Analog Africa's Afro-Beat Airwaves: Ghana & Togo Circa 1972-1979

Analog Africa's Afro-Beat Airwaves is a compilation of songs by various artists from Ghana and Togo circa 1972-1979.

Analog Africa is a fantastic blog/record label from Germany that is releasing some deep underground African cuts from the 60s and 70s. Their 8th release, Afro-Beat Airwaves, is a compilation of songs of various artists from Ghana and Togo circa 1972-1979. They've also released compilations from Benin, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and will be releasing Angola Soundtrack on November 22. Each album comes with extensive information, photos, and interviews with the featured artists and producers. Afro-Beat Airwaves is chock full of obscure Afro-Funk gems from artists such as Ebo Taylor (see also Strut's latest release) and the De Frank Professionals, whose song "Afe Ato Yen Bio" is one of my all-time favorites. Take a listen to the track below and check out the blog for yourself here.

De Frank Professionals - Afe Ato Yen Bio


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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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