Every music obsessor has those few secret sources on the web where they go to find the best music around. Today we decided to hook up with one of the most astonishing. Globalgroovers.com is a home-made blog run by one incredibly committed man with a treasure trove of rare African records you would otherwise never have known existed.
The head-honcho of Global Groove spends a staggering amount of time uploading thousands of 50s/60s/70s vinyl to his website that would otherwise never see the light of day, and has developed a strong cult following of obsessed African music lovers who scour his website because of it.
We got in contact with the man behind the site and asked if he’d like to curate a Monday Morning Mixtape with a selection of the finest West African music. We were luckily enough for him to agree and sit down for an interview with us as well, of which you can discover below.
Ashanti Brothers Band – Kill Me and Fly
African Brothers Band – Yaa Amanua 2
Master Bob Akwaboah – Mame
Lucky Boys International Band of Ghana – Afua Nyama Saman Pa
Dr. Paa Bobo International Band of Ghana – Ehye Wo Bo
Okukuseku International Band of Ghana – Any Trouble
City Boys Band – Nya Asem Hwe
Kyeremateng Atwede & Kyeremateng Stars – Su Su Ka
King Onyina – Akwantu Mu Nsem
Nana Ampadu’s African Brothers Band International – Aketenkye
K.K.’s No. 2 – Tua Na Woho Nkom
Opambuo International Band of Ghana – Hu Anim Ase Nkyene
I just turned 56 so I was born in 1958. In the sixties when I was like 7 or 8 years old my love for music started developing. In those days we had the famous Radio Veronica which was a pirate radio station sending from the North Sea from their ship ‘Veronica’. My sisters are 8 and 10 years older so at evenings when my parents went out, my sisters had their boyfriends over and were dancing in the living room. I was hiding behind the couch to spy on them and got to hear the Kinks, the Animals, of course loads of Beatles and Stones and so forth. I had this little transistor radio myself and at night when everybody thought I was sleeping, I was listening to my radio through my pillow so only I could hear.
My hometown is Hilversum, the center of Dutch radio and television. Among our family’s friends and aquaintances are many who worked with broadcasting companies so music has always been around me and became a part of my life. Age 14 I bought my first single, it was Jimi Hendrix with on the a-side ‘Voodoo Child’ ( slight return ) and on b-side, ‘All along the watchtower’ and ‘Hey Joe’. Slowly my taste of music developed, pop, rock and blues were the first styles I liked but I took quite a few roads through jazz and early seventies, jazzrock and fusion. Mid seventies when Bob Marley broke through in Europe, my friends and me got obsessed with Reggae and a bit later the first African music appeared. I have always listened to many genres and artists and never liked to make lists of favourites, so many styles and colours in music and I think there is a time and moment for everything.
You’ve obviously developed an amazing collection of records over the years, lots of them would probably be hard to find on the internet. When did your record collecting begin and what parts of the world have you found them in?
At first I started in local record shops, I live 30 minutes from Amsterdam where I used to find most things I wanted. One of my best friends owns a record shop and keeps me informed of new releases. Twice a year we have Europe’s biggest recordfair in Utrecht, only twenty minutes from us, I am with him to build up the stand and start hunting for records before the fair opens for public, very nice. In the 90’s I fell in love with a Brazillian lady and started going to Rio where she’s from. This is when my love for samba started, learning Portuguese and starting to understand the lyrics I got crazy with the stuff. I collected quite some records on my trips there. For African and other tropical music the Utrecht fair used to be very good but it is getting more and more difficult to find. I made several trips to Paris in the past as well. France is a country that hosts lots of African people so it is a good place to find African music. I never went to Africa myself but know some record dealers who go there and bring back LP’s. A couple of years ago I met with a guy who travells to Colombia where his mother lives, he always brings back piles of Colombian material, fantastic happy music that has captured me since the release of ‘Cumbia Cumbia’ One and Two in 1989 and 1993. Two cd’s with stuff from the vaults of Discos Fuentes and my first encounter with the style.
Where are your favourite places to discover music?
Nowadays of course the internet is one of the better places to learn about music. But once I get to know something new that I like, I start looking in shops and fairs to find the original LP’s. Over the past decades I have collected a series of addresses I use to frequent, crate digging remains my favourite way. I never buy from the internet, I think it is no sport to order a rare record this way. I want to find it myself, digging through piles of dusty records. The moment you find something you’ve been looking for is always special and can send a shiver down your spine.
For those that haven’t yet had the delight of discovering Global Groove, could you give us a short biography of what it’s all about and how long it has been around?
After discovering music blogs, I guess it was in 2005 or 2006, I got completely hooked. It was the great Loronix of Zeca Louro in Rio that got me triggered, shame it does not exist anymore. On one of my Rio trips, it was in february 2007, I went to visit him and we had a fantastic afternoon going to the record shops in Leme and Leblon neighbourhoods close to the Copa Cabana. When I returned home I could not resist any longer and started to find out how to make my own blog. the Global Groove was born in May 2008. I have always used to play music on party’s of friends and in bars and such. Over the years I found it more and more difficult to get satisfaction in meeting people that understand the music that touches me, the internet however opened new ways to find like-minded folk. I am very happy to be able to reach a massive public through the Global Groove, the site has some 30.000 visitors every month, I am still astonished to see..
What have been some highlights for you since running Global Groove, any special uploads that are close to your heart?
That is always a very difficult question, so many wonderful lp’s have passed by over the 6 years the GG exists. It is impossible to call a few without doing short to others but okay. The eight following LP’s are just a few of the treasures we had and personal favs (all searchable on my site):
Etoile de Dakar – Absa Gueye
Guillermo Buitrago – Diciembre y Año nuevo
Vicky & OK Jazz
Riachão, Batatinha e Panela – Samba da Bahia
Thelma – Thelma canta Nelson Cavaquinho
Verckys et l’Orchestre Vévé – “Dynamite” Verckys
Kyeremateng Atwede & Kyeremateng Stars – I go die for you
Lord Kitchener – Kitch ’67
What are your thoughts on the term ‘World music’ being used in the Western world to attribute a collective genre for local music from “out there” sort a speak?
I must say it never really bothered me, with so many different genres world wide, it is absolutely impossible to find a term that covers it all. I understand that the record business picked just this term. The masses are stupid and need a pole to hold I guess..
Do you have any crate digging tips for all those record enthusiasts out there on how to spot a good record that you might not know anything about? Or is it just pot luck with some of the really old stuff you might find?
Well, it is not an easy thing to do. Over the years I have learned what labels and years of release I must look for. For example, when looking for calypso from Trinidad I want the lp to be from the sixties, later on it turns to soca ( soul Calypso ) and I prefer the earlier stuff above the later..In samba however I am looking for the stuff from the early seventies. Every style has a period in which it was best but off course there are no guarantees, I have also bought LP’s I was sorry about afterwards but that happens, only time and experience can teach you..
Finally, could you tell us a bit more about the mixtape you’ve created for us?
I have focused on West African and because you are a huge lover of Okukuseku I made an all Ghanaian highlife compilation. We hear some of the finest groups I have in my collection. It is always hard to pick the best tracks with so many to pick from. The comp starts with three bands that combine organ and guitar. As from track four most numbers are guitar based, I like both variety’s. Kyeremateng Atwede is the man with the sweetest voice, Nana Ampadu I one of the finest guitar players but to be honest I just love’m all equally much.