Monday, December 22, 2008

Gabon Funk

Here's another 45 I found in Dakar. I haven't come across a lot of Gabonese music but Gabon must have had its share of good music. Libreville (French for Freetown) is a port town, that grew rapidly in the 1970s because of oil, which usually means plenty of travelling musicians coming through.

Vyckoss Ekondo grew up in Libreville and started his musical career at the Lycee Leon M'ba (M'ba was Gabon's first president; the second and current president is Omar Bongo, the world's longest serving ruler, excluding monarchies).

After further studies in Canada, Vyckoss returned to Gabon and became a well-known television presenter, hosting the popular 'Sunday Idol' show, a launching pad for many young bands. He also composed soundtracks and in the 1980s started a musical troupe, combining traditional dance and initiation rhythms. Check out his Tandima group (in French).

Funny how I found this in Dakar. The reason for going to Dakar was a conference which should have been held in Libreville (in 2007), but was re-scheduled and moved to Dakar. Maybe I'll get another chance to go to Gabon: several people have told me Libreville is a happening place.

For now, enjoy these 45 sides:

Vyckoss - Dibenga (L'Incredule)

Vyckoss - Mbea (L'Aigle)


Ambiance Congo said...

Pieter, Gabon has produced a number of good bands. My favorites are Les Diablotiins, N'Goss Brothers and Orchestre Banowita.
Another guy who put out some very funky music is Francois Ngwa.

John B. said...

Nice to have you back, Pieter! I'd given you up for dead.

Yes, Gabon has had a music scene way out of proportion to its size. I understand back in the '80s President Omar Bongo wanted to raise his country's profile in the world scene & launched radio station Africa No. 1 & sponsored a number of local bands & recording studios.

Ambiance Congo said...

Right John. The Agence Nationale de Promotion Artistique et Culturelle published a series of wonderful compilations in the 80s under the heading "L'ANPAC Presente". These contained a nice variety of musical styles from Pierre Claver Zeng, whose music might best be described as akin to bikoutsi, to Mack Joss, another great Gabonese artist with much Congolese influence in his work, to modern folkloric artists.

Marc fom Chicago said...

Thank you for posting!

Juicy said...

hi there i've just discovered your blog,
whouh amazing music you there... thank a lot for sharing.

keep on the work
thank you

al angeloro said...

hello, just found the blog..great work.. if you are interested i have Sam Mangwana and papa noel live at Lincoln Center, where i added the cuban tres, flute and 2 vocalists for improvised vocals and coros...if you want i will send it on..or download it..i will play it next wednesday at midnite on

al angeloro

Mogpaws said...

just stumbled into this page today.... lookin' tight, great collection.. I'm a happy man today.
Keep it up

JB (Mogpaws)

Anonymous said...

to come back to your blogs about zamrock
on the new show of french dj vincent tarriere, a selection, in the 3rd part of zamrock and african goldies

> Enjoy

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