Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mbilia Bel - Boya Ye (1985)

Another Mbilia Bel to lighten you up. Boya Ye is one of the early headliner albums of this chanteuse. She is backed by Tabu Ley Rochereau and his band Afrisa International, though none of the musicians are given credit on the record jacket. Three of the four songs are Tabu Ley's, and on two of them she sings sweetly. On "Tonton Skol," Mbilia barely surfaces in the ensemble singing, and she disappears altogether during the animation break. "Shawuri Yako" is sung in English over a plodding rhythm, and only irresistible guitar riffs make it a pleasurable listen.

While perhaps not the best Mbilia Bel record, this record has a couple of strong songs. Later in 1985 it was re-released by Stern's Africa, with one song substitution. Stern's also released a CD in 2006 that had both this album and another from 1985, Ba Gerants Ya Mabala, but I believe it is now out-of-print. There is a "best of" double CD from 2007 that is available here, and I just ordered one. So while you wait for delivery of yours, you can listen to this nearly pristine copy of the original release.
P.S. It is possible to earn money by posting links to purchases, as I have done here, but I am using a link that provides a small slice of the sale to my local non-profit, community radio station, KTNA.


Apurva Bahadur said...

I appreciate your generosity in uploading all this fine music. Apurva from Pune, India.

Rhythm Connection said...

My pleasure, believe me. Thanks for visiting and appreciating, Apurva!

dial africa said...

Mbilia Bel is still fine to listen to. I've seen her ca. 1987 in Gisenyi. She played with Tabu Ley on invitation of the then Rwandan government. The concert was disappointing as all officials were there and no dance at all!
In Europe we have the chance to find much of her back catalogue via
Thank you for sharing; I like your records from Zimbabwe very much!

Rhythm Connection said...

I love these stories that, hopefully, will help keep this music alive beyond ourselves.

Yes, you in Europe are and have been fortunate with the distribution of African music. It used to frustrate me immensely that reviews of new releases in The Beat, by European correspondents, would be in print before copies of the albums arrived in the western hemisphere, two to six months later.

I certainly encourage people who can access that distribution (and Stern's is a magnificent example of a company dedicated to the music and musicians), to make every effort to purchase legitimate physical copies of Mbilia Bel's, or anyone else's, recordings, while they still exist. For many of my readers, in far-flung corners of the world, that may not be possible.

best wishes. . .