This has been reissued on vinyl several times in the last two years. I wasn't sure about it; it had been hyped so hard, and so much African music's been reissued the last decade that it's hard to know what's the best stuff and what's just OK stuff. So I resisted digging into this amazing record until last week, when I finally really listened to My Ancestors by Chrissy Zebby Tembo and Ngozi Family.
The musicians on this 1974 release are Paul Nyirongo (lead guitar), Tommy Mwale (bass) and Chrisss Zebby Tembo (drums and vocals). Other records by Ngozi Family have been reissued fairly recently, so it's now possible to own this music without being either insanely rich enough to buy originals online, or a resident or tourist of Zambia or neighboring regions.
If you're interested in checking out more music like this, it's largely referred to as "Zamrock," and this playlist is a bit out of date (with broken links), but it can point you in some good directions. Also, this Guardian article about the music's enduring importance is aces.
Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...