Few clubs in Los Angeles deliver the polyrhythmic grooves from across the globe like Afro Funké. Every Thursday, Zanzibar showcases music from all corners of the world touched by the African Diaspora. Tonight, Afro Funké and Home, From Home present Wunmi, the U.K. born, Nigeria-raised songstress, whose Afro-fusion rhythms, syncopated vocals, and party-stoking dance moves (she's wields a pair heels like Tina) will undoubtedly stoke some fires in some dancing shoes. Wunmi stops into L.A. following a February recording session in Ghana, which was funded mostly by donations from her fans and inspired by icon of West Coast funk and R&B, Roy Ayers. For many world beat collectors, West Africa is best known for Fela Kuti (crate diggers will know the amazing Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump comp), the revolutionary, and innovator of Afrobeat. But there's so much more to music of West Africa.
After the jump, Wunmi gives West Coast Sound an EXCLUSIVE guide to the modern sounds of West Africa.
Note from Wunmi:
My formative years were in Nigeria. My older cousins played a major role in the music i grew up to listening to, we listened to lots of various music from all over the world… but they played lots of conscious music from Jamaica such as Mighty Diamond loved songs such as 'Natty dread will never run away', Shame and Pride, U-Roy -“Hit the
road jack”, Wailers!!!! Then there was also our local hero's such as Fela Anikulapo Kuti who's music I fell in love with open and close was the first hit for me.
It was a dance song, I loved to dance! Well, I still do! King Sunny Ade was my favorite Juju artist his silky voice and wikkid talking drums always got me dancing and I was in love in The Jackson 5, who wasn't?! “ABC,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” James Brown “Say it Loud, I'm Black and Proud.” Mariam Makeba, Mama Africa, she was the only female African singer that I knew of at the time.
When I returned to UK/London age 14, the first record I bought was Diana Ross Upside Down. I got even more into Michael Jackson, I played Off the Wall album till it could not play anymore. Then began the invasion of British Black artists. Janet Kay “Silly Games” was my fave. WIKKID TUNE! I was also a fan of Adam Ant, Police, Phil Collins /Genesis and Kate Bush, by then I was also heavily into Manu Dibago
Wunmi graciously gave West Coast Sound her recommendations for artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Check them out.
Essential Album: Concrete Jungle, (2010)
The Hits: “Heartbeat,” “Mind vs. Heart”
Nneka's album represents to me the new wave of singer-songwriters emerging from Africa/Nigeria. Especially women. She voices the urgency of the youths on the streets as they begin to speak up and fight the system that has put their future on lock down.
Essential Album: ASA (2008)
The Hits: “Jailer”
Asa's album is another insight to the magic brewing in Nigeria's underground music scence, she sings in her native language Yoruba and English. Truly essential album for folks who love good music.
Essential Album: Black Orpheus Limited Edition – (2004)
The Hits: “Beautiful Emilie,” “Rhythm Is Love,” “Femiliarise”
This album is too wikkid for words. If folks would remove the blinders they wear when they think of Africa. The relationship of rock, afrobeat, and soul all fuses seamlessly with Keziah Jones. This album further explores the depth of talent oozing out of the continent.
Essential Album: Modern Ghanaians (2006)
The Hits:“I Want to See You My Father.” A.k.a. “My Father”
King Ayisoba Album is an amazing fusion of traditional instrumentation mixed with old highlife and the new Ghanaian sound, hiplife. A master of an instrument popularly known in his native land as Kolgo. His vocal is distinct, raw and truly awesome. His hit single “My Father” was favored as much by the young as by the old; and
by the illiterate farmer as by the business executive.
Essential Album: Green Card (2007)
I love this album because it is really fresh in terms of topics /lyrics. It is like a story teller. Very progressive for music coming out of Ghana! Wanlov is also a multi talented artist, who co-wrote a short mini that premieres in Ghana this week.