Wednesday, August 11, 2010

N'gola Ritmos

I haven't had much luck in finding old Angolan vinyl. Dear friends (Thanks, Kris & Lay!) were looking around a couple of months ago in Quito but said the war destroyed a lot, including old LPs, and rich Angolans are also on the hunt for music. Maybe some will turn up in time.

I have a list of bands I'd love to hear more of, and N'gola Ritmos is high on the list. Even more, now that I saw these videos (from RTP, 1964). In awe of Monami and Lourdes Van Dunem. Amazing!

There's also a book on that list: Marissa Jean Moorman's "Intonations: A Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, from 1945 to Recent Times" (2008, Ohio University Press). Moorman is professor of African history at Indiana University. She writes:
N’gola Ritmos formed in 1947 and continued until the 1970s with various combinations of musicians including two female vocalists, Belita Palma and Lourdes Van Dunem. In the early 1960s some founding members were sent off to prison or exiled from Luanda to other provinces on temporary work assignments. The band played in a variety of venues in the capital, from the birthday parties of friends and families to the Liga, the city’s cinemas, and even the governer’s palace, as well as in other provinces. Carlos do Aniceto “Liceu” Vieira Dias was the group’s founder. Angolan musicologists credit Vieira Dias with translating songs of rural derivation into a popular music that was danceable and, in so doing, unleashing the development of urban popular music and in the particular the form known as semba.
Enjoy these, read up, and do let me know if you find N'gola Ritmos LPs (or even crazier, have double copies for sale)!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Franklin Boukaka

Franklin Boukaka was an amazing composer, poet, and activist. I wonder what he might have become if he wasn't executed in 1972, after a failed coup in Congo Brazzaville. His short career (he was 32 when he died) spanned work with Negro Band (which he helped start), then African Jazz/Vox Africa, and Cercul Jazz. More on Boukaka can be found at WorldService. This album from 1970, arranged and directed by Manu Dibango, is a classic.

Franklin also recorded with Keletigui et ses Tambourinis (and toured with them in Guinee). One of those tracks is on the Stern's Keletigui compilation, thanks to the restoration work by Graeme Counsel.

Le Bucheron
Likambo Oyo
Ata Ozali
Pont Sur Le Congo
Dia Bikola

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm sorry I missed the tour of Les Bantous (de la Capitale) last year. It was the last time Jean Serge Essous performed; he passed away last year in Brazzaville. The Bantous were integral to much of the music that came out of Congo: OK Jazz, Rock-A-Mambo, Ryco Jazz, Negro Jazz, ...

Here's a not-so-old album (early 1980s) with 4 classic grooves.

Les Bantous - Bilanda-landa Mabe
Les Bantous - Dege
Les Bantous - Osala Ngai Nini
Les Bantous - Querida Paola

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jazz Babalou

Phil-Philo's Jazz Babalou was one of the bands on the Ngoma label. Not much is known about Phil-Philo. The liner notes of this 45 (Ngoma 4531/32) state: Phil-Philo was born in 1942 in the Bas-Congo province. After excellent studies, he quit school, drawn to music. First as singer, then composer, he set up his own orchestra, Viviane-Mambo, which was later renamed into Jazz Babalou. His songs are "inspired by woman and her infidelity." Augustin Bakome plays sax on these tunes.

Phil-Philo & Jazz Babalou - Batela Elaka Na Ngai
Phil-Philo & Jazz Babalou - Yo Okei Otiki Ngai?
Mario Lopes & Jazz Babalou - Ye Ye
Mario Lopes & Jazz Babalou - Cleo Wa Mabanzo

P.S. If you haven't heard of Baloji, check out the sounds and video. Love the Karibu Ya Bintou video shot in Kin, as well as the remake and video of Independence Cha Cha. After a tour of Congolese cities earlier this year (no minor feat!), he's playing around Europe this summer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leon Bukasa & Beguen Band

Well, I can't seem to go around the Congolese Independence. Worldservice has published excellent info on Leon Bukasa and the early Ngoma years, I am not going to add text and just play the music.

These are from one of those early Ngoma 45s, both tracks celebrate the independence. I don't recall that Wrldsrv posted these already so it's my way to say, Thanks Stefan!, for all the rarities and stories you have posted.

Leon Bukasa & Beguen Band - Tokanisa Kongo Ya Biso (Let's think about our Kongo)
Leon Bukasa & Beguen Band - Bukole

Bakuba Emperor

Kabasele Yampanya, known as Pepe Kalle, was a great performer and a giant of a man. His house in Kinshasa was open to anyone. His later songs (like Moyibi and a modern version of Bakoule -- I have been looking for this modern version; I have it somewhere in my cassette collection that's gathering dust) are much more well-known than these old tracks I am posting today.

Congo's 50th birthday festivities are now over, as are those of the world cup (no more vuvuzelas buzzing at night from all the radios and television in the neighborhood). Life goes on. As does this blog. Enjoy.

Orchestre Empire Bakuba - Kombe Dilu
Orchestre Empire Bakuba - Naleleli Pt. 1 & 2
Orchestre Empire de Bakuba - Massa Pt. 1 & 2
Orchestre Les Bakuba - Likabu Mabe

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From Rock-A-Mambo To Orchestre Bantou

On the A side of this 45 -- a Pathe-Marconi edition, originally released on the Esengo label -- you get Nino (Malapet) and Rock-A-Mambo; on the B side, (Edouard) Edo (Ganga) and (Jean Serge) Essous with Orchestre Bantou. All representing the best of Kinshasa's musicians and orchestras in the 1950s, from Negro Jazz and African Jazz to OK Jazz.

I'm still searching for another 45 by Rock-A-Mambo: ESDF 1372 which has the Orchestra performing with Kabasele and African Jazz. It has a track called "Les Voyous" (delinquent, rascal) which I'd love to hear. Well, to be honest, I'd love to listen to it all. Check muzikifan's discography of Rock-A-Mambo.

Orchestre Rock-A-Mambo - Yamare
Orchestre Rock-A-Mambo - Iyele
Orchestre Bantou - Nalembi Bipale
Orchestre Bantou - Ah! Que Pena