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Kebnekajse - Ljus Från Afrika CD (album) cover



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4 stars Between their first and second albums Kebnekajse evolved from a four-piece to be nine men strong. (Not counting Turid who occasionally joined for live shows.) They lost one for the third album and on this, their fourth album, they have shrunk to five. This is the line-up that tours today.

The still play traditional music, only this time it's from western Africa rather than Sweden. Percussionist Hassan Bah (With his origins from Guinea) assumes the role of a leader and guides the band through catchy and danceable songs. Particularly nice is "Silifé".

On "Bounsé Na Bounsé" they got help from Christoffer Okonkwo on saxophone. (He also contributed in the choir.) Last out is original tracks "Tigerdance/Wind" and "Brudarnas parti". The first sounds like an African or middle-eastern take on ambient/electronic music, quite unlike anything else in this album or from earlier Kebnekajse recordings. I come to think of German bands AGITATION FREE and EMBRYO when I hear it. "Brudarnas parti" begins as something more similar to Kebnekajses first album or "St. John from their third but evolves into sounding more like "Comanche Spring" of their second.

Report this review (#160789)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Well Paul Simon had ‘Graceland’, Manfred Mann had ‘Somewhere in Afrika’, and Osibisa had – well, pretty much their entire discography. And Kebnekaise took their own stab at an African-themed album, in this case ‘Ljus från Afrika’ which seems to wander between Saharan and Afro-Caribbean folk, with a few touches of both modern rock and what sometimes come across as mildly Celtic-sounding vocals (sung in Swedish as near as I can tell). Not that there’s a whole lot of singing though, as this is still principally an instrumental band.

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time explaining this record; suffice it to say that it is clearly for collectors-only, as casual fans of Kebnekaise and of progressive folk in general won’t likely find this to be what they likely expect from a seventies Swedish folk band. The syncopated percussion, hand drums, chanted and layered vocals, and heavy world/ethnic feel to the music are one more example of the experimental nature of this band, but are a bit outside the norm even for a Swedish prog folk band (and I say that knowing several Swedish-language folk bands who have adopted liberal use of world sounds and instruments in their music).

The first album from these guys was a fairly straight-ahead rock offering, while their second was a collection of Latin-adapted traditional folk standards, and the third in the vein of more well-known European folk music. This time they leave the musical continent completely, except for in a few places like “Bounsé na Bounsé” where some tasty violin accents the pulsating dance rhythms quite well; or on “Tigerdance/Wind” where some spacey sound effects and heavy guitar add a different dimension (more violin here as well). The most realistic-sounding tune is “Silifé”, and even here the music could be as easily mistaken from something from Cuba or the Dominican Republic as from Saharan Africa.

And the band doesn’t completely get away from their earlier rocking sound, as evidenced mostly in the closing track “Brudarnas Parti” with its heavy guitar, fat electric bass line, and sassy brass (saxophone). This is a tune that would be just as at-home on a dance floor as it is on the band’s record album.

But for the most part this sounds a bit like Osibisa tunes played by white men, which is to say the rhythms are interesting but the overall mood seems a tad bit measured. This is not authentic African music, and like Manfred Mann’s similar attempt it shows. Unlike Mann though, these guys gave things a decent and honest effort, and for that I’m going to say this is a three star record. But I will warn away fans of more staid and refined progressive music; this might not exactly be up your alley.


Report this review (#181225)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Graceland indeed.............

This album is an oddity in Kebnekajse's discography. In fact, it is not. Kebnekajse changed style on almost every album. It is very difficult to pinpoint this band. Anyway, Kebnekajse went to Africa (West Africa to be more precise) and returned with an album which is so diverse that it is difficult to describe.

Yes, they sounds like Osibasa and Paul Simon on Graceland. But how the holy squirrel they also included some Soft Machine type of jazz on this album is something I do not understand. Some modern rock is also included here. The album is supposed to be from Africa, but it ends up somewhere near Madrid, Spain when all influences is taken into account. Bewildering !

I prefer the Soft Machine themes here. But the few African themes here are also great. But this album is so diverse and bewildering that it is impossible to really embrace this album. For me, at least. This album is just a filler in a Kebnekajse collection and will not be played again by me. 2 stars is a sufficient distribution of stars.

2 stars

Report this review (#282469)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink

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