Ignace de Souza & The Melody Aces (Ghana, 1962)



Those words are perfect to speak about Ignace de Souza who is best known for his Ghanaian Highlife, even though he was originally from Benin and played eclectic musical styles. In addition to Highlife, his diverse musical repertoire included the Cha Cha, Twist and Afrobeat. Ignace de Souza's major legacy is that he introduced Ghana to that which would be known as Soukous. De Souza's began in Ghana during the 1950's with The Shambros Band, then with The Melody Aces and The Black Santiago. The famous singer from the Broadway Dance Band, Joss Aikins, who played at the Independence Ball, is singing on this 1962's recording.



Ignace de Souza est plus connu comme chanteur de Highlife au Ghana que chanteur éclectique du Bénin. Mais il était aussi connu pour jouer du Cha Cha, du Twist; pour avoir créer l'Afrobeat avec Fela, pour avoir importer le Soukouss au Ghana, et enfin pour être un des meilleurs trompetiste d'Afrique de l'Ouest, rien que ça... De Souza se fit connaitre au Ghana, durant les années 50, avec le groupe Shambros Band, puis durant les années 60s avec les Melody Aces et enfin avec le fameux Black Santiago. Le célèbre chanteur de l'orchestre Broadway Dance Band, Joss Aikins, qui anima la fête de l'indépendance, chante sur cet enregistrement de 1962.

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Adjaho Coffi


This fantastic album was recorded in 1981 with Poly-Rythmo Orchestra. When I heard it I discovered that Sagbohan Danialou was singing the chorus and playing drums. Adjaho Coffi is known to be a famous comedian but also a great compositor and singer. Some of the songs are purely inspired by traditional rhythms like Kakagbo. We can feel in those rhythms Sagbohan's arangements.


Cet album absolument génial a été enregistré en 1981 avec l'orchestre Poly-Rythmo. En l'écoutant j'ai découvert que Sagbohan Danialou chantait les choeurs et qu'il était à la cession rythmique. Adjaho Coffi était un fameux comédien, diplômé en France, mais aussi un grand auteur compositeur, ainsi que chanteur. Certains des titres de cet album sont merveilleusement inspirés par des rythmes traditionnels tels que le Kakagbo. On peut sentir dans les arrangements la pâte de Sagbohan.


Afia Mala & Orchestre BLACK SANTIAGO (Togo/1978)


It all started with two royal families from Togo and Benin. A princess was born on the banks of the river Mono, her name was Afiwavi Mawaulana Missohou, who later became to be known as Afia Mala. When she was small she often accompanied her mother to the traditional singing lessons of the Habobo women. This was during the time of the great Bella Bellow, the Togolese Lady of the blues. In 1984, "Ten Homte" (Black Earth) was selected by Radio France International listeners as their favourite song during their talent competition "Discovery". In 1992, Afia was nominated "Best African Female Vocalist". In 2008 she recorded an album in Cuba with the famous Aragon Orchestra. This single was recorded with Ignace de Souza and his Black Santiago Orchestra in 1978.


Afia Mala est comunément appelée "Princesse du Mono". Elle commence sa carrière en 1974, à l'époque de la grande Bella Bellow, princesse du blues Togolais. Née de sang royale, elle fait ses armes avec sa mère à travers les chants traditionnels Habobo. En 1984, elle reçoit le Prix découverte de RFI et en 1992, est nommée "Meilleur chanteuse Africaine". Enfin, en 2008, elle se rend à Cuba pour enregister un album avec le célèbre Orquestra Aragon. Ce 45 tours a été enregistré en 1978 avec Ignace de Souza et son Orchestre Black Santiago.


Star Number One (Senegal, 1976)


Orchestra "Star Number One" was founded in 1975 by Papa Serigne Seck. Papa Seck is known to be the godfather of M'Balax. This album has been released in 1976 and the title "Jangaake" is pure diamond.


En 1975, Papa Serigne Seck décide de quitter le célèbre orchestre Star Band de Dakar, fondé en 1964, pour rejoindre l'orchestre Star Number One. Il fût le premier à introduire des instruments traditionnels sénégalais comme les sabars et tama (talking drum) dans la musique afro-cubaine. Auteur, compositeur, saxophoniste et chanteur, Papa Seck, amoureux de latin-jazz et connu pour avoir inventé le style M'balax. Cet album est sorti en 1976 et le morceau "Jangaake" est une pure merveille.

Lemed Janvier & Les Volcans: "Feu Vert"


Here is a second album from Lemed Janvier with The "Volcans du Bénin". Lemed Janvier is from Benin but he is known to play congolese soukouss music and sing in congolese language which is quite rare. I think that the "Volcans du Bénin", led by Nestor Hountondji, had the best horn section in the country.
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Voici un autre album de Lemed Janvier accompagné par l'orchestre Les Volcans du Bénin. Lemed est connu pour jouer de la soukouss congolaise mais aussi pour la chanter dans la langue du Congo, ce qui est plutôt rare. Je pense que "Les Volcans" possédait la meilleur section de cuivre du pays.

Irede-Band Juju (Benin/1976)

I am sorry to offer you a Juju vinyl in a bad shape but this record is a way for me to introduce the Yoruba community from Benin. Many Yoruba artists are coming  from the south of the country. Yoruba people are also called Nago. Juju, Apala or Fuji rhythms are making parts of Beninese musical culture. This recording from Irede-Band juju is led by Akambi Elewu-Etu. It must have been recorded in 1976.



Désolé pour l'état de ce vinyle qui me permet d'introduire la communauté Yorouba du sud Bénin. Ils sont aussi appelés Nago. Les rythmes Juju, Apala ou Fuji font parti intégrante de la culture musicale béninoise. Cet enregistrement du groupe Irede Band of Juju est dirigé par Akambi Elewu Etu. Il devrait dater de 1976.


T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Assa Cica


I would like to go deeper into Poly-Rythmo's sound with a prodigious record composed by Assa Cica, a famous Beninese singer (check out a very nice and recent clip from him on Youtube). That's why I'm using the "Black Square" from Kasimir Malevich for illustrating this post. Assa Cica is special. He is a poet, close to Sagbohan Danialou in his lyrics as well as his music style. I really don't know when this album was released, i think between 1976 and 1978. Lohento Eskill is singing on all tracks except on "Ananu Dogon Nu" and "Gnon Nu Fomin Lin" where Assa make us discover his beautiful voice.


Je voudrais vous emmener plus loin dans Poly-Rythmo avec ce disque génial composé par Assa Cica, un chanteur béninois célèbre et toujours vivant que vous pouvez découvrir dans un récent clip sur Youtube. Je me suis permis d'utiliser le fameux "Carré Noir" de Kasimir Malevich pour illustre ce courrier particulier. Assa Cica est un poète, proche de la nature et musicalement proche de Sagbohan Danialou. Je pense que cet album a été enregistré entre 1976 et 1978. Lohento Eskill chante sur tout l'album excépté "Ananu Dogon Nu" et "Gnon Nu Fomin Lin" où Assa Cica nous dévoile sa voix d'ange.

Kouyaté Sory Kandia (Guinea, 1971)



I would like to thank Vivien for this great contribution. This album was recorded in 1971 with two different orchestras: Keletigui et ses Tambourinis and Ensemble National "Djoliba". Sory Kandia was called "la voix d'or" (voice of gold) and Ithink that he diserved "diamond".
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Merci à Vivien pour cet album prodigieux. L'enregistrement est bon et a la particularité d'avoir été exécuté avec deux orchestres: Keletigui et ses Tambourinis et l'Ensemble National "Djoliba". Sory Kandia est est le plus grand chanteur mandingue et je pèse mes mots. Il était appelé "la voix d'or" mais il mérite le "diamant".

Ezin Gangnon


I think it is the right time, after Stanislas Tohon, to talk about traditional Tchinkoumé rhythm. A rhythm from the center of Benin. You will notice the sound quality of Vivien's rip alias "DJ Balafon".

Après Stanislas Tohon, je pense que c'est le bon moment de parler du rythme traditionnel Tchinkoumé, originaire du centre du Bénin, en l'occurrence de la ville de Savalou. Ezin Gangnon fait parti des anciens.

Stanislas Tohon: "Yallow" (1977)



Stanislas Tohon recorded this single with the "Satelites" orchestra in 1977. Tohon Stan will become famous all over Africa thanks to Sam Fan Thomas, the geat cameroonian singer, who interpreted the title "Yallow" which would become a hit.


In 1978, Stan Tohon created the Tchink-system orchestra. The tchink music style remain tied to the Tchinkoumé tradition, a style of music based on the sacred "water music" that was traditionally used to drive out evil spirits after death. This rhythm can be heard on the title "Africa".


Sunny Black's Band (Poly-Rythmo/1965)

This is my third post about Sunny Black's Band. Created by Clément Mélomé in 1965, this orchestra will become in 1969 the famous Poly-Rythmo's orchestra.
 
In this EP, the Side one, a cara-bouche rhythm from Congo, has been composed by Honoré Senahun. The Side two, a pachanga rhythm, has been composed by Nicolas Gomez.

Caribbean Island Music (1972)



To finish this month, here is a fantastic recording from John Storm Roberts, great musicologist who make us dive into the roots of reggae, merengue and calypso. I don not have pictures for illustrating those traditional rhythms because I didn't find some on the web. Maybe they don't exist anymore...
P.S: when I wrote this post, I didn't know that John Storm Roberts had just died. Paix à sa grande âme... Check out the article on N.Y.Times.

Side 1:
1.Calunga (Dominican Republic)
2. Ya Lo Ve (Dominican Republic)
Both of these pices have a very high African content. The singing is a called-and-response pattern, by far the most common african-drived vocal technique in the new world.

3. Amantina (mangulina, Dominican Republic)
4. Canto de Hacha (merengue, (Dominican Republic)
Those two pieces are charectiristic of the country dance music of the Dominican Republic; both have the typical accompaniment of a small accordian, tambora drum and metal
guïra scraper.

5. Ay Lola Eh (Dominican Republic)
6. Salve Corrida
7. Pindo Mama Pindo
This last piece have been recorded in a tobacco-grinding factory. Most of the work is done by hand, and the laborers sing at their work and preserve and perfect many old forms.

8. Les Deux Jumeaux (bolero, Haiti)
9. Joséphine (méringue, Haiti)
Haiti has a great deal of highly African folk music. The best-known rhythm in Haitian popular music is the méringue, which has a chicken-and-egg relationship with its Dominican cousin but has developped very differently. The bolero spread throughtout the Spanish.


Side 2:
1. Percy Where him gone? (Jamaica)
This is an example of Tambo drumming. Singing and playing both show many africanisms.

2. Bahl 'Oman Bahl (Jamaica)
3. Georgie Lyon (Jamaica)
Two digging songs, in call-and-response orm, acompagned by the rhythm of the pickaxes that Jamaican countrymen still use for digging the fields.

4. Emmanuel Road (Jamaica)
One of the best known Jamaican songs, Emmanuel road originated as a ring-play or game song (probably among quarry-men) that involves the passing of heavy stones round a circule of squatting men. This song has been heard as a calypso and in many other versions. The present recording shows it in its the original forms, sung in the thudding rhythm of the stones being passed around a circle.

5. Mango Time (Jamaica)
6. When I was In Colon (Jamaica)
7. Chi Chi Bud-Oh! (Jamaica)
8. Obeahman (Jamaica)
9. Mummies (Dominican Republic)
This recording presents a phenomenon native to the small islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The "mummies" perform in the streets at Christmas, reciting, playing and dancing in colorful costumes.

Germaine Jourias & Los Commandos (Togo/1970)


Germaine Jourias was born in Togo in 1937. She recorded this EP, the first one, with the great singer El Rego and His Commando's orquestra in 1967. This very good highlife title made her quickly famous. She died in August 2009.

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Germaine Jourias est née au Togo, de mère Peul, en 1937. Elle enregistre son premier single, accompagné d'El Rego et son orchestre Les Commandos, que je vous présente aujourd'hui. Sortie en 1967, ce morceau highlife d'inspiration ghanéenne la propulse tout de suite en haut de l'affiche. Germaine Jourias nous a quittés en Août 2009.


Super Boiro Band (Guinea/1976)



The band took their name from the Camp Boiro prison, where may of the members had been guards. Members of the band included trumpeter and manger Mamadou Niaissa, vocalist Sane Camara and guitarists Karan Mady Diawara and Mamady Kouyaté.

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Super Boiro Band’s first album was released in 1972, and their first single was released the following year. They released two more singles as well as their second album in 1975, and one more album in 1976. 

Traore Amadou dit Ballake


Je ne sors pas la nuit quand j'entends Ballaké.
Sa voix, la voix des nuits endiablées par la dingue,
Ecrits éléctriques sur des ondes Mandingues,
Qu'assomment des verres de whisky baraqués.

Vata Mombasa & Danialou Sagbohan


When Congo meets Benin results an excellent album from Vata Mombasa with Danialou Sagbohan on drums. Vata Bombasa was the guitarist and leader of the Lipua Lipua orchestra. This very nice soukouss album is haunted by Sagbohan's talent. It was recorded in 1983 and edited by Libert and Papa Disco.

Lorsque le Congo rencontre le Bénin, ça donne un album sublime de Vata Mombasa avec Danialou Sagbohan à la batterie, s'il vous plait. Vata Mombasa est guitariste et leader de la deuxième génération de l'Orchestre Lipua Lipua. En 1983, de passage au Bénin grâce au grand producteur "Papa Disco", il enregistre cet album, hanté par la présence de Sagbohan.

Poly-Rythmo: Gold Collection Vol.5


This is the 5th volume of this "gold collection" edited on CD by the Top Showbiz label. As you can see, the cover comes from the famous album: "Reconciliation".

1- Yawo Bebenon
2- Yewle Yawo
3- Djomido
4- Africa

Gnonnas Pedro: El Cochechivo


I think this album from Gnonnas Pedro deserves a better sleeve. Nevertheless, this Cochechivo, one of the best album of the maestro, carries his signature. It was recorded in 1980.

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Ce vinyle de Gnonnas Pedro mériterait une plus belle pochette. Néanmoins, cet album de 1980 est l'un des meilleurs du maestro.

Side A:
Yiri Yiri Boum
Nuevo Tambourini
Etrococo Masawenin

Side B:
El Cochechivo
Agbadja Moderne - synthèse

 
 

Amadou Traore Ballake


This single was recorded in 1975 in Burkina Faso and pressed in Benin by Satel label. I bought this vinyl on Ebay thanks to the title "Bar Konou Mousso". Ballake counts the story of a pragmatic prostitute. I think that this song is rare and beautiful enough to pay it 200 dollars...
She says: "Ballake, wait until tomorrow, i have a meeting with the white man at the Independance Hotel, it's 5000 Francs...
Ballake, leave me alone, you don't have enough money. Musician is not someone..."

Ce 45 tours a été enregistré en 1975 au Burkina-Faso et pressé au Bénin par la grande maison Satel. Je l'ai acheté sur Ebay grâce au morceau "Bar Konou Mousso". L'histoire de cette prostituée qui ignore le pauvre Ballake pour le blanc, à l'hotêl Indépendance, m'a paru assez sublime pour la payer 200 dollars...

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Bentho Gustave (1980)



Bentho Gustave began his career with the Super Star Of Ouidah (previous post) and joined, in 1969, the powerfull Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. He is the composer and the bass player of this album which was released in 1980 on famous Libert label. I especially like "So ke mi" sung by Miguelito.

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Bentho Gustave a commencé sa carrière dans l'Orchestre Super Star de Ouidah (précédent courrier). En 1969, il co-fonde l'Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. Sur cet album, édité en 1980 par sur le fameux Label Libert, il compose et joue bien entendu de son instrument fétiche, la guitare-bass. J'aime particulièrement le titre "So Ke Mi" chanté par Miguelito.




La Vedette Du Soleil


"La Vedette Du Soleil" is Zacharie Yekpo. It means the "Sun' Star" and he plays good traditional muisc from Benin. This first recordings, in mono, from Zacharie and his Bifalo Band were released in 1977 by a very obscure label: Promotion Hounsa and his brothers.

"La Vedette Du Soleil" a pour nom Yekpo Zacharie. Son orchestre est le Groupe Folklorique Bifalo. Voici ses deux premiers enregistrements datés de 1977 et produits par un label mysterieux: Promotion Hounsa et Frères. Je pense que Yekpo est de la ville d'Allada, un des trois principaux royaumes du Bénin. Son rythme est le Zinli, un rythme traditionnel très répandu dans le centre et sud sud du pays.




Myriam Makeba: Live in Conakry (1971)


Après un tour de chants explosif dont la fin a été saluée par six rappels du public sous les clameurs houleuses, d'applaudissements frénétiques, d'ovations hurlées, de sifflets stridents, celle que l'on a appelée tour à tour, la "Militante de la chanson" "l'impératrice de la chanson africaine", "la pasonaria chantante", Myriam Makeba nous reçoit dans sa loge au "Palais du Peuple".
Des yeux noirs intenses, mobiles, soulignés par un sourire éclatant de fraîcheur et de gentillesse. Une toque à rabat de prêtresse antique, scintillante. Sculptée harmonieusement dans une longue jupe blanche dont la fente du devant montre les jambes large d'un pantalon en tissu imprimé. Richement baguée, des doigts fins et longs au bout de bras qui esquissent de lents et gracieux mouvements pour ponctuer chaque propos. Une voix prenante au grave caressant. Des rires qui partent juvéniles, francs, brefs et se figent aussitôt au sourire fixe et lactescent. Simplicité cordiale, cette légendaire affabilité d'une jeune femme symbolisant et assumant à la fois la longue lutte de libération d'un peuple, son peuple, dans le vaste champ miné de la culture universelle.
"Aussi loin que remontent mes souvenirs, je me vois chantant. Je me rappelle qu'à treize ans, lors d'une visite du roi George V d'Angleterre en Afrique du Sud, j'ai interprété pour lui et sa suite, devant un parterre de personnalités coloniales, un chant Xhoza intitulé: "Hayi Usizi Lamtu". Ce chant pose la question de savoir pourquoi toutes les nations blanches considèrent elles les noirs comme leur descente de lit ? Depuis cette époque je me sers de ma voix comme une arme de combat, et tant que je pourrais aspirer de l'air, je l'utiliserai en plus de toute mon énergie pour lutter résolument en faveur de la libération de tous les peuples africains et de ceux opprimés de par le monde".
D.I.K.

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo: Eskill & Vicky (1980)



Another LP from Poly-Rythmo composed and sang by Eskill Lohento and Vicky Amenoudji, two famous singers and foundators of the band. This album was recorded in Ivory Coast in 1980 by an obscure label called Omo Sun.

 
Encore un autre 33 tours religieux des Tout Puissant, composé et chanté par les deux mythiques chanteurs et fondateurs de l'eglise Poly-Rythmo. Enregistré en 1980, en Côte d'Ivoire, cet album sonne les cloches du reggae, de l'Afro Cubain, et du Bénin bien sûr. Le label Omo Sun est totalement obscure.


Annassoua Jazz de Parakou

Annasoua Jazz Orchestra is from Parakou, which is loctaed in the north of Benin. This band used to be famous in Benin as Picoby Band was. The leader and the composer of the band is Alidou Boukari. I have no informations yet about him, i am working on it. This vinyl may be very rare, excuse its quality...

Diovi
Dintchigoba

Ay! Obaranon
Mèmiwé

Ruy Mingas (Angola, 1969)


Angolan vocalist and guitar player, Ruy Mingas is one of his homeland's most famous musician and performer. Well known and loved in his home country and beyond since the late 50's, Mingas has long been known as pioneer in African music. Mixing musical elements of his Afro-Portuguese heritage with jazz and latin music. He is not only a beloved musician, but a leader to his people, because of his political lyrics. Mingas began to float back to the tops western attention in the mid-to late '90s. Today, drawning on his cultural and politic background, Mingas serves as the Minister of Culture of Angola. He is still and regulary records and performs.
It is my second post from Angola and still from Vivien the great. Remember this previous one of Conjunto Os Tropicais.
This 1969's recording (Africa Negra) is a french pressing which has been sent to me by the great Vivien from France. Here is the cover...
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... and here is the original pressing's cover from Angola...

The illustration of this post is taken from a fabulous Mati Klarwein's painting calle "Blessing" and painted in 1965. I am sure that he is watching and listening to this post: " Please Mati, forgive me for this bad copy..."

Orchestre Picoby Band (1965's Festival)

Orchestre Picoby Band from Abomey was created in 1953. Abomey is the capital of Dahomey's Kingdoms. In 1965 the band participated in the first national music festival. They arrived third, just behind another great band from Dahomey: Anassoua Jazz Band. This 7 Inch is a recording from this 1965's festival, which took place in Cotonou. I invite you to read this post from Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe which is very complete. You will excuse the quality of the vinyl. Enjoy this rare record of pure gold afro-cuban songs.

- Mado Winwé (Bolero)
- Akouavi (Bolero)
- Ahobobo (Rumba)
- Egbnon Noukountchémé (Tango)