Category Archives: Afrobeat

Gambian sounds

My father is from a tiny country in West Africa called The Gambia. I have been there several times and I consider it my second home. It’s a country in an area with a rich music tradition. With the two giants Senegal and Mali as neighbours it might be difficult for Gambian musicians to be heard. The “competion” is tough!

But The Gambia has two legendary groups that stand out…Ifang Bondi and Guelewar. I really love them. Their sound is completely unique. It’s psychedelic afrobeat with strong roots in the music soil of Senegambia.

Bai Janha, alias “Sweet Fingers”, played in both Ifang Bondi and Guelewar. And here is Karantamba, his last group which was a school for young musicians. This song was recorded in 1984. Listen to that groove!

Kenya Special

I’m a huge fan of vintage mbalax, afrobeat and psychedelic funk from West Africa. I love the grooves and the “joie de vivre” feeling in the music.

A couple of weeks ago I was excited to find a package in my mail box. The package contained the album Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings from the 1970s & ’80s. The record company Soundway has released many wonderful compilations like the Nigeria and Ghana Special volumes. Now it’s time for Kenya and East Africa. The album is a great mix of  ‘liquid soul’, benga, rumba, Swahili afrobeat and rock. Music that you can dance to or just relax to with a couple of beers (bintang for me as I’m in Jakarta). Mombasa and Nairobi really had a flourishing music scene during the 1970s and ’80s.


I hope soundway will release more albums with music from East Africa and/or other parts of the great continent.