Over the last 12 months Africa has dominated world music like no other continent. The Africa Express events organised by Damon Albarn were the world music events of 2008, album releases from contemporary artists such as Amadou & Mariam and Toumani Diabate have secured mainstream coverage and chart placings whilst the compilation market has been dominated by African-retro albums such as Ethiopiques & Soundway’s Nigeria Special series. Amadou & Mariam, Toumani Diabate, Mahmoud Ahmed (Ethiopiques) & Sir Victor Uwaifo (Nigeria Special) all feature on Beginner’s Guide to Africa which collects together 43 tracks from the artists who are making waves in African music today:
CD1 – Africa Now – features gems from the biggest contemporary artists such as Amadou & Mariam, Bassekou Kouyate & Mory Kante, African soul, hip-hop & leftfield from Les Espoirs de Coronthie, Chiwonso & Konono No. 1 plus African-Western collaborations from Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, Frederic Galliano & Extra Golden.
CD2 – African Roots – features African-blues, desert-blues and north-African roots music from legends such as Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen, Rokia Traore & Cheikha Rimitti as well as newcomers Etran Finatawa, Toumast & Vieux Farka Touré.
CD3 – L’ Afrique Classique – features classics from the ‘golden era’ of African music of the 70s and 80s with classics from Ethiopiques’ Mahmoud Ahmed, Franco & Orchestra Baobab.
To many people Africa is ‘the’ continent that springs to mind when thinking of world music and this compilation presents a look at some of the artists making African music so vibrant in 2009.