Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu
I own several music CDs from Putamayo and have always been very pleased with them. They have a knack of creating excellent music compilations. African Beat is no exception. This is a compilation of songs from Western Africa including the countries of South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, and both Congos.
Listening to this CD one can hear the traditional music fused with modern instruments, rhythms, and techniques as well as some influences from other continents.
For example the third track - Alapomeji Anthem by 9ice - fuses a traditional Asian rhythm with hop hip and rap beats to create a very modern sound. The Asian rhythm does take over the song a bit too much and I wish the vocals were more in the foreground. The song has a familiar sound but yet remains fresh. This is a song I would expect to hear my teenage daughter listening to.
Kalan Nege, the fourth track, also has some Asian influence, but it is handled better than in Alapomeji Anthem by keeping it in the background. Sometimes a little bit goes a long way.
Another influence in some of the songs is Reggae. Reggae is very popular in Africa so it isn't surprising to find a song on this CD with a reggae influence. Track 8 titled Africa is that song. Without the reggae beat this song would be a more traditional song.
The last track, Wosoubour (Chris Annibell Remix) by Vieux Farka Toure, immediately reminded me of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground. The opening of this song is very similar to Higher Ground and then blends with a reggae styled beat.
There are more traditionally styled songs like Quel Est Mon Pays? and Mogoya on this CD.
To get a feel for the modern and diverse music of Africa, I would certainly recommend this CD from Putumayo to begin discovering some new artists.
The African Beat CD can be purchased as well as downloaded from Amazon.com
Putumayo World Music provided this review copy of African Beat to me free of charge.