Thanks to bands like Vampire Weekend, Abe Vigoda and Animal Collective (and Paul Simon and Talking Heads before them), Afrobeat has become a buzzword of late, used to describe any band with trebly guitars and sunshine vibes. But it’s rare that the African music these dudes borrow from so heavily ever gets the props it deserves. And this is a bad thing (for many cultural reasons), but mainly because some of it is incredible and requires a much wider audience.

Knowing that Fair Ohs main man, Eddy Frankel is a full-on, erm, African-o-phile, we decided to put his expert knowledge to the test. He’s compiled for us a mix that’s going to make the sun shine in London all winter long, even if all the songs are about the dark side of women, death and beer. And whatever you do, don’t call it Afrobeat - it’s Kenyan Benga, Benin funk and South African soweto beat, FYI.


Where did the theme for the mix come from?

It’s pretty difficult to understand what a lot of African music is about if you dont speak the language that the musicians are singing in. What I’ve managed to gleam from a lot of the music I really love is that it seems to largely be about women, friends, death and sometimes beer.

How did you first get into African music?

It had always been around at home because I was born in Kenya and my family lived in Ethiopia for 5 years, so when we left my parents brought music back with them. But the thing that really pushed me towards trying to absorb as much African music as I could was Extra Golden’s first album.

I know you’re a Paul Simon fan too. Do you ever think about the problems with white musicians appropriating African music?

I think the real issue is around opportunity; I get the chance to play African influenced music to room fulls of generally well-to-do Europeans whenever i want, and bands like Vampire Weekend get to do the same thing but to thousands of people a night. The African musicians that have influenced us all so heavily on the otherhand struggle to even get in to Europe and America. We also have the opportunity to release our music to a huge and largely non-limited audience. I mean, how many people have heard of Vampire Weekend? How many of those people have heard of Kakai Kilonzo?

It’s a pretty obscure selection of tracks - give me three absurd facts about any of the bands or songs on the mix

I played the last track on the list to a friend of mine and he said “woah, is this the deluxe edition Graceland with all the extra tracks? I got to get this shit.”

“Jiji” by Orchestra Super Mazembe sounds almost exactly like a really slowed down version of “Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” by Vampire Weekend.

Daniel Misiani was actually from Tanzania, not Kenya…..Not that absurd of a fact really…..I think that was pretty normal. But I’ve run out of facts.

Your own band, Fair Ohs have a pretty tropical sunny vibe. Got any plans for brightening up London over the dark winter months?




Brother Charrly Computer & the Gloria Kings - “Goodbye Hully!”
Fataki Lokassa & Bana Ngenge Stars Popote - “Dunia Imelaniwa Pt. 1″
Kakai Kilonzo - “Mama Sofi Pt.2″
Moussa Doumbi - “Yeye Mousso”
Daniel Misiani and Shirati Jazz - “Safari Ya Tansania”
Dilika - “Amazimuzimu”
Orchestra Super Mazembe - “Jiji”
Amaswazi Emvelo and Mahlathini - “Utshwala Begazati”