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Onemind Presents Onemind

Various Artists - Living Is Hard

Honest Jon’s

  • £20.97 ( )

Format: gatefold 2xLP
Cat: HJR 033
Release Date: 18th June 2008
Genre: Funk

West African Music in Britain, 1927-1929, unearthed from the EMI Archive

A1 Oni Johnson: Garse Yer Fido
A2 Isaac Jackson: Nitsi Koko Ko Ko
A3 Ben Simmons: [Blank]
A4 Harry E. Quashie: Anadwofa
A5 Ben Simmons: Mu Kun Sebor Wa Wu
A6 Douglas Papafio: Kuntum
B1 Prince Zulamkah: Ligiligi
B2 The West African Instrumental Quintet: Adersu - No. 2
B3 The Ga Quartet: Abowe Dsane Nmaka Tso
B4 Domingo Justus: Buje
B5 Ben Simmons: Obu Kofi
B6 James Tucker: Rue Bai Rue Bai
C1 John Mugat: Bukay
C2 Kumasi Trio: Asin Asin Part 2
C3 Douglas Papafio: Sakyi
C4 James Thomas: Jon Jo Ko
C5 Nicholas De Heer: Edna Buchaiku
D1 George William Aingo: Akuko Nu Bonto
D2 Nicholas De Heer: Ewuri Beka
D3 George William Aingo: Agur Bi Dzi Mansu Aba
D4 James Brown: Mukorin-Mantun
D5 Nicholas De Heer: Wasiu Dowu
D6 John Mugat: Alahira

First in a series drawing on some of the earliest recordings in the EMI Hayes Archive — recovered from more than 150,000 78s, staggering music from Iraq, Turkey, Caucasia, the Lebanon, Iran (including sides made in Old Street, London, in 1909), Egypt and the Belgian Congo. This opener presents the music of the West African underground of 1920s Britain, recorded at Hayes and released on the Zonophone label (which exported nearly all the records to West Africa). You can hear Caribbean influences here, the promise of highlife there, but Living Is Hard mostly disavows fusion and assimilation. And by contrast with antecedents in the history of black music in Britain — minstrelsy and spirituals, for example, ragtime and jazz — these recordings are unhitched from the protocols of a white listenership. This is startling, trenchant, elemental roots — carrying troubled news home, and signs of the new African nationalism — and an enthralling glimpse of other lives, another time here. A heavyweight gatefold with a booklet in the same style as London Is The Place For Me.

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