02 February 2009

Lipa Kodi Ya City Council

A label called Mississippi Records has been putting out some incredible releases over the past few years. Apparently the label started around '03 or '04, but my first introduction was this album in late 2006. The record cover itself is a silk-screened piece of cardboard glued onto an old Latin Big Band sleeve. Attached is a photo of a Nigerian dude, wearing what appears to be traditional dress and a couple of reeds, playing electric guitar plugged into a generator. Needless to say, this record is mind-bogglingly good.

The first side consists of songs meant to be a celebration of life and death, sung in the colloquial language of southern Nigeria called Efik. The second side is in the official language of Nigeria, called Ibo, and celebrates the officers and members of a "cultural organisation" (whatever that means). Elements of reggae, gospel, ska, and highlife can all be found here, and for the most part it is a very upbeat compilation. The recordings are somewhat lo-fi, but not in that Times New Viking way where everything is distorted and it sounds like somebody is chewing granola in the studio and they accidentally put that way up in the mix and now you're listening to it because 1) you're punishing yourself 2) because you have no actual opinion of music and your "tastes" are learned. No no, it's lo-fi in the way that the songs have been recorded on a tape machine in the late 60's with limited equipment. The first two tracks are definite standouts, but I think the center of the album is track 6, a slow, peaceful gospel chant done by a bunch of missionaries and religious drummers. No, they're not referring to the drummers from Jars of Clay and PM Dawn (amusingly enough, when I clicked the link for the PM Dawn website, I was alerted that their site contains malware..way to go guys). I put this song on the mix CD I made my mom for Christmas, and now you can too!


Track listing:

A1 Moussa Doumbi - Yeye Mousso
A2 Yaseen Mohammed and Saada - Lala Mpenzi
A3 Sami Kamar & The Black Diamonds - Egun Dide
A4 Kabushi and Mwenya - Mwe Baiyashi Centeleni
A5 Mbasela Kunda and William Monyanda - Nina Namusonda Sanguweji
A6 Noviciat De Soeurs Missionaires De Notre Dame D' Afrique & Four Religious Drummers - Yesu Ka Mkwebase
B1 Cabdulashi Iman Zamir / Xaaji Cusmaan / Nuur Maxamed Curuba - Siina Miiri
B2 Ester John / Mdawida Fadhili William* / Ben Nicholas / Fundi Konde - Mwanamali Wa Maridadi
B3 Frida Sonko - Gwenasobya
B4 Marehamu George Mukabi - Bibi Mama Ngani Mzuri
B5 S.E. Rogie - Do Me Justice
B6 Isaya Mwinamo - Lipa Kodi Ya City Council

This album is out of print on LP and probably won't ever be available on CD, so I'd suggest you grab this right here if you're even remotely interested. It should not, will not, cannot, let you down. Also get your hands on everything you can from this label. Their records are cheaper than dirt and always of a very high standard. "Always - Love Over Gold."