November 03, 2010

Anthologie, Tome 2

Lucie Eyenga, 1973
This post is more or less a 'sequel' to Nauma's post on his Freedomblues blog. I had hoped to post it a few days earlier, but lost quite a bit of time looking for a few extras.

Reading the aforementioned post I was reminded of an interview we had with Papa Noel in 1992, and especially the proud tone of his voice when he mentioned this anthology. He brought this up spontaneously after we had talked about his position within the T.P. O.K. Jazz 'in the shadow' of le Grand Maître... This small part of the interview can be found here.

I think it is a misconception, however, to talk about the stars from the time of - and including - Wendo as Papa Noel's "old friends". He was after all only 18 when he had his first (minor) hit with "Clara Badimwene", alongside the great Léon Bukasa. There must have been a difference, if not in age, at least in standing and fame.

Personally I have very mixed feelings about this collection. In the wider perspective of all the music of the world it is certainly an album which is close to the top. But within the narrower scope of Congolese music the top can not been seen from the level where these tracks are situated. And in a one-on-one comparison with the 1950's originals all of these tracks - in my opinion - fall short of the mark as mere watered-down copies of the fullblooded originals.

But please feel free to make up your own mind. Here is the second 'Tome' of the Anthology (the first can be found on the Freedomblues blog):

Anthology Tome 2

To illustrate my point about the falling short of the mark, I am adding five tracks by Lucie Eyenga, who in the wake of Mobutu's zairisation was renamed Eyenga Moseka.
All five of these tracks were re-recorded for the Anthologie. The enthousiasm and energy of these 1950's tracks is - again in my opinion - completely lost in the re-recorded versions of 1974. The most spectacular example of this is the brilliantly jumpy and joyful "Kamsoda", - which in the Anthology version never gets off the ground....

5 tracks by Lucie Eyenga

But I must add: I am a sucker for any song from 1950's Congo.


Jonah said...

"I am a sucker for any song from 1950's Congo."


I have the CD reissues of these anthologies on Ngoyarto, which apparently omit several of the tracks. I agree with you -- they are extremely enjoyable, but not up to the originals. But in many cases the originals are very hard or impossible to track down (much less in good condition), so these "remakes" are quite welcome.

Thank you once again!

bolingo69 said...

Thank you for posting the tome 2. Although everything you say is true about the "makeover" and the originals being superior, I am still ery happy to hear these versions and they are to my ears anyhow far superior to just about anything I have heard coming out of Congo in the last years...

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

I must thank you three times ,first for the second tome
and another one for the songs of Lucie Eyenga
which I've been searching to listen for quite some time
and a third for correcting my misconception.
I will also keep the point that Papa Noël was proud about this work
and rightly so in my opinion as all of them have overdone themselves in "recreating" the songs,
but the pulse of the new nation was missing,four years of fierce civil war and turmoil
and then the first democracy regime almost wipped out this glory.
(and let's not forget no less the 20 earth years on their backs)
Papa Noël tried to bring again on the scene these half forgotten stars
and this is something that he maybe felt that he owned to the idols(or the older generation ,if you prefer, of his youth.
a question that comes in mind is how Wendo was included as he was already black listed by Mobutu,
or this happend at a later time?
of course the superiority of the original versions is unmatched,no one will ever think to desagree,
but these 50's Congo songs (that we are all suckers for)are gold in rarity as in quality.
This album has been for me among the first references to this golden age of Congolaise music,
and still sounds overly enjoyable, my compliments go to P.N.who has done a remarkable work behind.