Afro-Caribbean: Marleys / Makossa / East Africa Famine Relief

August 16, 2011

Words by Eddie STATS Houghton

We hold the iron-clad connections between Africa and the Caribbean to be more or less self-evident at LargeUp, but in the past week or two it seems like one thing after the other keeps popping up to remind us just how current the exchange of ideas back and forth are between the beautiful isles and the bright continent. For one thing, tomorrow is the birthday of Jamaica’s favorite son Marcus Garvey, founder of the Black Star Line and inventor of Pan-African ย philosophy, making it a particularly auspicious moment to chronicle these other small moments of motherland-and-child reunion which have caught our eye lately.

First, there was Chief Boima’s post on Ghetto Bassquake–filed from street-level in Monrovia, Liberia–tracing the melodic genealogy of a current Nigerian hit (below) to T.O.K.’s “Galang” (on the Diwali riddim) back through an earlier dancehall rendition by Echo Minott all the way back to folk and mento versions of the tune known as “Emmanuel Road” or “Mandeville Road.” That’s where the trail goes cold, but who knows? If we could follow the thread further, it might lead all the way back to somewhere in West Africa.

Then there was this excellent mixtape (and event series) from DJ Wonway, which explores the rhythmic overlap between disco & soul, Latin/Caribbean salsa and Central African Makossa with inspirational results (beaucoups respects to Shamz at OKP for the heads up). Stream below and get the full story on the Cameroonian end of the inspiration equation with the full post at Okayafrica.

Makossa Vol. 2 FULL MIX by Wonway

Then the Marleys teamed up with some other bold-face names to combat famine in the horn of Africa, spreading the word with this Kevin MacDonald-directed video for the Bob Marley classic “High Tide or Low Tide”:

(get more info, including instructions on how to donate/sign petitionsย here).


And last but not least, super-heavy cats Damian Marley and Nas invaded Central park Summerstage with their two-man Pan-African army. Watch them go hard as a militant on a rendition of the Amadou & Mariam-sampling “Patience”:

Rally round the flag.