Although “Oleleko” remains of unknown origin to us, it is most likely a cheerful West African song, which must have been passed on orally until it recently reached AfuriKo’s ears! The original djembe break at the beginning of the video was crafted by Akiko and weaved into the arrangement, while Jim added a few modulations in the melody and harmonized it in his own jazzy way, using block chords and drop 2 voicings extensively.
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Sorsornet is a rhythm from the Boke region in Guinea. The chord progression came from harmonizing Mamady Keïta‘s version (on his album Nankama) of one of the traditional songs that go with the rhythm (AfuriKo‘s arrangement will be featured on the duo’s upcoming album).
The chords I used for comping in this video are mostly 5-note 2-hand jazz voicings. I’ve notated some of them for your consideration below:
And here’s a short explanation of how each one of the 12 notated voicings relates to its corresponding chord symbol:
C#mi7: inversion of generic “So What”/quartal voicing for minor chords;
F#13: generic voicing for dominant chords (right hand plays a 3-note quartal voicing from the 5th down while left hand plays guide tones);
D#mi7: generic “So What” voicing for minor chords with 5th as top note;
E6: inversion of generic quartal voicing for major chords down from the root “E”; can also be considered a generic quartal voicing down from the 5th “B” with the root instead of the 7th in the bottom;
F#9sus: inversion of “So What”/quartal voicing for sus chords;
F#2/A#: upper structure triad (UST II) from C# melodic minor; the parent chord scale to this F#2/A# chord is A# locrian #2 (VIth mode of C# melodic minor);
Ama7/B: inversion of “So What”/quartal voicing for sus chords;
Ama7(#11): “So What” voicing with #11th as top note;
F#mi9: generic “So What” voicing for minor chords with 5th as top note;
C#: upper structure triad (UST II) from F# melodic minor; the parent chord scale to this C# triad is C# mixolydian b6 (Vth mode of F# melodic minor).
NB: the very cool djembe part (with additional foot shakers/rattles) in the video was performed by courtesy of wonderfully grooving percussionist Akiko Horii!