Tuesday, August 28, 2012

L'Afrique Danse No. 3 (1966)

Finally following up on my earlier post of No. 2, here is the splendid L'Afrique Danse No. 3 that features wonderful, formative Congolese rumba. Side A has delicious songs by Kalle and Kwami, and easily heard in their singing is the impact they had on the up-and-coming Rochereau.

Side B has a quartet of strong songs from Orchestre Negro Success, and a rare, lovely couplet from Robin (Albert Missia) and Orchestre Los Angel, including the sublime cha-cha-cha "Kawa." This offering comes from nearly pristine vinyl, so please immerse yourself.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Super Diamono de Dakar - People (1987)

Recorded a short time after Ndaxami, this album from Super Diamono has a much more produced sound with more global ambitions. It opens with a reggae-imbued tribute to the people of Soweto, a fashion in African pop music during the waning years of apartheid, where Lamine Faye's guitar is impressive, as it is throughout the record. Ismael Lo has left the band at this point, leaving the lead vocals to the ascendant Omar Pene.

Unfortunately, on many of the songs on this album, the "world music" production submerges the strengths of the band, giving the first side a decidedly somber tone. That said, the sound quality of this production is gorgeous, with every instrument and voice exceptionally clear. Mbalax pokes through more successfully on the second side, but not enough to rescue it from world music banality. Except for the last cut, recorded live at a concert: Omar Pene and Lamine Faye rock.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Super Jamono de Dakar - Ndaxami (1984)

Super Diamono is one of the great bands of Senegal, and this record comes from the fecund period when Omar Pene and Ismael Lo shared leads. I've always considered Diamono to be analogous to early Zaiko Langa Langa in the Congo, a band bursting with young energy, a little rough on the edges yet setting new standards.

I love this album; it is so full of soul. There is no information about the recording or musicians, on the record sleeve, but it sounds like a live studio recording. It is so refreshing to hear raw, brilliant music that was not processed for global consumers. Check the great underlying piano, Lo's harmonious harmonica, the percussion: Sweet!