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Künstler: Diverse Rough Guide
Komponist: Diverse Westafrika
Künstler: Various


While there's plenty of great African music being made today, a lot of people forget (or don't know) that there are also many classic vintage sides. Covering several West African countries, from Mali to Ghana, Rough Guide to West African Gold is a veritable feast of beat and melody. Some of the names, like Rail Band DeBamako (better known as the Super Rail Band), with the glowing voice of Salif Keita on vocals, or Orchestra Baobab, the Senegalese group who added Latin music to their native style to great effect. Equally joyful is the elastic sound of Bembeya Jazz National, where the guitar work sparkles, or E.T. Mensah, who for many years was the king of high life music in his native Ghana. With a wealth of material to choose from, it's no surprise that there's not a dull track on the compilation, whether it's Eric Agyeman's jazzy guitar work on "Abenaa Na Aden?" or Dexter Johnson & the International Band taking on the Latin classic "Manicero." At times it might sound raw, but that's part of the pleasure. There's never a sense of anything being slick or over-produced. Instead, passion is the motivating force here, everyone playing as if their lives depend on it. These tracks, recorded between the '50s and '80s, capture the sense of independence and possibility that pervaded the region at the time, The sound of a Golden Age indeed. ~ Chris Nickson