probably the most belligerent act that the US could possibly pass without actually going to war, and even without providing any empirical evidence for its justification. This initiative is the major part of an IMF-NATO led attempt to secure Ukrainian agricultural and gas reserves in the Donbass region on behalf of US multinational companies like Monsanto, Quadrilla and Exxon. These companies signed a £20 billion deal last year - despite regulations being in place - to begin fracking operations in the Donbass. Locals are, of course, strongly opposed, an aspect that is never, ever mentioned in the Western press. This has obviously been planned for several years, and led by US multinationals and the State Department. This is why citizens in the Donbass are putting up such fierce and effective resistance and beating back the NATO-IMF aligned Kiev military forces. It is the US that seems intent on provoking Russia into a major conflict.

In fact, this is part of a globalised class conflict between US multinationals aligned to the IMF and NATO in Washington, and the majority of ordinary people around the world.

Highlife is a dance music developed and popularized in the British colonies on the West Coast of Africa. As Graeme Ewens writes in his thoroughly researched sleeve notes, "highlife was one of the first examples of a musical fusion between the old world and the new, and it became a prototype for all African pop." Blending jazz and ragtime music from America with calypso and merengue from the Caribbean and exported to the British African colonies in the 1920's, highlife evolved during the 1940's to include indigenous African rhythms mixed with big band swing style arrangements. Integral to highlife's development over the years was the importing of musical instruments like pianos, trumpets, saxophones, and organs from Europe to the British colonies and then to the newly independent nations of Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. By the 1960's, highlife had further evolved to reflect peoples' hunger for more guitar based latin rhythm bands.  . ... N'joy

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These sweet, toe-tapping time capsules prove that the brassy pop highlife music that erupted out of Ghana in the '50's did more than get an audience to swing out on Saturday night; it also reclaimed a culture. Giants of Danceband Highlife shows how bandleader E.T. Mensah and his Tempos (and other groups that followed his lead) incorporated local rhythms and languages into imitations of Cuban-American big-band music being played by most West African groups; the results are a dated but addictive mix of Dixieland, cha-cha, and stunning ancestral cross-rhythms.

In their palmy days, E.T. Mensah's '50s Tempos were the most influential band in West Africa. Here are four of their most charming early hits. The Ramblers -- one of the hottest bands of the '60s -- and the Uhurus were both jazz-oriented. The Ramblers stuck to straightahead dance music; Uhuru experimented, with phenomenal results, in the early '70s. This was the cutting edge of highlife in its time, and its extinction was a real loss.

VA - Giants Of Ghanaian Danceband Highlife  (flac  337mb)

E.T. Mensah and The Tempos
01 Yei Ngbewoh 2:18
02 School Girl 2:54
03 Makoma 2:30
04 You Call Me Roko 3:08
Ramblers International Dance Band 
05 Akokonini Abankwa 2:46
06 Nmere Dan Biribi Ara 2:53
07 Woman Wanko 2:37
08 Akwanoma Hiahii 2:41
09 Odansanyi 2:35
10 Ntoboase 2:47
11 Wgya Saman 2:44
12 Ahomka Won 2:38
13 Eyaa Duom 4:35
Professional Uhuru
14 Bo Me Nantsew 4:01
15 Betu Me Ho Awow 3:09
16 Medzi Me Sigya 3:12
17 Onyame Bekyere 3:02
18 Odo Kor Akyer 3:34
19 Me Nhuhu Ma Obi Nkeka 2:15
20 Ali Wuo 4:17
21 Mensu Koraa 3:15
22 Konkomba Medley 5:30

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In Ghana and Nigeria, highlife was one of the main popular musics of the 20th century, made for dancing. While this collection doesn't reach back to the very early days of highlife, it does cover a fair number of classic artists, including the great E.T. Mensah, acknowledged as the King of Highlife. Joe Mensah (no relation), offers a jazzier take on highlife with the lengthy "Bosoe." While essentially guitar music, saxophone is often featured, as in Celestine Ukwu's "Igede." The incessant groove swirls all through these tracks, about the only common denominator between the pieces and the times. Unfortunately, no dates are given for the tracks, with the exception of George Darko's "Hilife Time" from the '80s, where the rigid drum machine and keyboard work against the flow of the music rather than with it; this needs a human touch to make it real. More than half the tracks here are unavailable on either vinyl or CD, making this a treasure trove for anyone remotely interested in the percolating music. And the excellent sleeve notes give a short history of the style.

VA - The Rough Guide To Highlife  (flac  352mb)

01 Celestine Ukwu - Igede  4:06
02 Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe - Ka Anyi Jikota 5:07
03 Ramblers Dance Band / Jerry Hansen - Ekombi 3:12
04 Joe Mensah - Bosoe 9:36
05 Victor Uwaifo - Guitar Boy 5:20
06 Nana Ampadu & African Brothers - Bone Biara So Wo Akatua 4:24
07 Alex Konadu - Asare 4:58
08 Chief Inyang Nta Henshaw - Esonta 3:11
09 E.T. Mensah - Medzi Medzi 2:54
10 Victor Abimbola Olaiya - Omo Pupa 2:48
11 King Onyina - Ohia Asoma Wo 2:46
12 Rex Lawson - Bere Bote 2:56
13 T.O.Jazz - Agyeman Baidoo  4:14
14 Orlando Julius - Binu Binu 2:54
15 George Darko - Hilife Time 6:07

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World Music Network showcases the colorful sound of highlife music with The Rough Guide to Highlife [Second Edition], following in the fashion of a similar volume released in 2003. Featuring jazzy horns and arpeggiated guitars, highlife conjures the joyous musical spirit of Africa from the townships to the nightclubs. The genre originated in Ghana and Sierra Leone in the early 20th century -- springing from the fusion of American jazz rhythms and African roots music and taking its name from the origins of performing at elite clubs -- and reached its peak in the '60s and '70s but inspired guitar, gospel, and disco-styled subgenres. The compilation finds Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti at an earlier phase in his career, playing with the band Koola Lobitos on the swinging opener "Highlife Time," while Koo Nimo's palm wine highlife -- which adds calypso and soca influences to the musical melange -- takes a gentler turn with "Se Wo Nom Me (Tetse Fly You Suck My Blood)" and Genesis Gospel Singers' "Momma Mo Akoma Ntutu" brings the album to a lilting close. Four tracks from the earlier edition of the compilation reappear here, including guitarist and writer Sir Victor Uwaifo's rousingly rhythmic joromi tune "Do Amen Do" and trumpeter Victor Olaiya's highlife-to Afrobeat-connection with "Pariboto Riboto."

VA - The Rough Guide To Highlife 2  (flac  328mb)

01 Fela Ransome Kuti & His Koola Lobitos - Highlife Time 5:21
02 Desmond Ababio, Lewis Wadawa & Black Beats Highlife Dance Band - Tsutsu Tsosemo (Old Time Training) 5:09
03 Gentleman Bobby Benson - Taxi Driver 2:56
04 Sweet Talks - Juliana 5:49
05 Roadmaster & Agyemang - Akwasi Broni 3:35
06 Francis Kenya's Guitar Band - Memia (I Am Too Broke) 6:27
07 Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe - Osondi Owendi 11:06
08 Sir Victor Uwaifo - Do Amen Do 2:52
09 Celestine Ukwu - Igede 4:01
10 Koo Nimo - Se Wo Nom Me (Tsetse Fly You Suck My Blood) 4:22
11 Professional Seagulls Dance Band - Atabala Woman 3:26
12 Dr Victor Olaiya - Pariboto Riboto 2:53
13 Genesis Gospel Singers - Momma Mo Akoma Ntutu 4:01

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Phil Russell said...

I just want to tell you how much I love your taste in music and your blog!

Thank you soooo much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

hi Rho, really enjoyed the Rough guide to Sahara and North Aftrica you re-upped a week or so back. Can you put these Rough guide to the high life up again please? many thanks.

Guitarradeplastico your favorite musician said...