157 SHELTER RECORDS has come out with what is already making the rounds as a dance floor atomic ‘bomb!’ ‘an Afro jam must have’, a house ‘ fire fire track’, ‘the new heat’ and more. Rave reviews and accolades are coming in from DJs all over the world as the single “Baba M’fa Njika – which means ‘Father, I give you thanks’ in the Mungaka language – touches down in vinyl and now entering the digital space on Traxsource! On the hit track, World renown Deep House legend Jephté Guillaumeand The Netherlands’ own Power Deep House DJ, DJ Diephuis, introduce to the world the electrifying voice of Barbara Gwanmesia. One of Africa’s vocal giants, Barbara has stepped onto the world arena with this track like a meteorite. In Back-To-Mine, Barbara gives us an insider view on some of the sounds that she enjoys in her me-time.
MIRIAM MAKEBA – MBUBE
Miriam Makeba is the woman whose singing and thrust for justice opened my eyes not only to the aesthetics of the voice, but to an artist’s potential to use art for a good transcendent of personal pleasure. Let’s just say this lady is one of the greatest reasons that I sing. Finding this classic MBUBE recently on Youtube just made my day, and please permit me, to share it with you.
SALIF KEITA – SOUAREBA
Salif Keita moves me almost to tears with this song. Every time I listen to it, my heart swells. I am told the song is a tribute to a friend, but I am not sure as I have no translations for the lyrics. The song’s accompanying video is decidedly not the best, but the song is so epic, I keep subjecting myself to the poor video image.
MIRIAM MAKEBA – MALAIKA
A real classic. ‘Malaika’, a love song written in the 1940s by Tanzania’s Adam Salim, became a global classic when Miriam Makeba covered it. Hers, in my view, remains the most memorable interpretations of the song, and ever since her rendition, generations of artists have followed her leading in loving listeners the world over with the song.
MIRIAM MAKEBA – A PIECE OF GROUND
Whoever does not know how institutional apartheid started in South Africa need only to immerse themselves in the depth of Miriam Makeba’s voice in this song. It is the voice that helped propel the injustice of Apartheid South Africa to the world, and became part of ushering in the process that eventually turned that country into the post-apartheid state it is today. It is an understatement to say that Miriam Makeba rocks my world every time. If I could, I would showcase all her songs on a continuous basis. But she leads an army of singing women and men whose contribution to a better world and a more joyous and peaceful heart must be acknowledged. And for that reason I must showcase a few here. The young Sona Jabarteh is one such artists. Her lovely voice and phenomenal skill on the kora bring to the listener sounds of every mood.
Sona Jabarteh GAMBIA
In this song, Sona Jabarteh takes us all on a tour of her fatherland Gambia. What a sweet sweet voice. Now I too dream of ‘an independent’ Gambia. And I mean independent in every sense of the word…. which I dream for all African countries too.
DEBRA DEBS’ AFRICA HIGHER HIGHER
When I first heard this song by fellow country woman Debra Debs, my eyes remained glue to my screen. Debra Debs sings the cry of every concerned African – in a voice matchless in its artistic force and authentic authority. I later heard that someone caused the first youtube site of this song, with over a million views, to be pulled down or rather to disappear. Must have been someone opposed to her message of accountability in African countries. I have always hoped that her message will again reach as many people on social media as it once did or even more people – if only to demonstrate the power of justice.
BRENDA FASSIE – BLACK PRESIDENT (AYE NELSON MANDELA)
Brenda Fassie left this earth much too early; but not before she had commanded attention to the finite lifespan of man’s injustice and wickedness to man. And even though the quality of this music video is poor, the message of its powerful “My Black President” is inescapable. The song is not just about the triumph of one man, but the triumph of good over evil. Whoever doubts this fact should try investigating the deathbed confessions of life’s scumbags – be they hateful racists or corrupt political and business leaders.
MONIQUE – POWER FLOW
Whenever I need peace and comfort, gospel is what I turn to. This track by Nigeria’s MoniQue not only calls God’s help for the individual, but cries out to God’s spirit to heal the pain in her country. That spirit I have lately found myself desperately crying out to, to come down and help the people now hiding and starving in bushes in The Southern Cameroons. If only the world’s peoples would stop remaining silent to the atrocities taking place in that part of the world.
DONALD LAWRENCE & THE TRI-CITY SINGERS – (SHERI-JONES MOFETT ) ENCOURAGE YOURSELF.
This song remains one of my most important reminders to always fight for my own sanity and peace of mind whenever those moments of ‘downers’ that almost every one faces show up. When I first heard this song, I just had to find out who the singer was… for hers is a performance that brings those words home to me. Thank you Ms. Sheri-Jones Mofett for doing this song such justice. And thank you Mr. Donald and the Tri-City Singers for bringing the healing Word so dramatically to the heart.
ANGELIQUE KIDJO – AGOLO
What power, what force… what insistent message of love for life and the environment. This is that artistic ambience that the world ought to experience and appreciate about Africa… an Africa dripping with aspirational and suggestive beauty. I do not fully understand the symbols in the song, but it would only take the brilliance of Angelique Kidjo to command the world to pay attention to the environment in such an exhilarating way.
Diephuis & Jephte Guillaume ft. Barbara Gwanmesia ‘Baba M’fa Njika’ is out now on Shelter Records.