Analog Africa Organic Grooves 15 Items
compilation highlighting the era when funk and disco sounds
began to infiltrate Cameroon's Makossa style. The beat that
holds everything together originate's from the Sawa people's
rhythms. When these rhythms collided with merengue, high-life,
Congolese rumba, and, later, funk and disco, modern Makossa was
born. Makossa, the beat that long before football, managed to
unify the whole of Cameroon. Some of the greatest Makossa hits
incorporated the electrifying guitars and tight grooves of
funk, while others were laced with cosmic synth flourishes.
However, most of this music's vibe came down to the bass, and
'Pop Makossa' demonstrates why many Cameroonian bass players
are among the most revered in the world.
The album took only a few days to record, which may explain the unexpected urgency that fires each track. Treble-soaked electric guitar lines snake back and forth through percussion-and-cavaquinho driven rhythms rooted in the sound of the islands established by the previous generation of Cabo Verdean émigrés; subtle keyboards wash through the background, and the vocals, traded between Joana Do Rosario and Tô-Zé, alternately push the music forward and soar above it. The resulting album is both deeply felt and fiercely executed, and in its grooves one hears the sound of some of the finest Cabo Verdean musicians of their era locked in complete unity of purpose.
It should have been the beginning of something extraordinary; but the pressures of making ends meet forced the musicians back to their day jobs, and Voz Di Sanicolau vanished as quickly as they had appeared, leaving their lone album, Fundo de Marê Palinha, as sole proof of their existence. Forty-four years later the album sounds as fresh as it did the day it was recorded. It is unknown if dutch sound engineer Frans Rolland, who oversaw the recordings, knew he was helping to make history: during these sessions, Joana Do Rosario, whose majestic vocals were crucial to the sound of Voz Di Sanicolau, became the first Cabo Verdean woman ever to appear on a long playing record.
All the music was licensed directly from the various composers of these songs. The vinyl is pressed on 180 High Quality Virgin Vinyl and the gatefold contains previously unseen pictures and a detailed biography of the might band.
When Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Mogadishu in November of 2016, he was informed by his host that he would have to be accompanied at all times by an armed escort while in the country. The next morning, a neighbour and former security guard put on a military uniform, borrowed an AK-47 from somewhere and escorted him to Via Roma, an historical street in the heart of Hamar-Weyne, the city’s oldest district. Although previous Analog Africa releases have demonstrated a willingness to go more than the extra air-mile to track down the stories behind the music, the trip to Mogadishu was a musical journey of a different kind. It was the culmination of an odyssey that had started many years earlier.
In 2007 John Beadle, a Milwaukee-based musicologist and owner of the much loved Likembe blog, uploaded a cassette he had been handed twenty years earlier by a Somalian student. The post was titled ‘Mystery Somali Funk’ and it was, in Samy’s own words, “some of the deepest funk ever recorded.” The cassette seemed to credit these dense, sonorous tunes to the legendary Iftin Band. But initial contact with Iftin’s lead singer suggested that the ‘mystery funk’ may have actually been the work of their chief rival, Dur-Dur, a young band from the 80s.
Back then, Mogadishu had been a very different place. On the bustling Via Roma, people from all corners of society would gather at the Bar Novecento and Cafe Cappucino, watch movies at the famous Supercinema, and eat at the numerous pasta hang-outs or the traditional restaurants that served Bariis Maraq, a somali Beef Stew mixed with delicious spiced rice. The same street was also home to Iftinphone and Shankarphone, two of the city’s best known music shop. Located opposite each other, they were the centre of Somalia’s burgeoning cassette distribution network. Both shops, run by members of the legendary Iftin Band, would become first-hand witnesses to the meteoric rise of Dur- Dur, a rise that climaxed in April of 1987 with the release of Volume 2, their second album.
The first single ‘Diinleya’ had taken Somalian airwaves by storm in a way rarely seen before or since. The next single, ‘Dab,’ had an even greater impact, and the two hits had turned them into the hottest band in town. In addition to their main gig as house band at the legendary Jubba Hotel, Dur-Dur had also been asked to perform the music for the play “Jascyl Laba Ruux Mid Ha Too Rido” (May one of us fall in love) at Mogadishu’s national theatre. The play was so successful that the management had been forced to extend the run by a month, throwing the theatre’s already packed schedule into complete disarray, and each night, as soon as the play had finished, Dur-Dur had to pack their instruments into a Volkswagen T1 tour bus that would shuttle them across town in time for their hotel performance.
The secrets to Dur-Dur’s rapid success is inextricably linked to the vision of Isse Dahir, founder and keyboard player of the band. Isse´s plan was to locate some of the most forward-thinking musicians of Mogadishu´s buzzing scene and lure them into Dur-Dur. Ujeeri, the band’s mercurial bass player was recruited from Somali Jazz and drummer extraordinaire Handal previously played in Bakaka Band. These two formed the backbone of Dur-Dur and would become one of Somalia’s most extraordinary rhythm sections.
Isse also added his two younger brothers to the line-up: Abukar Dahir Qassin was brought in to play lead guitar, and Ahmed Dahir Qassin was hired as a permanent sound engineer, a first in Somalia and one of the reasons that Dur-Dur became known as the best-sounding band in the country.
On their first two albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2, three different singers traded lead-vocal duties back and forth. Shimaali, formerly of Bakaka Band, handled the Daantho songs, a Somalian rhythm from the northern part of the country that bears a striking resemblance to reggae, Sahra Dawo, a young female singer, had been recruited from Somalia’s national orchestra, the Waaberi Band. Their third singer, the legendary Baastow, whose nickname came from the italian word ‘pasta’ due to the spaghetti-like shape of his body, had also been a vocalist with the Waaberi Band, and had been brought into Dur-Dur due to his deep knowledge of traditional Somali music, particularly Saar, a type of music intended to summon the spirits during religious rituals. These traditional elements of Dur-Dur’s repertoire sometimes put them at odds with the manager of the Jubba Hotel who once told Baastow “I am not going to risk having Italian tourists possessed by Somali spirits. Stick to disco and reggae.”
Yet from the very beginning, Dur-Dur’s doctrine was the fusion of traditional Somali music with whatever rhythms would make people dance: Funk, Reggae, Soul, Disco and New Wave were mixed effortlessly with Banaadiri beats, Daantho and spiritual Saar music. The concoction was explosive and when they stormed the Mogadishu music scene in 1986 with their very first hit single, ‘Yabaal,’ featuring vocals from Sahra Dawo, it was clear that a new meteorite had crash-landed in Somalia. As Abdulahi Ahmed, author of Somali Folk Dances explains: “Yabaal is a traditional song, but the way it was played and recorded was like nothing else we had heard before, it was new to us.” ‘Yabaal’ was one of the songs that resurfaced on the Likembe blog, and it became the symbolic starting point of this project.
It initially seemed that Dur-Dur’s music had only been preserved as a series of murky tape dubs and YouTube videos, but after Samy arrived in Mogadishu he eventually got to the heart of Mogadishu’s tape-copying network – an analogue forerunner of the internet file-sharing that helped to keep the flame of this music alive through the darkest days of Somalia’s civil strife – and ended up finding some of the band’s fabled master tapes, long thought to have disappeared.
This triple LP / double CD reissue of the band’s first two albums – the first installment in a three-part series dedicated to Dur-Dur Band – represents the first fruit of Analog Africa’s long labours to bring this extraordinary music to the wider world. Remastered from the best available audio sources, these songs have never sounded better. Some thirty years after they first made such a splash in the Mogadishu scene, they have been freed from the wobble and tape-hiss of second and third generation cassette dubs, to reveal a glorious mix of polychromatic organs, nightclub-ready rhythms and hauntingly soulful vocals.
In addition to two previously unreleased tracks, the music is accompanied by extensive liner notes, featuring interviews with original band members, documenting a forgotten chapter of Somalia’s cultural history. Before the upheaval in the 1990s that turned Somalia into a war-zone, Mogadishu, the white pearl of the Indian Ocean, had been one of the jewels of eastern Africa, a modern paradise of culture and commerce. In the music of the Dur-Dur band – now widely available outside of Somalia – we can still catch a fleeting glimpse of that golden age.
Listen & Enjoy!
Ten years on, intrepid crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb unveils a new treasuretrove of Vodoun-inspired Afrobeat heavy funk crossover greatness. Right from the laceratingly raw guitar fanfare which kicks off Les Sympathics’ pile-driving opener, it’s clear that African Scream Contest II is going to be every bit as joyous a voyage of discovery as its predecessor. And just as you’re trying to get off the canvas after this one-punch knock out, an irresistible Afro-ska romp with a more than subliminal echo of the Batman theme puts you right back there. Ignace De Souza and the Melody Aces’ “Asaw Fofor" would’ve been a killer instrumental but once you’ve factored in the improbably-rich-to-the-point-of-being-Nat-King-Cole-influenced lead vocal, it’s a total revelation.
Analog Africa compiles a complete collection of Amara Touré’s Afro-Cuban compositions, originally released between 1973 and 1980.
Los Camaroes emerged at the end of the 1960s from the town of Maroua in the northern, predominantly Islamic area of Cameroon. After changes in name, in lineup and in management, they worked their way south to the capital to make a name for themselves, in the span of only a few years they changed Cameroon’s music scene forever, leaving a trail of sold-out nightclubs and monster radio hits in their wake. Then, at the height of their popularity, they broke up.
The band had been led from the beginning by Jean Gabari, whose level-headedness and evenhandedness inspired the respect and devotion of his musicians. But it was Gabari’s alchemical collaborations with guitarist Messi Martin that drove the band to its greatest heights. Martin had developed an innovation that would earn him fame throughout Cameroon as the “king of Bikutsi”, as Johnny Cosmos explains:
“The primary instrument in Bikutsi is the balafon, and Messi came up with a trick that consisted of chewing small pieces of paper until they reached the right consistency and then stuck them between the strings of the guitar. This trick, which made a guitar sound like a balafon, catapulted him to stardom and turned him into the founder of Modern Bikutsi.” (Check the song “Bezimbi” to hear Messi Martin´s wizardry on a Bikutsi tune)
Martin’s extraordinary talents were matched by a character of great unpredictability. He had been lured away from the band before by the promise of success and, in 1975, when Los Camaroes were at the peak of their power, he left them once again. Gabari tried to keep the band going, but his own longstanding battles with ill health eventually forced him to return to his hometown. With Gabari and Martin gone, the rest of the musicians drifted away in search of other gigs. By 1978, Los Camaroes were no more than a rapidly fading memory.
But then came the resurrection.
From out of nowhere, a businessman named Atangana Joseph appeared in northern Cameroon. His goal: to track down the original members of Los Camaroes and get them back together for their one final shot at immortality. The musicians reconvened at the legendary Mango Bar in the capital city of Yaoundé, the very place where, years earlier, they had established their reputation as one of Cameroon’s most fearsome live bands.
Producer Nicolas Mongué and engineer Emmanuel Guyssot were called in from Douala to record what was being billed as a comeback album. There was talk of going into a studio, but Los Camaroes had always thrived on the energy of the nightclub scene, they decided instead to record it live to two-track in the Mango Bar.
The six tracks on the album were performed by a mixture of new recruits and veterans from the original Camaroes lineup – including Mpouli “Dodo” Emmanuel and Boloko Michel on Guitars, Eyango Claude on Organ, the percussion duo of Ndi Bellui and Enama Leon, and vocal contributions from Sala Bekono Joseph and Ngoebang Jean Marie – but the urgent rhythms and shimmering guitars sound like a band who simply picked up where they had left off. It seemed that everyone on the record was inspired by the exhuberant reunion between Martin and Gabari, the two magicians from which Los Camaroes had been born and born again
The album, Resurrection Los Vol. 1, was completed in only a few days. There would be no Volume 2. The music that emerged during the Mango Bar sessions was the culmination of a fifteen year musical bond between Gabari and Martin, and what was supposed to be a comeback album ended up being a last testament — Gabari would die only a few years later and Martin, without his foil, would never find the same level of musical success. Even at the time, these two titans of Cameroon’s music scene seemed to realise it would be the last time they would ever work together. The resurrection of Los Camaroes was short-lived … but it produced a masterpiece.
The Analog Africa Dance Edition reissue of Resurrection Los was remastered by Frank Merritt at the Carvery and comes with a wonderful poster housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve featuring the story of the band as told by original keyboardist Mbambo “Johnny Cosmos” Simon, as well as new interviews with the production team who supervised the now legendary Mango Bar sessions. This essential slab of Cameroon’s musical history, previously unreleased outside of Africa, is available on LP for the first time since 1979.
described as "way ahead of its time". Undeservedly it was panned by critics and, unable to reach markets, disappeared
into the dusty record collections of a few music aficionados. Now, more than three decades later that cosmic dance-floor UFO
is about to take off again, change all that and set the record straight. Remastered and cut by Frank Meritt at The Carvery the album is truly a masterpiece.
Originally recorded in 1998 in Rotterdam, the album 'Bitori Nha Bibinha' revolutionized the uplifting 'funana' genre from the Cabo Verdian island Santiago. The album is named after bandleader Bitori, who is hailed for his unique style on the gaita diatonic accordion.
In the early 50's, Victor (Bitori) Tavares embarked to the island of Sao Tomé & Principe and returned to Cabo Verde with an accordion. Self taught, Bitori developed his own style, an infectious blaze, that quickly caught the attention of the older generation on Santiago Island. Initially the rural accordion-based sound of funaná was banned and frowned upon. Following Cape Verde´s independence in 1975 the sound spread like a wildfire.
Analog Africa's founder Samy Ben Redjeb has been preparing to release this signature ablum for a while and happy to reunite three of the original musicians on this album, plus groove meastro Jorge Martins of Buli Mundo and explosive talentAntonio Sanches.
Analog Africa Organic Grooves
Analog Africa is a Frankfurt-based record label, founded in 2004 by Samy Ben Redjeb and specialized in rarities and reissues. Samy Ben Redjeb (b. 1961), of Tunisian origin, focuses especially on African music of the 1960s and 1970s. It is the fusion of Western instruments and ancient African music genres he is interested in. He collected more than 30.000 records before he turned this hobby into a business. Speaking six languages (German, Arabian, French, Italian, English and Spanish) which are the languages of the former colonialists alleviates the access to the people and their cultures. He started his label in 2004 with the release of songs of the Zimbabwean band The Green Arrows. The band fronted by singer Zexie Manatsa has been one of the most famous bands of the country in the 1970s. Analog Africa does not only aim to rediscover musical treasures, but also wants to impart knowledge about music history. All releases of Analog Africa are accompanied with a detailed booklet.