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Chapter 123: Sweet Mother

African highlife & soukous

Before I began to seriously explore world music, I was under the false impression that African music was primarily about rhythm. There’s a bit of fancy djembe handiwork in this sampler of highlife, juju and soukous, but I’ve never heard musicians so in love with melody. These songs are uninhibited but graceful as ice dancers, with lead lines leaping, falling and leaping again multiple times in a single hook. The highlight is “Sweet Mother,” an exuberant ode to maternal love that knows no bounds.
1. King Sunny Ade

Ma Jaiye Oni

2. E.C. Arinze & The Empire Rhythm

Mgbe Nnelu Ego

3. D.O. Misiani & Shirati Jazz

Giko Piny

4. Prince Nico Mbarga

Sweet Mother

5. Gnonnas Pedro

Yiri Yiri Boum

6. E.T. Mensah

Damfo Wo Eni Ewu

7. Migori Super Stars

J. Atis Yolanda

8. Orchestra Super Mazembe

Shauri Yako

9. Wazimbo


10. PK Chisala