Afropop Classic January 28, 2021
New Moves in Afro-Jazz

It’s a truism that jazz has roots in Africa, but compared with other forms of Black American music, it doesn’t have a large audience there. Just the same, African musicians have long been smitten with jazz, and have always found inventive ways to incorporate jazz elements into their sounds. On this program we meet young artists forging new paths in Afro-Jazz: Etuk Ubong from Nigeria, Awale Jant Band from Senegal by way of London, Afrikan Protokol form Burkina Faso by way of Belgium. It’s a freewheeling musical joyride. Produced by Banning Eyre.

Transcript

New Moves in Afro-Jazz

WINDOW: M01_African Struggle.m4a, Etuk Ubong, Africa Today (Night Dreamer, B086Y5P9DW) (first 13 seconds, then to bed)

GEORGES: WE’RE HEARING NIGERIAN TRUMPETER AND COMPOSER ETUK UBONG FROM HIS 2020 RELEASE AFRICA TODAY, RECORDED DIRECT TO DISC IN THE NETHERLANDS. ETUK IS PART OF A POWERFUL MOVEMENT OF ARTISTS FUSING JAZZ AND AFRICAN MUSIC IN NEW WAYS.

ACTY: 01_Etuk-Africa.wav: Trust me, what made Hugh Masekela who he is? It was because when Hugh Masekela got to America, the likes of Coltrane, the likes of Miles Davis and Art Blakey told him, "You need to play African jazz, man. You need to reflect Africa.” And then Hugh Masekela becomes great automatically. With my kind of music, it's just about the culture. It doesn't sound like pop. It doesn't sound like rap music. It sounds like Africa.

GEORGES: HELLO, GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRX. TODAY’S PROGRAM, “NEW MOVES IN AFRO-JAZZ.” WE’LL HEAR SOUNDS FROM NIGERIA, SENEGAL, ETHIOPIA AND BEYOND. BUT WE START IN LAGOS, NIGERIA, WITH HARD-BOP MEETS AFROBEAT IN THE PASSIONATE, FIERY SOUND OF ETUK UBONG.

WINDOW: up to 1:37 then to bed

GEORGES: ETUK GREW UP IN LAGOS, BUT HIS ANCESTRY GOES BACK TO THE IBIBIO PEOPLE IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION DOWN SOUTH. SO BEFORE HE GOT TO BLENDING MUSICAL GENRES, ETUK WAS ADEPT AT BLENDING CULTURES, AND RELIGIONS.

ACTY: 02_Etuk-religion.wav: I'm from this kind of half religious home. My mother used to be a committed and devoted Christian. My dad was a traditionalist. And then my grandfather was a chief priest. So a bit of Christianity and the other way as well, you know?

GEORGES: IT WAS IN CHURCH THAT ETUK FIRST STARTED PLAYING MUSIC, FIRST ON THE CONGA DRUM, BUT SOON ADVANCING TO THE TRUMPET. HE WAS CLEARLY TALENTED AND WAS ENCOURAGED TO STUDY MUSIC, BUT THE MUSIC HE LOVED MOST WAS SCARCELY TAUGHT IN NIGERIA.

BED: M02_Spiritual Change.m4a, Etuk Ubong, Africa Today (might be good to switch beds here. Otherwise, we’ll just need the beginning of this track to fill in when the first one ends)

ACTY: 03_Etuk-education.wav: I have always dreamt of being a jazz musician. I grew up listening to the likes of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, a lot of others. Clifford Brown was my favorite.. Basically, in Nigeria, the jazz culture is.... It's not functional. So you can't get a jazz education here in Nigeria. The best you can get is a classical education. I really wanted to study jazz music, but unfortunately Nigeria couldn't offer me that. All I got was rudimentary theory of music, which I learned from the Peter King College of Music first. And then I went to Ibaden to study a bit of music tech, but it wasn't still satisfied. I needed a proper jazz study. Four months before my graduation, I got my diploma in classical music, I got admitted into the University of Cape Town, South Africa and College of Music. That's the only place in Africa where you can get such a level of education, up to standard.

GEORGES: BY THAT TIME, ETUK WAS AN EXPERIENCED MUSICIAN. HE GOT HIS FIRST GIG AT JUST 14, PLAYING WITH HIGHLIFE ICON DR. VICTOR OLAIYA, WHO LEFT US AT AGE 89 IN 2020.

WINDOW: M03_Trumpet Highlife.m4a, Victor Olaiya, Highlife Time (Vampi Soul, VAMPI CD 101) (top – 26, then to bed)

ACTY: 04_Etuk-Olaiya-1.wav: Man, it was a life-changing experience. We used to play two nights a week, every Wednesday night for band rehearsals and Saturday night for the Papingo Nightclub. I got into the band through a man named Baba Wise. He used to be a tenor saxophone player with Fela back in the day. Baba Wise started this company of fixing and repairing horns, saxophones and trumpets, all sorts of horns. So I took my horn to his place. Then after fixing the horn, he told me to check it. Then I was practicing chromatic scales. And I think I was playing at about 250 BPM, and the guy was like, "You! Wow. You sound really amazing. Where are you playing?" And I said, "Nowhere." “Oh. Would you like to play in a band?" And I said, "Yeah, I don't mind." “Okay, next week Wednesday, come here at 1 PM. You're going to start playing in a band." What happened was I got to the rehearsal section a bit earlier than everybody. The record was playing. I think “Trumpet Highlife” or “Moonlight Highlife,” one of his songs. And then immediately, I transcribed that trumpet part and then I just played the solo.

WINDOW: Trumpet Highlife (do an internal edit to emerge here on the trumpet solo at 4:04—4:36)

BED: M04_Moonlight Highlife.m4a, Dr Victor Olaiya and His International Stars Band, Highlife Re-Incarnation (Premier Records, B07HDXK6FK)

ACTY: 04_Etuk-Olaiya-2.wav: Victor Olaiya heard me from his office, and that was how I got the job.It was beautiful because it was more like an institution for me. I got exposed to the likes of the music and the life of Bobby Benson, Rex Lawson, Zeal Onya, Roy Chicago, E.T. Mensah, even Fela-- so he told me about those people, their stories, his experiences with them. It was more like you are experiencing what happened in the 1960s, 1970s. Those are still part of my major influences to date. So it was beautiful. I had the best education playing as a side man with Victor Olaiya, because I was able to sing, play, just give them a show, man.

GEORGES: AFTER THREE YEARS WITH VICTOR OLAIYA, ETUK PLAYED FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS IN FEMI KUTI’S BAND POSITIVE FORCE, WELL KNOWN FOR ITS KILLER HORN SECTION.

WINDOW: M05_Wey Our Money.m4a, Femi Kuti, No Place For My Dream (Knitting Fatory Records, 7 2084111292 1) (emerge 0:25—056 then to bed)

ACTY: 06_Etuk-Femi.wav: While I was in Femi Kuti’s band, I got to really delve into Afrobeat and what Afrobeat reflects about African history, the black experience, and the continent itself. So that was a turnaround for me because then I started to learn about my culture. I started thinking about my heritage. I started thinking about how I could reflect my culture being an African, being a Nigerian, also being an Ibibio-man. So by the time I got to South Africa, I was already writing more African music.

WINDOW: Wey Our Money (20-30 seconds of vocal, find good entry and exit points)

GEORGES: WORKING WITH FEMI KUTI, ETUK SAYS HE ALSO LEARNED DISCIPLINE, FOCUS, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF HARD WORK. AND YOU CAN HEAR THAT IN HIS MUSIC. LET’S LISTEN TO MORE FROM HIS 2020 ALBUM. THIS SONG, “EKPO MOMMOMM” DRAWS ON A DANCE RHYTHM FROM THE IBIBIO PEOPLE CALLED EKOMBI.

MUSIC: M06_Ekpo Mmommom.m4a, Etuk Ubong, Africa Today (top to 3:19, then to bed)

GEORGES: FROM NIGERIA BY WAY OF HOLLAND, ETUK UBONG WITH “EKPO MOMMOMM.”

ACTY: 07_Etuk-Ekpo.wav:“Ekpo Mommomm” is beautiful, man. I wrote that song in honor of my granddad, Ekpo Mommomm. He was just a beautiful young man back in the days of farming, hunting and all that. He got missing for about six months. He explained that he was in the sea for three months there where the spirits live. They called him Ekpo Mommomm because, literally, he was a human and a spirit as well. That's why he came about the name Ekpo Mommomm, which is a ghost. But then he did beautiful things with his power, like curing people from illness , so he was a great guy.

WINDOW/BED: M06A_ Etuk's Ritual.m4a, Etuk Ubong, Africa Today (very short; this is not a feature, just a bed)

GEORGES: THE AFRICA TODAY ALBUM MOSTLY FEATURES ENSEMBLE ARRANGING FOR THE GROUP ETUK ASSEMBLED IN THE NETHERLANDS. BUT HE ALSO SHARED WITH US A BRAND NEW TRACK RECORDED WITH HIS LAGOS BAND. IT’S CALLED “I WAKA DEY GO.”

ACTY: 08_Etuk-Waka .wav: “I Waka Dey Go” talks about the current happenings in Nigeria of today, the struggling. Man and woman struggle every day to put food on their table in this hard time. Our leaders are the problem of Africa. They are highly corrupt. After 60 years of independence in Nigeria, we still don't have good roads we still don't have security. Boko Haram is a problem for us. The educational system is bad. The problems we have with COVID19 of today is a reflection of the healthcare system not being functional. There's hunger in the land, poverty, starvation and all that. Yet you hear of a pastor getting a private jet. It feels like religion is the order of the day; it feels like politics is the order of the day. Those are our top celebrities now, which is really, really sad. “I Waka Dey Go” is also very interesting musically, it starts with the trumpet part and it ends with a trumpet cadenza.

MUSIC: M07_I WAKA DEY GO MASTERED.wav, Etuk Ubong, Africa Today (5:46 might need some internal editing to get to the cadenza. I have a feeling we’re getting long)

GEORGES: ETUK UBONG WITH “I WAKA DEY GO.” NOW FROM LAGOS, WE HEAD TO SENEGAL, BY WAY OF THE U.K.

WINDOW: M08_Sope.m4a, Awale Jant Band, Yewoulen (Arc Music, 5 019396 288522) (first 1:00 then to bed)

GEORGES: BEAUTIFUL! THAT’S THE AWALE JANT BAND WITH A LOVE SONG CALLED “SOPE.” YOU HEAR THE COMPLEX TONALITIES OF JAZZ, THE SWING OF AFROBEAT, AND THE POWERFUL VOICE OF LEAD SINGER BIRAM SECK.

ACTY: 09_BSeck_intro.wav: Me, I’m Senegalese. I come from a family of musicians. All my grandfathers play music, traditional music. In Senegal we have the caste of griots, like Baaba Maal. You know Mansour Seck the backing vocalist for Baaba Maal? We come from the same family. It’s the family of griots, the gawlos.

GEORGES: SOME YEARS BACK, BIRAM FORMED A BAND IN DAKAR AND QUICKLY ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF BBC THREE’S “LATE JUNCTION” RADIO PROGRAM IN THE U.K. IN 2003 HE WENT THERE TO PERFORM, AND SINCE THEN, ENGLAND HAS BEEN HIS SECOND HOME. BIRAM SANG WITH A FEW DIFFERENT BANDS INCLUDING THE FUSION BAND FOFOULA. BUT EVENTUALLY, HE CREATED OWN JANT BAND, AND THAT’S WHEN HE HOOKED UP WITH FRENCH MUSICIAN THIBAUT REMI. THIBAUT LED A BAND CALLED AWALE, WHICH ALSO DREW ON SENEGALESE SOUNDS AND JAZZ. LONG STORY SHORT, THEY COMBINED FORCES IN 2009 AS AWALE JANT BAND.

ACTY: 10_BSeck_AJB.wav: Awale Jant Band. Awale means in Wolof “let pass through.” Jant Band is the sun. Let the sun pass through. Awale Jant Band. Open your window and let the sun pass through.

WINDOW: M09_Jules.m4a, Awale Jant Band, Yewoulen (short window. 20 seconds)

GEORGES: ONE INFLUENCE THAT PASSED THROUGH BIRAM’S WINDOW WAS THE SPIRIT OF JAZZ. AWALE’S POWERFUL HORN SECTION APPEALED TO HIM IMMEDIATELY. BIRAM WAS ALREADY A JAZZ FAN.

ACTY: 11_BSeck_jazz.wav: Yes, I listened to jazz. It’s only jazz I listen to, because with Fofoulah we do jazz music, with horns, with very, very heavy horns, like Awale. If you go to Africa, there are many types of music. Like me, the Fulani music is the traditional music of the Fulani, but still, you feel the jazz inside. My mom is not Fula. My dad is Fula. My mom’s side is Wolof and Serer. The Serer music, you feel the jazz, you know? It’s very difficult to explain jazz, but for me, jazz is the foundation of music.

GEORGES: THERE IS A RICH JAZZ SCENE IN SENEGAL, BUT IT’S MARGINALIZED, MOSTLY MUSIC FOR ELITES. IN THE U.K., BIRAM AND AWALE JANT BAND ARE FREE TO MIX SENEGALESE TRADITION, JAZZ, AFROBEAT FROM NIGERIA—WHATEVER THEY LIKE, AND THAT’S WHAT WE HEAR ON THIS ALBUM, YEWOULEN, WHICH MEANS “WAKE UP!” HERE’S THE SONG “JEUNESSE” OFFERING MORAL ADVICE TO YOUTH.

MUSIC: M10_Jeunesse.m4a, Awale Jant Band, Yewoulen (4:26)

MUSIC: M11_Aduna.mp3, Abdoulaye N’Diaye, Taoué (Justin Time Records, 0 68944 01682 2) (first 4:00, then to bed)

GEORGES: WOW! SENEGALESE SAXOPHONIST ABDOULAYE N’DIAYE FROM HIS BURNING 2003 ALBUM TAOUÉ. NOW BASED IN NEW YORK AND BALTIMORE, THIS GUY HAS BECOME A FORCE IN AFRO-JAZZ. HE’S PERFORMED WITH THE LIKES OF DAVID MURRAY, MICHAEL BRECKER AND MCOY TYNER. AND BEFORE THAT WE HEARD THE AWALE JANT BAND FROM THE U.K.

COMING UP, AFRO JAZZ FROM BURKINA FASO, ETHIOPIA AND CONGO. AND VISIT AFROPOP.ORG FOR INTERVIEWS WITH THE ARTISTS ON THIS PROGRAM. I’M GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRX.

WINDOW: 20-second break M12_To Know Without Knowing.m4a, Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience, To Know Without Knowing (Agogo Records, LC15656)

WINDOW: M13_Facing Death.m4a, Afrikän Protoköl, Beyond The Grid (Abozamé, 5 425015559094) (top to 0:20, then to bed)

GEORGES: HERE’S AN UNUSUAL BAND OUT OF BRUSSELS AND BURKINA FASO. THEY GO BY THE NAME AFRIKAN PROTOKOL, AND THEIR MUSIC IS A FUSION OF JAZZ AND TRADITIONAL WEST AFRICAN RHYTHMS.

WINDOW: (emerge up to 1:25, then to bed)

GEORGES: JAZZ MEETS BURKINA FASO WITH AFRIKAN PROTOKOL. WE REACHED THE BAND’S FOUNDER IN BRUSSELS, AND HE TOLD US THEIR STORY.

ACTY: 12_GVP_intro.wav: My name is Guillaume Van Parys. I’m a musician from Belgium. I play saxophone. I created this band Afrikan Protokol when I first went to Burkina Faso in 2011, so 10 years ago already. Why Burkina Faso? I had heard many stories about Burkina Faso, about the musicians but not only the musicians, dancers and puppet players and theatre, the culture there, the people and especially all these different rhythms that you can find there. That was really interesting to me as a musician.

GEORGES: THE SPARK WAS LIT WHEN GUILLAUME BEFRIENDED DRUMMER MOISE OUATTARA, WHO HAD MASTERED THE ART OF PLAYING TRADITIONAL RHYTHMS ON DRUM KIT. WE SPOKE WITH MOISE FROM HIS HOME TOWN OF BOBO DIOULASSO. BY THE TIME MOISE TOOK UP THE DRUM KIT IN 1998, HE WAS ALREADY ADEPT AT PLAYING A VARIETY OF REGIONAL RHYTHMS.

ACTY: 13_MOISE_Bobo.wav: [French]

GEORGES: MOISE SAYS BOBO DIAOULASSO IS A CULTURAL CROSSROADS IN WEST AFRICA. PEOPLE FROM COTE D’IVOIRE, BENIN AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES ALWAYS PASS THROUGH ON BUSINESS. MOISE SAYS, “WE HAVE OVER 60 ETHNIC GROUPS, 60 LANGUAGES, AND HUNDREDS OF RHYTHMS.” AS A YOUNG MUSICIAN, MOISE TOURED AROUND THE COUNTRY LEARNING RHYTHMS HE COULD ADAPT ON HIS DRUM KIT. SO NATURALLY, GUILLAUME WAS THRILLED TO MEET HIM.

ACTY: 14_GVP_rhythms.wav: I recorded some rhythms on the drums with him. And then going back home, I started analyzing all these rhythms and then playing with my saxophone on it, just exploring And then I decided to make a band with five or six musicians. But I didn’t want to create a band like most of the bands we find in Burkina Faso, what we call tradi-moderne music, typically with a rhythm section, guitar, keyboards and then a singer. I wanted to do something really different to go at the roots of the rhythm, so without harmonic instruments. No keyboards, no guitars, only drums, bass, percussion and saxophone. I wanted to give space for improvisation with the saxophones and to be able to move from one mode to the other on the basis of this rhythm.

WINDOW: M14_Saharan Market.m4a, Afrikän Protoköl, Beyond The Grid (top to 2:20, then to bed)

GEORGES: WE’RE HEARING AFRIKAN PROTOKOL WITH THE SONG “SAHARAN MARKET,” WHICH MAKES A FUSION OF SONRAI RHYTHMS FROM MALI AND GNAWA MUSIC. TWO GENRES COMMUNICATING ACROSS THE VAST SAHARA . BY THE TIME GUILLAUME VAN PARYS MET MOISE OUATTARA, MOISE HAD ALREADY BECOME FASCINATED BY JAZZ MUSIC.

ACTY: 15_MOISE_jazz.wav: [French]

GEORGES: MOISE SAYS AN OLDER BROTHER INTRODUCED HIM TO JAZZ, AND HE ADORED THE MUSIC OF WES MONTGOMERY AND EARL KLUGH. HE SAYS, “I ALREADY HAD AN IDEA OF MIXING JAZZ WITH LOCAL MUSIC, SO WHEN I MET GUILLAUME, OFF WE WENT TOGETHER!”

ACTY: 16_GVP_jazz.wav: There is definitely a real connection between jazz and African roots, African music. When we play, we really try to work on this connection.

GEORGES: ONE CONNECTION IS THE REPERTOIRE OF RHYTHMS THAT WEST AFRICAN MUSICIANS SHARE, NOT UNLIKE JAZZ STANDARDS. IT’S NOT ABOUT FAITHFULLY REPRODUCING A MUSICAL COMPOSITION. PERSONAL EXPRESSION IS ESSENTIAL, AND THE MUSIC IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING.

ACTY: 17_GVP_disputes.wav: Every ethnic group has its own way of looking at the rhythm. Even between two villages, you can find small disputes about how to play the rhythm. They are not playing the same way. But also me, from Belgium, when I come to Burkina Faso, I see all these rhythms and I translate them with own culture. I play the rhythm my way, and the drummers say , “Well, it’s not exactly that way, but that sounds great too.”

ACTY: 18_Moise_adaptation.wav: [French]

GEORGES: MOISE SAYS, “THAT’S WHAT’S SO BEAUTIFUL ABOUT THIS PROJECT. GUILLAUME HAD THIS FACILITY TO ADAPT TO AFRICAN MUSIC, AND WE TOO COULD ADAPT TO JAZZ.” LET’S LISTEN TO THE SONG “DOROMIN KELEN,” WHICH SAYS RESPECT BETWEEN PEOPLE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MATERIAL POSSESSIONS.

MUSIC: M15_Doromin Kelen.m4a, Afrikän Protoköl, Beyond The Grid (start the intro and drop this next ACTY so that it finishes before the vocal at 0:25)

ACTY: 19_GVP_Doromin.wav: In this song we use a rhythm called siraba, and this is a hunters’ rhythm. Our singer is a griot, and in traditional life, this rhythm, siraba, is played by griot people to remind hunters of modesty and humility.

MUSIC: Doromin Kelen (nice to do the whole song if we have time)

GEORGES: AFRIKAN PROTOKOL WITH “DOROMIN KELEN.”

WINDOW/BED: M16_Bokoko.wav, Tyson Meya, Kivu (Color Red, B08JC4GRJC) (top to 1:13, then to bed)

GEORGES: IN 2020 WE MET COMPOSER AND KEYBOARD PLAYER TYSON MEYA, WHO LIVES IN KINSHASA, IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. LIKE ETUK UBONG IN LAGOS, TYSON LOVES JAZZ, BUT HE HAD NOWHERE TO STUDY IT. HE ENDED UP LEARNING ON HIS OWN, AND FROM VISITING ARTISTS LIKE RICHARD BONA, WHO CAME TO TOWN OCCASIONALLY TO TEACH MASTER CLASSES. BUT TYSON TOLD US THAT INTEREST IN JAZZ IS GROWING IN KINSHASA, INCLUDING AMONG MUSICIANS WHO PLAY CONGOLESE POP.

ACTY: 20_Tyson_rumba.wav: [French]

GEORGES: TYSON SAYS THAT ALMOST ALL THE MUSICIANS WHO PLAY NDOMBOLO AND RUMBA ARE INTO JAZZ. THEY FEEL CONNECTED TO AN INTERNATIONAL NETWORK THAT INFLUENCES THEIR TASTES, AND THEY BRING THOSE INFLUENCES INTO CONGOLESE MUSIC.

ACTY: 21_Tyson_jazz.wav: [French]

GEORGES: TYSON SAYS THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE GOOD JAZZ MUSICIANS IN KINSHASA, JAZZ ISN’T VERY POPULAR THERE. THERE ARE A FEW JAZZ GROUPS, BUT THEY DON’T RECORD. THE MUSIC WE’RE HEARING WAS RELEASED BY AN AMERICAN LABEL, COLOR RED, OUT OF COLORADO. TYSON THINKS THE KINSHASA PUBLIC WOULD BE OPEN TO JAZZ, BUT BECAUSE THERE ARE NO RECORDINGS, AND LITTLE RADIO PLAY, THEY DON’T BECOME KNOWN.

WINDOW: short, just a breather.

GEORGES: WE’RE HEARING THE SONG “BOKOKO,” WHICH MEANS ROUGHLY “TRADITION.” AND BOKOKO IS ALSO THE NAME OF TYSON MEYA’S GROUP. LET’S HEAR ANOTHER SONG, “KIVU,” WHICH HE WROTE TO PROMOTE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN WAR-TORN EASTERN CONGO.

MUSIC: M17_Kivu.wav, Tyson Meya, Kivu (whole song if we can)

GEORGES: FROM KINSHASA TYSON MEYA WITH “KIVU.”

WINDOW: M18_Afrofuturism (Radio Edit).wav, Michael Wimberly, Afrofuturism, (Temple Mountain Records, B08LH3HKY4) (time window to next emerge)

GEORGES: MICHAEL WIMBERLY IS A JAZZ PERCUSSIONIST, COMPOSER AND ARRANGER IN NEW YORK CITY. HIS 2021 ALBUM AFROFUTURISM IS A COMPLEX BLEND OF FUNK, NEO-SOUL, JAZZ AND AFRICAN TRADITIONS.

WINDOW: Afrofuturism (emerge on vocal 0:37—1:42, then to bed)

GEORGES: COOOL AND FUNKY! MICHEAL WIMBERLY WITH “AFROFUTURISM.” YOU CAN FIND OUR INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL ON AFROPOP.ORG. MICHAEL HAS A VARIETY OF EXPERIENCES WORKING WITH AFRICAN MUSICIANS IN THE U.S., EUROPE AND MOZAMBIQUE, AND HE HAS SOME INSIGHTS INTO THE PARADOX OF JAZZ IN AFRICA.

ACTY: 22_Wimberly_groove.wav: When you look at the advent of bebop, and the development of that, that was breaking away from the main swing and danceability of a music. Because so many white players began to play swing, and these bebop players were, "Hey, we need to create our own thing again and get away from that." But with Africa, It’s interesting. I have played with jazz musicians from there, but it is a small percentage of people who listen to it. And I don't know why. But I do understand that culturally—and I'm talking about the continent—their traditional and folkloric music is rhythm-based. I think people maybe need to have access to it, and educate themselves on it. I think you have to start targeting kids, and bringing that into the elementary schools in order to broaden their awareness. But you are not going to be able to sell more advanced musical concepts to a people who culturally, traditionally groove. It's a groove continent. Think about it.

GEORGES: WELL, BEFORE WE LEAVE THE GROOVE CONTINENT FOR TODAY, LET’S SAMPLE SOME FRESH MUSIC FROM ETHIOPIA AND THE FATHER OF ETHIO-JAZZ MULATU ASTATKE. THE ALBUM TO KNOW WITHOUT KNOWING IS THE SECOND COLLABORATION BETWEEN ASTATKE AND THE 8-PIECE ENSEMBLE BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE, BASED IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. HERE’S THE OPENING TRACK “MULATU.”

WINDOW/BED: M19_Mulatu.m4a, Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience, To Know Without Knowing

GEORGES: MULATU ASTATKE AND BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE FROM THEIR 2020 ALBUM TO KNOW WITHOUT KNOWING. WELL, THAT WRAPS UP OUR SAMPLING OF NEW MOVES IN AFRO-JAZZ. AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THERE IS LOTS MORE WHERE ALL THIS CAME FROM…

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 STATION.

AND DON’T FORGET TO VISIT AFROPOP.ORG TO READ INTERVIEWS WITH ARTISTS WE SPOKE WITH FOR THIS PROGRAM. 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. MICHAEL MIXED THIS PROGRAM AT STUDIO 44 IN BROOKLYN. ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING BY GC FROM THE SYNCOPATED LAIR STUDIO IN WASHINGTON, DC. BANNING EYRE AND CC SMITH EDIT OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP.ORG. OUR DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA IS BEN RICHMOND. AND I’M GEORGES COLLINET.

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