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.

SMD 002
SMD 003

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, I discovered this wonderful band through the compilation CD that was released about 5 years ago.


blottière said...

Thanks for this wondeful band.

to complete: two tributes to Amicar Cabral by Orchestra Baobab and Tony Lima


Scott said...

Thanks, as ever, for another transcendent post.

Here is a note I just sent to Alastair at at his muzikifan blog:

The most recent wonderful post at the worldservice blog, two Super Mama Djombo LPs, reminded me of your important discography/biography of that band and also led me to re-listen to the 2003 Cobiana anthology of their music.

Both your work and the Cobiana notes by Zé Manel and Brian King indicate that Super Mama Djombo managed to record only once, at a marathon 1980 session in Lisbon. You imply and Cobiana explicity states that SMD albums 001 through 005 were compiled from from that single six hour taping.

I am puzzled that your discography provides pre-1980 dates for each of those five albums.

Recycler said...

Thanks for all the wonderful music you share!

I've uploaded the missing 2nd track on side 1 "Alma Beafada" from the LP "Festival" (also a vinyl rip).

You can find it here:



b2v said...

thank you so much !
super mama djombo is the bomb :))

Fausto said...

I've been a regular visitor to your blog, just love it. Regarding your doubts abour "nega" - it's the popular form for "negro", therefore blackwoman. And i'm most sure that they mean Amilcar Cabral. Best regards from a great-great-great-great.... son of a malandro. :) Dutch walked all the portuguese path, but did they left anybody speeking dutch anywhere? no hard feelings, just for fun.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Superb stuff!

Re.; "the missing 2nd track on side 1 "Alma Beafada" from the LP "Festival": it's a 'missing link'!

Then again, I am over three-years late...

Keep up the good, nay, best work. You sure are serving the part of the world that is within earshot of my stereo.

Heaven holds a place for thee, methinks.

Anonymous said...

"Nega" is a form of Negro???????
Sir please let me enlighten you.

"Nega" means literally refused/refusal/negation in criol and NOT a form of negro. Nega means also negation or refusal in Portuguese.

This is from someone born and bred in Guinea Bissau where we speak Portuguese and Criol

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous(the last one): If you had read the post, you would have seen that I already wrote that I suspected "nega" had something to do with denying.

I do not speak/understand portugese, let alone criol, but have studied latin and speak & understand spanish. "Negar" in spanish is "to deny". So my guess was an educated one....
As to the commentors: they are free to express their opinions (as long as they do not offend or try to slip in links to dubious sites).

Mehul Asher said...

Thank you for these two records and also for the rest of the great work on your site. What a wonderful resource for music lovers.

Mehul Asher said...

Also here is further information regarding your very educated guess regarding "Mortos Nega".


"Mortu Nega" is by a fellow countryman of Super Mama Djombo named Flora Gomes. I believe the bandleader scored Gomes second film "Udju Azul di Yonta"

Your educated guess was quite correct.