Wimbo Zuri Catalog No. 054.1A10-1

This past October I attended the Manhattan wedding of pair of wonderful Kenyan-based friends. This CD came together as part of my preparations for my journey east from Portland. Though it almost qualifies as a member of the 50 States! series, in the end I tried to focus on the tensions and the connections between Africa and New York. The mix revolves around two versions of the Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji’s “Akiwowo,” which was covered by French pop icon/iconoclast Serge Gainsbourg as “New York USA,” wherein he replaces the original lyrics with what seems to be a list of random important buildings in 1960s Manhattan. Part of the irony is that “Akiwowo” itself was written in Manhattan, and is Olatunji’s nostalgic recollection of a train-driver he had known during his childhood.

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