One of the great musical loves of my life is African music. I was introduced to this vibrant and endlessly inventive musical tradition by my then roomate, Michael Furmanovsky, who now teaches at a Japanese university. He turned me on to C.C. Smith’s brilliant and late-lamented KCRW FM show, The African Beat. C.C.’s opening song was always the Tabu Ley classic, Africa Molkili Mobimba (Listen to it Here). C.C. has just e mailed me a correction, saying the song was actually recorded by Kabasele’s Orchestre African Jazz, for which Tabu sang. Its rollicking and hypnotic rhythm and beautiful harmonic refrain, “Africa,” seemed to represent the life-affirming qualities of Africa itself.
If you want to hear a classic and try to gauge what brought me to see Tabu Ley and all of African music as an artistic revelation, take a listen to Africa Mokili Mobibmba. The Tabu Ley recording appeared on the seminal John Storm Roberts compilation, Africa Dances on his Original Music label.
After much web chasing, I discovered that the record is (great tragedy!) no longer available for purchase, though some folks do have it in their collection (one generous RootsWorld devotee burned me a copy a few years ago and I’m enternally indebted to him). Tabu Ley has added the song to his 1994 release, Africa Worldwide, and you can purchase the song or the record at either iTUnes or Real Rhapsody.
C.C. no longer does a regular radio show in L.A. (alas!) but she does sub on a few local African music shows. She is editor and publisher of an African music magazine, The Beat. Somehow, I don’t feel the vividness from it that I felt when I listened to her spin sides on the radio. But it’ll have to do until there’s another radio show from her.
WARNING: This mp3 blog exists to spread the wonder and genius that is traditional music. It does NOT exist to enhance your private mp3 collection. So by all means come, listen, enjoy, then follow the links to buy the music. If you come, listen, download, then leave—you’re violating the spirit behind this blog and doing nothing to support the artists featured here. And if you link to my mp3 file at your own site, then you’re stealing my bandwidth and being pretty uncool. So please don’t do it.