Ogoya Nengo & The Dodo Women's Group —
On Mande ... CD Tal, 2016. New Copy ...
An album that features vocal performances from Ogoya Nengo and her group – but one that also expands the groove a bit with some great added percussion at times – which really expands the energy of the record past the all-acapella passages! The vocals here are a lot more earthy and timeless than some of the warmer harmonies you might know from the South African scene and often Ogoya or a single member of the group gets a chance to shine in the solo spotlight – recorded in a very up-close style that makes every vocal shape and texture extremely powerful – so much so, there's a vibrancy to the record that goes beyond any need for linguistic understanding or even cultural context. The mixture of acoustic strings and percussion in some of the instrumentation also makes the performance feel even more compelling – and titles include "Wololo Josiaya", "Chur", "Jawend Peke", "Nyiero", "On Monday", "Elias Owino", "Wende Peke", and "Bunde Kod Asili". CD
Way way more than just the usual roots reggae collection – a stunning set that documents the growth of Rastafari ideals in Jamaican music – with examples that range from years before the birth of reggae, through that style's bit growth in the 70s! The set includes this very large booklet of notes and images – giving plenty of historical context for the spiritual movement, and linking it's roots to Ethiopian political freedoms of the early 20th century, which then became a huge inspiration for oppressed Jamaicans. Styles of the music vary nicely – and include pre-reggae styles, mento, and other folkloric modes – which then give way to more familiar sounds, but always with an ear for the unique, and spiritually powerful. Titles include "Zion I" by Winston & Ansell, "Ethiopia" by Lord Lebby & The Jamaican Calypsonians, "Soul Drums" by Count Ossie & Leslie Butler, "His Imperial Majesty" by Rod Taylor, "Jah Will Cut You Down" by Earth & Stone, "Haile Selassie" by Laurel Aitken, "None Shall Escape The Judgement" by Johnny Clark, "African Drums" by Bongo Herman & Jah Lloyd, "Hail The Words Of Jah" by Ashanti Roy, "Salaam" by Bongo Herman, Les & Bunny, "Narration" by Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, and "Rasta Dreadlocks" by The Heaven Singers. (Reggae, Global Grooves)CD
Other-worldly sounds from 70s Thailand – served up by the sublime vocals of Phairin Phonhibun, one of those singers who will grab you, even if you don't know what she's saying! Fortunately, this great package also features translations of the lyrics – which are helpful to turn to if you're as mesmerized by the vocals as we are – although honestly, the explanation of the tunes can hardly do justice to the way they come across at a mostly emotive level – as Phairin's got this way of bending her words and creating inflections that have more than enough meaning on their own! Instrumentation is a light blend of hypnotic organ and keyboard lines with earthier percussion, and some occasional stringed instrumentation – all in a mode that follows the sing-song passage of the lyrics in a beautiful way. Titles include "I Mae Oie", "Yan Hak Bo Ching", "Phak Ki Phu Chai", "Lam Phloen Chai Kon Ko", and "Ok Phansa". CD
Maybe our favorite volume so far in this excellent series – a set that focuses on early 60s work from South Africa, with a vibe that really showcases that great sound that would soon explode globally – as artists like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba got wider exposure! Yet the music here is hardly as commercial as sounds from those two – as the overall production and presentation is nice and rootsy – lively rhythms topped with jazzy instrumentation and these especially wonderful vocals that dip, turn, soar, and fly – all at a level that would become cliche in the world music boom decades later, but which still sounds beautiful here at the roots. All tracks were hand-picked from the archives of the International Library Of African Music – and titles include "Nylon" and "Intogeymy" by The Lower Buttons, "Seven Stiches" and "Rock Phata 1001" by Kid Ma Wrong Wrong, "Lulu Part 4" by Bra Sello, "Mangothobane" and "Wamuhle Lomfana" by Flying Jazz Queens, "Kudala Ngizula" by Cowboy Superman & His Cowboy Sisters, and "Nice Time" by Que Sisters. CD