Hey Joe, tell Hendrix Africa adores Purple Haze

THE early 1970s was the era of the guitar craze in Africa and, behind the alien sound of the Fender Stratocaster guitar that dictated terms in radio airwaves, was the left-handed Jimi Marshall Hendrix (pictured).

Jimi Hendrix was above the rest in guitar wizardly and his influence in Africa has a long stay. Just watch Bongo Wende (Bojack) of Zipompa Pompa fame playing a guitar part of Matabisi with teeth, enjoy Slim Pezin’s whah whah pedal in Manu Dibango’s 1973 hit, Super Kumba or dance to the overdrive-flavoured guitar in Etat Major by Extra Musica, you have a taste of Jimi Hendrix guitar wizardly.

The sound of whah whah pedal sound effects was heard in Voodoo Chile which Hendrix released in 1969 and he was seen on stage playing guitar with his teeth in Hey Joe which he released in 1967.

Also, among his seminal classics was Purple Haze which was recorded in 1967. Jimi Hendrix is considered to be one of the most influential guitarists of all time because of his innovative and unique style of playing.

He was known for his use of feedback, distortion and unconventional techniques like playing with his teeth. Leaving aside his cultural impact as a black singerRock guitarist singing Blues music, which is still unusual, Hendrix did a number of things in his music that were enormously influential.

The first of these was to dramatically widen the range of sound from the guitar. Hendrix changed the way people hear the guitar, by playing it differently from the way guitarists had played it before him.

The sound effects (Fuzzy) he applied to his favourite Fender Stratocaster guitar were like music from another planet.

Music analysts claim that nobody had ever heard anything like this before. “This was not a man playing guitar. He looked alien creature emitting music from its soul,” they noted. Rock guitarists like Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and the Beatles were all blown away.

As his fan Varmint Tank noted,” What I love about Jimi is, he doesn’t try to hit every note perfectly but what he does play sounds so unique it’s more perfect than perfect… if that makes sense “He has such astonishing fluidity and maintains the rhythm even when doing fancy solos, rather than just playing notes fast.

He also pays so much attention to all of the notes, bending and sustaining with such nuance,” added Leif Goodwin. “In 100 years, people will remember Chuck Berry the man who started rock and Jimi Hendrix who taught people how to use an electric guitar.

I am 60 years old today white and from Sweden this man is a role model for hundreds of millions who like rock,” noted Rosa Mannen. Jeremy The One of Destiny8691 joined and said: “I love how you can hear the bones of every great guitarist in Jimi’s playing… Young brothers, Van Halen, even Cobain with the feedback… they’re all there.

“I’m sure Leo Fender never envisioned that when he created the Stratocaster… The way Hendrix abuses the tremolo in his own beautiful way was completely unheard of back then…” echoed Jerome Wagschal.

“He was “the beginning” of all fuzzy + sustain guitar players! Unique. Love all his records. Iconic,” added Fergarcial.

“The fusion of funk, electric blues and hard rock literally changed music,” echoed Wmh Health2018 Despite all his powerful influence, Jimi Hendrix is virtually unknown by the present generation of Bongo Flava, Afro Beat, Afro Congo, Techno Soukous, Azonto or Amapiano.

Tanzania’s guitar legends like King Michael Enock, Kassim Mapili and David Nhigula, on separate occasions during the Tanzanian guitar craze in the 1980s, admitted to having a certain degree of Hendrix guitar style, mainly the use of sound effects and stage appearance, but not his bending notes and distorted guitar sound.

“As a Blues musician, he had no influence in dance-oriented African music besides the guitar wizardly and alien stage appearance, said King Enock when his band, Mlimani Park Orchestra performed at DDC Kariakoo in 1984. His sentiment is also supported by a YouTube fan, Ronin-Nz8gr who better explained it: “Jimi Hendrix typically did not really play dance/party music, so that aspect was removed. Only a few of his songs supported a true rhythmic ‘dance’ response.

David Nhigula, Tanzanian guitarist and guitar instructor, received a good lesson from the former Msondo Ngoma rhythm guitarist, Abdallah Omary Dulla back in the mid 1980s.

Having spent his youth in England, Japan and India, from where he learned all varieties of guitar styles from Funk and Heavy Metals to Jazz-Rock fusion, Nhigula tried to play a rhythm tune that Dulla was playing. “No! No! it is not that way,” Dulla said and explained to him politely: “When playing African music, you should strictly observe call and response rhythm as it is a core of everything.

Try to play as if you have two guitars; one calling and the other one responding.” Call and Response rhythm or Interlocking rhythm is different from Western music in which players follow a unified rhythm; there may be variation in rhythm but it is syncopated. Diamond Platnumz’s work song hits; Tetema and Kanyaga or King Kester Emeneya’s animation in Dandy, best define the call and response in their vocal style. In all three songs you hear a solo leader give a “call,” a line of lyrics or sounds, that is echoed back by a “responsorial group”.

This style of vocalisation appeared later in American pop music. In Hendrix-penned songs like Little Miss Strange, you can hear its guitar part being better Africanised by legendary guitarist, Lele Nsundi of Orchestra Kiam in their 1977 release, Mbale. Jimi Hendrix is still a guitar legend today despite the Western World’s claim that his death in 1970 also stamped the death of music.

In actual sense, the death of Hendrix also killed Blues, but opened the door for Funk or Soul as James Brown named his music style. Unknown to the majority of music fans in East Africa, three guitarists grabbed the guitar helm after the death of Hendrix.

Leo Nocentelli of Meters, Jimmy Nolen of James Brown’s The Flames, and Steve Cropper, whose suave guitar flavoured Wilson Pickett’s hits, seemed to have succeeded Hendrix when Funk music dominated the Disco craze in all of 1970s.

Kenyans Slim Ally and his Famous Hodi Boys, who released You Can Do It, East Africa’s first golden disc and Might Cavaliers who penned, Dunia Ina Mambo, are the most brilliant stars of the Funk lineage in Swahili speaking East Africa. Meters’ biggest hit of the era was People Say as it dominated airplay in both radio and disco halls of the whole 1970s and early 1980s.

One of his music fans, Chuck Jones noted this on People Say: “Aerosmith was said to have been inspired to write some of their tracks from the music of The Meters. Particularly, this album in 1974 gave some inspiration for their 1975 album (Toys in the attic) specifically their song “Walk this Way”. And I can totally hear it. Got that uptown funk dipped in all night-long blues. Classic tones. I love this stuff.”

And Lazarus Thicklen added on People Say: “Timbaland made “Are You That Somebody” from this! Amazing!” Mr Mac Goldshark said: “It’s so funny that you listen to songs nowadays and you think that a beat was amazing, then you find out it’s a sample of old beats from the great days of music like this one.

Just learned that the song by Aaliyah “Are you that Somebody” was a sample of this song. All this time I didn’t know that. Now I am currently searching for newer songs that weren’t sampled and I can’t find any. People are just lazy and don’t create anymore. “N. O rapper Big Mike sampled this track on the Album “Something Serious “…. Southern Thang,” remarked Mr Simba.

By the early 1980s, Funk mania had faded from the limelight in Africa with the likes of Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson, The Odyssey, David Joseph, The Temptations, The Commodore and Shannon stamping their authority in what was then generalised as hypnotising popular music.

Also, worth mentioning included Jamaicans Shaba Ranks, Shaka Demus, and Pliers who paraded dance hall reggae on the global music stage. “Black or White” is a song by Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991, as the single from his eighth studio album, Dangerous, had a glimpse of Hendrix’s guitar wizardly and showed the world how to perfectly dance to the Hendrix influenced heavy metal guitar tone.

Slash (Hudson Saul) from Guns is said to have played guitar in Black and White and Michael Jackson showed the world how the rocky guitar can be danced. As if telling East Africans that the rocky guitar is danceable, Michael Jackson started the Black and White dance with the Maasai Jump dance before introducing other global dances most notably the Mexican, Russian, and Indian dances.

Black or White is a fusion of pop rock, dance and hip hop and its producers, Epic Records described it as “a rock ‘n’ roll dance song about racial harmony.”

•Miguel Suleyman is a Tanzanian ethnomusicologist based in Dar es Sala

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