In’s first “Blogs We Love” post, we present “Awesome Tapes From Africa“.

The blog is everything its name suggests. Started by Brian Shimkovitz after a trip to Ghana, the former ethnomusicology major with a penchant for traditional music, amassed a stockpile of tapes while in West Africa. All of it on tape – from Nigerian fuji music to Benga sounds from Kenya and traditional Bahlawi from Eritrea.


“…the awesome tape from Africa that started it all…”

“People sometimes ask me why I do this blog, how did I get into African music, etc. I first heard this tape as a 19-year-old college student and it just destroyed me in ways I can’t describe. Like some kind of junkie, I’ve been chasing the dragon ever since, and this is the awesome tape from Africa that started it all for me.”

Each post includes a picture of the cover, a short write up of how he came across the tape, and the best part is that he loads the audio so you get to listen to it! It truly is a treat.

There’s music from everywhere. Somalia, Morocco, Benin, Kenya, Mali, Guinea – you name it. The very first post back in April 2006 featured Ghanaian artist Ata Kak. He describes the sounds as “frenetic leftfield rap madness”, and says he bought it from a guy selling tapes on the street in Cape Coast, Ghana.


Ata Kak

It soon became so popular that people started sending in their own tapes. Like this one of Ethiopian Hirut Bekele, which Brian says was a gift from his “homie in Addis named Kidus”.


Hirut Bekele


In upcoming weeks we’ll be sharing more “Blogs We Love”. Send us your suggestions for your favorite Africa-related blog and we might just feature it on!