February 15, 2009


I am not going to argue with anyone who says that this was not one of the greatest bands from Congo (Zaïre). Orchestre Micky-Micky wasn't even the best of the Congolese bands residing and recording in Nigeria. Their singing is poor, at times even off key. They lack great instrumentalists, no Franco or Nico imitations, no blaring horn section.

Nevertheless this is one of the classics of African music.

According to the information on the sleeve the lp was originally released in 1977 by Namaco Nigeria (also responsible for those wonderful releases of Tchico), but others claim it was recorded in 1976 at the studios of Radio Television Gabonaise in Libreville (and post an alternative/original sleeve). Both may be true.

What makes this record a classic is the enormous energy of the two tracks, the repetition of chords carried on beyond the absurd, the undulating effect of the hi-hats or maracas, the intertwining of the guitar patterns, the 'animation': the lunacy Micky-Micky style.

Listen to the music, and you will know what I mean.

SAF 50089 (new link June 11, 2013)


poltroon said...

(the beginning is slow, is this intentional? it sounds wrong.) Micky-Micky is truly one of the smokingest bands I know. I have two other albums by them COBRA BC 180 by Micky-Micky-Bandumba (Sonodisc SAF 50068, i think, licensed from Namaco, so a Nigerian recording?) with 4 tracks: M'pembele; Fatu; Tuzo; Rosa. My favourite is their Sacodis record LS14: Meme ya Marie Bella; Dodokolo; Papa ya bana; Mayina.
Late 70s Abidjan recording?
Mavungu shows up as percussionist on several Paris albums by Zaiko alumni like Papa Wemba. He's also on Mangwana's "Makengo" recorded in Abidjan and plays congas in Eddy Gustav's group Les Esprit Saints (if it's the same guy)


Timothy said...

Thanks for unearthing this group.
Admittedly, the guitarists are very good but to be blunt, the vocalists are downright crappy.
You say that "this is one of the classics of African music." With all due respect, this is an overstatement. Compare these tracks to "Yanini part 2" (Orchestre Veve), "Matata Ya Muasi Na Mobali Esilaka Te" (TPOK JAZZ), "Muzina" (Tabu Ley Rocheareau), "Kumbele Kumbele" (Bantous Dela Capitale). I could go on for a very long time but few Africans, and certainly very few Congolese people would give more than a one-star rating to this band.

WrldServ said...

@poltroon: I had thought of mentioning the odd beginning in the post, but decided not to and wait for reactions. I can assure you this is an original feature, and part of the 'Micky-Micky experience'!
I have the SAF 50088 too, but not the Sacodis album, but judging by the other albums in that series I would love to hear it.

@Timothy: I may have been overstating things a bit. On the other hand, maybe my parameters for defining what I consider to be a 'classic' are somewhat broader than yours.
I would like to stress, however, that I was referring to the album as a whole. In a comparison on track-level the two tracks don't stand a chance.
(The title, by the way, is "Matata Ya Muasi Na Mobali Ekoki Kosila Te".)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree on Micky Micky. The remark about them not being the greatest vocalists makes next to no sense as far as I am concerned - I guess Abba also had better 'vocalists' than Ramones or The Germs ... Also, I think Cobra BC 180 mentioned above is even rawer and better - haven't heard the Sacodis record yet ... (tom)

rumba-kali said...

Apparently M'pembele by Micky Micky is definitely considered a classic in Ivroy Coast. When we were doing African nights in the 1990s, an Ivorian friend presented the song on tape to me as the ultimate dance track. There's even a zouglou cover of that song which came out like 10 years ago.

After more than 10 yrs I finally tracked down the LP (had to find out 1st which one it was) tagged Cobra 180. It came in the mail yesterday. The album has 4 songs which are all equally raw, especially the sebene part. Also my Sonodisc copy starts out slow just like the LP you mentioned here. I guess they recorded the French edition straight off LP and used a beltdrive turntable that needs a few seconds to come to speed?

rumba-kali said...

Addition to my previous post: I just checked and my copy is actually Namaco, so my Sonodisc theory doesn't hold.
Interestingly the sleeve was printed in UK, and the record distributed by a shop in London, as mentioned on the back. Also my copy had a '50p' sticker on the front and I got it from a seller from UK, so possibly this record was made in UK and never left Europe.

Anonymous said...

this file was uploaded at megaupload. so any chance for a re-up?
thank you!

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous: The link has been renewed.

BarryB said...

The opening does *not* sound as though it is being sped up by a speed change. As an old analog tape editor from the 1970s and 1980s, I'd have looked at a oscillator to check the rate of vibrato over the increase. Lacking that, it just sounds identical. As though they were trying something very weird, for the fun of it. And it is fun.