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 early comp (70’s?) of African music and ranges from Afro-beat, Rhumba, and Highlife to more primitive/traditional styles from a wide range of African countries.

Copious notes about the tracks are included, but the packaging is for the most part as plain as can be. No year or any other info to give background on when, why, or by whom this collection was compiled. But I guess all of that is really secondary in the face of the amazing music on here. Check out one of my favorite tracks: “Love Is Love” by the Alemayehu Eshete Group from Ethiopia.


  • feelin that. nice.

  • this is the first in a varied series on authentic. i believe the compiler’s name is john storm roberts. he makes these field recordings and i’ve always liked them for their bare bones approach. “africa dances” is the first one, my other favorite is the one on kenyan music. you’ll see more around the bay area…i found all of mine there.

  • wow – thanks for the info, Steve!

  • John mostly reissued old recordings. His “Money No Be Sand” is a must for anyone interested in 60s African 60s R+B sounds. Best thing out there in my opinion. Only on CD though. His book “The Latin Tinge” on the spread of Latin musical influences is also essential. He is a real authority.

  • That tune is absolutely gorgeous.

  • ace thanks , great find

  • John Storm Roberts ran an excellent world music label called Original Music from the mid-80s to the early 90s. It mainly released compilations of records JSR picked up on his ethnographic trips abroad – particularly Africa and the Caribbean. A lot of the releases have “indie” monocrhomatic covers like the one above. There’s some awesome stuff in that label’s catalog – nothing very rare groove or breaks-oriented – just solid highlife, benga, jive, and other Afro-pop styles. Original Music was out of New York State, so there’s copies floating around (mainly) the US on CD and vinyl.

  • Just a spellign mistake on the name… its Alemayehu Eshete, the guys has been around for like forty years…
    this is a great cd of his from the ethiopique series
    you guys should know that his new stuff is not as jazzy, but he is still as popular ever… he is now located in atlanta… his new producers are doing it the cheap way…only keyboard… and electronic drums and so on….
    personally i like the stuff he did in the sixties.. most of it was produced by by girma beyene see entry here… he is a genius.. now retired..
    this is a great song of alemayehu eshete and girma beyene collaborations my favorate… it talking about not trusting woman… he said i will not trust woman after you and i wont try to get another girl…

    i have about 60 songs of alemayehu so let me know and i can contribute for this blog…
    you can find me here

  • Thanks!

  • theres a skip near the end of the track :(

  • Probably just your computer, dude.

  • if it doesnt skip at 1:49 into the track on your computer, i’ll but it off you for $10,000

  • as TheSizzler said, OM was a terrific label, and you’re lucky to have a copy of this CD. It’s the 1st OM release, and still one of the best (to my mind, at least).

  • nice. just copped this record today and a google search lead me back here. funny, my record has the exact same skip on it at 1:49. since it’s such a homespun production, I’m guessing they recorded it off an album with a skip on it or there was a problem with the master.

  • a great record……. “when me a kiss you, you PUSH me”
    email me if you want mp3s…yeah hi haters

  • I’ve collected mostly world music for 35 years, starting out with Latin (parents had a few Brazilian & Cuban lp’s in their hi-fi). Africa Dances was one of the first African compilations I picked up around 28 years ago, after Assalam Aleikoum Africa on the Antilles label. Eventually, I picked up 15 or so releases on the Original Music label, including the Kinshasa Sound, Sounds from the Copperbelt, Street Music of Panama. Someone from UNC-Chapel Hill library collections offered me $25 each for them. Anybody know what this vinyl is worth? I see Original Music cassettes on eBay for $49, or even $99, so I wonder what people are paying for the vinyl. I’m not greedy, I’d just as soon give it to the university, as long as they could provide good quality CD’s of each album, and high-quality front/back images of the covers.

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  • Check out the compilation “Love is Love” titled after the Alemayehu Eshete track you sample here. It was released by Mississippi Records in 2008. I’d be interested to know how many of the tracks between the albums are similar. Especially the “Unknown Artist” track “Chemirocha” — if anyone has any more info about that one…

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