Africa In Your Earbuds

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #69: DELE SOSIMI

Fela Kuti keyboardist and Femi Kuti bandleader Dele Sosimi delivers a high-flying vinyl mix for Africa In Your Earbuds.

Cover artwork by DJ Underdog.


Dele Sosimi is one of the most important voices in the current afrobeat scene. After spending several years playing keyboards for Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 and acting as the musical director & bandleader of Femi Kuti’s Positive Force, Dele now regularly plays with his own Afrobeat Orchestra in London.

Much like the influences on his latest record You No Fit Touch Am (his first album in over a decade), Dele’s selections on his Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape are packed with socio-political messages and guided by classic 1970s Nigerian afrobeat, Ghanaian highlife, Cameroonian funk and South African jazz. The high-flying mix runs through tracks from K. Frimpong, Manu Dibango, Hugh Masekela and Fela himself.

“These 10 tracks were selected specially for a reminder to all of the joy in the diversity of music,” Dele tells Okayafrica about his mixtape. “Starting with ‘Awareness’ and ending with ‘Long Ways from Home.’ The inspiration behind the selections come from the state of affairs world wide today, negatives and positives.”

“Without challenges, we will not realize potentials we possess to overcome, progress, evolve and live together. Listen to the music and let it speak to your souls, massage away your aches and recharge your whole being in a positive way.”

Stream AIYE #69: Dele Sosimi, recorded live at a vinyl DJ session with Koichi Sakai at Dalston, Hackney’s Ghetto Lounge Studios, below.

TRACKLIST

1. Monomono - "Awareness Is What You Need"

2. K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas - "Hwehwe Mu Na Yi Wo Mpena (Look and choose your woman)"

3. Jonas Gwangwa & Africa Explosion - "Going Home"

4. Fela Kuti - "Gbagada Gbagada Gbogodo Gbogodo"

5. Haruna Ishola - "Pariboto Riboto"

6. Rail Band - "Nantam"

7. Orchestra Baobab - "Kelen Ati Leen"

8. Manu Dibango - "Senga"

9. Ramblers International - "Grazing In The Grass"

10. Hugh Masekela - "Long Ways From Home"

Catch Dele Sosimi at the Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender May 13-15 alongside Roy Ayers, Afrika Bambaataa & more.

Get more African mixtapes from Africa In Your Earbuds:

YOUNG PARISJIDENNA & NANA KWABENAOWINY SIGOMA BANDDJ UMBTEJU COLE — NICKODEMUSMARAMZADOOKOOM — MIKAEL SEIFUGARTH TRINIDAD — DJ SPOKO — CAPTAIN PLANETTHE HAPPY SHOWCLAP! CLAP!DJ GIOUMANNEALEXIS TAYLOR OF HOT CHIP— CARLOS MENA — ZACH COWIE — ELIJAH WOOD — KOOL A.D. — SOL POWER ALL-STARS — DJ NUNAS — NIC OFFER OF !!! — LARRY ACHIAMPONG — KYLA-ROSE SMITH OF FRESHLYGROUND— THE GTW — RADIO TANZANIA — JON THEODORE — DESMOND & THE TUTUS — MATHIEU SCHREYER II — YOUNG FATHERS — BBRAVE OF AKWAABA — OLD MONEY — DJ NEPTUNE — SAHEL SOUNDS — BEATENBERG — M1 [DEAD PREZ] — BODDHI SATVA — L’AFRIQUE SOM SYSTEME — NOMADIC WAX —  THE BROTHER MOVES ON — LV — BEN ASSITER [JAMES BLAKE’S DRUMMER] — JAKOBSNAKE — CHRISTIAN TIGER SCHOOL — SAUL WILLIAMS — TUNE-YARDS — MATHIEU SCHREYER — BLK JKS — ALEC LOMAMI — DJ MOMA — AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA — PETITE NOIR — OLUGBENGA — RICH MEDINA — VOICES OF BLACK — LAMIN FOFANA — CHICO MANN — DJ UNDERDOG — DJ OBAH — SABINE — BROTHA ONACI — DJ AQBT — JUST A BAND — STIMULUS — QOOL DJ MARV — SINKANE — CHIEF BOIMA

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A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

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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