August 03, 2009


An artist who should have been doing well in these times of recession and impending poverty, is Remmy Ongala.
As he himself told me in an interview just over twenty years ago:
(loosely translated) "....Me, I sing for the poor, I don't sing for the rich. To the rich I say they shouldn't frustrate the poor, because they are poor. For before you were rich, your father was poor. Or your grandfather too was poor. Maybe there wasn't a school, - because now school has become essential in present-day life. To get a job you must be able to read. To work the land you must be able to read. But before it wasn't like this. It was by strength: if you were strong you could work the land and have food to eat. And nowadays, people see it as a matter of prestige, because (they say) he went to university and he knows how to read and all that. I always try to tell people that the poor are always numerous, and they are the ones that give courage to the rich, they are the ones that always work the land, they are the ones that build all the houses. The rich never do any building. My songs are like that. So when I compose a song I don't always write down the words. I always recount the truth, of what I encounter, of what I see; and in the evening during a concert I sing this..."

The lp I would like to share with you in this post, is one of his earlier releases (see discography). According to Remmy there is no real difference between Super Talakaka and Super Matimila. Furthermore, when I talked to him in 1989 he was not even aware of the existence of this album....

More biographic details can be found here, and more music and bits of interviews in a later post.

POLP 538

PS: the great photo was taken during the interview by the great Ton Verhees.

EDIT November 10, 2012: Renewed the links.

EDIT August 4, 2019: Once more the link to the album has been renewed!

August 02, 2009


With the promise of improved weather conditions here in the Netherlands, I am mentally preparing myself for a healthy dose of sweltering. And what better way to prepare than with the steamy music of Laba Sosseh, recorded live or under similar circumstances in Dakar, Senegal. With the loose sax of Dexter Johnson.

As I have expressed before (here and here) I just love the ambiance of his recordings. Qualitywise the series on the M.A.G. label, of which this is the first, is certainly not as good as the wonderful CD's on the Dakar Sound label (at least one of those is still available here). But this volume has some classic Laba Sosseh, with personal favourites "Me Voy Pa'l Monte" (a tune which a nasty tendency to stick in my head for days...), "Aminata", "El Manisero (version Sangomar)" (that trumpet..!), "Seyni" (see one of the next posts!), "La Sitiera", and the killer: "Recordando A Noro Morales", - one of those songs that can only be heard with a ventilator at full blast.

Garçon! Get me a cold beer to go with this sweaty music!

MAG 102