Afropop Classic April 22, 2022
Afropop Cover Songs

In today’s pop music, everybody is a composer. But what about the classics? The songs that last? In this program we survey African musicians reinterpreting each other’s songs, as well as songs from far outside their traditions. And we hear foreign takes on African diaspora music. From Louis Armstrong’s “Skokiaan” to Alpha Blondy’s “Whole Lotta Love,” it’s a journey of discovery and rediscovery. Produced by Banning Eyre.

Transcript

Afropop Cover Songs

WINDOW: 01_Emma.m4a, Emma featuring Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Wakafrika (Giant, 0 7599-24566-2 3) (emerge on little horn riff at 1:34—1:52, then to bed)

GEORGES: AH YES, THE UNMISTAKABLE VOICE OF SALIF KEITA, COVERING A CLASSIC SONG BY THE BAND TOURE KUNDA ON MANU DIBANGO’S 1994 ALBUM WAKAFRIKA. MANU SAID AT THE TIME THAT AFRICAN MUSICIANS NEEDED TO LISTEN MORE TO EACH OTHER AND PERFORM EACH OTHERS’ SONGS.

ACTY: 02_Manu_together.wav: Instead of talking too much let's try to work around one project. Each of the best African performers singing each others’ music. And this is also a little bit political. I mean, if we can do this in music, be together around some kind of project, maybe the engineers can also be together around one project, the doctors…So for each of us, I mean, that’s the only way for me to do the project.”

GEORGES: WISE WORDS, MY FRIEND. AFRICAN MUSICIANS LEADING THE WAY FORWARD ONCE AGAIN. HELLO, GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORDWIDE FROM PRX. THIS EDITION: “AFROPOP COVER SONGS.” ON THIS PROGRAM, WE’LL HEAR AFRICAN ARTISTS INTERPRETING EACH OTHERS’ SONGS, ALSO SONGS FROM ABROAD, AND WE’LL HEAR A FEW WESTERN ARTISTS COVERING MUSIC FROM THE AFRICAN DIASPORA. BUT WE START WITH MANU DIBANGO’S GROUND-BREAKING ALBUM OF COLLABORATIONS, WAKAFRIKA. KING SUNNY ADE TOOK ON BABATUNDE OLATUNJI’S “JINGO.”

WINDOW: 03_Jingo.wav, Wakafrika (main thing is to feature KSA’s vocal. It’s a short clip)

GEORGES: ANGOLA’S BONGA GROWLED SOULFULLY ON KANTE MANFILA’S “DIARABY.”

WINDOW: 04_Diarabi.wav, Wakafrika (this one can go a tad longer, up to the “cha-chas”)

GEORGES: AND MANU HIMSELF WAS JOINED BY FELLOW CAMEROONIAN KAISSA DOUMBE ON A REINVENTION OF MIRIAM MAKEBA’S “PATA PATA”

WINDOW/BED: 05_Pata Pata.wav, Wakafrika (this one can be pretty short, just up to where Manu laughs. Should be enough bed after that to cover next GC)

GEORGES: I LOVE IT. CAMEROONIANS GIVING A WHOLE NEW SWING TO A TIMELESS SOUTH AFRICAN NUMBER. THERE’S PROBABLY NO AFRICAN ARTIST WHO’S WORK HAS BEEN REINTERPRETED AS MUCH AS MIRIAM MAKEBA’S. IN 2021, THE SINGER SOMI RELEASED A FASCINATING ALBUM CALLED ZENZILE: THE REIMAGINING OF MIRIAM MAKEBA. CHECK OUT HER RATHER DARK TAKE ON “PATA PATA.” IT’S OFTEN TAKEN AS A PLAYFUL SONG, BUT THROUGH MODERN EARS, “PATA PATA” CAN BE HEARD AS A CRITIQUE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

WINDOW: 06_SOMI-PataPata.mp3, Zenzile: The Reimagining to Miriam Makeba (Salon Africana, Inc)

GEORGES: SOMI WITH A MOODY REMAKE ON MIRIAM MAKEBA’S “PATA PATA.” NOW LET’S HEAR A MORE JOYFUL TRACK FROM SOMI’S TRIBUTE ALBUM. HERE’S “LAKUTSON’ILANGA.”

MUSIC: 07_Lakutshon'ilanga.mp3. Somi, Zenzile [3:23]

MUSIC: 08_Click Song.m4a, Lorraine Klassen, A Tribute to Miriam Makeba, (Justin Time Records, 06894402462) [3:49]

GEORGES: LORRAINE KLASSEN INTERPRETING MIRIAM MAKEBA’S “THE CLICK SONG.” I’M GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, AND WE’RE LISTENING TO AFROPOP COVER SONGS.

WINDOW: 09_Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am.mp3, Keziah Jones, Rugged Covers EP (Because Music, Rugged Music, BEC1085) (just a few notes)

GEORGES: ANOTHER AFRICAN ICON WHO ARTISTS AROUND THE WORLD LOVE TO COVER IS NIGERIA’S FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI. YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD ANY NUMBER OF TAKES ON HIS CLASSIC “LADY.” BUT HERE ARE A COUPLE YOU MAY NOT KNOW. STARTING WITH FELLOW NIGERIAN SINGER/SONGWRITER KEZIAH JONES WITH “TROUBLE NEVER SLEEP YANGA WAKE AM.”

MUSIC: Trouble, emerge 00:50 (probably need to shorten acapella intro) [4:00]

MUSIC: 10_Shakalaodé.m4a, Wganda Kenya, Diablos del Ritmo 1960-1985: The Colombian Melting Pot (Afrobeat - Puya - Cumbiamba - Terapia - Mapalé - Caribbean Funk) (Analog Africa, AACD 072) (top through at least 3:30—stretch/shrink, then to bed)

GEORGES: WOW! FROM COLOMBIA, WGANDA KENYA WITH A SIZZLING VERSION OF FELA KUTI’S “SHAKALAOUDÉ.” LET’S KEEP THE AFROPOP COVERS COMING WITH ANOTHER OLD CHESTNUT. IN THE HEYDAY OF NIGERIAN IGBO HIGHLIFE, CARDINAL REX JIM LAWSON WROTE THE SONG “SAWALE,” WHICH GOT REMADE IN 2011 BY FLAVOUR AS “NWA BABY.” NOW WE GET AN ETHIOPIAN TAKE ON BOTH VERSIONS FROM ZIGGA ZAGA, FEATURING TEDDY YO!

MUSIC: 11_Sawa Sewalegn.remix.mp3, Ziggy Zaga ft. Teddy Yo, YouTube Single (Birsh Nima) [3:46]

MUSIC: 12_Vulindlela ( Brenda Fassie).mp3, Nela Brown (YouTube) [3:42]

GEORGES: HEY, HEY! NELA BROWN COVERING BRENDA FASSIE’S “VULINDLELA.” SOUTH AFRICAN DISCO LIVES ON IN THE AGE OF AMAPIANO. COMING UP, AFRICAN ARTISTS COVERING FOREIGN TUNES, AND FOREIGN ARTISTS COVERING AFRICAN TUNES, AS OUR DIVE INTO THE WORLD OF AFRICAN COVERS CONTINUES. I’M GEORGES COLLINET, AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, FROM PRX.

WINDOW: 20-second break 13_Franklin's Tower.mp3, Orchestra Baobab Day of the Dead (4AD, B01D3XKNQQ)

WINDOW: 14_Wake Up - Koffi Olomide & Papa Wemba.mp3, Ancy Kiamuangana & Iddo Donatella, YouTube single, (Ancy Kimuangana) (top to 0:15)

GEORGES: CONGOLESE SINGERS, ANCY KIMUANGANA AND IDDO DONATELLA, WITH AN ACOUSTIC COVER OF “WAKE UP,” A 1996 HIT BY KOFI OLOMIDE, FEATURING THE LATE, GREAT PAPA WEMBA.

WINDOW: (emerge 0:28-2:08, then to bed)

GEORGES: THAT’S LOVELY, AND ANOTHER FINE EXAMPLE OF AFRICAN ARTISTS INTERPRETING EACH OTHER’S WORK. PAPA WEMBA WAS HIMSELF KNOWN TO DO COVER SONGS, INCLUDING ONE BY OTIS REDDING, AND SINCE WEMBA’S PASSING, MANY ARTISTS HAVE COVERED HIS SONGS.

WINDOW: 15_VoodooChild-clip.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Oremi (Island, 7 314-524 621-2 2) (very short, just a few notes)

GEORGES: BUT, WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT AFROPOP COVERS WITHOUT MENTIONING AN ARTIST WHO HAS COVERED EVERYONE FROM JIMI HENDRIX…

WINDOW: 15_VoodooChild-clip.wav (Mike, these clips are all edited to highlight the bit we want listeners to hear. They should all be short, just enough to make the point)

TO CELIA CRUZ…

WINDOW: 16_Cucala-clip.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Celia (Verve, 6 02577 44498 2)

JAMES BROWN…

WINDOW: 17_ColdSweat-clip.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Oyo (Razor and Tie, 7 93018 30622 5)

AND TALKING HEADS.

WINDOW: 18_Crosseyed and Painless-clip.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Remain in Light (Kravenworks Records, 6 59123 11291 8)

GEORGES: YOU GUESSED IT. THAT’S ANGELIQUE KIDJO, WHO, BY THE WAY PICKED UP HER FIFTHGRAMMY AWARD AT THE 2022 CEREMONY FOR HER ALBUM MOTHER NATURE. “HEY, ANGELIQUE? DO YOU HAVE TO WIN ALL THE GRAMMYS? COULDN’T YOU SAVE A FEW FOR OTHERS?” JUST KIDDING, MY DEAR. WE LOVE YOU. HERE AT AFROPOP, YOU ARE OUR GODDESS.

BUT IF YOU ASK ME, THE SONG SHE SHOULD WIN AN AWARD FOR WAS NOT EVEN ON HER OWN ALBUM. I’M TALKING ABOUT HER COVER OF THE AFRICAN CLASSIC “AMI OH,” RECORDED WITH GUITARIST LIONEL LOUEKE FOR HIS 2010 ALBUM MWALIKO.

MUSIC: 19_Ami O.m4a, Lionel Loueke, Mwaliko (Lionel Loueke, 509996 88508 2 1) [4:23]

GEORGES: GUITARIST LIONEL LOUEKE FEATURING ANGELIQUE KIDJO COVERING “AMI OH,” ORIGINALLY A MAKOSSA HIT FOR EBANDA MANFRED FROM MY NATIVE HOMELAND, CAMEROON.

WINDOW: 20_Skokiaan - Louis Armstrong.mp3, Louis Armstrong, Skokiaan, (MCA Records, COPS 6973) [top to 0:24, then to bed]

GEORGES: IT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU TO KNOW THAT AMERICAN MUSICIANS HAVE BEEN COVERING AFRICAN SONGS FOR A LONG TIME. TAKE THIS 1940s BULAWAYO JAZZ NUMBER WRITTEN BY AUGUST MUSARURWA IN WHAT WAS THEN SOUTHERN RHODESIA. THE TITLE IS “SKOKIAAN,” AND IT REFERS TO CORN-BASED MOONSHINE, ILLEGAL AT THE TIME, BUT VERY POPULAR. MANY AMERICAN ACTS PLAYED THIS SONG IN THE 1950S, MOST FAMOUSLY, LOUIS ARMSTRONG.

MUSIC: (emerge on Armstrong’s entrance at 0:49—3:54)

GEORGES: GO, LOUIS! HERE’S ANOTHER SONG THAT MADE ITS WAY FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA INTO THE AMERICAN SONGBOOK. ZIMBABWEAN GUITARIST GEORGE SIBANDA PLAYED “GWABI GWABI” FOR THE MICROPHONE OF SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICOLOGIST HUGH TRACEY IN 1950.

WINDOW: 22_Gwabi gwabi.m4a, George Sibanda, Origins of Guitar Music: Southern Congo and Northern Zambia(SWP Records, SWP015/HT09) (Top to 0:29, then to bed)

GEORGES: “GWABI GWABI” WENT ON TO BECOME SOMETHING OF A FOLK STANDARD, COVERED BY THE LIKES OF ARLO GUTHRIE AND HERE, RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOT.

WINDOW: 23_Guabi Guabi_RAMBLINJACK.mp3, Ramblin' Jack Elliot The Essential Ramblin' Jack Elliot (Vanguard, VSD 89/90) [Top to 1:38]

GEORGES: WELL, WE’RE NOT QUITE SURE ABOUT RAMBLIN’ JACK’S NDEBELE THERE, BUT HE’S GOT THE RIGHT SPIRIT. NOW, HERE’S A REVERSE STORY, A TRADITIONAL ENGLISH MURDER BALLAD INTERPRETED BY A CAPE TOWN-BASED, MULTI-ETHNIC BAND THAT PERFORMS MOSTLY AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC THROUGH AN AFRICAN LENS. HERE’S THE CONGO COWBOYS WITH THEIR VERSION OF “PRETTY POLLY.”

MUSIC: 24_Congo Cowboys - Pretty Polly.mp3, Congo Cowboys, Single, Loud Music 2020 Donatella (YouTube)[3:56]

GEORGES: REMARKABLE! THE CONGO COWBOYS WITH AN AFRICAN TAKE ON “PRETTY POLLY.” AND YOU SHOULD HEAR THEIR VERSION OF DOLLY PARTON’S “JOLENE.” NOW, AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, THE LIST OF AMERICAN AND BRITISH ROCK SONGS PICKED UP BY AFRICAN ARTISTS IS LONG. LET’S START WITH A TRUE OLDIE. REMEMBER BUDDY HOLLY’S “WORDS OF LOVE”?

WINDOW: 25_Words of Love.mp3, Buddy Holly, Buddy Holly (Coral LVA 9085) (Top to 0:45 then to bed.)

GEORGES: THAT WAS BUDDY IN 1958, JUST A YEAR BEFORE HE DIED. BUT 24 YEARS LATER, IN 1982, THE KENYAN-BASED CONGOLESE BAND ORCHESTRA SUPER MAZEMBE REVIVED THE SONG AS “MALOBA D’AMOUR.”

MUSIC: 26_Maloba D'Amour.mp3, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mazembe Double Gold (Editions Mazembe, EMALP-0540) [2:48 fade to bed during long outro]

GEORGES: BUDDY HOLLY MEETS EAST AFRICA WITH ORCHESTRA SUPER MAZEMBE. MOVING RIGHT ALONG, WE COME TO IVORY COAST REGGAE ICON ALPHA BLONDY WITH HIS VERSION OF… WELL, I DON’T THINK I HAVE TO NAME THIS ONE…

MUSIC: 27_Alpha Blondy - Whole Lotta Love.mp3, Alpha Blondy, Human Race (AlphAlliance, 3357792) [3:33] (if time, go to the end; if needed crossfade to bed during repeats around 2:27)

[[MUSIC: 28_Once in a Lifetime.m4a, Wasis Diop, Toxu (Worldly Triloka, 7 31455 81982) [3:44, but fade to bed at around 2:44]

GEORGES: FROM SENEGAL CIRCA 1998, WASIS DIOP WITH HIS VERSION OF THE TALKING HEADS’ “ONCE IN A LIFETIME.” NOW ]]HERE’S ONE THAT CAUGHT OUR EARS. FROM A COLLECTION CALLED DAY OF THE DEAD, THIS IS TAL NATIONAL FROM NIGER COVERING THE GRATEFUL DEAD’S JAMBAND DREAM SONG, “EYES OF THE WORLD.”

WINDOW: 29_Eyes of the World.mp3, Tal National, Day of the Dead (4AD, B01D3XKNQQ) [Top to 3:50, then to bed. Fade to nothing by the end of the funding credits]

GEORGES: WOW! FROM HAIGHT ASHBURY TO NIAMEY. TAL NATIONAL WITH “EYES OF THE WORLD.”

FUNDING FOR AFROPOP WORLDWIDE COMES FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, WHICH BELIEVES A GREAT NATION DESERVES GREAT ART, AND FROM PRX AFFILIATE STATIONS AROUND THE U.S. AND THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING YOUR PUBLIC RADIO STATION.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR AFROPOP WORLDWIDE COMES FROM CARNEGIE HALL, PRESENTING GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING SINGER-SONGWRITER YOUSSOU N'DOUR ON MAY 13. TICKETS AVAILABLE AT CARNEGIEHALL.ORG.

WINDOW/BED: 30_Abatina.mp3, (very short in the clear. This is basically a bed)

=] GEORGES: OKAY, WE’RE GOING TO WRAP UP OUR TOUR OF AFROPOP COVER SONGS WITH A TWISTED TALE, A TRINIDADIAN NUMBER BY CALPYSO ROSE, INTERPRETED BY THE TORONTO-BASED CALYPSO BAND KOBO TOWN, AND THEN REINTERPRETED AGAIN, BY NONE OTHER THAN CARLOS SANTANA WITH THE GREAT BUIKA ON VOCALS.

WINDOW: [vocal emerge. 0:19-0:56]

GEORGES: CALYPSO ROSE’S VERSION IS CALLED “ABATINA,” BUT CARLOS WENT WITH “BREAKING DOWN THE DOOR.”

MUSIC: 31_Breaking Down The Door.m4a, Santana, Africa Speaks (Concord Records, 8 88072 09084 2) [4:30] [hoping to get this whole song in if we can]

GEORGES: CARLOS SANTANA AND BUIKA WITH “BREAKING DOWN THE DOOR” FROM THEIR 2019 ALBUM AFRICA SPEAKS, WRAPPING UP OUR TOUR OF AFROPOP COVER SONGS. THANKS TO MARIKA PARTRIDGE, JON KERTZER, AND TO OUR JOLLY PAPA FRIENDS MICHAEL SHIREKIS AND EME AWA FOR THEIR SUGGESTIONS. VISIT AFROPOP.ORG FOR A VIDEO PLAYLIST OF AFRICAN COVERS.

YOU CAN ALSO FIND US ON FACEBOOK AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AT “AFROPOPWW.” MY AFROPOP PARTNER IS SEAN BARLOW. SEAN PRODUCES OUR PROGRAM FOR WORLD MUSIC PRODUCTIONS. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION FOR THIS PROGRAM BY BANNING EYRE. AND, BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST, INCLUDING RADIO PROGRAMS AND OUR AFROPOP CLOSEUP PODCAST SERIES.

JOIN US NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF AFROPOP WORLDWIDE. OUR CHIEF AUDIO ENGINEER IS MICHAEL JONES. THIS PROGRAM WAS MIXED AT STUDIO 44 IN BROOKLYN BY MICHAEL JONES. ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING BY GC FROM THE SYNCOPATED LAIR IN WASHINGTON, DC. BANNING EYRE AND CC SMITH EDIT OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP.ORG.

THIS WEEK, WE SAY GOODBYE TO OUR DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA BEN RICHMOND, A KEY MEMBER OF THE AFROPOP FAMILY FOR THE PAST SEVEN YEARS. BEN, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, AND WE WISH YOU WELL IN ALL YOUR ENDEAVORS. AND NOW, A BIG AFROPOP WELCOME TO OUR NEW DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA, MUKWAE WABEI SIYOLWE. SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON BOARD AS WE SAIL INTO THE FUTURE. UNTIL NEXT TIME, I’M GEORGES COLLINET.

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