free’n’legal african mp3s are hard to come by, yet it seems like the old analogy with public transport applies here. you wait an age and nothing appears – then three come along at once…
senegal is shaping up to be home of african hip hop with some solid releases so far from positive black soul, daara j and pee froiss. there’s a site decicated to senegalese hip hop called senerap – i’ve yet to have a full exploration, but it seems to be the perfect place to start our education. through the site, i discovered nomadic wax, a label who’ve just released a compilation entitled ‘african underground vol. 1: hip-hop senegal’ (available to buy online from november). they’ve also released an album from senegalese hip hop artist shiffai entitled ‘the chosen one’ which was produced by NY’s nomad. shiffai mixes english and his native wolof language, and there’s undoubtedly some patois thrown in for good measure. any hip hop head will get their kicks from this great mix of traditional and contemporary – the sound of hip hop coming gloriously back to its roots.
update 260904: nomadic wax are in the process of removing mp3s from their site, and have asked us to link to streams instead – head on over the site to listen to streams from both shiffai and from the forthcoming compilation.
ISSA BAGAYOGO [MALI]
bana direct download mp3
much like senegal, mali also has a strong output of contemporary artists – oumou sangare, tinariwen and rokia traore to name a few. issa bagayogo is part of the roster belonging to san francisco’s six degrees label. six degress have also been responsible for bringing india’s karsh kaleand midival punditz to the fore, along with algeria’s excellent dj cheb i sabbah. issa is their first african signing and the above mp3, ‘bana’, has at it’s base a midtempo, dubhouse, four-four shuffle, that fortunately avoids the trappings of afro-house (i’ll confess straight up that ive never been an afro-house fan). this is apparently due to the fact that issa still records in mali, rather than with western producers, thus avoiding the temptation to beef it up for the dancefloor. got to applaud that decision! the track is an out-take from his third album ‘tassoumakan’ and does not appear on any commerical release. thanks to six degrees for the link – buy the album online here.
MANN FRIDAY [ZIMBABWE]
counting down (sea point mix) mp3
i came across these guys on the queep site (well worth a look for unsigned artists, plus a good mix section featuring q-burns abstract message). they’re made up of musicians from zimbabwe, south africa and the u.k. they’ve been touring a show called ‘zimbabwe ruins’ – an audio / visual theatre piece that paints a direct picture of this history of their troubled land. according to queep, most of their music wanders into the acoustic ballad territory and – that not being my bag here @ fat planet – i’ve posted a downtempo semi-electronic mix of one of their songs. not sure who’s on production duties, but it’s a solid, laid-back piece that serves the band well.