June 11, 2013

New links

I have refreshed a few of the links that have 'died' in the course of time.
In chronological order:

- that seminal cassette by Abdoulaye Diabaté & le Koulé Star from Koutiala. An absolute must for lovers of that classic Malian orchestra sound, if you ask me (and such a lovely inviting cassette sleeve too..).
- the cassette Super Biton released a few days after the last 'old style' Biennale in 1988. My guess is they thought they had a chance of winning. A good optimistic attitude in general, but in this case not very realistic... In hindsight not a bad cassette though.
- the EP by G.G. Vikey. Still nice. And I have managed to dig up a copy of the front sleeve!
- the recordings of the RTG (Guinée) of the Super Sanankora Sofa de Kérouané. I am in the process of redigitising the video, and Graeme Counsel has also posted a few videos by this orchestra on his YouTube channel.
- perhaps one from the category "holiday slides", but I don't care: the accordion I recorded in Trinidad, Cuba.

- the zany lp by Orchestre Micky-Micky. Congolese music recorded in Nigeria always has that special something, as you perhaps know from all those great Tchico albums that Moos at Global Groove. And this Micky-Micky one is especially special.
- one from heavy-weights of T.P. O.K. Jazz fame: Josky Kiambukuta, Madilu and Malage de Lugendo's lp "So.Pe.Ka.". A classic which will surely get you wiggling.
- volumes 2 and 3 from the series "Les Plus Grands Succès", originally recorded for Ngoma (see Flemming Harrev's discography on http://www.afrodisc.com/). I will come back to these records in the next few weeks.
- by the legend from Sierra Leone, Salia Koroma, his cassette #40. At the Lola Radio blog you can find more from the same 'batch' of cassettes.

- and finally, from Zimbabwe, two cassettes by the Marxist Brothers.

You may have noticed too that I have uploaded a slightly improved version of the legendary Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe's "Festac Explosion Volume 1" a month or so ago.

If you find any more links that have expired, please let me know and I will replace these.

June 09, 2013


"Danser le twist"(1965) © Malick Sidibé
Although still at a 'tender age' I have consciously lived through the era of the twist. I have vivid memories of aunts making a total fool of themselves. And of us - the children - giggling, and subsequently being sent out of the room. I even remember cautious efforts at executing the dance (and 'executing' is a good description..) in an early attempt to show that I was "with it".

I have to admit I was puzzled (to say the least) when I found out - a few decades later - that this dance had been copied in several African countries (see also this post). A dance which conjures up images of awkward, even embarrassing body contortions by oversized humans, being performed in countries where dance and rhythm was an integral part of life? Why?

A key to an answer was given by Franco. In an interview in 1987 he pointed out that Africans have no problem in integrating influences from other continents. He himself was a great fan of 'musique slow', by which he meant a large repertoire varying from soul ballads to entertainment music from films and such. The fact that Africans took aboard influences was not a problem, according to Franco. The real problem was that the broad public in the US and Europe make no attempt to get to know the music from Africa.
Unfortunately, little has changed in the 26 years that have passed...

This brings me to the subject of this post. But with a twist....
For in looking for a digital version of the sleeve* of this lp (which I copied to cassette sometime in the 1980s) I was struck by the constant references to the fact that a group from the UK had covered a song by this artist. One could easily get the impression that Daudi Kabaka's only contribution to the welfare of mankind has been that "his song "Helule Helule" was covered by The Tremeloes and () became a hit in United Kingdom" (wikipedia).

Luckily there are others who manage to stay away from justifying the mention of an African artist by how he or she can be linked to the western world. I particularly like the article by Douglas Paterson, which highlights Kabaka's career from an African perspective.
If you ask me Daudi Kabaka has done more by singing songs like the delightful "Kiliyo Kwelu" and the slightly hyper "Jela Kubwa Na Viboko" than by allowing an english band to copy bits from a somewhat boring "Helule Helule".

POLP 531

*If anyone has it, please share it with us...