Akofa Akoussah / Sonafric Records

Via 1976, dig the smoldering and slow-burning nocturnal blues of Akofa Akoussah’s “I Tcho Tchass,” a humid noir groove that closes out her sole, self-titled, long player. Hailing from the West African nation of Togo, Akoussah blurred sounds, traditions, and styles from her neighboring Ghana, fusing psychedelic rock, soul, jazz, funk, and, here, a unique and unclassifiable downtempo diamond. A low-tempo voodoo vamp some might find seasonally appropriate.

Akofa Akoussah :: I Tcho Tchass

Her record soon sees reissue via Mr. Bongo. If this track is any indication, we’re in for yet another unearthed delight. With its late-night jazz club intro, Akoussah’s slow and soulful serenade, the guitar’s sweltering cool, and a propulsive ritualistic crescendo, “I Tcho Tchass” imbues the very magic of the region’s singular and holistic sounds.

Originally released on Sonafric Records – a short-but-well-lived Paris-based / Africa-focused label from the mid 70s / early 80s – Akoussah was one of many possessing near supernatural talent to have passed through the doors of this special enterprise. With that in mind, we thought we’d dig in on a sampling of the label’s catalog…

Ali Farka Toure :: Ali Farka Toure (1976, vinyl rip)

A singular legend in his own right, Ali Farka Toure’s first five records were released by Sonafric, finding the great alchemist of Malian blues having materialized fully formed; an artist whose transporting, hypnotic style was masterfully sculpted decades before he would find worldwide recognition with the likes of Ry Cooder and Toumani Diabaté.

Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako :: M'bouram Mousso

A big band approach, sporting something of a Malian all-star team, Les Ambassadeurs Du Motel De Bamako ease between laidback highlife jams and more psychedelic approaches – locking in and stretching out in breathless funk fusions of jazz organ solos and saxophone grooves. Dig the above ’76 B-side from the ensemble.

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