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Real Mellow

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Tabu Ley Rochereau & L’afrisa International : Karibou Ya Bintou
taken from the album “Karibou Ya Bintou” on Sonodisc (197?)

Tabu Ley Rochereau & L’orchestre African Fiesta : Caroline Mama
taken from the album “Seigneur Rochereau” on Sonafric (196?)

Orchestre Regional de Kayes : Nanyuman
taken from the album “The Best ot the First Biennial of Arts and Culture for the Young” on Mali Music (1970)

I’ve often thought it would be quite alright to skip the majority of adulthood and go right into being a grandpa. I imagine it’s a lot less pressure than being an actual parent in the first degree. Rather than being the enforcer of rules and harbringer of spankings, I could be the spoiler, the precious gift giver, the kooky and eccentric source of history and wisdom. Perhaps I’d partake in a little cheek pulling and repetition of tale telling, but what really interests me most is kicking back in my rocking chair with a refreshing breeze ruffling what’s left of the hair on my head and a little block of soft wood to whittle with my wrinkly but agile hands. One signifigant detail which likely distinguishes me from the average American geriatric, is that somehow I picture myself growing old in West Africa. Don’t really know why, can’t explain it. I guess it might have something to do with my affinity for music like this.

Every music lover has an absolute weakness- if not several. It’s that soft spot in the ear drum that’s triggered by a specific combination of harmony, tone, fuzz, static, and something entirely supernatural. Once caught in the all-powerful rapture of this particular musical combination, the listener is rendered powerless in the world of mortals. Earthly concerns disintegrate, the fundamental separations that comprise our daily cognition become indecipherable, language is seen as the mere shadow that it always has been, and in the place of all our menial life’s travail, the listener is given a momentary glimpse of heaven’s horizon! This is the stuff that grandpas whittle for. While the phonograph spins another round under a Guinean moon.

Tabu Ley is a cat that lacks a pretty face, but more than makes up for it with his musical tastes. Although, I might suggest skipping over some of the “high octane soukous” of his late 80’s work. But that’s just me. The man has written more than 2,000 songs and his records still sell more than almost any other African artist- a living legend. As for the Ochestra Regional de Kayes, sadly this is their only record. And it has yet to be re-issued. Another beautiful song from this LP was recently compiled on the super-dope (required listening for people with similar soft spots) Love’s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa.

Also, been meaning to post this for a hot minute. Some friends over in Austria really dug the Gumbo Funk EP and decided to put together this CRAZY music video for “The Don” in their free time (when they’re not shooting commercials and movies). Can’t really describe it, kinda gotta see it for yourselves. Check out the video from Illuminati Films right HERE.

Final Note: you can find a lot more classic African grooves at Aduna Blog. And there’s always Benn Loxo too!

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