October 17, 2009
I would like to begin this post by referring you straight away to the site of Muzikifan, which not only offers a concise discography of Super Mama Djombo, but also a very relevant introduction to these two records.
Yes, two records: the second and third volume of the SMD series. I copied these lp's years ago, and for some reason lost in the mist of time (or my memory) I have not copied the second track. So to make up for this act of obvious stupidity I am adding a second lp.
The second volume is titled "Festival", which as they keep repeating in the title song is a reference to the festival Super Mama Djombo attended in La Habana, where they joined the struggle ("luta") against imperialism. With this song you don't have to understand crioulo or portuguese to get an idea of what this orchestra from Guinea-Bissau is talking about.
It gets more difficult with the other songs. "Mortos" no doubt means "dead", and "nega" may have something to do with denying. But what does Cabo Verde have to do with this? And about which Cabral are they talking: about president Luis Cabral, who was overthrown at around the time this record was released, or about his brother Amilcar, who was killed in Conakry in 1973, by the Portuguese (who three years before had attempted to get rid of both Sekou Touré and Amilcar Cabral).
And the one that keeps bugging me most: "Sociedade de malandros". What a great title! Repeat it a couple of times and I am sure you'll agree. A "society of sneaky rascals", - now there's one that gets my imagination going......
Luckily it is balanced by the peaceful "Julia", which is neatly summed up by Muzikifan: "There is a dreamy guitar floating across the stratosphere". Great song, which was a logical choice for that memorable CD released in 2003 on the Cobiana label.
The third volume, "Sol Maior Para Comandante", is really another album in the Regard Sur Le Passé style, including a storyteller recounting the historic events. The difference with Bembeya's Regard is the fact that the events (the heroic acts of Amilcar Cabral in the luta for the independance of Guinea-Bissau) weren't from a (relatively) distant past, but from a few years before the release of the album!
Like the Bembeya classic, the album not only conserves a very interesting chapter of African history, but also offers some brilliant music from a country which has remained relatively underexposed in the study of and research into African music.
UPDATE: Alastair from Muzikifan was kind enough to send the missing track of SMD 002, plus copies of both sleeve and labels. For those who have already downloaded this volume, here is the additional material. Those who have not yet downloaded the volume can use the 'normal' link to download the complete album.
Thanks also to African Music Recycler for sharing the missing track through the link in the comments.