Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

NYA SOLEIL: Il y a Un Soleil Part' (N 5822) 'La Vie Est Un Roman' 'Pop Mangwanbe' 'Only You In This World'/'Essele Miambo' 'Yaounde By Night' 'L'Homme Propose...

Born and bred in Yoaunde (Cameroon), Nya Soleil belongs to the new crop of young Cameroonian musicians who are determined to claim a stake in the pop market with their national music. Currently enjoying some success with his debut in Paris, Nya Soleil plays what some non- African critics might describe as interesting music which I might also consider good music by all standards.

Embracing a wide spectrum of musical influences, Nya Soleil begins the A-side with a philosophical note - la vie est un roman (life is a mere storybook). What would immediately strike one's ears are the lyrics and the extraordinary arrangements of which this young artist appears to be a master. The horns have a Caribbean feel while the electric violin and the strong bass line of the ubiquitous Michel Alibo give ample support to the music in its entirety. Although the rest of the A-side coasts along familiar styles ('Pop Mangwanbe', being a beautiful traditional rhythm and 'Only You In This World', a mere funk) the orches- tration and individual appeal of the various instruments contribute to make Nya Soleil one of Africa's hopes for the future.

The B-side has even more to offer - from the makassi of 'Essele Miambo' and 'L'Homme Propose' to the quasi- funk of 'Yaounde By Night'. The high quality danceability and melodic structure of 'Essele Miambo' makes it one of the best tracks I have heard recently. For all its funk, 'Yaounde By Night' sounds the best on this promising album.

Although, Nya Soleil has no extraordinary voice (but he is not the only one from Cameroon), the arrangements, orchestration and the instrumental trimmings compelled me to lock my turntable to 'repeat'. The gentle beginning and the sudden lifting to hot dance tastefully adorned by the electric violin make you feel how Yaounde 'feels' at night. You've got an excellent LP if not a novelty material. Bravo Nya Soleil!

SOUZY KASSEYA: "The Phenomenal' (ELP 2008) 'Mr Simon' 'Souviens Toi Et Reviens'/'B B Sexy' 'Success'

Even after almost two years, the ghost of Souzy Kasseya's 'Le Telephone Sonne' as an African hit still lingers on. The international of the phenomenal Souzy Kasseya is almost assured and he makes sure he stays in the top bracket with his latest on the British market - "The Phenomenal' while France is enjoying his latest 12in single — 'La Continuite'.

One of the most aggressive guitar players around in Africa, Souzy Kesseya approaches this album from an angle quite different from the 'Le Telephone Sonne' era - relying this time on electronic devices rather than the all-important guitars associated with Zairean music.

Fortunately, the phenomenal guitarist does not entirely sacrifice his instrument as you would find in the opening 'Mr Simon'. The frantic cross rhythms and the electro claps hold 'Mr Simon' together as a dance floor music carefully constructed to keep Souzy's music fresh in our memories. Although he withdraws his guitar a bit here, the other ingredients in the music cultivate concomitant response to give a Zairean feel to almost all the tracks.

The softer 'Souviens Toi Et Reviens' has an instrumental appeal and the female chorus line is infinitely smooth. The similarity to 'B B Sexy' is neat although the horn arrangement feel better in 'B B Sexy' showing the new dimensions of Souzy Kasseya.

'Success' is not necessarily a filler but lacks the attractiveness of the rest of the album which can almost be a hi- life material. On the whole, the song sounds slightly softer than 'Le Telephone Sonne' but reveals the new identity of the phenomenal Souzy Kasseya who attempts to break new grounds with this new British release.

Let us see him live in his new 'clothes' to decide which way we are going. Meanwhile the telephone may still be ringing.


2. NGOBILA Koffi Olomide (AFRO RYTHMES) Congo
3. OTITO (THE TRUTH) Sunny Ade (SALPS) Nigeria
4. IL Y A UN SOLEIL Nya Soleil (MROL) Cameroon
8. OYE ODO Pat Thomas/Ebo Taylor (DAN) Ghana
9. MAKWANDUNGU Bopol Mansiamina (BM TINA) Zaire
10. LE SENTIMENTAL Daouda (STERNS) Ivory Coast
11. SANKOMOTA Sankomota (EARTHWORKS) South Africa
12. MR. MUSIC Thomas Mapfumo (EARTHWORKS) Zimbabwe
13. OJO JE Segun Adewale (STERNS) Nigeria
14. MARIAMME EMANCIPEE Tamwo Isidore (TAMWO) Cameroon
15. LITTLE ANGEL Tony Sarfo (PMA) Ghana

Chart courtesy of AFROBOOM RECORDS,
135 Clarence Road, London E5 8EE (Mail Order & Distribution only).

talking drums 1985-09-09 Rafindadi's N.S.O. Empire exposed