Six Degrees Series :: African Travels
[six degrees]   review from biz  

Everything you hear on popular American radio is a direct result of translated black-american culture: rock, pop, jazz, rap, blues, funk, swing, big band... 'Rock & Roll' was slang for f*ckin, as was 'jazz' and only after Jerry Lee Lewis 'cleaned' it up for white America did the stuff take off commercially (jazz remained an underground 'jungle' music until it was repackaged as 'swing'). Now the roots of our music make themselves known in this latest installment from the Six Degree Records' Traveler Series, bringing together remixes from some of the finest stars of Afrobeat and Electronica.

I used to think African music was all about oooga boooga thanks to PBS and National Geographic's tribal vignettes I was growing up with, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The 'Dark Continent' is home to possibly the richest blend of 'vintage' jazz, blues, soul, funk, R&B, gospel, and rock you'll ever hear this side of the Atlantic.

In 1994 I worked a concert by Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, legends of South Africa not only for their music but also for their political activism against apartheid. It was a total awakening for me and I've been hooked ever since, diversifying my listening to other incredible musicians and artists such as Baaba Olatunji, Hassan Hakmoun, Fela & Femi Kuti, Ali Farka Toure, King Sunny Ade, Papa Wembe, Youssou N'Dour, Baaba Maal, and a host of others.

Their music isn't static. It moves, it grooves, it bops, it pops, it twists, it kicks, it thumps, it pumps. I'd contemplated giving a track by track review here, but will instead advise you to give this album a serious listen and use it as a compass to discover the true roots of much of what we consider today to be 'Western' music.


ethnotechno rating: 3 out of 5
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  1. Issa Bagayogo :: Diarabi (pick)
  2. Masters At Work :: MAW Expensive (pick)
  3. Mabi Thobejane :: Sidudla
  4. Bob Holroyd :: Waking The Spirits
  5. Organic Grooves/Muhamadou Salieu Suso :: Sutukung (pick)
  6. Neba Solo :: Noumou Foly
  7. Future Loop Foundation :: Freetown (pick)
  8. Beat Pharmac :: In The Suny (pick)
  9. Les Go :: Dan Gna