Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

Salsa Power

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

Orchestre T. P. Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou: 'Oto' (Tangenttan LP7007) Sêmassa (Zéro + Zéro) 'Belle Belle'/ 'Ne Te Faches Pas' 'Adin Gbanzon'

Salsa is pop music form that is widely accepted and played in francophone West Africa including Benin where Orchestre T. P. Poly-Rythmo originates. It is therefore hardly surprising that they should begin this album with a salsa reminiscent of Johnny Pacheco's sound at its peak when Monguito was singing.

The concoction of sounds by the horns section prepare the ground for 'Semasa' in Pacheco's fashion. The electric piano, typically Latin American builds a bridge across to a sax solo tracing 'El Manisero' (the most popular Latin American tune). You will be delighted with the trumpet solo which interchanges with the sax propped by the organ. Monotony nearly sets in when the singers begin and continue with 'Zéro + Zéro equals Zéro' in French but the conga intervenes admirably to give it the best track on the album.

'Belle Belle' begins in a funkish fashion, but the trumpet still sounds Latin American. The lyrics though a bit overdone sound profoundly interesting: "My girl is an infinite beauty, which everybody wants, I prefer champagne to plane or ship". The synthesizer, though not extraordinarily sophisticated, helps to give this not-so good track a fresh dimension.

'Ne Te Faches Pas' (don't be angry) leans towards Afro-beat as done in Ghana and Nigeria. The horns make sporadic and spasmodic incursions on the groove though the singing dominates. The electric guitar solo backed by the bass line adds a fresh hump to a track that would have been flat for lack of diversity.

Agbadza rhythm is the style used in 'Adin Gbanzon' in which the bass line and the synthesizer show a different class this time. The singing is not particularly delightful but the horns section play well enough to rub off today. some of the limitations of the track and the whole album.

FELIX LEBARTY: 'Lover Boy '83' (TABANSI TTL 282) 'Sexy Woman', 'Chi-Chi' 'You and I', 'Ada'/'Aburo', 'Cool my Heart' 'Loving feeling' 'Mummy and Daddy'.

Sonny Okuson's Ozzidism has not escaped the notice of London and those who like this may not refuse the nice dose of this young Nigerian from Benin City - Felix Lebarty.

The disco thrust of this album is compulsive especially 'Mummy and Daddy' which sounds the best. The uptempo rhythm sustained by the guitar and the strong bass line justify the popularity of Lebarty in Nigeria

Singing in English (sometimes sounding American) Lebarty reaches a wider audience. He draws you on to the floor right from the beginning of the first track - 'Sexy Woman' carrying the mood over to 'Chi-Chi'.

In 'You and I' and 'Loving feeling' (good smoochers) Lebarty sounds like either Richard Dimples Fields or Michael Jackson. The music is tender but enticing enough for lovers. This album has a future among disco fans and party goers.


Adisadel old boys grand reunion

A couple of weeks ago, I reported of an exemplary effort being made by a group of past students of Adisadel College, Cape Coast, Ghana to form a union aimed at forging a common bond for all interested in the United Kingdom.

Currently, the embryo organisation is based in London and a few energetic ing.. old boys are working around the clock preparing for a grand inaugural meeting scheduled to be held at Collingham Gardens, London on 26th May 1984. At that meeting which promises to bring together old boys of all ages and from all walks of life resident in the United Kingdom the executive of the association would be elected to replace the interim committee and the constitution discussed.

It would interest all members and potential members to know that English masters who taught at the school have been invited to attend and the response so far has been encouraging

Mr T. J. Drury, Headmaster (1959-63) Mr. Alan Frostick, Quaque House master, (1960-67) and host of others, energetic and still active teachers, who have had strong ties with the school may drop in to reminisce on the good old days.

All old Boys interested must contact the Secretary, 59 King Road, Leyton stone, London E11 Tel: 01-558 4171 for details of the arrangement.

ON THE BEAT with Staccato

CAPITAL RADIO'S Saturday night African music spot had interesting items last weekend. John Collins, the Ghana-based musician who owns a 'portable' recording studio in the outskirts of Accra, in an interview introduced quite a few new musicians about to burst on the rather quiet Ghanaian music scene. 'Adinkra', 'Wofa Rockson' (Koo Nimo's brother) and Genesis Gospel Singers to name a few are some of the new generation of highlife musicians who John Collins has taken under his wings and recorded on his 4 track studio with admirable results.

Speaking about the effect of power cuts on his recording efforts, John announced a formula which I think would go a long way. He said he planned to buy a windmill type of generator which would use windpower to charge his batteries to run his studio. Hope it works so that more musicians can get their unrecorded songs on wax.


International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa has opened a bookshop which will sell the full range of its publications and materials, well known for their detailed and factual information on both conditions of life and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and Namibia. Contact IDAF Book Centre, Canon Collins House, 64 Essex Road, London N1 9LR. Tel: 01-359 9181.

The Adansiman Union of Gt. Britain & Ireland is holding a disco dance on Easter Sunday April 22, 1984 at the Tiverton community Centre, South Tottenham, London N15 from 6pm 11pm

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