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Global Notes: How African Immigrants In The 1980s 'Got Down' With Music From Home

For our Global Notes segment, WBEZ’s Daniel Musisi showcases songs from an African mixtape that circulated in the early 1980s among Philadelphia‘s African immigrants.

Sammy Ayany, a young Kenyan, living in Philadelphia, made the tape for a friend. It passed through many hands and was really important to Africans who were new to the States because it reminded them of home.

This tape was also very important to Musisi and his mother, who came to the U.S. from Uganda in 1975. There’s no tracklist or minimal information provided with the tape, but the music is Afrocentric and features artists from various regions. Artists include Tabu Ley Rochereau (who the tape was named after), Mbilia Bel, Mighty Sparrow, and Jimmy Riley.

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