Where do you go if you want to find Tanzanian bongo music? What about Tsongi disco? South African synth-pop? Unless you happen to be an ethnomusicologist or visiting Africa, the answer is likely the website Awesome Tapes from Africa.
Brian Shimkovitz, aka DJ Awesome Tapes from Africa, an ethnomusicology scholar and avid music collector, started the minimalist blog after returning to the U.S. after a year in Ghana. During his time studying the origins of hip-hop in Africa, Shimkovitz — who will be performing August 2 at the 92YTribeca along with Jeremiah Lockwood and The Sway Machinery — accumulated a sizable array of cassettes, still the main medium of most African musicians. “I was picking up things I knew you couldn’t hear at home, some weird stuff and some things that were straight ahead.” Shimkovitz said. “I just knew I wanted to share it.” As Shimkovitz once posted, “Maybe globalization ain’t that bad.”
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