Where to start with Afro beat?


too punk to drunk
..I just finished reading the Brian Eno bio, and lots of passages relating to his love of African music. I saw a Kanda Bongo Man performance on TV recently, and was really blown away by the complex guitar rhythms and groove.

Can anyone recommend any good place to start with this African stuff? I'm looking for raw, poly-rhythmic stuff with lots of chimEy guitars and percussion.

Cheers, I trust your collective taste will be 'impeccable'. :D


Well-known member
obvious pick: get the best of fela 2 cd set. one cd is the 'jazz' stuff, the other 'dance' material.


Honky Tonk Woman
Africa is a pretty big place. I doubt the music is very homogeneous across regions and eras.

I don't know much about this stuff myself but I've been really impressed by Mahmoud Guinia. He is from Morocco and his music is not at all like Fela's. No electric guitars or horns. But it is very raw and polyrhythmic and very hypnotic. Call and response vocals, looping string figures.


Darned cockwombles.
After getting lots of Fela, there are lots of highlife and Lagos-funk compilation CDs out (would have to check for the names though). In general, though they may not quite fit your definition of what you want, I couldn't recommend these two highly enough:

Music in My Head - V/A (the first one) - superb overview of Afro-pop (rather than Afrobeat) with some early Youssou N'Dour, Thione Seck etc etc

Pekos/Yoro Diallo self-titled (on Yaala Yaala records) - like African Krautrock, is the best way I have to describe it...I was really reminded of Amon Duul's pastoral stuff in places. Possibly one of the best records I own.
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there are no accidents
in addition to the Lagos series mentioned all in the Nigeria Special series are excellent, less straight forward, sometimes more rock, sometimes more disco, with the sweetest traditional song forms, and tight musicianship... funky as hell!

and the psychedelic sound of west africa is of course so amazing and diverse. afro-latin-boogaloo-rock-disco-rumba... incidentally i'm supporting Orchestre Poly Rhythmo de Cotonou in September :D (!!!)


Well-known member
tony allen (fela's drummer)'s solo work is ace, the two ghana soundz comps, the african pearls series (esp. senegal), nigeria 70