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01
Oni Johnson Garse Yer Fido
03 :07
02
Isaac Jackson Nitsi Koko Ko Ko
03 :03
03
Ben Simmons [Blank]
03 :29
04
Harry E. Quashie Anadwofa
03 :00
05
Ben Simmons Mu Kun Sebor Wa Wu
02 :58
06
Douglas Papafio Kuntum
02 :56
07
Prince Zulamkah Ligiligi
03 :13
08
The West African Instrumental Quintet Adersu — No. 2
03 :06
09
The Ga Quartet Abowe Dsane Nmaka Tso
03 :18
10
Domingo Justus Buje
03 :15
11
Ben Simmons Obu Kofi
03 :04
12
James Tucker Rue Bai Rue Bai
03 :00
13
John Mugat Bukay
03 :02
14
Kumasi Trio Asin Asin Part 2
03 :01
15
Douglas Papafio Sakyi
03 :15
16
James Thomas Jon Jo Ko
03 :10
17
Nicholas De Heer Edna Buchaiku
03 :06
18
George Williams Aingo Akuko Nu Bonto
03 :09
19
Nicholas De Heer Ewuri Beka
03 :20
20
George Williams Aingo Agur Bi Dzi Mansu Aba
03 :04
21
James Brown Mukorin-Mantun
03 :05
22
Nicholas De Heer Wasiu Dowu
03 :07
23
John Mugat Alahira
03 :20
ARTIST
TITLE
Living Is Hard: West African Music in Britain, 1927-1929
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
HJR 033CD HJR 033CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
5/27/2008

Honest Jon's has prepared a series drawing on some of the earliest recordings in the EMI Hayes Archive -- recovered from more than 150,000 78s -- staggering music from Iraq, Turkey, Caucasia, Lebanon, Iran (including sides made in Old Street, London, in 1909), Egypt and the Belgian Congo. This series opener presents the music of the West African underground of 1920s Britain, recorded at Hayes and released on the Zonophone label (which exported nearly all the records to West Africa). You can hear Caribbean influences here, the promise of highlife there, but Living Is Hard mostly disavows fusion and assimilation. And by contrast with antecedents in the history of black music in Britain -- minstrelsy and spirituals, for example, ragtime and jazz -- these recordings are unhitched from the protocols of a white listenership. These are startling, trenchant, elemental roots -- carrying troubled news home, along with signs of the new African nationalism -- and an enthralling glimpse of other lives, other times. Artists include: Oni Johnson, Isaac Jackson, Ben Simmons, Harry E. Quashie, Douglas Papafio, Prince Zulamkah, The West African Instrumental Quintet, The Ga Quartet, Domingo Justus, James Tucker, John Mugat, Kumasi Trio, James Thomas, Nicholas De Heer, George Williams Aingo and James Brown.