Afro-Pop & African Drums




Thurston Knudson brought African drums to the American album-buying public in the late 1940s, along with a crackpot theory relating rhythm to bondage and footstep speed. Apart from jazz, authentic 1950s field recordings offered glimpses of musical traditions from almost all of the African diaspora. Pop caught up at the end of the decade, when the promotion of stereo increased demand for all forms of percussion. Later in the 1960s drummer Babatunde Olatunji and singer Miriam Makeba brought worldwide attention to African music.

"Chaino" (not his real name) was a wild, experimental, non-African drummer given to grunting and other exhuberant "exoticism." While his association with Kirby Allan was a classic case of 1950s, pop marketing gone awry, his talent is obvious. He made his own drums, his hands flew, and his legendary recordings have endured the lurid sensationalism of the artwork and false liner notes. Some famous Latin and exotica LPs feature Chaino as a sideman.

The Jungle Percussion session notoriously appears on countless public-domain, budget-label records, as Jungle Beat, Taboo, Congo Percussion, Soul of a People, Fabulous Bongo Ping Pong Percussion, even Tahitian Percussion(!), and under various artist names --"Sabu" (meaning the actor; the LP has nothing to do with Sabu Martinez), Subri Moulin, "Kaino" (not Chaino), Chief Bey, Jean Devres, Chief Walathi, Cawanda-- and song titles with various spellings, typically "Asiwanda," "Yowcolule," and "Ben Je Engay." Get it only once.

The original, world-beating, drum aficionado, Les Baxter, artfully assimilated African themes throughout his career (never mind his music for the Ed Wood movie, "Bride and the Beast," set in Africa). African themes were popularized by the films "Hatari," "Born Free," and of course "Tarzan." Some of the interpretive albums, such as Gold Coast Saturday Night (with a young Charles Earland on tenor sax), African Sounds, and Jungle Odyssey are classics.

Buying: Afro-drum and Afro-pop albums can be hard to find but usually are good values.



Non-Folkways African LPs

77
Rating
7Saka Acquaye & his African Ensemble from Ghana: Gold Coast Saturday Night; Elektra EKL-267-X; 1959 (w/Charles Earland!; also as Drum Fever; Crestview CRS-7805)
7Adesanya Adeyeye Traditional African Music & Dance Ensemble: Nigeria--Music of the Yoruba People; Lyrichord LLST-7389; 1983
5Mustapha Tettey Addy (master drummer from Ghana); Lyrichord LLST-7250
8Arthur S. Alberts (rec.): The Field Recordings of African Coast Rhythms; Riverside RLP-4001; ?/1949 (reissues 78 album "Tribal, Folk, & Cafe Music of West Africa)
8Daniel Barrajanos & his Drummers: Strictly Percussion [Vol. 1]; Hoctor HLP-4084 (African/Brasilian/Latin/percussion)
Daniel Barrajanos & his Drummers: Strictly Percussion [Vol. 2]; Hoctor HLP-4085 (Latin/cult drums/percussion)
6Ray Barretto & Brock Peters: Mysterious Instinct (Akannaginnagi); Charlie Parker PLP-834 (w/Chief Bey; Brock Peters: Accent on Roots; Strand SLS-1029)
7Les Baxter: Tamboo; Capitol DT-655
7Les Baxter: African Jazz; Capitol ST-1184
7Paul Berliner (rec.): The Soul of Mbira; Warner/Elektra/Nonesuch Explorer H-72054; 1973 ("Traditions of the Shona People of Rhodesia")
-Big Black -- see African Jazz
7The Blue Nile Group: Orchestra Ethiopia; Tempo TRE-6169; c.1969
8Miriam Burton w/Pat Williams: African Lament; Columbia/Epic BN-26011 (African exotica)
8Ladji Camara, Master Drummer: Africa, New York; Lyrichord LLST-7345; 1975
8Chaino: Jungle Mating Rhythms; Verve MGV-2104; 1958 (also as Voodoo Drums; MGM/Metro 2356-052; India)
8Chaino: Night of the Spectre; Tampa TP-4; 1958 (a.k.a. Eyes of the Spectre; also as --promo-only-- Unbridled Passions of Love's Eerie Spectre; Specter 4)
7Chaino: Jungle Rhythms; Score SLP-4027; 1958
8Chaino: Chaino-Africana; Dot DLP-25240/75202; 1959
8Chaino & his African Percussion Safari: Jungle Echoes; Omega OSL-7; c.1959 (1st pressings deep groove--some brown vinyl; 1st jacket has red "Chaino" text/yellow back/captioned Chaino photo; 2nd jacket has different Chaino photo; repackaged minus 1 cut for budget label Viking as Ugella & Viking Pops Orchestra: Theme from Mondo Cane & Other Horror Music; Viking VKS-6605)
7The Exotic Sounds of Chaino: Temptation; Omega; [1959] (exotica/Latin/Latin jazz; "including members of Francis Bay Orchestra"--Chaino leads a 4-man percussion section using 20 instruments; likely unreleased by Omega but released as John Evans: Exotic Percussion & Brilliant Brass; Premier/Directional Sound DS-5006;; Chaino & his African Drums: Erotic Percussion; Lincoln LNP-305)
[Chaino with] Kirby Allan Group: Percussion for Primitive Lovers, Maze MAZ-B-331
[Chaino with] Kirby Allan Group: Percussion For Playboys Volume One, Maze MAZ-B-385
[Chaino with] Kirby Allan Group: Percussion For Playboys Volume Two, Maze MAZ-B-387
6Cheltenham Orchestra: Born Free; Wyncote SW-9176
5Roberto Delgado: African Dancing; Polydor 2371-106
7Denis-Roosevelt Expedition: The Belgian Congo Records of the Denis-Roosevelt Expedition; Commodore DL-30,005 (more commonly as reissue Primitive Music of Africa; Mainstream 56021; original recording 1935-6)
4Martin Denny: Afro-Desia; Liberty LST-7111
7[Jean Devres'] Afro Percussion Ensemble: Soul of a People; Trolley Car TC-5015 (ubiquitous public-domain set credited elsewhere to Chief Bey, Soubri Moulin, Kaino, Cawanda, the actor Sabu, Chief Walataghi, etc.)
6Hamza El Din: Al Oud--Instrumental & Vocal Music of Nubia; Vanguard VSD-79194; 1965
7Dinizulu African Troupe: The Drums of Dinizulu--Songs of Ghana & Anago Chants; Afrotone STLP-700
6The Dungills: Africa Calling; Vee Jay LP-1061
6Bertha Egnos & Gail Lakier: Ipi-Tombi OC; Audiofidelity/Ashtree ASH-26000; 1975 (2-LP)
7David Fanshawe (rec.): Africa--Witchcraft & Ritual Music; Nonesuch Explorer H-72066; 1975
6Frekoba Africans Presents Voices of Black Angels & Drums of Thunder; Recorded Publications Company RPC; 1972 (LaDeva M. Davis, James L. Lewis, Afro-American Drum & Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia's Bartlett Junior High School)
6Richard Hill (rec.): Drums of West Africa--Ritual Music of Ghana; Lyrichord LLST-7307
7[The Drums of] Cyril Jackson: Afro-Stereo; Counterpoint CPST-5561; 1958 ([The Drums of] Cyril Jackson: Afro Drums; Request SLRP-8109)
7Stephen Jay (rec.): Africa--Ancient Cermonies, Dance Music, & Songs of Ghana; Nonesuch Explorer H-72082; 1979
7Stephen Jay (rec.): Africa--Drum, Chant, & Instrumental Music; Nonesuch Explorer H-72073; 1976
6Benny Kalanzi: The Mysteries of African Music; McAfee Music Corporation MCA-4974
8Thurston Knudson: The Rhythm of Tropic Drums 10"; Tempo TT-2212
8Thurston Knudson: Alibi for Drums 10"; Tempo TT-2266 (w/Danny Stewart, Sam Koki, George Worth, Milt Holland)
7Thurston Knudson, Augie Goupil, & their Jungle Rhythmists: Jungle Drums 10"; Decca DL-5426; 1952 (78 album A-718; 1949; also on Thurston Knudson & Augie Goupil: Tahitian Rhythms & Jungle Drums; Decca DL-8216)
7Thurston Knudson: Primitive Percussion--African Jungle Drums; Reprise R-6001; 1961 (stereo R9-6001; 1962)
Letta: Mbulu; Capitol ST-2874
7Letta: Free Soul; Capitol ST-2929 (arr./cond. H.B. Barnum; prod. David Axelrod)
7Roberto Leydi (rec.): African Rhythms & Instruments Vol. 1; Albatros; 1969 (live at Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria; Lyrichord LLST-7328)
6Roberto Leydi (rec.): African Rhythms & Instruments Vol. 2; Albatros; 1969 (live at Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria; Lyrichord LLST-7328)
6Roberto Leydi (rec.): African Rhythms & Instruments Vol. 3; Albatros; 1969 (live at Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria; Lyrichord LLST-7339)
->Arthur Lyman (African cuts on Bwana A, The Colorful Percussions)
5Miriam Makeba; RCA Victor LSP-2267; 1960
7Miriam Makeba: The Many Voices of; Kapp KS-3274; 1962
5Miriam Makeba: Makeba Sings!; RCA Victor LSP-3321; 1965
5Miriam Makeba: Pata Pata; Reprise RS-6274
7Miriam Makeba in Concert; Peters International PLD-2082; 1977 (live, hip)
4Henry Mancini: Hatari! ST; RCA Victor LSP-2559; 1962
8Shelly Manne: Daktari; Atlantic SD-8157; 1968 (w/Emil Richards)
7Dumisani Abraham Maraire: The African Mbira--Music of the Shona People of Rhodesia; Nonesuch Explorer H-72043; 1971
7Albert Mouange & his African Ensemble: An Adventure in Rhythm--Cameroons to Caribbean 10"; Vanguard VRS-7032; 1955
8Arch Oboler's African Adventure--Songs, Ceremonial Music, & Tribal Dances of Equitorial Africa 10"; Decca DL-7007; 1950
7[Babatunde Michael] Olatunji: Drums of Passion; Columbia CS-8210; 1960 (w/Chief Bey, Montego Joe..)
6Olatunji: Afro Percussion--Zungo!; Columbia CS-8434; 1961 (w/Montego Joe, Yusef Lateef, Clark Terry, Ray Barretto..)
8Olatunji: Flaming Drums; Columbia CS-8666; 1962 (partly African jazz; covers Guy Warren's "Love the Mystery of"; w/Montego Joe, Clark Terry, Gavin Masseaux..)
5Olatunji: High Life; Columbia CS-8796; 1963 (prod. by John Hammond; w/Ray Baretto, Dave Pike, Montego Joe, Chief Bey, Willie Rodriguez, Clark Terry..)
6Olatunji: Drums! Drums! Drums!; Roulette SR-25274 (also as Olatunji; Roulette SR-42063; (w/Chief Bey, Pat Patrick, Marshall Allen, Sonny Morgan..; also reissued on Trip)
6Olatunji: More Drums of Passion; Columbia CS-9307 (w/Chief Bey..)
7Olatunji: Soul Makossa; Paramount PAS-6061; 1973 (funky)
7Prince Onago & Princess Muana w/Chick Foster Quintet: Roots of Rhythm; Jubilee JGS-5007
8Prince Onago & Princess Muana & Native Drummers of the Belgian Congo: The Drums of Africa; 20th Century Fox SFX-3000/FOX-3000
7Gilberty Rouget (rec.): Music of West Africa; Roulette SR-9003 (w/"Musical Bow Solo"--like mouth harp)
5"Sabu & his Jungle Percussionists": Jungle Percussion; Clarity 812 (one of dozens of similar inauthentic releases; absolutely nothing to do with Sabu Martinez!!!)
4Sapra Studio of Nairobi: Heartbeat of Africa--Drums of Africa Series 2 EP
7S. Sklair: Musical Topograhy Vol. 1--African; Berry/Conroy BMLP-136; 1975 (African/production; some breakbeats)
6Titos Sompa with the Tanawa Dance Company: Yao!; Vanguard VSD-79415; 1978
6Sonar Senghor Al Sicco Yi: African Tribal Music & Dances; Everest/Counterpoint/Esoteric CPST-5513
7The Shangaans: Jungle Drums; EMI Studio 2 TWO-109; 1965 (South African/exotic rock)
7Carl Stevens: African Sounds; Mercury PPS-6030 (African/exotic rock/exotica/mod twist; partly on Various: Hit Motion Picture Themes; Mercury SR-60810)
Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 1 10" (all); Decca (Decca/London; entire series has spoken intros)
7Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 2--Kenya; Decca (Decca/London LB-826)
8Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 3: Drums of East Africa; Decca (Decca/London LB-827)
8Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 4--Congo Drums; Decca (Decca/London LB-828)
7Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 5--The Guitars of Africa; Decca (Decca/London LB-829)
8Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 6--The African Music Society's Choice, Best Music for 1952; Decca (Decca/London LB-830)
8Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 7: Congo Songs & Dances; Decca LF-1172 (Decca/London LB-831)
8Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 8: Music of the Uganda Protectorate; Decca (Decca/London LB-832)
Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 9: African Stories; Decca (Decca/London LB-833)
Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 13: African Dances of the Witwatersand Gold Mines; Decca
Hugh Tracey: The Music of Africa Series, Musical Instruments 5: Xylophones (12" LP); Kaleidophone KNA-5; 1972
-Guy Warren -- see African Jazz
6Anyaogu Ukonu (Ukonu & his Afro-Calypsonians: Afro-U.S.A.); Imperial LP-9007 (original maroon deep groove; reissued w/different jacket art)
Drums of West Africa--Ritual Music of Ghana; Lyrichord LLST-7307
Ethiopian Urban & Tribal Music Vol. 1--Mindanoo Mistiru; Lyrichord LLST-7243
Ethiopian Urban & Tribal Music Vol. 2--Gold from Wax; Lyrichord LLST-7244
Music of Ghana--Kpanlogo Party; Lyrichord LLST-7251
6Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies; Lyrichord LLST-7157/LL-157 (rec. Colin M. Turnbull)
Sounds of West Africa--The Kora & the Xylophone; Lyrichord LLST-7308
7Talking Drums of Africa: Savage Rhythms; Tempo TS-1015 (possibly reissues 10")
8Robert Farris Thompson, Jr.: Safari of One--Primitive Rhythms on African Thumbpianos & West Indian Drums; SMC Pro-Arte SMC-1058 (w/Kako)
7Voices of Africa: Masque d'Afrique; Del-Fi DFLP-1203 (Bob Keene & Earl Burton emulate Chaino)
7Chief Walataghi & Afro Drummers: Taboo; Silver Seal UTS-139 (10-cut ubiquitous public-domain set credited elsewhere to Chief Bey, Soubri Moulin, the actor Sabu, Kaino, Cawanda, Jean Devres, etc.
UNESCO-Collection: An Anthology of African Music Vol. 8--The Music of the Senufo; Barenreiter Musicaphon BM-30-L-2308 (deluxe!)
Unknown/Uncredited: Drums Over Afghanistan 10"; Tempo
6Uncredited: Kasongo!--Modern Music of the Belgian Congo; Capitol of the World T-10005
7Uncredited: Music & Dances of Occidental Africa; Oympic 6110; 1974 (music of the Malinke & Baoule; US release of French LP--Grand Prix du Disque winner)
6Uncredited: Watusi Drums; Burundi BU-99
7Various: African High Life; Philips/Mercury/Fontana SRF-67519 (Black Beats, Comets, Chasmen Sunset Band, Ambassador Springboks, Happy Stars, Stargazers of Kumasi, Modern King Stars)
7Various/Uncredited: Africa--Soul from the Beginning; [no label or #] (2-LP w/booklet)
6Various: African Memories; EMI/Pathe Marconi C-062-15136 (African/Afro-Latin; African Jazz Orchestra, Baguin w/Orchestra Negro-Band, Conga Jazz Orchestra, Nino, Rock-a-Mambo)
7Various: The Africans ST; Island/Antilles AN-7085; 1986 (BBC/PBS doc featuring Fela, Sunny Ade, Toure Kunda..)
8Various/Uncredited: The Music of Africa; BBC/Horizon RDC-4393; 1971 (UK; comprehensive 31-cut sampler)
7Various: Music of the African Zulus; Capitol of the World T- 10114 (African pop/jazz rec. in Johannesburg)
7Various: Music of Cameroon--The Fulani of the North; Lyrichord LLST-7334; 1976/1975-76 (w/1 bomboro--mouth harp cut)
7Various: Music of West Africa; Roulette SR-9003 (rec. Gilbert Rouget; features "musical bow solo")
6Various: Music Sounds of Africa; Gallo MMRL-1282; 1985 (compilation)
7Various: Nigeria--Music of the Yoruba People; Lyrichord LLST-7389; 1983


Folkways LPs

Rating
8Bilal Abdurahuram w/Rahkiah Abdurahuram, Ayyub Abdullah: African Musical Instruments--North Africa-Islamic Influence/South of the Sahara; Folkways FW-8460; 1970 (1 African-jazz piece)
8Bilal Abdurahman: Sound, Rhythm, Rhyme, & Mime for Children; Folkways FC-7540S; 1971
7Bilal Abdurahman w/Jack Stubbs & Latif Abdul-Zahir: Innovative Rhythmic & Tonal Textures [for Little Ones]; Folkways FC-7535; 1976
8Bilal Abdurahman: Echoes of Timbuktu & Beyond in Congo Square, U.S.A.--African American Musical Roots Revisited; Folkways FC-7755; 1979 (partly jazz/out w/scat & narration)
Africa--South of the Sahara; Folkways (2-LP compilation)
7African Music; Folkways FW-8852; 1957 (rec. by Laura C. Boulton on the Straus West African Expedition of the Field Museum of Natural History)
African Music--The Naked Prey; Folkways 3854 (from the soundtrack)
8African & Afro-American Drums; Folkways FE-4502 (2-LP compilation)
8African Drums (African & Afro-American Drums, Vol.1); Folkways FE-4502-AB; 1954 (w/bata drums)
Afrikaans Childrens' Folk Songs 10"; Folkways 7201
Afro-American Drums (African & Afro-American Drums, Vol.2); Folkways FE-4502-CD
Bantu Choral Folk Songs 10"; Folkways 6912
The Baoule of the Ivory Coast; Folkways 4476
8The Big Drum Dance of Carriacou; Folkways Ethnic Library FE-4011; (c)1956 (rec. Andrew C. Pearse)
Bulu Songs of the Cameroons; Folkways 4451
Dahomey Suite for Oboe & Piano; Folkways 3855
Drums of the Yoruba of Nigeria; Folkways 4441
Folk Music of Ethiopia; Folkways 4405
6Folk Music of Liberia; Folkways 4465
Folk Music of the Western Congo; Folkways 4427
5Ella Jenkins: Jambo & Other Call-&-Response Songs & Chants; Folkways FC-7661; 1974
Music of Chad; Folkways 4337
6Music of Equatorial Africa; Folkways 4402; 1964/1950 (rec. Andre Didier)
Music of the Ituri Forest; Folkways 4483
6The Music of the !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Africa; Folkways FE-4487; 1962 (rec. John Phillipson, ed. Moses Asch)
Music of Mali; Folkways 4338
Music of the Cameroons; Folkways 4372
The Music of the Diola-Fogny of the Casamance, Senegal; Folkways 4462
Music of the Mende of Sierra Leone (West Africa); Folkways 4322
Music from Petauke, Northern Rhodesia, Vol. 2; Folkways 4202
Negro Folk Music of Africa & America; Folkways 4500
David Nzomo Trio: Songs from Kenya; Folkways 8716
Psalms Sung in the Cameroons; Folkways 8910
7The Pygmies of the Ituri Forest; Folkways 4457; 1958 (rec. Colin M. Turnbull & Francis S. Chapman)
Religious Music of the Falashas; Folkways 4442 (Ethiopian Jews)
Songs of the Watusi; Folkways 4428
The Topoke People of the Congo; Folkways 4477
Tuareg Music of the Southern Sahara; Folkways 4470
7Yoruba Elewe--Bata Drums & Dance; Folkways 4294; 1980 (rec. G. Odukwe Sackeyfio at Ila Rangun at the Odun Egungun Festival)
7Various: Exotic Dances; Folkways FOLL-52; 1950 ("Baya Dance")


Partly African LPs

Rating
5Jose Bethancourt/Richard Campbell/Harry Coon: Beat Tropicale; Concert-Disc CS-33; 1956
7Clyde Borly & his Percussions: Music in 5 Dimensions; Atlantic SD-33-195; 1966 ("Afromania")
8Candido: Calypso Dance Party; ABC-178; 1957
7The Gaylads: Sunshine is Golden; CoxSone CSL-8006 ("Sounds of Africa"--exotic Afro-mento!)
8Montego Joe: Arriba! Con Montego Joe; Prestige PRST-7336; 1964
8Montego Joe: Afro Rhythms; Kimbo Educational KLP-6060; 1970 (kid funk/African/Afro-Cuban/Brasilian/Calypso/Haitian/Santeria)
7Montego Joe/Marie Brooks: Ethnic Dances of Black People Around the World; Kimbo Educational KLP-9040 (kid funk/African/Afro-Cuban/Brasilian/Calypso/Haitian/Santeria; 4 treatments of 8 cuts from KLP-6060)
7Quincy Jones: Around the World; Mercury PPS-6014 ("Africana" w/Michael Olatunji; "Baia" features Olatunji & Tito Puente)
9John McFarland [Sextet]: Provocatif--9 Exotic Motifs; United Artists UAS-5053; 1959 (w/Johnny Rae; exotic jazz)
6Ouro Negro/Berta Cardoso: A Visit to Portugal; Capitol of the World ST-10309 (1/3 fados, 2/3 Portuguese-African)
7Tak Shindo: Mganga!; Edison International SDL-100 (mono CL-5000)
8Various: Songs & Sounds of Faraway Places; Philips PCC-201 (3 African cuts)
7Various: TransAfrica MusicMakers Vol. 1; Shade FM-005 (UK African/calypso/calypso jazz/Latin; West African Supersonics, OK Jazz Band, West African Rhythm Brothers, Rans Boi, Amrose Campbell, Ali Ganda, Brewster Hughes)


African 45s & EPs

Rating
African Jazz/Elegance Jazz: Congo Cha-Cha-Cha; Columbia Esengo Series, SEE-2 (4-cut EP)
6Bunde Awino: Songs of Victory; Sapra Limited Heartbeat of Africa Series; CMIL-41 (2-cut EP; Nairobi; "Bunde Awino, the Nyanza Litugist, Presents: Thumgorutu--Ceremonial tunes of Nyanz/Ochuotho Mogot--The tale of a freedom fighter")
8Chaino & his Slave Boys: Trinidad/The Slide; Tampa TP-142 (calypso jazz/African; not on LP)
Rock-A-Mambo/Negro Band: Congo Highlife; Columbia Esengo Series, SEE-1 (4-cut EP)
5Rock-A-Mambo/Negro Band: Congo Goes Latin; Columbia Esengo Series, SEE-3 (4-cut EP)
7Lalo Schifrin: Rhino Romp/Theme from "Rhino!"; MGM K-13251; 1964 (exotic rock/African/percussion; extremely rare, from never released 1963 ST session)
5Hugh Tracey: Music of Africa Series No. 13: African Dances of the Witwatersand Gold Mines, Part 2B; Gallotone XEP-7015
7Uncredited/Various: Drums of Africa; Sapra Studio Heartbeat of Africa Series 2 (8-cut EP; Nairobi)
7Uncredited/Various: African Folk Music; Sapra Studio Heartbeat of Africa Series 2 (8-cut EP; Nairobi)
7Uncredited/Various: Traditional Instruments; Sapra Studio Heartbeat of Africa Series 2 (8-cut EP; Nairobi)


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