The Best Of African Psychedelic Music

Apr 7, 2021 | Culture, Music

The sheer volume of incredible art and music from the continent requires strong consideration when picking your favourites, so we’ve tried to narrow it down to a few albums that exemplify the weird, wonderful and trippy.

Our selection of albums below has had some restrictions, namely the fact that unfortunately a lot of amazing records from the continent are not available to listen to online and our recommendation is to do your own crate digging, anything released on the below labels is going to be worth your money. 

Zambia Music Parlour

Analogue Africa

Now-Again

Decca (West-Africa)

Sheba Sound

Soundway

 

Marijata – This is Marijata (1976) 

Marijata were a Ghanaian 3 piece who released “This is Marijata” in 1976, intertwining psychedelic guitar licks, organs, brass and frantic drumming into their brand of funk. Laden with super catchy choruses and infectious rhythms, they fold in guitar sounds that remerge decades later labelled as “Desert Rock”.

Witch – Introduction (1974)

Perhaps the best known of the Zamrock bands, Witch took heavy inspiration from US Garage Rock and the UKs Mod and Beat scenes. Mixing in fuzzy guitar riffs with some pretty exceptional organ playing. It’s fair to say Witch were much better at playing their instruments than their American Garage rock counterparts. 

Musi O Tunya / Rikki Ililonga – Dark Sunrise (2010)

We must preface this recommendation by explaining that “Dark Sunrise” is an anthology collection of Musi O Tunya and their legendary frontman Rikki Ililonga. The majority of the tracks were recorded in the 70s. Musi O Tunya led the Zamrock revolution, an explosion in popular music in Zambia during the mid 70s that produced a host of incredible bands mixing Psychedelic rock with funk, blues and sometimes Reggae.

Coumba Sidibé – Mali Stars (1994)

Born in Mali, Coumba contributed to the Wassalou region’s incredible musical. On this record, her incredible singing voice is combined with disco-like rhythms, synth licks and traditional West African strings that glide within the very tight production. With a song rarely under the 7 minute mark, her hypnotic voice draws you in the longer you listen. 

BLO – Phases (1972-1982)

Nigerian 3 piece BLO took elements of Highlife, Afrobeat and fused them with heavy psychedelic funk. No acid needed, stick on “Chant To Mother Earth” on this record and you’re already there. Beautiful, heavily reverberated vocals flow in and out of funky basslines, syncopated drum patterns and Santana style guitar solos. 

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