"Hello Africa, tell me how you're doing / Hello Motherland, tell me how you're doing." Born in Nigeria, living in Stockholm, qualified as a dentist, working as a pop star - this was Dr Alban's first hit and his style comes intact. The loping digital reggae rhythms, the gentle and polite flow, the slight, let's admit it, gaucheness. Alban is a long way from home, so is the music he plays: technically these beats and rhymes are a planet, not just a continent, distant from JA or NY, but that cut-off adds to the appeal. "Hello Africa" isn't unique among 90s Scandopop in its focus on the mother continent - the marvellous Stockholm Eritreans Midi, Maxi and Efti recorded a beautiful album later in the 1990s in which their heavy-handed Western teenpop styles are always in suspension with echoes of Africa, a translated, digitised, mediated Africa. I could have picked one of their songs but "Hello Africa" strikes as deep. Unlike many of the serious rock musicians who drew inspiration from Africa, Alban wants an answer to the conversation he's starting: he knows that transient pop hits are likelier to do well on the streets of Abuja and Lagos, his greetings are genuine.
ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!