African Disco Electro

We’re no stranger to African electronica, Afrobeat highlife, and African funk on this blog – previously mixed, remixed, played or blogged about William Onyeahbor (RIP), Victor Uwaifo, Benis Cletin, Supermax, Fela and Femi Kuti, Lijadu Sisters and many more.

So it’s not a surprise that I’ve been listening to a lot of Nigerian and South African music, but unusually of a disco and electro bent, not really something you’d associate with Africa outside of white clubs…but it seems in some places a wonderfully wonky sort of African disco and electro took place – but still with quite often the Afrobeat conscious message. Like Angela Starr’s Disco Dancing above…is it rap? Disco? Funk? Hard to tell…certainly not Fela!

And hence Nigeria’s Christy Essien’s ‘You Can’t Change A Man’ – preach! Classic disco, but also with that Arthur Russell stream of consciousness thing going on.

And sounds like some were listening closely to New York and UK electro, Street Sounds et al – the crazy Flasha Flashlight by Benjamin Ball from South Africa:

And bonus is his bonkers ‘I Just Keep Dancing’ – listen to those wobbly synth(?) lines! Annoyingly short…

Less short is his Paulina, this is rare, sounds like a sort of electro-pop Afrobeat, which given I was overhearing and loving the new Ibibio Sound Machine album at Banquet recently, a surprisingly modern combo.

And I’d surprisingly missed listening to Joni Haastrup although the name sounded familiar – this is more in the classic mould of Afrobeat – definitely in the message, but again, you can hear the disco and funk as well.

Disco never sounded so righteous with ‘Free The People’, in fact it really didn’t go for overt political messages at all outside of free sexuality and unity. This is probably the most Afrobeat tracks of Joni’s I’ve heard, but it has the funk and disco breaks/groove as well.

And not surprisingly, it seems the South African artists of today are mining such music – check out Patricia Majalisa’s ‘Cool Down’ which has an intentionally old skool feel, breakdancers etc – in fact I thought it was an old track with a surprisingly modern video until I found that it’s from 2007! Or 1996, hard to get info on it – but anyway, not 80’s, although she is a ‘disco queen’ from that era.

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