January 20, 2012


I've decided that the only way to counteract the absurd foreign intervention is to step up the posting. Apparently the "home of the free" has mutated into the "headquarters of the global police". I particularly like the metaphor used in one of the comments in a Dutch newspaper that the removal by the FBI (arrests in New Zealand! - do they have authority there???) of the Megaupload site is like bombing a highway because drug traffickers drive on this highway. If this is an attempt by the US authorities to demonstrate that 1984 has already come upon us, it is working.

The Netherlands is doing its very best to present itself as the puppy devoted to its american masters. The so-called antipiracy 'authority' has come out succesful in the legal action ordering two providers to block a torrent site (and don't be surprised if you can't follow the link...).

But enough of these depressing subjects.

In this post I would like to share two more singles by one of Benin's oldest orchestras: Orchestre Super Star de Ouidah.
Unfortunately, as in my earlier post, I am confronted by an enigma. What do they mean by "un point c'est tout"?
The lyrics are printed on the back of the sleeve and at first glance seem to clear up some of the mystery. The "PCD" is more than likely the Presidential Council of the early 1970s, which was the subject of a song by El Rego which I posted earlier. If you are interested I recommend you read the very detailed entry on Hubert Maga in the wikipedia.
I wasn't surprised to read that Maga, like (the for incomprehensible reasons widely revered) Senghor and 'dinosaur' Houphouet-Boigny, had gained respectability by getting himself (by ruse and deceit) elected into the French National Assembly.
The fact that there were "nordistes" (northerners) and "sudistes" can, it appears, be at least in part by attributed to Maga.

So what about this "point"?
Well, I think the answer can be found in this passage of the wikipedia: "A presidential council, consisting of Maga, Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin, and Apithy, was set up on May 7 with a presidency that changed every two years. Maga inaugurated this system for the first two years. Each man agreed to not use the military to extend their term or use any other means toward that consequence. If decisions were not unanimous during the first round of voting, a two councilman majority would suffice on the second round. The council served as the executive and legislative branch of Dahomey."
So "un point c'est tout" would mean that one vote could decide the majority. Is it me, or does this sound familiar?

What is the B-side of this single on the label is the A-side on the cover. This song was composed by Nigerian highlife star and innovator Roy Chicago (more about him here). I'm not sure what the relation is between Pascal Médagbé, the sax player portrayed on the sleeve, and Roy Chicago, but listening to his abuse of the sax it seems unlikely Médagbé played with the master.

Discafric DCF 13

Musically I prefer the next single, which is coincidentally also the next single on the Discafric label. This is largely due to the guitar playing of 'Timo' Apovée, nicknamed (at least on the sleeve) "Dieu de la guitare".

For those who don't understand french, the text on the back translates as: "Born in Ouidah on January 24, 1939 Timothée was taken by his father to Libreville in 1946. At the age of seven he was admitted to the catholic primary school Monfort led by brother F. Macaire and he worked there with a remarkable courage, but the death of his father who managed a business (Hatton and Cooks'son) sabotages his plans.
Taken back to his native country in 1955 by one of his uncles, very soon great problems come down on his existence. He liked staying alone in his little room to hum some songs to the sound of what later became his 'violon d'Ingres' (great love): the guitar.
He founded several orchestras: the Mexicana Jazz, Jazz King's Band and then the Super-Star de Ouidah. So he became Solo Guitarist/Composer and chef d'orchestre.
Let us hope and wish that Timo God of the Guitar reaches the top of the stars of the country and is able to one fine day compete with his Congolese colleagues.

I'm not sure what the relevance is of the mention of the headmaster and the name or even profession of his father, but I don't think the hopes and wishes expressed in the last sentence became reality.
This doesn't mean he is no good as a guitar player. I particularly like the sound of his guitar. It reminds me of the guitars of the earlier Guinean orchestras (Paillote, Jardin and such).
And anything that reminds me of those glorious orchestras must be good.

Discafric DCF 14


Anonymous said...

The SOPA and PIPA legislation is facing stiff oppostion and the Obama white house says it wont support. Although Hollywood is driving the legislation and we know how monied they are, in the end the genie is out, no way any legislation is gonna stop the sharing of intelectual property in a favorable way that both recognizes the originator and rewards them, while allowing users not to be deprived of content simply because they cant afford.
Hollywood and its allies better come up with a business model we can all live with.
wuod k

Are these tracts downloadable as a single folder?

Anonymous said...

"Un point c'est tout"is a french idiom that could be translated,in this case, "Definitely Dahomean"
Rico (de Paris)

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous (Rico): I am disappointed... Instead of an enigma we are stuck with french idiom. How boring!

@Anonymous (wuod k): I have lost interest in Hollywood and its predictable crap since the 1970s. And as to the positions of artists or 'originator': in my opinion that is only used as an excuse by the monstrous cancer that is the entertainment industry.

Oro said...

This is a major post !

First of all, for the music of Benin and then for culture and its economic revolution.
We are using a "boat for piracy" but this boat is not Noah's ark. We, bloggers, african music bloggers, should become our own editors. We could sell music for a very cheap price. The money we could win from downloading would go straight back to the authors and so without making a profit. This would be a modern way of sharing music .

Jaime said...

What a splendid post! Many, many thank yous.

Oro said...

Thank you so much for this great records from "Super Star de Ouidah". What a healthy post...