March 15, 2013

Lulua folklore (or jazz)

I hope you have taken a look at Flemming Harrev's new site chock-full of discographies*. I am a particular fan of sites like this (e.g. Bolingo and, of course, Radio Africa), as they give me a chance to figure out what I have to look out for. And Flemming's site, unfortunately, dramatically demonstrates the many gaping holes in my collection...

Luckily there is also an other, brighter side to this. I was studying the very interesting - and new! - discography of the Ngoma label. So far only 45 and 33 rpm, so I guess I will have to continue patiently (I am lying...) waiting for a list of the 78s. Anyway, in the list of EP's I found I actually have something to contribute. And this contribution is - as far as I know - one of the most remarkable of all the EP's in the catalogue.

I can't tell you anything about the artists except their names (and even about that I am not 100% sure - see below..). And I have only the music. But this is more than enough.
Side A has two tracks by a certain Kabongo Mbokodi, and I suppose Lulua Jazz is the group accompanying him. The musical style is one you may recognise from singers like Tshala Muana, so music which certainly in the days when this record was released (and my guess would be that the recordings are either from the early 1960s or the late 1950s) would be labelled "folklore". But does the use of a bottle as a percussion instrument justify this label? And what about an accordion? Is the accordion part of Lulua folklore? If it is I may have to do some digging into this folklore!

Side A is lovely, but side B is no less than spectacular. The accordion has been replaced by flutes, and the initial impression could be that this is certainly folklore. But hark, what is this? A double bass? A sax?
Again the rhythm is very much Lulua, a fascinating and compelling rhythm with a very strong and certainly distinct character. So why are they called "flutistes Bayeke"? Aren't the Bayeke from neigbouring Katanga? And - while I am at it - are the artists called Tshibitshabo and Tumba, or is Tshibitshabo playing tumba?

You see, there is still a lot to investigate and to discover. And fortunately for us all, there is still so much wonderful and fascinating music to listen to.

Ngoma No. 2001

EDIT March 19, 2013: Jan Duinkerken has sent me this scan of the frontside of the sleeve:
And I have uploaded scans of photocopies of a catalogue of the Ngoma Super 45t series on the wrldsrv-website.

* I read somewhere that sites made in flash (like can't be viewed on an iPad. I can't check this as I do not possess such a device.