Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

MANU DIBANGO. 'Home Made’ AFRICAN 362018) Sun Explosion Tropical Garden'/'Ah! Freak Sans Frie' 'Oh Koh'

To introduce Manu Dibango, the man who first introduced Cameroonian makossa to the outside world, is a folly which I may avoid. His concert at the Hammersmith Palais in West London last Monday was a crazy affair with enthusiasts jumping with satisfaction and dream. Abele Dance' galore! But you would do yourself a great favour if you spin this LP on your latest turntable.

Recorded in Nigeria with a group of Ghanaians and other West Africans out of sheer experimentation, this album assembles a big amalgam of material which would be enough to stir up an atmosphere of merrymaking.

Tropical Garden' has a reggae feel with Dibango's usual deep voice occasionally flashing through with mumbles. The arrangement is a fine classy thing with horns riffs and beautiful guitar picks.

With 'Sun Explosion the listener will hear an explosive sound with beautiful female chorus line sprinkling over a tight rhythm. The makossa sound still persists in Manu Dibango's music, a happy state. The timing of the guitars and the drive of the entire music register a pleasant set of entertainment during a party.

Most people may cry for 'Ah! Freak Sans Fric' but the harmony of 'Oh Koh' leaves a beautiful mark in your mental faculties if your ears are ready. The call and answer between Dibango and his female vocal line may not necessarily be an extraordinary turn but his reeds are at active work. The conga functions more than it normally does. That's a sweet change.

Not only the melody but the harmony of the horns of the best track Ah! Freak Sans Fric' - make mystery more associated with Manu Dibango's music which is growing from strength to strength while his age is moving towards the other side. Don't dance too much.

ABDUL TEE-JAY: 'Salima'/'Why, Why' (BAD 101)

As we enter 45 disco singles, the race becomes hotter with new faces entering the scene for the first time. Abdul Tee- Jay is one of the hottest guitarists on the African scene in London and African Connection would cling on to him as one of their front men.

Not many Sierra Leoneans have been heard of since the African music scene in London took a hotter turn except African Connection and Supercombo and for Abdul Tee-Jay to have thrown his listeners into a pulsating Sierra Leonean street music is more than interesting. His lead vocal seems a bit distant but the chorus merges well with the mood of the music of 'Salima'. The percussion instruments are alive as Abdul Tee-Jay splashes one of his wicked solos on to the music. The B-side is a mere continuation of the A-side but the Why, Why' title certainly reinforces the message to Salima. The guitar becomes more aggressive and the handclaps take their rightful turn. The dancing mood goes on.

OTIS THOMPSON: 'Please Don't Go' (SUNBURN SB-D47A & B)

Another Sierra Leonean and also from African Connection, Otis Thompson has a hot single for the dance floor if properly promoted. He makes a complete use of studio effects to achieve a certain level of music. The throbbing bass and the guitar picks reinforce the horns to provide a moving sound that will appeal to most dancers. The short sax solo and the answering vocal line accelerate the mood of the music for your party. The B-side continues the happy moods of 'Please Don't Go' but the instruments are given freer space and time to carry the music. The African disco halls will certainly like this single which has beautiful guitar and bass twists. The pounding bass drum and the snare drum carry the weight of the music and orchestration. Don't ignore the flute sound.

West Indian Ex-Servicemen on Armistice Day

On Sunday November 11th the Queen will lay a wreath in Remembrance of those who gave their life in defence of Britain in World War II.

Between 1939-45 about 40,000 West Indian men and women fought in the British Armed Forces in Europe and as far afield as Egypt. More than a handful paid the ultimate sacrifice, with their lives.

The West Indian Ex-Servicemen's Association, most of whom fought in the last war, will be marching alongside other Ex-Servicemen from the last war to commemorate Armistice Day. The Association invites all members of the community to march with them on November 11.

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