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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Africa Remix

By Tom Pryor
Published September 2, 2005

Milan Records

This outstanding new collection gathers contemporary African sounds from across the continent, and is the aural accompaniment to the largest exhibition of African contemporary art even seen in Europe. The Africa Remix exhibit involved more than 60 artists from 25 African nations, working in every medium imaginable. Running in Düsseldorf, London and Paris, it was one of the hottest tickets on the continent last summer, and this collection perfectly captures the revolutionary spirit of the show. This isn’t your father’s Afropop, this is up-to-the-minute, 21st century African pop, and most of the artists here have one foot in the Motherland and another in Europe. From Democratic Republic of Congo singer Tatouages’ opening salvo, “Silence on reve,” the tracks here hit hard with the shock of the new. There’s synth-drenched soukous from Congolese veteran Awilo Longomba, and downtempo Swahili hip-hop from Kenya (“Fanya Tena”), and a wild “bush rock” track from DRC favorites Konono No. 1 that boasts fuzzed-out electric likembes (thumb pianos). Best of all is the re-emergence of Ghorwane, an influential Mozambican band from the ’80s that had fallen off the map in the last decade.