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Here's Five: Lord Echo Shares African Records That Shaped 'Harmony'

Here's Five: Lord Echo Shares African Records That Shaped 'Harmony'

Monday 30th October, 2017 2:20PM

Wellington songwriter and producer Mike Fabulous doesn’t sit still, he’s currently revving up for a November tour for his Lord Echo project in two special locations in Wellington's San Fran and Auckland's Hollywood Cinema, which promises to be a sound and light extravaganza. On top of that he’s also got festival dates lined up for his Fabulous / Arabia duo with Lawrence Arabia and is well-known for his work with supergroup Fly My Pretties. Fabulous describes Lord Echo’s new album Harmony as a diverse blend of reggae, disco, African soul, techno and spiritual jazz. Naturally this got us wanting to know more about what inspired the album, so we asked him to share some info about his favourite African dance records…

1. Oscar Sulley - 'Bukom Mashie’

I'm lucky to be on the UK label - Soundway - that brought this incredible piece of music to light. It was deemed too progressive for release initially! I love how it has this big band thing going on the arrangement, but the rhythm section is just so supremely tough and danceable - you can play this uptown or down, it never fails.

2. Les Ya Toupas Du Zaire - 'Je Ne Bois Pas Beaucoup’

There's so much beautiful guitar work in African music, such inimitable phrasing. There'll often be two or more interlocking parts made up of repeating figures that become more hypnotic the more they're repeated. They kind of build to a fever pitch in this song as the tune plays out.

3. Musaimo - 'Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe’

I couldn't find the version I wanted of this song by Mbiri Young Stars, but this 80's version by Musaimo has a compelling music video for your consideration, and who could tire of the melody whatever the arrangement?! 'Evergreen' is the name given to a song that is timeless and this is just one of those tunes I think.

4. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - 'Ne rien voir, dire, entendre' (Vodoun)

Another fantastic melody on this one - to me it's almost Brazilian in character somehow. The bass bubbles. Somehow the whole thing seems to lilt in a strange way. MORE COWBELL.

5. Fred Fisher - 'Asa-Sa’

I remember first hearing this in Auckland at the Turnaround - Cian was playing it, I was dancing right next to the speakers. It's such a great example of African disco - those repeating guitar figures again with super crisp 70's drums on this one. Probably recorded at the EMI studio in Lagos I guess, it sounds great anywhere.

You can catch Lord Echo live performing in Auckland and Wellington for 'The Harmonies' tour, more info below…


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Lord Echo - The Harmonies Tour
Sat 4th Nov 8:30pm
San Fran, Wellington
Lord Echo - The Harmonies Tour
Fri 10th Nov 7:00pm
Hollywood Cinema, Auckland