World & Country


The city of Belém, in the Northern state of Pará in Brazil, has long been a hotbed of culture and musical innovation. Enveloped by the mystical wonder of the Amazonian forest and overlooking the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, Belém consists of a diverse culture as vibrant and broad as the Amazon itself. Amerindians, Europeans, Africans - and the myriad combinations between these people - would mingle, and ingeniously pioneer musical genres such as Carimbó, Samba-De-Cacete, Siriá, Bois-Bumbás and bambiá. Although left in the margins of history, these exotic and mysteriously different sounds would thrive in a parallel universe of their own. I didn’t even know of the existence of that universe until an Australian DJ and producer by the name of Carlo Xavier dragged me deep into this whole new musical world. Ant it all began in Belém do Pará. Perched on a peninsula between the Bay of Guajará and the Guamá river, sculpted by water into ports, small deltas and peripheral areas, Belém had connected city dwellers with those deeper within the forest providing fertile ground for the development of a popular culture mirroring the mighty waters surrounding it. Through the continuous flow of culture, language and tradition, various rhythms were gathered here and transformed into new musical forms that were simultaneously traditional and modern. Historically marginalized African religions like Umbanda, Candomblé and the Tambor de Mina, which had reached this side of the Atlantic through slaves from West Africa – especially from the Kingdom of Dahomey, currently the Republic of Benin – left an indelible stamp on the identity of Pará´s music. They would give birth to Lundun, Banguê and Carimbó, styles later modernised by Verequete, Orlando Pereira, Mestre Cupijó and Pinduca to great effect. The success of these pioneers would create a solid foundation for a myriad of modern bands in urban areas. Known as the “Caribbean Port,” Belem had been receiving signal from radio stations from Colombia, Surinam, Guyana and the Caribbean islands - notably Cuba and the Dominican republic - since the 1940s. By the early 1960s, Disc jockeys breathlessly exchanged Caribbean records to add these frenetic, island sounds to liven up revelers. The competition was fierce as to who would be the first to bring unheard hits from these countries. The craze eventually reached local bands’ repertoires, and Belém’s suburbs got overtaken by merengue, leading to the creation of modern sounds such as Lambada and Guitarrada. To reach a larger audience, the music needed to be broadcast. Radios began targeting the taste of mainstream audiences and played music known as “music for masses.” As the demand for this music grew, it led to the establishment of recording companies. Belém’s infant recording industry began when Rauland Belém Som Ltd was founded in the 1970s. It boosted a radio station, a recording studio, a music label and had a deep roster of popular artists across the carimbó, siriá, bolero and Brega genres. Another important aspect in understanding how the musical tradition spread in Belém, are the aparelhagem sonora: the sound system culture of Pará. Beginning as simple gramophones connected to loudspeakers tied to light posts or trees, these sound systems livened up neighbourhood parties and family gatherings. The equipment evolved from amateur models into sophisticated versions, perfected over time through the wisdom of handymen. Today’s aparelhagens draw immense crowds, packing clubs with thousands of revelers in Belém’s peripheral neighbourhoods or inland towns in Pará. The history of "Jambú e Os Míticos Sons Da Amazônia" is the history of an entire city in its full glory. With bustling night clubs providing the best sound systems and erotic live shows, gossip about the whereabouts of legendary bands, singers turned into movie stars, supreme craftiness, and the creativity of a class of musicians that didn’t hesitate to take a gamble, Jambú is an exhilarating, cinematic ride into the beauty and heart of what makes Pará’s little corner of the Amazon tick. The hip swaying, frantic percussion and big band brass of the mixture of carimbó with siriá, the mystical melodies of Amazonian drums, the hypnotizing cadence of the choirs, and the deep, musical reverence to Afro-Brazilian religions, provided the soundtrack for sweltering nights in the city’s club district. The music and tales found in Jambú are stories of resilience, triumph against all odds, and, most importantly, of a city in the borders of the Amazon who has always known how to throw a damn good party. “Jambú is a plant widely used in Amazonian and Paraense cuisine. Known for having an appetitestimulating effect, it is added to various dishes and salads but is most famously one of the main ingredients in Tucupi and Tacacá, two delicacies that have been immortalized in countless Carimbó songs. Chewing the leaves of the Jambú plant will leave a strong sensation of tingling on the tongue and lips. Indigenous communities have relied upon its anaesthetic qualities for centuries as an effective remedy against toothaches and as a cure for mouth and throat infections. A decade ago, a distillery from Belém discovered the euphoric effects of the Jambú plant when combined with distilled sugarcane based spirit - known as cachaça - and created the now legendary “Cachaça de Jambú“.

The Kenyan music scene is one of the most diverse and vibrant in Africa. However, ask any Kenyan which pop music style truly represents Kenya as a nation and there is only one possible answer: benga. Benga is a pop style with its roots in traditional rhythms, instruments, and melodies. Luo musicians from western Kenya brought the style to prominence in the late 60s but other cultural/linguistic groups in other parts of Kenya quickly developed their own localized variants. With its pulsing beat, interlocking guitars, extended solos, and rapid-fire bass, benga music has dominated the Kenyan music scene over most of the post-colonial period. Kakai Kilonzo is one of only a handful of benga artists to attract a broad following across Kenya. He opened up his music to others outside his Kamba language and background by singing in Swahili, which is widely understood throughout Kenya. At the same time, with catchy melodies and engaging lyrics, Kakai sang about subjects that all Kenyans can relate to: songs on all aspects of love and marriage, on social responsibility, societal ills (like drinking and witchcraft), moral guidelines, national unity, economic development, and more. The songs on this compilation are taken from across Kakai's recording career, spanning from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, shortly before his illness and untimely death in early 1987, aged only 33. No Wahala Sounds are proud to present this selection of hard-to-find 45s from Les Kilimambogo Brothers, which are being released on vinyl here, for the first time outside Kenya.

Repress! With this release, Comb & Razor Sound launches its exploration of the colorful world of popular music from Nigeria, starting with the post-disco era of the late 1970s and early 80s. The years between 1979 and 1983 were Nigeria's Second Republic, when democracy finally returned after twenty-three years of uninterrupted military dictatorship. They were also the crest of Nigeria’s oil boom, when surging oil prices made the petroleum-producing country a land of plenty, prosperity and profligacy. The influx of petrodollars meant an expansion in industry and the music industry in particular. Record companies upgraded their technology and cranked out a staggering volume of output to an audience hungry for music to celebrate the country’s prospective rise as global power of the future. While it was a boom time for a wide variety of popular music styles, the predominant commercial sound was a post-afrobeat, slickly modern dance groove that retrofitted the relentless four-on-thefloor bass beat of disco to a more laidback, upbeat-and-downbeat soul shuffle, mixing in jazz-funk, synthesizer pop and afro feeling. At the time, it was still mostly locally referred to as “disco,” but has since been recognized as its own unique genre retrospectively dubbed “Nigerian boogie.” A Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times and Nigerian Boogie Badness collects 15 pulsing Nigerian boogie tracks in a lovingly compiled package chronicling one of the most progressive and creative eras in the history of African popular music.

Metronomy, the effective alias of the talented Joseph Mount, have thus far released three albums, starting with the jagged electro manoeuvres of their debut ‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’, through to their two albums on Because, ‘Nights Out’, where Mount first sang, and last year’s brilliant Mercury-nominated ‘The English Riviera’. As a pop group, Metronomy that are more Four Tet than Fab Four, though with a sense of adventure that would’ve made the Fabs proud. Their outing under the Late Night Tales banner journeys through the inspirations of the bands’ ever moving sound – along with a few surprises. Mount’s old favourite Autechre is present and correct, but then so are Kate and Anna McGarrigle and the Sun Ra of hip hop Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Joining Sa-Ra on the hip hop front, we’ve got Tweet’s ace ‘Drunk’ from her Hummingbird album alongside OutKast ‘Prototype’, spiced with some Doctor Octagon. For pure pop, they don’t come more refined than Alan Parson’s ‘Eye In The Sky’, who is buffeted by outbreaks of unsettling weirdness, among them the sadly departed Mick Karn’s supple bass figurines on ‘Weather The Windmill’ or Tonto’s Expanding Head Band – the guys that brought the funk to synthesizers with Stevie Wonder – and ‘Cybernaut’. And just when you think you’ve got it figured, Pete Drake arrives with his 1964 pedal steel novelty hit ‘Forever’. This is a maze rather than a journey. Naturally enough, there is the Late Night Tales special with a sparkling Metronomy rendition of Jean-Michel Jarre’s ‘Hypnose’. We’ve always had a soft spot for Devon and her cobbled street delights, but seen through the prism of Joseph Mount, it takes on a new hue that makes Brigitte Bardot and that other, lesser, Riviera seem somehow pallid. To paraphrase Buzzcocks: another music in a different riviera.

The multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet/Szun Waves) presents his new project Paradise Cinema. It was recorded in Dakar, Senegal in collaboration with mbalax percussionists Khadim Mbaye (saba drums) and Tons Sambe (tama drums). The impressionistic and dream-like quality of 'Paradise Cinema' is a stunningly effective realisation of Wyllie's experience, in ahypnagogic state of aural consciousness: "I had a lot of nights in Dakar, when the music around the city would go on until 6am. I could hear this from my bed at night and it all blended together, in what felt like an early version of the record." Atmospherically 'Paradise Cinema' is vaporous and enigmatic, but also percussive; existing in a paradoxical sound-space that's amorphous,yet still purposeful, serene, but propulsive and aesthetically sharp. Khadim Mbaye and Tons Sambe, provide the rhythmic backbone of the record. There are traditional elements of mbalax rhythm, but it is often deconstructed or played at tempos outside of the tradition, so while it hints at a location it occupies a space outside of any specific region. 'Paradise Cinema' is also informed by notions of hauntology – a philosophical concept originating in the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida– on possible futures that were never realised andhow directions taken in the past can haunt the present. On the album's title Wyllie comments, "there are a handful of old cinemas in Dakar – these big modernist buildings dotted around the city built around independence. They're old and derelict now, but feel to me like monuments to that period, when the city was flooded with utopian ideas about its potential futures." As such it sits closely to 4thworld music – situated in an imagined culture and time that never came to pass. And while it contains rhythmic references to Senegal it combines these elements with ambient and minimalist music to produce a sound that sits outside of any tradition. Setting the tone for the long-player's themes is the optimism-driven, balmy beauty of 'Possible Futures', where rich-toned drums throb and levitate in a stratospheric ether. Like a time-lapse video of plants in bloom, 'It Will Be Summer Soon' is the sound of anticipation and growth. Rhythmically it flickers and flutters, evoking rainfall, or the blurred wings of a bird in in flight. Casamance moves through field recordings drifting in and out of focus, beats pitched-down low and unfurling saxophone, whilst the ambient 'Utopia' was made mainly with processed saxophone and suggests a longing for a perfect world. Galloping percussion juxtaposes with a wistful mood on 'Liberté' – a title that referencesa derelict modernist cinema in Dakar of the same name– a hauntological landmark, made more poignant by the its name being part of the French national motto. Tying into the cover artwork, Jack explains, "the 'Digital Palm is a telecommunications mast disguised as a palm tree in central Dakar. As a modern piece of technology that on first glance looks natural, it mirrors the combination of modern and acoustic elements." Perhaps eliciting a time that never came, or maybe still in hope of it yet to come, 'Eternal Spring' concludes the LP's otherworldly beauty with hypnotic drums powering a subtly-building, sparkling and powerful crescendo. Jack Wyllie is a musician, composer, electronic producer who draws on influences of jazz, ambient, and the trance-inducing repetition of minimalism. Wyllie performs and records in Portico Quartet, Szun Waves (withLuke Abbott and Laurence Pike)and Xoros. He has also collaborated with Charles Hayward, Adrian Corker and Chris Sharkey and released on Ninja Tune, Babel, Leaf, Real World and Gondwana. Khadim Mbaye and Toms Sambe play in various mbalax groups in Dakar. Khadim has also toured internationally with Cheikh Lo.

Back in stock! Akiko Yano's Cult Second Studio Album from 1977 featuring the Cream of Tokyo and New York Musicians in Funk Mode. Wewantsounds continues its Akiko Yano reissue programme with the release of "Iroha Ni Konpeitou," another superb Akiko Yano album and one of her funkiest, highlighting her unmissable singing and songwriting talents. Recorded in Tokyo and New York City, the album features a superb line up of the best musicians from both cities and sees Yano mixing Japanese pop with funk and a touch of electronics, playing a wide array of keyboards programmed by YMO synth wizard Hideki Matsutake. This is the first time the album is released outside of Japan and this deluxe LP edition includes remastered sound, download card plus the original 4-page insert with poster, lyrics and full line-up. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" is perhaps Akiko Yano's best known album in the Western world not just because of its striking front cover - a shot by famed photographer Bishin Jumonji featuring Akiko holding an inflatable dolphin (legend has it all the props and clothes were borrowed from the set of an Issey Miyake ad), but because the album is one of Akiko's funkiest ones. A slick mix of Japanese Pop and New York funk, the album was recorded in Tokyo except for the "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" title track which was recorded in NYC with an all-star line-up consisting of Rick Marotta, David Spinozza, Will Lee and Nicky Marrero. For the rest of the album, Akiko is accompanied by some of the best musicians from the Tokyo music scene gravitating around the groups Happy End and Tin Pan Alley: the ubiquitous Haruomi Hosono on bass, Tatsuo Hayashi on drums, Shigeru Suzuki on guitar to name just a few. Interestingly two Hosono compositions are featured on the album, "Ai Ai Gasa" which he recorded on his 1973 landmark debut "Hosono House" and "Hourou" originally recorded in 75 by singer and musician Chu Kosaka (on the eponymous album “Horo”). Last but not least Hideki Matsutake is handling the keyboard programming duties on the album as Yano is playing a wide array of keyboards: Moog IIIc, Mini Moog, String Ensemble, on top of the Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Yamaha CP7C. Matsutake would soon become programmer in chief for YMO, touring and playing with them around the world (like Yano herself). Although the album feels very accessible and funky, there are complex keyboard layers underneath as on the first short introduction 'KAWAJI', a short electro fantasy, or on such tracks as "Ai Ai Gasa" and “Kino Wa Mou" on which Akiko is playing bass with her Moog, making the album a richly textured and inventive one once you scratch its surface. The tracks on the album flow effortlessly also highlighting Akiko Yano's superb songwriting and knack for creating fascinating pop song. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" sounds as fresh and beautiful as when it first came out more than forty years ago and will please the growing circle of Akiko Yano fans around the world as a welcome addition to her brilliant discography.

Ausverkauft

"Matasuna Records" has found another musical treat from the African continent for its latest release - a song by the Ghanaian musician "Mawuli Decker". It was released in 1983 on the rare and sought-after album "Ayo Special" and is available for the first time as a 7inch vinyl single, which is supplemented by an edit from "Renegades Of Jazz". The esteemed London label "Kalita Records" was able to provide the audio material for new masters and is also acting as music publisher with the new "Kalita Music Publishing". Mawuli Decker was born in 1949 in Ghana, where he also grew up. His musicality has been given to him from an early age, so that he not only attracts attention as a singer, but also plays drums, percussion and bongo. He played in various dance bands, which were very popular in Ghana especially from the middle of the last century onwards and made the Ghanaian highlife known beyond the borders. He has played in various dance bands such as New Planets, Sawaaba Sounds, The Tops, Caprice 73, The Volta Pioneers and others, which have performed in Ghana and other West African countries. His first release was in 1975 with the band "Dzobi Soundz" on the Polydor label. Further releases of projects with his participation followed, until 1983 when he recorded his album "Ayo Special" at "Otodi Studio" in Lome (Togo) with an illustrious group of musicians. He is still deeply rooted in music and performs in West Africa and is still very active in recording. On the A-side is the original version of the song "Lololi-Lomko", sung in the "EWE" language, which is spoken in the south of Ghana as well as the southern parts of Togo. "Lololi" means "There's Still More Love" and "Lomko" stands for "Please love me" - classical themes that have appeared in countless songs in music history. Although a certain catchiness of the track cannot be denied, it doesn't seem cheesy at any point. Mawuli, who also contributes the vocals, creates perfectly formed harmonies through his compositions and arrangements, which are especially apparent in the bassline, guitars & brass and of course the vocals. This was certainly also the idea behind the edit of "Renegades of Jazz" on the B-side, which did not want to break up and alienate the organic composition. Listening closely reveals the approach: a steady tempo, a more powerful bassline and additional drums and percussions bring the song back directly to where it belongs: to the dancefloors of this world!

It was in Benin City, in the heart of Nigeria, that a new hybrid of intoxicating highlife music known as Edo Funk was born. It first emerged in the late 1970s when a group of musicians began to experiment with different ways of integrating elements from their native Edo culture and fusing them with new sound effects coming from West Africa´s night-clubs. Unlike the rather polished 1980´s Nigerian disco productions coming out of the international metropolis of Lagos Edo Funk was raw and reduced to its bare minimum. Someone was needed to channel this energy into a distinctive sound and Sir Victor Uwaifo appeared like a mad professor with his Joromi studio. Uwaifo took the skeletal structure of Edo music and relentless began fusing them with synthesizers, electric guitars and 80´s effect racks which resulted in some of the most outstanding Edo recordings ever made. An explosive spiced up brew with an odd psychedelic note known as Edo Funk. That‘s the sound you‘ll be discovering in the first volume of the Edo Funk Explosion series which focusses on the genre’s greatest originators; Osayomore Joseph, Akaba Man, and Sir Victor Uwaifo: Osayomore Joseph was one of the first musicians to bring the sound of the flute into the horn-dominated world of highlife, and his skills as a performer made him a fixture on the Lagos scene. When he returned to settle in Benin City in the mid 1970s – at the invitation of the royal family – he devoted himself to the modernisation and electrification of Edo music, using funk and Afro-beat as the building blocks for songs that weren’t afraid to call out government corruption or confront the dark legacy of Nigeria’s colonial past. Akaba Man was the philosopher king of Edo funk. Less overtly political than Osayomore Joseph and less psychedelic than Victor Uwaifo, he found the perfect medium for his message in the trance-like grooves of Edo funk. With pulsating rhythms awash in cosmic synth-fields and lyrics that express a deep personal vision, he found great success at the dawn of the 1980s as one of Benin City’s most persuasive ambassadors of funky highlife. Victor Uwaifo was already a star in Nigeria when he built the legendary Joromi studios in his hometown of Benin City in 1978. Using his unique guitar style as the mediating force between West-African highlife and the traditional rhythms and melodies of Edo music, he had scored several hits in the early seventies, but once he had his own sixteen-track facility he was able to pursue his obsession with the synesthetic possibilities of pure sound, adding squelchy synths, swirling organs and studio effects to hypnotic basslines and raw grooves. Between his own records and his production for other musicians, he quickly established himself as the godfather of Edo funk. What unites these diverse musicians is their ability to strip funk down to its primal essence and use it as the foundation for their own excursions inward to the heart of Edo culture and outward to the furthest limits of sonic alchemy. The twelve tracks on Edo Funk Explosion Volume 1 pulse with raw inspiration, mixing highlife horns, driving rhythms, day-glo keyboards and tripped-out guitars into a funk experience unlike any other. Double LP pressed on 140g virgin vinyl comes with a full color 20-pages booklet CD comes with a full color 36-pages booklet