Hi -- welcome to my African music review section. This page includes records by artists under the letter "J". More African music resources can be found at the main index page.
By the way, I'm hardly a world's expert on African music, and this list is kinda whatcha call a "work in progress," so please feel free to make suggestions and comments.
Jali Musa Jawara "Yasimika" (Hannibal, 1983)
Gorgeous! Originally issued in 1983, this is one of the finest African albums ever recorded, and one of the first records to draw me firmly into the orbit of Malian music. Pulsating, gentle, irresistibly hypnotic, it features the masterful, restless kora work of Jami Musa Jawara on four long, radiant songs, accompanied by a soulful, keening female chorus. This has to be heard to be appreciated, and once you hear it, you'll be a fan for life. The only downside is that you'll have a hard time finding other, similar albums of such high calibre (although the search will be fun!) Great stuff.
Jali Musa Jawara "Soubindoor" (Mango, 1988)
(Produced by Nick Gold)
Another elegant and otherworldly album, this time with a slightly more biting edge to the vocals, and a brisker pace than before. Although this doesn't have the same eerie, mystical feel as Yasimika, this is a still a strong album, alternately pleasing and unusual... Includes two long (ten minute-plus) tracks, but also a brace of shorter songs making this perhaps a little more accessible (or radio-friendly) as well.
Jihe & D'Gary "Horombe" (Indigo-France, 1995)
Bola Johnson "Man No Die" (Vampi Soul, 2010)
Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces "Super Afro Soul" (Afro-Strut, 2000)
Sizzling '60s funk from this Nigerian Afro-Pop pioneer. Bandleader Orlando Julius eventually made his way to the U.S., where he worked in the soul scene... But here he was ripping his way through a blend of local highlife and furious, James Brown-style R&B. The music is aggressive and punchy, but it also has some deep, serious grooves. If you want to hear where Fela and the bands that followed got their groove from, you'll want to check this guy out!
Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders "Orlando's Afro Ideas: 1969-1972" (Soundway/Ekosound, 2004)
Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders "Super Afro Soul" (VampiSoul, 2006)
Orlando Julius (Ekemode) "Longevity And Reclamation" (NuWorld Music, 2006)
Domingo Justus "Roots Of Juju: 1928" (Heritage, 1993)
Rather stark, early historical recordings made for the Royal Zonophone company by a Nigerian singer, abroad in England in the late 1920s. Not much is known about this fella, although the use of guitar accompaniment on some of these tracks (most are sung a capella...) places him in the forefront of the development of guitar-based African pop, and Nigerian juju music, in particular. For the average listener, these old recordings are probably a bit too inaccessible, but folks who are trying to seriously dig under the surface and discover some of the historical roots of the style may find these recordings quite interesting.
African Artists... Letter "K"
African Music Index
World Music Index