Sunday, February 27, 2011

African Pop (part 1)

Irewolede Denge (?)

8.5" x 6.5"
pastel on wood, 2011
S.E. Rogie

10.75" x 9"
oil on wood, 2011

There are fifteen tracks from Africa in the list of 100. All commercially produced recordings spanning almost a century, and originating from all over the continent: three from South Africa, Nigeria, and Ethiopia; two from Mali; and one each from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Algeria, and Egypt. Unlike past years, none were recorded in the field.  Many I already wrote about in the past 97 pages and before I start to get into next year's top 100 I'll briefly comment on those that I did not tackle before.
  • Irewolede Denge is the musician that first used the term Juju to describe his music. Juju became the name for a Yoruba Nigerian urban style of popular music that emerged from the wider spread Palm Wine music in the late 1920s. The song Orin Asape Eko was recorded in 1937 and released on CD as the opening track to Juju Roots (Rounder, 1985), a chronological compilation of the history of Juju. Denge also is the provider of the last track on the CD recorded in the mid-1960s.
  • S.E. Rogie (b. Sooliman Rogers, 1940s, Sierra Leone) is one the best known performers of Palm Wine music. Twist with the Morning Stars (1965) was the first African Pop record I owned. It hit my Top 100 charts in the late eighties. I've lost that record and this year's song Toomus Meremereh Nor Good comes from a compilation LP named Africa Dances.
  • Alem Kebede from Ethiopia I found on the blog Awesome Tapes from Africa. The original tape was given to Brian Shimkovitz, proprietor of the blog, by his friend Jarboe (I assume that is the musician who was in the Swans). Ateremamesew is a track from that cassette recorded in the 1970s, the style being desribed as Ethio-Jazz.
  • Sekouba Traore from Mali I've also found on Awesome Tapes from Africa. I've written extensively about him before (April, Sekouba Traore) and now there's a second track from the cassette Walinyumadon called Bèki de la Dô. I based his second illustration on the same (and only) photo found.
Alem Kebede
6.5" x 8.75"
pastel on wood, 2011
Sekouba Traore

8.75" x 6.5"
pastel on wood, 2011


  1. Are these available to purchase??

  2. Yes, all these are smaller paintings and are $375. Shoot me an email if you're interested.