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NEW LITTLE AXE RELEASE
Mohamed M. Kooshin was one of a rarified group in Somali music, a master of the kaban who followed in the footsteps of the legendary players of the kaban such as Qarshe, Hudeydi, and Omar Dhuule. Kooshin was the youngest member of Somalia's esteemed national music group Waaberi before leaving Somalia in the early 1990’s and moving to Toronto, Canada. In Canada Kooshin produced a string of releases for Waberi Studio and Arts, collaborating with Sahro Ahmed , writing and recorded out of his home studio. Kooshin passed away on December 27th 2018 leaving behind a legacy of beautiful music and loving fans across the global Somali diaspora.
Kooshin played the the kaban which has a special place in Somali music. It was a foreign instrument that, upon its arrival to Somalia in the 1940’s, became the centre of the immensely popular style of music known as qaraami. For many Somali music fans the sound of qaraami — poetic lyrics accompanied by the sparse sounds of the kaban and bongo drums — is the quintessential Somali sound.
A joint release with Wait And See from Toronto, Canada and the first in a series of Somali recordings from Toronto.
Digital copies available on bandcamp here: https://littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/layla
AFRICAN RECORD SUBSCRIPTION
Sign up for at least 6 months and we'll give you $10 off and include an exclusive mix tape not available outside of subscribers. For 1 year subscribers $20 off, the exclusive mix tape and a bonus vintage African 45.
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NEW LITTLE AXE CASSETTES
NEW DISTRIBUTED TITLES - sahel sounds
One of the first full-length recordings of Hauka ritual music. Praise songs and sacred incantations to the spirits to inhabit the body. Call and response chants, the pluck of a monochord lute and relentless pounding percussion combine in a dizzying nonstop session.
The Hauka movement started nearly a century ago and has persisted on the fringes of Nigerien society. Documented in the 1955 Jean Rouch film Les maîtres fous, the Hauka are a pantheon on spirits mirrored on colonial and military figures. Central to the religion is the “Holley Hori” possession ceremony, a ritual driven by militaristic percussive music, wherein spirits come into the body in powerful and violent manifestations.
Lingo Seini has played ritual music for almost 60 years, learning from his father. He is joined by his son Youssouf on the calabash and Issaka Moulla, playing his homemade kuntigi. The group regularly accompanies Hauka priests in ceremonies. Recorded with a single microphone in the outskirts of Niamey.
Limited edition of 500, with old school offset printed hand-glued covers.
Dreamy instrumental acoustic folk guitar from Fouta Toro in Northern Senegal. Fingerpicked acoustic guitar with intricate syncopation, a technique inspired by the four-string hoddu, with melodies that go back centuries, from the Almoravid dynasty to the Mali Empire. In contrast to the familiar desert blues, Siftorde highlights a very distinct and underrepresented style of Sahelian guitar. Guitarist, photographer, visual artist, and folklorist Tidiane Thiam hails from Podor, a small riverside town in the far North of Senegal. A self-taught musician who learned guitar from late-night radio broadcasts, Tidiane is a veritable encyclopedia of Sahel folklore. Borrowing from this repertoire, he adapts his own technique of fingerstyle guitar, crafting serene pieces imbued with emotive reflection. Recorded at night on a single microphone at home in Podor, and set against the backdrop of crickets, the recordings on Siftorde are stripped down and informal, without any pretense of a studio recording. The effect is deeply personal and intimate. The album’s title, translated by Tidiane in four languages, means ‘Remember’ - a nostalgic ode to the temporality of the recording, and a plea for the songs themselves, whose survival demands they not be forgotten.
NEw MISSISSIPPI TITLES
A survey of Moondog’s earliest recorded works - many of them unreleased until now - through a collaboration by Mississippi Records and Lucia Records. From 1953 - 1962 field recordist Tony Schwartz frequently checked in with Moondog, his favorite street musician. Tony Schwartz made recordings of Moondog’s earliest compositions as they were coming into focus. Sometimes these recordings were made right on the street as Moondog busked, sometimes they were made in Schwartz’s studio, and sometimes they were made on NYC rooftops. The resulting recordings, many of which had never been released, were deposited at the Library Of Congress as part of the Tony Schwartz Collection in 2006 when Schwartz passed away, and this record was culled straight from these original tapes.
Side one kicks off with an unreleased version of Moondog’s classic composition “Why Spend The Dark Night With You?” followed by the first ever complete recording of his “Nocturne Suite,” a beautiful piece of classical music performed with members of the Royal Philharmonic. The side ends with the complete “On The Streets Of New York” 7” EP, which was released on Mars records in 1953 and subsequently re-released by Honest Jon’s Records in 2004 on their excellent Moondog anthology. Side B features sketches of Moondog compositions never released, many with the man himself howling and chanting over his homemade percussion set.
“Man Walked On The Moon” features Abner material from two different periods. Side A opens with an early deep 1970’s version of his signature song “I’m So Depressed,” which has never before been reissued on LP. The hit is followed by four previously unreleased songs from the same period - “The Royal Palm” (a classic train song), “Old Black Joe,” “I’m A Hard Working Man,” and his paen to space travel, “Man Walked On The Moon.” All are sung and played by Abner with his standard one man band set up - electric banjo, drums played by his feet, and harmonica. Side B of the LP features tracks that were previously released on a Mississippi 10” EP back in 2011 (“Last Ole Minstrel Man”), which is long out-of-print. This LP collects some of Abner’s greatest work from across his career, all rare or previously unreleased classics!LP includes a 20 page booklet with photos and a loving tribute to Abner Jay written by Jack Teague.
The world’s first collection of gorgeous pop songs from Frank and His Sisters, a family band from Moshi, Tanzania. Formed in the early 1950s by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara and Maria Regina, the trio recorded and toured throughout East Africa and issued a string of instant classics, capturing fans with their beautifully harmonized singing, clever lyrics, and Frank’s stunning guitar work. Imagine the fingerstyle finesse of John Fahey with a pure pop melodicism, combined with the family harmony of groups like The Carter Family, The Roches, and The Beach Boys, set in the golden age of Tanzanian music!Previously only heard on painfully rare 78 rpm discs and Tanzanian oldies radio, this album collects the trio’s finest songs, lovingly restored and remastered. We love this music so much that in late 2018 we traveled to Tanzania to meet Frank’s family and collaborate on this album. The result is a colorful 8-page booklet featuring complete lyrics in English, Swahili and Chaga, as well as previously unpublished photographs, extensive interviews and anecdotes, and a biography by Tanzanian musician and radio host John Kitime. All tracks fully licensed from the Humplick family.
LITTLE AXE Still Available
Andaleeb Wasif was born in a well-known family of Hyderabad, India in 1928. A self-taught singer and harmonium player. He gained recognition early in life, performing for the Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad when he was only six years old.
On this recording Wasif performs six ghazals, a poetic form of couplets focussing on love and longing with mystical and spiritual elements. The lyrics to the ghazals featured on the recording are written by some of the best known Urdu poets of the 20th century including Faiz Ahmad Faiz.Never commercially released, the songs have been sourced from private concerts, home recorded cassettes and radio shows. Andaleeb’s renditions are enigmatic, filled with pathos, timeless and ethereal
Limited edition of 500.Digital copies can be purchased at https://littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/
Andean party music from the central sierra of Peru. Tayta Shanti’s long history of complex syncretism is expressed through its simple song structure. Minimal and raw, or layered with intricate arrangements, its unrelenting rhythm mesmerizes as much as it moves. 16 songs of pure folklore, spanning the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Compilation includes liner notes and photos. Instant mountain rave.
Digital copies are available at our bandcamp page here: https://littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/
Ethiopian artist Sosena Gebre Eyesus sings accompanied by her playing of the Begena, or King David’s Harp, one of the world’s oldest and most beguiling instruments. Since ancient times the Harp of David has been used as an aural balm, a soother of evil and disturbed spirits —it’s low, buzzing tones widely noted for their ability to sweetly refresh one’s soul. Said to have been brought to Ethiopia in biblical times by Menelik I, it has long been the central instrument used to accompany Ethiopian Orthodox hymns, which Eyesus plays here in an absolutely entrancing manner while softly singing songs of devotional reflection. Featuring six beautiful hymns that gently unspool at the measured pace of a lullaby, Sosena Gebre Eyesus magically creates a rarefied atmosphere that feels absolutely necessary and vital for these most turbulent of days.
Originally released on cassette, this is a limited edition lp of 500 copies.
Also available as a digital download: https://littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/sosena-gebre-eyesus
Esther Suarez, also known as La Ocrasina De Oro, is a popular Peruvian Huayno singer. La Bolognesina is one of her earlier albums, featuring reverbed vocals over Andean harps supplemented with light percussion and handclaps. The album was recorded in 1981, with the title referring to her roots near the snow-capped Andean mountains of the Bolognesi province in the Ancash region of Peru. Peru experienced waves of mass rural-to-urban migration in the latter half of the twentieth century due to poverty and political instability, but with it also came an explosion in the popularity of the folkloric Huayno tradition. An urban and modernized studio version of ancient indigenous Quechua folk traditions, Huayno became the soundtrack to the migrant’s experience of both hardship and homesickness. Esther Suarez’s clear and yearning vocals soar over galloping huayno rhythms, evoking the highlands of her youth with heartbreak, regret and melancholy, while simultaneously looking to a place where there is always a will to live and an invitation to dance. Truly some of the most beautiful music ever.
Digital copies can be purchased here:littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/esther-suarez-la-bolognesina
Wait and See Cassettes
Amazing new 2 x lp of Arthur Russell recordings......
After ten years of work inside the Russell library, Lee and Knutson bring us Iowa Dream, yet another bright star in Russell’s dazzling constellation. Blazing with trademark feeling, these nineteen songs are a staggering collection of Russell’s utterly distinct songwriting. And although Russell could be inscrutably single-minded, he was never totally solitary. Collaborating here is a stacked roster of downtown New York musicians, including Ernie Brooks, Rhys Chatham, Henry Flynt, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Jackson Mac Low, Larry Saltzman, and David Van Tieghem.