Most of my friends know that I do not listen to the radio because commercial radio sucks & they cater to a demographic that I do not easily fit in. Well technically maybe I do fit into most demographics but just because I am between 18 and 35 that does not mean that I enjoy hearing music about bling blingers, raunchy overt sexual encounters or desires, songs repeated 3 times in 2 hours, or none talented young performers who cannot carry a note to save their life.
I find the majority of my new music or releases from my favorite artists using online resources and various groups that I belong to. One group in particular is the Incognito message board, which is a community of international “Coggers” who not only share stories about our favorite group but use the forum as an outlet to let others know about obscure/Indie artists who need to be heard and or seen. I have been a member of the Incognito message board for well over a year & I am ashamed to think of how much money I have spent based on recommendations for electronic, world, house, jazz, acid jazz, ambient trance, R&B etc.
Another one of my favorite resources is Honey Soul who offers awesome music reviews, music samples & playlist downloads. A few months back Honey Soul added a discussion forum where you can get other music information on new releases from “popular” and Indie artists, concert information & so on. Again here, I am ashamed to think of how much I may have spent on music based on recommendations from other Honey Soul fans.
With all that said, I do not really need the radio because my iPod is always rocking with something new & fresh with a large variety of music & spoken word.
Now I would like to introduce you to some music that you may not hear on the radio that needs to be heard. This is a brief ode to “World Black Music” that I found through my peeples & through some independent research.
Artist | Song | Bio (Click Song Title To Preview)
Thomas Mapfumo – Hende Baba (Let’s Go, Father): BIO | Known as the Lion of Zimbabwe for good reason. As a young musician he was jailed by Ian Smith’s white government of the old Rhodesia for subversive lyrics and fomenting rebellion. He was the hero of the forces of liberation who were to go on and win freedom for the people of a new country – Zimbabwe. Since 1979 he has been the single biggest star in that country and is a true man of the people. So it has been especially hard for him to see the problems that have come about over 25 years of Mugabe’s rule – and this being the Lion of Zimbabwe, there was no way he was going to stay quiet for long.
Joy Denalane – I’m Ghetto Von Soweto (Auntie’s House): BIO | Joy Denalane was born as the third child and oldest daughter to both a German mother and a South African father in Berlin-Schöneberg in 1973. A little later on the family moved to Kreuzberg where Joy spent her childhood with her five siblings. At the age of 16 she left home and started focusing on music with first stage performances and the joining of Reggae and Soul bands like “Culture Roots” and “Family Affair”. With 19 she was signed to a major pop label but unfortunately both the singer and the management weren’t able to pass a unanimous resolution when it came to the conception of music and image and Joy asked for a release. Afterwards she moved to Stuttgart where she met DJ Thomilla and Tiefschwarz (two already well-known producers then) with whom she co-wrote and produced the club hit “Music”.
Siji – Sanctuary: BIO | Magnetic. Vibrant. Freedom. Creative. Cultural. These words only begin to describe the music and talents of Siji. Singer/songwriter/producer, Siji has steadily and carefully crafted an original body of work he terms a “spiritually tinged blend of soul and traditional African music.”
Born in London to Nigerian parents, Siji spent his early childhood in Lagos, immersed in the sounds and rhythms of one of the most frenetic cities on earth and influenced by the insurgent, politicized Afrobeat music of Fela Kuti and others. The music is in his blood.
Hil St Soul (Hilary Mwelwa) – Hey Boy: BIO | Born in Lusaka, Zambia, Hilary Mwelwa relocated to London with her family at age five. As a child she adopted her fathers love of music, as their home was immersed with the sounds of traditional Zambian music along with such American R&B/soul icons as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. As a graduate of London’s Westminster University, Hilary had early ambitions to go into the science field and earned a degree in biological sciences. She shares, while I was in school studying sciences, I started to explore my musical interests and I decided that I wanted to pursue music more seriously. I took a year off from school and during this time I recorded my first demo.
Amadou & Mariam – La réalité: BIO | It’s now 28 years since Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia met in Mali and started making music together. Mariam had grown up singing at weddings and traditional festivals while the teenaged Amadou had cut his teeth as a guitarist in Les Ambassadeurs, one of West Africa’s hottest and most legendary bands. Both are blind and they met in 1977 at the Institute for the Blind in Bamako, where they were both studying Braille and found themselves performing together in the institute’s Eclipse Orchestra. They married in 1980, the same year they played their first official concert together as a duo.
If you are interested in Black Music research, I found a great resource (of course online); The Center for Black Music Research. The Mission: The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at Columbia College Chicago documents, collects, preserves, and disseminates information about black music in all parts of the world and promotes understanding of the common roots of the music, musicians, and composers of the global African Diaspora.
One final thought: The music that I mentioned is an excellent example of the African Diaspora & how we reach all corners of the globe.