Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

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African Records Review

ANO PLAN by Adomako Nyamekye: Ayeyi (medley) (YEB 002) Obra twa Owuo, Yekyi nea Oniawuo, Ano Plan.

Yet another Ghanaian musician has been bold to join the growing number fighting to enter the international arena with high-life music.

Adomako Nyamekye, who is described as a leading high-life vocalist appears to have gone through the mill in his long career as a professional singer, having served his apprenticeship with Ashanti Palace Band and Police Dance Band both in Kumasi then with Supreme Starlight Band, and finally with the Ghana Army Recce Regiment's Black Berets.

This album which was produced with the assistance of the immensely experienced Smart Nkansah of Sunsum Band and, of course, a lot of voice (or is it lip) service of Agyaaku and Beckie B both of the same band, exhibits appreciable danceable qualities and imaginative arrangements.

Side one which features "Ayeyi" (praise or adulation) is faintly reminiscent of the funky overtone of Darko's "Akoo te Brofo" but greatly pushed forward by the unobtrusive horns in the background and the organist's introduction at regular intervals of phrases based on Hugh Mesakela's run-away hit "Grazing in the grass".

As far as the lyrics go, the singer goes to lengths in recalling the greatness of African leaders who have passed away in the struggle for liberation of the continent. However, as it is common with such recordings, it nearly suffers from verbal diarrhoea. However, the intermittent brilliant guitar riffs keep the nearly 18 minutes long song sufficiently interesting and would keep dancers on the floor.

The flip-side which includes "Obra twa owuo" "Yekyi nea oni awuo" and "Ano Plan", (which is the title-track) resorts to the traditional high-life mode.

However, "Ano plan" has the additional arrangement boost which is irresistible for dancing and listening purposes.

Generally, the album is an imaginative debut which holds good promise for George Nyamekye in the U.K.

LUAMBO MAKIADI & LE TPOK JAZZ: 'Chantent Candidat Na Biso Mobutu' (EDIPOP 030) 'Candidat Na Biso Mobutu'

Songs are usually a sociological commentary in Africa but musicians would like to widen their scope sometimes as Makiadi (popularly known as Franco) and his TPOK Jazz do in this album. In the territory of politics the entire album is devoted to the cause of campaigning for the re-election of Mobutu as President of Zaire (Franco's country).

Franco et le T.P. OK Jazz sing for Mobutu

Exhorting his countrymen to vote massively for Mobutu, Makiadi employs a smooth rhumba sometimes sounding flat-propped by short guitar and horns turns to carry his musical and political messages across to his people: Mobutu is our candidate.

The lyrics appear to overshadow the music; there are not many moments for musical displays except towards the end of both sides. Makiadi appeals to all: musicians, workers, government officials, peasants, sportsmen, actors and even prisoners to remember to vote for Mobutu. Some would consider this as an act of sycophancy and others would deem it genuine support. But one thing stands out well for Zaire: there is apparent order in a country which has been characterised by political turmoil, brutality and barbarism culminating in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister. Of course, there are still many anxious aspects of Zairean politics.

Naturally aware of the flatness of the music, TPOK Jazz step up the tempo with horns displays and short guitar riffs to enliven the last stages of both sides without which that couldn't have been considered Zairean (let alone Franco) music.

What is strange about the album is the B-side sounds the exact repeat of the A-side, making it a bit of an expensive buy. But why not a repeat if you like it? With translated versions in French and English inserted in the inside cover you are more likely to appreciate the lyrics than you may have been doing with most African songs The ghost of TPOK Jazz lingers on in the music towards the end of both sides.

Franco et le T.P. OK Jazz sing for Mobutu

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