Thursday, September 23, 2010


• Zombie – Fela Kuti
• Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
• Viva Nigeria – Fela Ransome Kuti
• I’ve Seen it All – Kesivan and The Lights
• Lonely Woman/ India – Kesivan and The Lights
• The Hurricane Of Silence Was The Author Of My Tears - Carlo Mombelli And The Prisoners Of Strange
• Monday Morning in Lagos – Fela Kuti
• Requiem - Carlo Mombelli And The Prisoners Of Strange
• Shake Daddy Shake – Eula Cooper
• Potter’s Field – Alice Swoboda
• Do What You Gotta Do – Nina Simone
• Almost Persuaded – Etta James
• Maria Elena – Los Indios Trabajos
• Rien Ne Va Plus – Funk Factory
• Mandela – Abdullah Ibrahim

Obviously Fela ‘Formerly Ransome’ Anikulapo Kuti needs no introduction to anyone born before 1990. His music was as controversial as his politics and his innumerable wives. His music –christened afrobeat- was like the man, gutsy, loud and definitely had a giant set of balls. Viva Nigeria is from the 69’ LA Session – perhaps a testament to his more conservative, left of centre political inklings before Nigeria melted into a series of turbulent coups and before he changed his name. Later, as grief and disillusion gripped him the songs took on an angrier more threatening tone but one idea remained pure and unadulterated - Viva Nigeria, Viva Africa!

Potter’s Field is a fairly recent obsession. It was recorded in the early 70s by Alice Swoboda. It was neither successful nor critically acclaimed, and Swoboda quickly fell into the musical underground. For one thing it was difficult to class the sound, it was part folk song, part country western and some soul thrown in for good measure. The song is morbid, depressing and a tad self-deprecating but every note echoes with truth and a sincerity that can not be feigned nor denied. Her voice rings clear and deep above the whimsical and nostalgic guitar riff that mask homelessness, despair and damnation to a paupers grave. Nothing else matters “Coz the city is going to bury me in Potter’s Field”.

I coupled this with Eric Clapton’s equally haunting and melancholic Tears in Heaven written after the death of his infant son. It tells of a father’s loss and the fact that he never got to really know his son which causes him to ask rather tragically and with immeasurable grief of a parent “Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven?”

On a lighter note. Recently I’ve become quite the jazz aficionado. Again is Kesivan and The Lights, the experimental but cool Carlo Mombelli And The Prisoners Of Strange and the legendary Abdullah Ibrahim all of whom are from my backyard, The Cape.


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