Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

SIR VICTOR UWAIFO: No Palava- Delicate Lover' (POLYDOR POLP) 'No Palava' 'Abana' 'Khaki Nobi Leather/Delicate Lover' 'Take This Message To My Darling' 'Come Into My Life Jejeje'

Hi-life music which spread across into Nigeria from Ghana has also seen changes and Sir Victor Uwaifo is one artiste who has made such an impact on the scene that his name is still intact with his first hits: 'Joromi' and 'Guitar Boy'. Many musicians of his age (born in 1941) have fallen by the wayside but Uwaifo continues to re-sound with 'Abana' and 'Come Into My Life Jejeje'. Even the Nigerian Civil War could not split his sounds.

Juju music does not appear to sustain the enthusiasm which was associated with it in the West. The interest generated has therefore waned down recently but punters are wondering whether hi-life could re- assert itself. Victor Uwaifo belongs to the old guards but has the tenacity to offer some ray of hope against an army of younger boys like George Darko and Kantata - all from Ghana.

Sir Victor Uwaifo attempts to infuse some new sounds in 'No Palava' and 'Khaki Nobi Leather' but he succeeds better in his real hi-life with 'Abana' and 'Come Into My Life Jejeje' - tunes which would make every hi-life lover itch with the desire to express himself on the floor.

The only missing element on this album is Sir Victor's magic guitars which made him to the top with 'Joromi' and 'Guitar Boy'. That might stem from the fact that he might want to give some of the spotlight to his musicians.

The guitar might be missing but the female back-up chorus (springing from the sweet voices of Osayame Uwaifo, Mabel Ezekoka and Christy Odita) would make any Ghanaian group envious. 'Take This Message To My Darling' and 'Come Into My Life Jejeje' will definitely please those who put emphasis on voices. I would be converted this time and the hi-life-based sounds are enticing.

TONY ALLEN WITH AFROBEAT 2000: 'Nepa' (EARTHWORKS MWKS 3001) 'N.E.P.A. (Never Expect Power Always) 'Nepa Dance Dub'/'When One Road Close (Another One Go Open) Road Close Dance Dub'

Having been with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Afrobeat king now languishing in Nigerian jail for currency offence, for close to 14 years as drummer, Tony Allen now promises to present a new form of Afro beat. This debut mini series is a good example of what Allen has in store for Afro beat fans who would agree that the music of Africa '70 has been flat for some time now.

Apart from using studio gadgets to the brim, Tony Allen also continues with dance dub versions of the two sides. 'N.E.P.A.' is a ridicule of the Nigerian Electric Power Authority for floor. their constant power cuts. You would agree with him if you have ever been to Lagos. Allen employs various instruments to construct his power of rhythm that is more likely to sustain dancers' feet. The keyboards infuse sensation into the horns arrangements while the percussion drives home the support.

Side B is even more interesting. "If you close one door another one will open" that's what Tony Allen says. Candido and Victor Addis are not Fela but they communicate well enough to have their own identity. The horns riffs present superlative contours on to Tony Allen's music which promises to be the attraction of the years to come, especially as people talk of the failure of juju music to catch on commercially. When one road close, another one go open, indeed.

FIDELE ZIZI: 'Ma Musique A Moi (AFRO RYTHMES AR 0984) 'Ma Musique A Moi' 'Adivina'/'Papi Mwana Nketo' 'Un Ouvrier Qualifié'

More than two years' rest after various hit songs including 'Maguy Cherie', Fidele Zizi has returned with an album which seems likely to remain in the top bracket of the African charts in both Paris and London for a time. 'Ma Musique A Moi Delicate Lover is the culmination of a period of research which has been aptly rewarded.

The title track 'Ma Musiqu Moi' is a strong fusion of Congolese and Caribbean rhythms that promise to appeal to a wider audience. Few Congolese and Zairean musicians tried this concoction with success but Zizi has gone further than most of them. The 'guitar gang' of Master Rigo, Gerard Kimbolo and Du Sebe have combined to give a warm feel to what sounds like a percussive sound. Aside the beautiful vocals and conga work, Priso's sax solo fulfils a nice dream of the dancer.

It is difficult to find any defect or disappointment in this album. The music is well produced as you would find through your loudspeaker. 'Adivina' swings into action with the guitar works half-way through track, a feel which never ends when your legs give off.

The B-side is no exception. Mwana Nketo' and 'Un Ouvrier Qualifié' are equally strong as materials and have various mom when the guitarists fashion skilful and ingenious displays hornsmen also contribute effective a music which belongs to the dance floor

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