Le petit Congo, que c’est stylé!


La Société des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elégantes  (SAPE!)

The smaller, less-troubled Congolese Republic (often called Congo-Brazzaville after its capital city) is bursting with style and grace, thanks in large part to its amazing musical heritage. Sample some classics and unheard gems right here:

Heaven and the Sahel

Niger is quickly becoming a new hotbed (up to 40ºC) for innovative African music.  Explore fresh Nigerien sounds on this sandstream:

Among the many grooves, a song from the soundtrack to the first ever feature film in the Tuareg language – an improbable remake of Prince’s Purple Rain (and not only because there is no word for purple in Tuareg):

Stream the first hour’s global mix here:

Upcoming Summer Vibes))

Just passing by to share a couple of the summer’s most anticipated African releases.. (well, it’s sort of winter down there- but these are definitely meant for a global audience).

South African DJ Nozinja, creator of a style dubbed ‘Shangaan Electro‘, makes futuristic dance music without compromising any African authenticity.  In another world, he would be as big as Michael Jackson (but so far barely 1000 likes on facebook?!).  Here’s the delightful new video, from his forthcoming debut on Warp Records:

Congolese electric trance orchestra Kasai Allstars release double album ‘Beware the Fetish‘ in late June..  an intoxicating mix of several African cultures, this is music unlike anything else in the solar system.  Visitors will come from Neptune to hear them play..

Considering their ingenuity, it’s rather ridiculous these artists aren’t more popular.  Help spread the good groove to brew in open minds!


Wooden Trumpets & Water Drums

In the depths of the great African jungle is a nation forgotten by the modern world.. or perhaps never known.  Welcome to the Central African Republic (a.k.a. Centrafrique).

Bayaka Tribesman // Extreme Honey Collecting

Bayaka Tribesman // Extreme Honey Collecting

While global eyes are on the power struggle in Ukraine, the CAR (a nation of roughly the same size) is currently experiencing its own internal division that is bordering on civil war.  The country has long been split between Christian (from the French colonial period) and Muslim (from northern Africa) populations, echoing the same violent saga that ruptured Sudan.  May the people come together and forgive their differences!

Though political struggles have prevented the development of the CAR music industry, many local talents have nonetheless drawn influence from the potent sounds of neighboring countries (notably, Cameroon and the DR Congo) to carve their own masterwork of contemporary rhythms, including the Bangui Rumba.  These boys were tops:

But the sweetest sounds of all remain gloriously hidden in the great jungle connecting CAR, Cameroon and Gabon, preserved from the rolling ball of modern religion and style. The so-called Baka ‘pygmies’ (a term to describe smaller than average humans) of the forest make some of the wildest, most futuristic-sounding, ancient music on the planet.  (In timeless cultures, everyone is a singer!)  Even Herbie Hancock snatched the Baka’s style.  Oh yeah, they rock on guitars too.

Hear these fine sounds and more on the Wandering Rhythms {{CENTRAFRIQUE SPECIAL}}.

Deutsch Hip Hop, meet Cameroonian Makossa

Germany and Cameroon make unlikely musical mates, but for two hours this week they will reign supreme!  We are joined on the show this week by Christian Gossen, world traveler and connoisseur of fine German hip hop, who shares his favorite underground sounds and brings us up to speed on a scene that remains virtually unknown in this part of the world.

Then for the second half of the show we will explore the breadth of music from Cameroon, a country in Africa that displays a wonderful diversity of landscapes, peoples, and sounds.

Makossa hits with the force of a freight train..  When you feel the beat, you have been converted.  This track by André-Marie Tala, for instance, was played for James Brown when he visited Africa in 1975:

The scoundrel (may he rest in peace) wrote new lyrics and passed it off as his own!

Cameroon: the real thing since forever.