October 13 2011
Getting a lot of Ghana and Nigeria in on Sound Travels this week as we groove to some of the best funk ever created. Though funk probly has its actual origin in Africa, it took one very special tour by a whole host of funky American acts to Ghana to really get the movement going in Africa.
On March 6, 1971, Accra, Ghana hosted a music festival (also a documentary) billed as Soul to Soul, an ambitious and historic gathering of largely African-American artists on African soil: Santana, Wilson Pickett, a huge star in Ghana, topped the bill that also included Ike & Tina Turner , "Compared To What" jazz team of Les McCann and Eddie Harris, the Staples Singers ... and Santana, with a lineup sporting Latin jazz star Willie Bobo on percussion. And in a contingent of local acts playing the event: The Psychedelic Aliens. The event invigorated the entire funk movement in Africa and that's the connection I wanted to make by playing The Psychedelic Aliens. Peter King in the set with a jazzy slice of afrobeat/highlife funk from a great compilation called Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump. His take on funk shows the many influences at work at that time in West Africa; James Brown, Coltrane, Santana and all the American acts taking their sound "back-to-Africa" even as those in Africa were trying to connect with the modern sounds on the radio in those days.
The Psychedelic Aliens "Extrordinary Woman" Psycho African Beat
Peter King "African Dialects" Nigeria '70 - Lagos Jump
Ebo Taylor, another afro-funk legend criminally unknown to most Western fans of African music in the set today. "Nga Nga" was taken from an album called Love & Death that Taylor recorded last year at the ripe age of 70. The album finds Taylor sounding remarkably spry as well as indelibly funky. The Sweet Talks close the set with some funky Ghanaian funk. They were actaully one of the biggest highlife acts in Ghana in the 70's as well as a personal favorite of mine.
Ebo Taylor "Nga Nga" Love & Death
The Sweet Talks "Mapam Sukuruwe" Adjoa