African / Arabic

Music of Africa, Arab Africa, and the Middle East. Ranging in styles from indigenous to more westernized.

Sal Davis: Makini (Fly Records 1969)

Pressed in Belgium for export to Kenya. This Afro Mod / Jazz / R&B mongrel features bi-lingual vocals from Tanzanian Sal Davis. The sound is gritty, near on filthy and tough to resist. This 45 has been recently re-issued by counterpoint on a limited run. (Thanks ‘A’ for bringing this one home.) “Makini” [Audio clip: […]

Dan Satch: Woman Pin Down

Dan Satch has quite the mysterious background, not much is known about this particular gentleman or his band. Originally from Nigeria and presumably from Aba, according to the back cover of Ikoro’s 70’s Special, “Dan Satch Joseph was a seasoned trumpeter and arranger. He started playing the trumpet in 1959 and was the trumpeter leader […]

Duo Ouro Negro – Pata Pata

During my recent travel to Portugal I had quite some records of this group in my hands. I usually checked them out because of their cover art but most of the times the musical content was disappointing. After I already filed them in the don’t bother with section I gave two more 45s which I […]

Poly Rythmo De Cotonou – Zero + Zero = Zero

I think Frank’s travel and digging reports played quite a role for my growing interest in West African music. I always liked the mixes he put online but at the same time I was not too confident to ever find any of these records as I don’t live in Western Africa and I don’t have the […]

Baligh Hamdy – Love Story

On this instrumental record, Baligh Hamdy continues in the style that’s also on the earlier EP Gada (featured on Waxidermy). The arrangements combine Western and Eastern instruments, with wild rhythms and Eastern melodies. There’s a drum kit, which you don’t hear that much on Arabian records, plus saxophone and electric guitar. Wild keyboard sounds are […]

Berry & Coates Friendship Ensemble – Our Kwanzaa Song

If you are like me, you have always had some vague notion of what Kwanzaa is. I always understood it as an 80’s creation, mainly as a non-Christian non-Capitalist multi-cultural holiday alternative to Christmas. Something defined by what it IS NOT rather than by what it IS. You get me? Well thanks to this little […]

D.O. Akinola And His Inner Circle Orchestra

Picked this up for a couple of quid. Was kinda hoping it would be like some type of mind-blowing Afro Sun Ra-esque outing but sadly it isn’t as cool as my mind would have me believe. Two side long LP tracks make up the album so just an excerpt to listen to. Released in 1972. […]

Funky Sounds from Central Africa

I guess this is the kind of record that would scream “grab me” even to the most casual of record browsers so I feel extra lucky it fell into my greedy hands. This is a very rare compilation released in the Netherlands by some forward souls at Philips. The bulk of the 12 tracks, although […]

Elias Rahbani – Mosaic of the Orient

Lebanon’s highest commercial success till mid 70s made a large space for artists to create great music to last & enjoy .. Elias Rahbani considred the godfather of lebanese western music scene from the mid 60s ,composing music for almost every lebanese singer/band that sung in english-french and more , beside the fact that he […]

Musique Moderne

Here’s an unusual title that may interest ethnic beat and library music aficionados. “Musique Moderne” is a somewhat mysterious release which appears to have been produced by the Moroccan government. I’m guessing early 1980s from the look and sound of it. A possible agenda for it was to display the ability and versatility of the […]

Baligh Hamdi featuring Magid Khan – Indo Arabic Variations

The idea for this record occured when Baligh Hamdi, famous Egyptian composer, heard the excellent sitar player Magid Khan when Khan visited Cairo. Hamdi had been expanding the horizons of Egyptian music by incorporating organs, electric guitar and saxes since the late fifties and this proved to be a new challenge. The resulting album, with […]

Baligh Hamdy – Gada

Baligh Hamdy is a composer well known for his work with Egyptian super star singer Oum Kalsoum and Hamdy’s wife, Algerian born Warda. Here’s a real oddity from his hand, an EP with a rather daring silk screened cover (daring considering it was released in Egypt in the sixties). This mini-album has 6 beautiful instrumental […]

Omar Khorshid: Belly Dance With Vol.3

Dunno what I can really add here that I haven’t already covered in other reviews of Omar’s records, ‘cept to say that there’s an especially DYNO-MITE verson of Gershon Kingley’s “Popcorn” on here. Otherwise, more of the same…

Sylvain Marc and Del Rabenja – Madagascar Now/Maintenant/’Zao

I don’t know very much about Madagascar, apart from the fact that it’s flora and fauna is unique due to the separation of the Island from the African mainland in ancient times. Also, I understand the language Malagasey is amazingly enough of the Malayo-Polynesian family and bears resemblance to the language of Borneo. With all […]

Belly Dance with Themi Kakias and The Continentals

1977 out of Columbus, Ohio. Themi’s bouzouki is backed with guitar and synthesizer, which adds a nice twist on the belly dance sound. “Shades of Rhythm” is a drummer freak out and “Dal se Bami 77” is hypnotic

Watusi Drums

Exciting – Wild – Orgiastic from the Burundi records label, ten tracks that sound like field recordings of drumming, some chanting. Listen: Mwami

Various: African Dances

I’m a complete novice when it comes to this type of stuff, but this along with a small handful of other things I’ve been lucky enough to pick up lately has really sparked an interest. This one is simply titled “African Dances” on a (very budget looking) label called “Authentic”. It appears to be an […]

Omar Khorshid: With Love Vols. 1 and 2

When I found this lp in a thrift a few years back amongst a massive collection of belly dancing records, I had absolutely no idea who Omar Khorshid was. In fact, I think I might have left a few of his other records behind that day – a thought which has troubled me greatly ever […]

Hailu Mergia and the Walias – Tche Belew

I picked this up in Springfield, MO on a recent Ozark vacation. A great little store called “Stick it in Your Ear” had this staring at me from the $1.98 piles near the front. I didn’t even notice that Mulatu was a sideman on it until i got home. Great all the way through, but […]

S. E. Rogie – Palm Wine Guitar Music

The sweet, old West African tradition of palm wine guitar has few great players left. Palm wine music dates back to the days when Portuguese sailors first introduced guitars to West African port cities. Early African guitarists and bottle percussionists played at gatherings where revelers drank the fermented sap of palm trees, a traditional alternative […]

Omar Khorshid: Rhythms from the Orient

If you dig “east meets west” style exotica ala Ananda Shankar then prepare to have your mind blown, cause Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid is one of the giants! A swirling blend of snakey rhythms played with Moog, organ, belly dance percussion, and of course Omar’s driving electric guitar in the foreground. Check out the track […]

Francis Bebey – Un Petit Ivoirien

Cameroon born novelist, poet, musicologist, historian, radio DJ and multi-instrumentalist Francis Bebey (1929) conjured up this relatively unknown record for Ozileka Records in 1979. If you’re familiar with his classical guitar work, this stuff may come as a suprise. Deploying an assortment of synthesisers, the tunes range from feather-light afropop to very exciting grooves. One […]

Pygmies of the Ituri Forest

I suppose that Pygmies, being so naturally small, have a bit of a head start when it come to “getting down”. Bad jokes aside, this is a pretty amazing record. The ambiance is just awesome and on many tracks the jungle is as much a part of the music as the Pygmies. It is a […]