I often ramble on this site about how much I love the fusion that goes on in a lot of African music. From the Beatles-influenced sounds of Nigeria in the 60s, to the soul and funk styles of the 70s, to 80s synth pop explosion, to contemporary, bluesy acoustic music in West Africa… most of my favourite African music is a hybrid of traditional rhythms, melodies and instruments with the Western sounds that I grew up with.
This is the part of the record where someone states the obvious – that I’m an ex-pat, so of course I like the “Westernized” African sound. But I’d argue that for both locals and people like me it’s the fusion styles, not the traditional in the true sense of the word, that appeals to the vast majority of listeners. Localized forms of jazz, soul, hip-hop, pop and even rock’n'roll have developed in their own African ways to become some of the most popular musical styles across the continent.
A few of you have written to say that you’ve either used music you found on this site in remixes, or that you’ve been influenced by the sounds to make music of your own. So today we’ll hear some contemporary musical fusions that have gone in the reverse direction, from Africa back to the West. This time, however, it’s not African immigrants and salves bringing their native sounds that will come to form soul and jazz. Instead, it’s DJs and musicians from America who, thanks to the Internet and overall diversity, just dig the sound of a Ghanaian guitar or a Cameroonian pop tune.
Vampire Weekend, a group from NYC, use very West African-sounded guitar licks and percussion to produce a seriously catchy pop song. Mike Ogletree loved that Keng Godefroy track I posted a while back so he decided to give it a remix. I wonder what Keng would think if he heard this version.
I invite anyone whose music has been influenced by tunes you’ve heard on Benn loxo, either directly through sampling or indirectly, to send it along. If it’s good I’d be more than happy to post it on the site.america, kwassa, remix