Awesome Tapes From Africa reissue Umoja’s 707, South African music reigns and bubblegum is back!

The Awesome Tapes From Africa label returns after Brian Shimkovitz’s recent expedition to South Africa – resulting in this much sought after reissue of bubblegum music stars Umoja and their 1988 EP 707. The label boss and DJ also linked up with Johannesburg selector and Afro Synth record shop owner, DJ Okapi, to check out his rapidly renowned emporium.

The band’s ‘Om’ Alec Khaoli turned to the pure pop form during apartheid in the mid-‘80s and Umoja’s EP 707 was a chart-topping hit in 1988 that achieved double-platinum status. Bubblegum music was an extremely catchy township music with call-and-response vocals and synthesiser-led melodies.

Umoja translates as “oneness” or “unity” in Swahili. “Bubblegum music was about escape,” explains Khaoli. “If you had grown up in South Africa at the time, there was nothing more in your life than oppression. It was even in your dreams. Anything that was a way out was welcome…When this music was playing everyone just wanted to dance, just have a good time.”

Awesome Tapes From Africa will release Umoja’s 707 on LP/CD/Digital on May 5.

And while we’re at it, Brian posted this artifact recently:

From Mali – a rare modern take for Awesome Tapes

Out today, ANOTHER treasure from the Awesome Tapes From Africa label. This sounds wonderful.

Awa Poulo is a singer of Peulh origin from Dilly commune, Mali, near the border with Mauritania.

On the LP Poulo Warali: “She and her band combine the hallmarks of Peulh music—warm flute floating over cross-rhythmic n’goni (lute) riffs and resonant calabash gourd hand percussion—with broader Malian sounds like lightly-distorted guitar and a heavier, rollicking inertia. This is a relatively rare example of Malian Peulh music played in a modern, cosmopolitan context, reflecting the mixed society of Dilly, where Bambara, Soninke and Peulh-speaking people live among each other.”

More information and to buy at https://awapoulo.bandcamp.com/album/poulo-warali

World Treasures Music end of year review

Click here to listen to the World Treasures Music review mix.

A number of artists’ passing will make 2016 memorable. A champion of world treasures at the legendary New York venue, The Loft, was David Mancuso, who was mourned widely in the music world after his death aged 72. Sun Palace’s Rude Movements was remastered and released a month before the sad news and the UK duo feature in the 2016 review mix.

rip-david-mancuso-72There were numerous releases and reissues that could of made this review, some selections are based on themes that seemed to nuance the music of the year. Invisible City Editions released one of the standout reissues with V.O’s Mashisa – though the thirst for South African sounds was also generated by DJ Okapi’s compilation for Cultures Of Soul. DJ Okapi, the Mr. Bongo Soundsystem, Nick The Record and the Invisible City duo championed the sounds of South Africa worldwide in hugely appreciated sets. Benjamin Ball’s Flash A Flashlight was another top record.

Another vault of treasures were released under the ‘tropical’ tag. Sofrito, DJ Sotofett, Analog Africa, Don’t DJ and more labels and artists reissued and produced work that was defined in this guise. The compilation of the year was Digital Zandoli. Syn Ka’s LP was also a hugely well received reissue.

digital-zandoliThe biggest reissue in some respects was the Shadow LP, Sweet Sweet Dreams. The Pasteur Lappe and the Cape Verde compilations were some of the best offerings from Africa, along with Aleke’s grail.

shadow-beerAlso from Africa – PMG, Africa Seven and Soundway compiled huge collections of rare material. Kenya was a particular focus this year for its music. Afro7 released Kenyan gold too.

Electronic music is represented on the mix by Bedouin Records, DJ Nature and Mark Ernustus. The DJ Katerpillar story for Awesome Tapes From Africa is another highlight of the year. Mood Hut was a superbly produced label with esoteric sampling and a vibe.

Latin sounds are represented by Mr. Bongo and a beautiful Colombian reissue of rare gems.

Ambient tunes came via the latest collection on Light In The Attic and close this mix (tracklist below).

adele1) Adele Sebastian – Prayer For The People (PMG, 2016, Desert Fairy Princess LP reissue)

2) DJ Nature – Serengeti Run (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

3) Pasteur Lappe – Mbale (Africa Seven, 2016, Pasteur Lappe compilation)

4) Yta Jourias – Adome Nyueto (Hot Casa, 2016, Togo Soul 70 compilation)

5) The Group NSI – Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Moin Za Fe An Moin (Hevenly Sweetness/Diggers Digest, 2016, Digital Zandoli compilation)

6) Sun Palace – Raw Movements (BBE, 2016, remastered and unreleased versions compilation)

7) Ahmed Fakroun – Soleil Soleil (PMG, 2016, Mots D’Amour LP reissue)

8) Odion Iruoje – Alhaja And Obiageri (Soundway, 2016, Down To Earth LP reissue)

9) Njoroge Benson – Nyniukia (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

10) African Vibrations – Hinde (Soundway, 2016, Kenya Special Volume 2 compilation)

11) Francis Njoroge – Dai (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

12) João Cirilo – Po D’Terra (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!)

13) Bitori – Cruz Di Pico (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – Legend Of Funaná: The Forbidden Music of The Cape Verde Islands)

14) Claudio – Bonom Chinois (Strut, 2016, Soul Sok Sega compilation)

15) VO – Mashisa (dub mix) (Invisible City Editions, 2016, reissue Mashisa LP)

16) Formation Boyz – Jungle Anthem (Gqom Oh!, 2016, Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban compilation)

17) DJ Katapila – Sakawa (Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2016, Tiroto LP reissue)

18) Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Jigeen (Ndagga, 2016, Yermande LP)

19) Steve Monite – Only You (dub mix) (Triassic Tusk Records, 2016 S/T compilation)

20) Blue Heron’s Tribute 2 PH – Hymn To A Whale Taker (Mood Hut, 2016, Disco Mantras Vol. 1)

21) Kinetic Electronix – Low Moves (Mood Hut, 2016, Music For Beings 2x 12”)

22) DJ Nature – LF (mix 1) (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

23) Shadow – D’Hardest (Analog Africa, 2016, Sweet Sweet Dreams LP reissue)

24) John Heckle – Alexandria (Bedouin Records, 2016, Tributes To A Sun God12”)

25) Hieroglyphic Being – The Papyrus of Ani (Bedouin Records, 2016, The 42 Laws Of Maat 12”)

26) Banda Black Rio – Mr. Funky Samba (Mr Bongo Brazil7 series, 2016, 7”)

27) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus – Yoyo (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

28) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus– Boom A Ya (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

29) Nilamaye – El Nazareno (Bongo Joe, 2016, Las Flore Del Sol LP)

30) Suzanne Doucet & Christian Buehner – Shivas Dance (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)

31) Deuter – Spirales (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)

WTM interview: Awesome Tapes From Africa (update)

Here’s a video from last month’s event:

Brian Shimkovitz started Awesome Tapes From Africa in 2006. He spoke to World Treasures Music – as part of a ten-year celebration of the blog at Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds before his supreme DJ set for &/Or Emporium at Hifi nightclub – about becoming a world renowned DJ, label boss and paving the way for a range of African musicians to reach new ears and tour the world.

Here’s the interview:

&/Or Emporium is exhibiting tape cover art from the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog at Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, LS2 7DY, UK, until the end of July.

Click here for the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog.

Thanks to Raf Bogan, Joe Gill + Shaun Read and all the Outlaws crew, Hifi and FSN, and of course…Brian.

WTM interview: Awesome Tapes From Africa

Brian Shimkovitz started Awesome Tapes From Africa in 2006. He spoke to World Treasures Music – as part of a ten-year celebration of the blog at Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds before his supreme DJ set for &/Or Emporium at Hifi nightclub – about becoming a world renowned DJ, label boss and paving the way for a range of African musicians to reach new ears and tour the world.

&/Or Emporium is exhibiting tape cover art from the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog at Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, LS2 7DY, UK, until the end of July.

Click here for the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog.

Thanks to Raf Bogan, Joe Gill + Shaun Read and all the Outlaws crew, Hifi and FSN, and of course…Brian.

Here are some of the tape covers on display:

Ata Kak – exciting news about leftfield bomb

Ata Kak’s Daa Nyinaa has been doing the rounds for a while in the hands of worldly DJs thanks to Noema’s tribute edit released on African Shakedown. Now the cassette, released in 1994 according to Discogs, of the superb album Oba Sima will be pressed onto vinyl thanks to Awesome Tapes From Africa. Ata Kak is a Ghanaian highlife singer who raps, scats and wails over proto-house synth and beat combos ten years after the Euro/US movement.

A classic lost in the time-space continuum – unless you were throwing down to this in Africa in the 80s/90s, in which case this would have been on heavy play on your tape deck. Watch this video of the damage Daa Nyinaa does, although this looks like a weird Soul Train-esque montage with over-dubbed music (stating it was shot in 1989), anyway, enjoy!

Visit: For news of March’s release from Awesome Tapes’.