June 2, 2011

Highlife Time, Volume 2

ARTIST:  various artists
TITLE:  Highlife Time, Volume 2
LABEL:  Vampisoul
REVIEW:  Long before afrobeat, juju, fuji or hiplife, highlife music ruled in Anglophone West Africa.  The roots of this style go back to the 19th century, some of the earliest commercial recordings in Africa are highlife sessions, and most of Nigeria and Ghana’s most famous musicians got their starts in highlife bands.  This well-curated two-disc set (credit to Londoners Rita Ray and Max Reinhardt, aka Shrine Synchro System, for the selections and the excellent notes) is an excellent overview of this diverse and long-lived genre.  Highlife thrives on its ability to incorporate a wide variety of influences, and this set really highlights that diversity -- you’ll hear elements of bebop (disc 1-track 1), calypso (1-2), Central African guitars (1-6, possibly the most popular African recording of all time), palm-wine guitar (1-9), even modern jazz (2-2) and marching bands (2-9) on this set.  If you’re at all interested in the roots of modern West African music, this set is worth your attention, and you’ll almost certainly fall in love with at least a few of these tracks.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS:    1-1    1-2    1-6    2-5    2-6    2-9
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1-3    1-9    2-1    2-2    2-3    2-4    2-7

No comments: