This Thursday is a new night of The Highlife at Otis Lounge in San Francisco. We will be exploring the world of Afro, Soulful, African House. Maybe call this night Afro House vs. African House. What’s the difference?
There is an interesting dichotomy emerging within the surging interest of African Electronic Music. Writers around the Internet are pointing to differences (and similarities) between Afro House styles from Europe and the U.S. and House or Techno from Africa.
Does a difference in location, production tools and cultural upbringing lead to a difference in sound? To me it does. The Angolans and Mozambicans slip in a little Kuduro, the South Africans pitch down. Jamaicans and Panamanians add more than a little soca bashment, West African kids in the U.K. make Funky House and add strains of Grime, everybody puts their touch on it.
Afro vs. African?
Sonically I like both all these permutations. When a Techno producer uses an Afrobeat rhythm to build up to a banging 4/4 beat it really turns me on.
It makes me wince when pictures that are conjured up are the stuff of stereotypes instead of progressive ideas of contemporary urban globally participating Africans. (Via) I’m weary of the use of the word tribal, adding nonsensical chants, adding cowbell or conga, or putting in elephants or other animals, just to make something Afro.
Here is a mix that I serve up as an example of global house. While not all of it is stereotype free (The whole Jamaican Prince Zimboo thing rears it’s ugly head) it is all music that I think would be just as at home at an African popular music club as an underground house rave.
I found an example of said stereotypes in practice. They introduce Afro House of a picture of some water buffaloes or something in a Savanah, and I’m not sure what specifically makes the music Afro. The info on the video is in a language I don’t know. I much prefer this type of Afro House.