We are more than ten releases in here at Africa Seven. It has been a wild ride... It was eight months ago that we launched our label and released our debut release the Compilation "Africa Airways One: Funk Connection". It did better than we ever imagined and we had to repress the darned thing twice... So predictably for a follow up we humbly present you with "Africa Airways Two: Funk Departures 1973-1982". We have unashamedly stuck to the formula of our debut; keeping the funk deep and the groove pan-African. Heading straight for the afrobeat, dance-funk jugular.
We open up Volume Two with an absolute corker... "Na Real Sekele Fo Ya" from Cameroonian-in-Paris Pasteur Lappe. Produced by Jacob Desvarieux of Kassav fame, this track is an instant grabber; Think of the Blockheads "Rhythm Stick" goes Afro chant with deep, soulful moog grooves and on-point brass stabs. Next up is M'Bamina an Italian / Ivory Coast band who swing things heavy with "Kilowi Kilowi". Sweeting strings, funky bass lines wrapped around a late 70s style disco groove.
Ekambi Briallant is next up with his floor tappingly catchy afro soul "Aboki (Mon Copain)", produced by one of our favorite producers Slim Pezin. To round off the A-side of the vinyl we present the first outing from the Makeba family. Here the (sadly prematurely departed) Bongi Makeba, daughter of "Mama Africa" Myriam Makeba, shows the world just what an amazing artist she would have developed into. Bongi wrote a fair number of her mother’s tracks in her later years and "Don’t Do It" shows us what true talent for the song she was blessed with. The track powers along with wah-wah guitar and masterful alto sax. A real treat.
Friend of Africa Seven and Cameroonian native Jo Tongo opens thing up on Side B. Jo now lives in New York but back in the 70s he was part of the Fiesta label collective who were cranking out great records in Paris. "Piani" is his purest dancefloor moment, here again in full glory. Next up we bend our African remit ever-so slightly and head off to Holland for a James Brown style fuelled funk stomper "Relax.. Before Doing Sex" from Oscar Harris and his crew. Its big, its bold, its brassy... It’s fun.
The power trio of Bozambo are next up. Between them they have released over 12 solo LPs and here together with "Get it On The Music" they power through with a keyboard/synyh driven afro-funk groove years ahead of its time... made in 1978 but sounding like 1984. Misse Ngoh is one great guitarist and a masterful adaptor of the Makossa rhythms of his native Cameroun. The title track from his Esperance 1979 LP "Tata Ngoh" mixes in his trademark rhythms and grooves with slap bass and striking brass lines. One heck of a catchy song too.
We round off the compilation with the Queen of Queens, Myriam Makeba. Possibly / probably the most influential female musician to come out of Africa... ever. "Mama Africa's”" biography is awe-inspiring and vast, but very hard to summarize in a few sentences... so please check it out for yourself. From breaking the African sound in the West, to the obsessively catchy "Pata Pata" to the influential, focal role she played in helping bring an end to Apartheid in her native South Africa. There are many tracks to feature from Myriam but we aren't about hits here at Africa Seven. Being the crate diggers we are, we thought the best way we could honour the lady was to dig the crate even deeper and go with the most obscure Myriam track we could find. "Toyota Fantasy" was recorded during her exile years spent in Guinea with the Esperance team as a one off promotional 7" single giveaway release. Be aspirational, as the lady says.
We hope you enjoy your flight with African Airways Two. We hope to be fuelling up an aircraft with some psychedelic propellant for volume 3 sometime in 2016... at a vinyl store near you.