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VA - Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From the 1970s & '80s (2013) [3?Vinyl]

HD Tracks & Vinyl, Jazz, Folk | Author: artmuss | 5-07-2018, 12:49
VA - Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From the 1970s & '80s (2013) [3?Vinyl]Artist: Various Artists
Title Of Album: Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From the 1970s & '80s
Year Of Release: 2013
Label (Catalog#): Soundway [SNDWLP046]
Country: Kenya
Genre: Afrobeat, Rumba, Soul, Funk, Jazz, World
Quality: FLAC (*tracks)
Bitrate: Lossless [24bit-192kHz]
Time: 1:51:40
Full Size: 4.42 gb

Home to dozens of ethnic groups and languages, Kenya's rich culture thrives as a meeting place for Europe, the Middle East and indeed the rest of Africa. In many ways, that’s what makes Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From The 1970s & ‘80s such a singular compilation, even amongst the dizzying heights of Soundway’s consistently revelatory catalogue.

As was the case with its forefathers (Ghana Special and the various Nigeria editions of the African Special series), Kenya Special is as much an education as it is a collection, and indeed tells a story as much as it documents a time and place. With the vast majority of songs recorded between 1972 and 1980, it captures a vital moment in Kenya’s post-colonial history. The 1970s saw the country’s transition from a relatively peaceful period following war with Somalia and the subsequent defence pact with Ethiopia in 1969, to subsequent decades of corrupt ruling by Daniel arap Moi, the commie-hating former Vice President and successor to the young nation’s beloved founding father, Jomo Kenyatta (died, 1978). Largely the music stems either to or from Kenya’s most popular homegrown music, and the decade's chief musical phenomenon in the country, ‘Benga’. This was itself a fusion of the Cuban influenced ‘Rumba’ penetrating Nairobi via immigrants from the Congo and Tanzania, with Zairean fingerpicked guitars, Swahili lyricists and basslines played like a nyatiti (the Kenyan lyre currently currently spottable being put to fine use in the Owiny Sigoma Band).

?The sheer variety and disparity of influences over the music is striking, far more so than it has been on any of the Ghana or Nigeria Specials. The album’s 32 tracks embrace Kenyan musicians’ ability to embrace multiculturalism and in particular pan-Africanism and synthesize something new, rather than a mere ‘multicultural patchwork’ (see Paul Simon’s Graceland or David Byrne’s Rei Momo for painful examples... actually... don’t). Halfway through disc one, Hafusa Abasi’s 'Sina Raha' for example, blends a light chackacha hi-hat grooves of the East African coast with arabic-style singing, Swahili lyrics and a horn section seemingly lifted straight from Fela Kuti himself - made from familiar pieces, yet it’s decidedly something new.

?Despite all this contextual intrigue, the brilliance of Kenya Special still shines through without context, liner notes, names or even any idea what’s being sung about. Most of the songs are in Kikuyu or Swahili, and the brief smattering of English across the album is offten barely discernible (with the notable exception of Baba Gaston Wa Illunga’s pidgin intro to 'Sweet Sweet Mbombo' - “ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got a funny funny story from my village”), so without the aid of a booklet or a search engine, 99% of listeners are going to be pretty clueless as to the music’s subject matter. Nobody's saying you have to do your research to earn the right to press play though, so Kenya Special invites the listener to be as interested or disinterested as they like.


A1 The Loi-Toki-Tok Band - Ware Wa
A2 Slim Ali & The Famous Hodi Boys - Watoto Nyara
A3 Orchestre Baba National - Sweet Sweet Mbombo
B1 Gatanga Boys Band - Wendo Ti Mbia
B2 Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali With The Yahoos Band - Sina Raha
B3 Nashil Pichen & The Eagles Lupopo - Ng'ong'a Wa Mwanjalo
B4 Nairobi Matata Jazz - Tamba Tamba
C1 The Lulus Band - Ngwendeire Guita
C2 Mbiri Young Stars - Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe
C3 The Lulus Band - Nana
C4 Afro 70 - Weekend
D1 The Rift Valley Brothers - Mu-Africa
D2 DO 7 Band - H.O. Ochiri
D3 Afro 70 - Cha-Umheja
D4 Peter Tsotsi Juma & The Eagles Lupopo - Kajo Golo-Weka
E1 New Gatanga Sound - Thonia Ni Caki
E2 Sophia Ben & The Eagles Lupopo - See Serere
E3 Kalambya Boys - Kivelenge
E4 The Loi-Toki-Tok Band - Leta Ngoma
F1 Huruma Boys Band - Theresia
F2 Orchestre Veve Star - Nitarudia
F3 The Mombasa Vikings - Mama Matotoya

Bonus 7"
A The Lulus Band - Mutumia Muriu
B Ndalani 77 Brothers - Nzaumi



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