Archive for the Africa stories Category

Os Alegres “Wenda Sola”, Angola AFRICA (download mp3)

Posted in Africa stories, Afro Sounds, Angola Music, download single song, RadioDiffusion Music on June 19, 2011 by Listen Recovery

Wenda Solá (download mp3)

Os Alegres, which translate to “The Glad Ones” in Portuguese, were from Angola.

The music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country. In the 20th century, Angola has been wracked by violence and political instability. Its musicians have been oppressed by government forces, both during the period of Portuguese colonization and after independence. Angolan music also influenced another Lusophone music in Brazil and Cuban music.

The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda, home to a diverse group of styles including Angolan merengue (based on Dominican merengue), kilapanda and semba, the last being a genre with roots intertwined with that of Brazilian samba music.

Compared to many of its neighbors in Southern Africa, as well as other Portuguese colonies (especially Cape Verde), Angola’s music has had little international success. The first group to become known outside of Angola was Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda, who were most popular from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and have continued sporadically performing and recording since.


FELA w GINGER BAKER in Africa, KALABAR near LAGOS Nigeria. (footage by Ginger Baker)

Posted in Africa stories, Afro Sounds, Fela Kuti stories, video archives on April 19, 2010 by Listen Recovery

rare early footage (shot by Ginger Baker) featuring Fela & Afrika 70 performing in the rainy southeastern town of Kalabar, shortly after the the Nigerian civil war.

FELA Discography. “Fela Anikulapo-Kuti” (Oct. 15, 1938 – Aug. 2, 1997)

Posted in Africa stories, Afro Sounds, Fela Kuti stories on March 2, 2010 by Listen Recovery

FELA Discography link

Buraka Som Sistema: Black Diamond (Angola/Portugal) words by Tom Ewing,

Posted in Africa stories on June 20, 2009 by Listen Recovery

Buraka Som Sistema play kuduro, an Angolan take on dance music that’s an example of what British critic Matt Ingram calls “Shanty House”: urbanized, globalized street and club music splicing hip-hop and rave DNA with local mutations to create dynamic pidgin sounds. Kuduro, which mixes rai and soca rhythms with local MCing and salvaged electronics, is the product of the same kind of environment and pressure that produced baile funk in Rio and kwaito in South Africa– musics which make good touchpoints for kuduro’s breakneck appeal. It was born in the Angolan capital Luanda and quickly jumped along post-colonial transmission lines to Lisbon, home of Buraka Som Sistema. The Buraka sound has been picked up by global tastemakers like Diplo and M.I.A., and debut album Black Diamond gives the crew an opportunity to show how kuduro works at fuller stretch– and whether it can survive outside its specific locality.

Kuduro is a pun on Angola slang for “hard ass”– much of Black Diamond takes this as an operating principle. Buraka Som Sistema tracks often have the marvelous thickness of early jungle, that sense of pushing through electronic thickets, senses on hyper-alert. But their rhythmic template is more often the relentless bounce of soca. Soca’s perpetual chirpiness makes it an acquired taste, but there’s no denying its kinetic power, and blended with Buraka’s harder beats and harsher sounds it becomes a fearsome engine for their music. The first few tracks are both introduction and pummeling workout– the frantic M.I.A. team-up “Sound of Kuduro” sets the tone for highlights “Aqui Para Voces” and “Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)”, which are less chaotic but even more exhilarating.

front cover LP

Opener “Luanda/Lisboa” starts with a keyboard throb that sounds like a generator powering up to the band can get enough juice to even play, and what’s so attractive about the album is its constant flirtation with collapse– everything’s so furious, so quick-changing, so ramshackle that its tracks sound half-improvised. New riffs, bleeps and blurts constantly intrude, upsetting a tune’s direction: the transitions between tracks are more like collisions. A song like “IC19” spends a while groping for a viable rhythm before rattling off on a chassis built from old school rave, dodging blasts of electro like oncoming traffic, before suddenly switching into the trancier, dirtier “Tiroza”. Which in turn breaks down into what sounds like Portuguese folk music played on a crackly radio, a tune that becomes the digitally-tweaked basis for “General”– a song that halfway through bursts into a gloriously goofy ringtone melody.

“General” is a good example of the group’s more playful and atmospheric side, which emerges again when the tempo drops on the two-part “New Africas”: their rumbling drum patterns show that the group’s electro-world fusions survive a change in pace, but the somewhat mystical voiceover is an uneasy fit with the rest of the record’s sharpness. Then again, not speaking Portuguese means I can’t get the political references which are a big part of kuduro’s Angolan appeal. As a sop to tourists like me, DJ Lil John has talked in interviews about how the band treat the voice as a percussive instrument, and it’s an approach that works, with Kano’s anglophone guest spot on “Skank & Move” an unwelcome spell-breaker. But even if you don’t have the language skills to get their full story, Buraka Som Sistema are worth your time: Black Diamond is one of the fiercest dance records in recent memory.

Tom Ewing, January 20, 2009

LISTEN RECOVERY: David Dolnick, Egypt trip. photos and letter part 2

Posted in Africa stories, Listen Recovery, photography on June 6, 2009 by Listen Recovery

Hi Friends,

Ok, so I waited to send this note to you until the weekend. I have had many people email me about being jealous (even though Bronwyn says the proper term should be “envious”—don’t worry, I didn’t know either) and I wasn’t about to send this note out until everyone was in a better mood. : )

An old landlord of mine had a magnet on her fridge that read “Life is what happens in between making plans.” Our plan was to take an 8-hour bus from Cairo to Taba (at the Egypt/Israeli border), then cross the Israeli/Jordan border, and then take a 3-hour cab to Petra. However, after spending a few days in Cairo and seeing plenty of their buses, that plan started to seem less and less desirable. Although the cabs in Jordan are supposed to be nicer, that isn’t saying much. The buses are awful; overcrowded, smoking, no AC, people hanging out the back doors (literally), etc… and the bus terminal looks like chaos (make that chaos on steroids)—and did I mention it’s the desert? We also weren’t sure if there was a reliable route back (even the Egyptian travel agents at the hotel couldn’t tell us, and when they tried to call the bus company, no one ever answered).

Although we both would LOVE to see Petra, we reminded ourselves that this is a vacation, not an archeological expedition, and that more comfortable and western-friendly methods of getting to Petra would have been very expensive, and should have been booked in advance. Renting a car was out of the question.

So we asked ourselves, where would we like to spend our weekend before Turkey? We wanted to go somewhere close and relatively inexpensive (to both get there and stay there), so we chose Mykonos. To go from the Greek Islands to the desert was rough, so we’ve retreated back and it freakin’ rocks. We just got here and went to dinner. I won’t bore you with more fantastic sunset pictures but I do hope to show you pictures later about the insane nightlife this place has to offer. So far most of the girls we’ve seen look like Nicole Ritchie clones, and when they remove those fantastic (that is me being sarcastic) bug-eye sunglasses, they all look like they haven’t slept in 2 days. Tons of gay men as well, crazy that they would have been imprisoned in the country we were in 6-hours prior. I never thought I’d say this but oh those tolerant Greeks!

So Obama came and left Egypt. He apparently didn’t need my help, which is unfortunate, because I would have loved to play some basketball with him and/or save his life. I watched his speech on TV and it was fantastic. He highlighted and gave promise to so many issues that I have seen and read about this region. I have never felt so proud to be an American.

I also wanted to spend a few seconds (errrr… sentences) on a few things I didn’t highlight from Cairo.
–When I first saw this sign I was shocked—I had only seen such pathetic displays in books about civil rights. The picture is attached, “No Ladies in the Door.” I hope that provides a final exclamation mark on my comments about the prevailing attitude towards women around these parts.
–We visited a carpet/rug-making school/workshop. When kids are very young (5 or 6), many parents have them forgo school for a “better life” making carpets. This “better life” should make us all very thankful. The attached pic is of a young kid making a silk rug. There is a good chance that is all this kid will do his entire life. A 3 x 3 meter piece takes 3 months to make, hence the US $15,000 price tag (although he will probably only pocket $200/month of that).
— Walking fast through the market someone yelled at us, “Hey you, you walk like an Egyptian!” That was the funniest thing someone yelled at us (although “I love you” to Bronwyn was funny the first time, but maybe just to me). For some reason they also yelled “Shakira” at her numerous times. Since she looks nothing like her, we are still confused.
–Gambling in Egypt – they only accepted US dollars—very strange. I’m in Africa, and they only take Uncle Sam’? (BTW, we only bet $40 just to say we did, and we lost)
–Many people fish in the Nile. Looking at the water it doesn’t seem like a good idea, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
— People just hang out on the freeways. I’m still not sure why but I have seen small buses pick them up. I think it’s an artificial bus stop, but I’m still not sure. It looks incredibly dangerous.
–Leaving Egypt I was asked to show my passport and boarding pass 6 different times. Seriously, 6 times.

In Cairo, we ate twice at a fantastic restaurant called Abu El Sid ( very close the Marriott. The first time Bronwyn outlawed pictures (it’s a semi-classy joint) but the next time I demanded it. I’ve attached pics of the falafel (which is flat and light in color, unlike the more rounded and dark ones I’m used to in the US) and it was amazing, as was everything else. We didn’t really sit at tables, more like a coffee table seating.

At this restaurant, and like most others, smoking the hooka is part of the meal. They call it “shisha” and it smells AWFUL – sickeningly sweet, like rotten cotton candy or what I would think a gummy bear factory would smell like. I hate the smell of cigarettes, but I literally BEG for people to light up just to drown out that shisha smell. And thankfully the food is so good (at least at this restaurant) it momentarily overwhelms the nauseating fumes.

So since it’s the weekend, I don’t mind telling y’all that I’m off to the beaches of Mykonos and then to visit the nightlife. I’ll update you later but please note internet access is not as pervasive on this crazy island and I may be “dark” for a bit.

Peace from the islands again,

David Dolnick

Listen Recovery

KIDRAGON aka ‘Muhammad Abdul Lateef’, MECCA & MEDINA, pilgrimage/trip 05-08 photo by Nushmia Khan & kidragon.

Posted in Africa stories, photography on June 6, 2009 by Listen Recovery
Peace to all the Listen Recovery family & friends,
This is kidragon aka Muhammad Abdul Lateef.  I want to share with everyone snapshots from my blessed journeys to Mecca & Medina (Saudi Arabia).  Ever since I became Muslim back in 2003, I’ve always had this burning desire to visit the two cities of Mecca & Medina.  Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam.  Medina, a city roughly 210 miles north of Mecca, is where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated to after facing persecution & oppression in Mecca.  Medina also contains the blessed tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  The two along with Jerusalem are considered to be the three holy cities in the Islamic tradition.Thank God, I’ve been blessed to travel to Mecca & Medina 3-times in the past 4-years.  My first trip was in 2005 with Omar Qureshi aka DJ Omega.  The second was for the Hajj/pilgrimage in 2006/7, and recently during the summer of 2008.  Each visit has its own blessed story and is filled with volumes upon volumes of special moments and experiences.Words fall short in describing the beauty and spiritual wealth of Mecca & Medina.  Tranquility & peace resides there.  I mean you can actually FEEL that there is a Prophet & great Messenger of God buried in the earth.  There’s a lot of love in the air and it motivates you to learn more about the Prophet’s life, mission, & purpose…
Mecca and Medina is a meeting place where the human being can come as he or she is and peacefully surrender their mind, body, & soul to God.  Engaging in sincere and intimate supplication, it’s an environment where you witness your heart come to life and where your spiritual cup gets filled.  Dreams are not like dreams back home and you get to meet people of immense spiritual capacity.  While there your main concern becomes calling upon the Lord of the Worlds and pouring out every request & plea within your heart.  It’s unlike anything of this world, and I encourage those who are capable and willing to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad to make that journey…May God open the doors for all us,
facebook: kidragon

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La Ilaha Ilala – There is no God but God

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Allahu Akbar – God is the Greatest

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The Green Dome in Medina (below is the blessed tomb of The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) & his closest companions Umar Ibn Al-Khatab & Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, May God be pleased with them)

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Masjid An-Nabawi (The Mosque of the Prophet pbuh in Medina)

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Inside the Mosque of the Prophet (pbuh)

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The Kaba during the pilgrimage

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Pictured here is a funeral prayer at the Kaba.  A reminder that our mortality is REAL and that holding onto to things of utmost importance is the key to life.

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A beautiful moment of a woman reading the Quran at the Kaba

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(Photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(Photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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(photo by Nushmia Khan)

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The Grand Mosque seen from the streets of Mecca

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Mina: a tent city near Mecca where pilgrims stay during the Hajj

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Mind you this isn’t the only thing on the menu.  They have Carl’s Jr., McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Chilis, & Applebees there too!

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Blessed Shuyukh (Teachers) – Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad (UK), Shaykh Abdul Hadi (USA) Shaykh Yahya Rhodus (USA), Shayhk Hamza Yusuf (USA), Shaykh Abdulah Al-Kadi (Saudi Arabia) (from L-R)

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Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Abdul Hadi (from L-R)

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The Lava Tracts in Medina

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kd & the Shaykh from Turkey

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After you complete the Hajj…you shave your head!!! (Women just have to snip a lil bit)

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During the Hajj in 2006/7, I was blessed with meeting Habib Umar from Yemen.  Habib Umar is a direct grandchild of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  He comes from a noble family of piety and knowledge and travels the world inviting humanity to the message of his great-grandfather.

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Great-grandchildren of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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The building behind me locates where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born (Mecca)

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kidragon & Omega @ a well in Medina.

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Omega outside the Grand Mosque in Mecca

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Thank you to the Revelli brothers for their love & support.  One Love.

Mulatu Astatke painting by Jonas Lynch

Posted in Africa stories, Listen Recovery on February 16, 2009 by Listen Recovery

The Timeless series of concerts started with Mulatu Astatke from Ethiopia.  The arranger / composer seriess consist in 4 events: Mulatu Astatke, Suite for Ma’ Dukes (a tribute to J.Dilla’s work), Arthur Verocai (Brasilian composer) and David Axelrod, who we all know his work.  Jonas Lynch is a young painter from Iowa, who migrated to LA about 10 years ago.  Jonas attended a graphic design college for a few years and then decided to start painting.  His style is very unique, his choice of materials and color shadows take your vision to a vintage area, from Run DMC to Barak Obama, Jonas’ being doing it wild.  The first series of gives to the Timesless main artist has started.  Up next, on Sun. Feb. 22nd, Jonas will present Ma’ Dukes with two paintings, one for her to sign and one for him to keep.  The concert will take place once again a the Luckman in Cal State LA. starting at 7pm with dj sets by Jrocc and long time friend of Dilla dj House Shoe.  Here are some of the photos taken of the painting presented to Mulatu Astatke the day after the even.  Mulatu signed the painting in his native language ‘ahmaric’.  Dig deep to get deeper.

mulatu astatke by jonas lynchmulatumulatu close upahmaric signature by mulatu astatkejonas lynchJonas Lynch carries his work after the day of the event.  The painting is on a 3×4 feet in area and is painted on a white canvas, the background of the painting is made with phone book white pages, Jonas’ trademark.

Todd Simon & Mulatu Astatke

Todd Simon & Mulatu Astatke photo by 213




Our Recovery brother Todd Simon was the man who basically stoled the night, by playing his heart out during most of the sets.  Todd had a few solos and most of the high sounds arrangements.  Mulatu liked Todd’s style of playing very much.  Todd was just invited to share the stage with brazilian composer and arranger Arthur Verocai on March 15th.  Simon besides being a super talented trumpeter also is a father of a beautiful little girl and as well a teacher of music at Hollywood High School.  Toddito as we call him will be ‘killing’ the horns once again this mid March.  Make sure to get your tix soon.  So far the Timeless shows have been a success.  Feel the experience of good sounds and always dig deep to get deeper.