Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

YOULOU MABIALA: Beyouna CHIKA 011/85) Beyouna' 'Clara'/'Mosawa' 'Mayi- a-Nkamba'

If there is one Congolese singer who has got the reputation of releasing only superb records, it must definitely be Le Prince Youlou Mabiala. From Carte Postale, 100% to Couper Soucis he has built a strong foundation for his music with beautiful vocals and almost perect arrangements. Most 'Congolese' records (and here it refers to both Zaire and Congo) might sound a bit noisy due to the strong guitar influences) to some ears but Youlou's (just like Franco's) are exceptions.

Beyouna has done quite well in Parisian African charts and who knows what will happen in other European centres including London. In a rather subtle style, 'Beyouna' begins as a gentle rumba relying heavily on strong bass, percussion and vocal perfections. The music is turned inside out with brassy flashes towards the last stages of the song as in 'Clara' which is almost hi-life-ish though not one of the best things on the album.

By all standards the B-side sounds more promising and it makes me wonder how title tracks are chosen. 'Mosawa' will explain itself; only after one listen the moods and the melody creep on your brain and you want to hear it all over again. Youlou has that type of voice which, at appropriate times, can send shivers down the spine. He comes close to that right from the first note. The nice throbbing bass in association with the horns section provide one of the most magnificent music phrases I have recently heard. It becomes rather impossible to resist dancing especially if you are an addict to Congolese/Zairean guitars.

Similar development occurs in 'Mayi-Ya-Nkamba' which also thrives heavily on the superb bass line and Youlou's own lead vocals. The absolute clarity of the guitar and the lively music on this track and the entire album make Beyouna an irresistible material. Bravo! Youlou.

MALAMINI JOBARTEH & DEMBO KONTE: 'Jaliya' (STERNS 1010) 'Segou Tutu' 'Mbassi' 'Solo' 'Bamba Bojang' 'Tutu Jara'/'Fode Kaba' 'Cheddo'

Djeli Diawara Moussa's Fote Mogoban has given the greatest honour to Malian kora music through its mixture of traditional and contemporary styles coupled with sound purity. Mory Kante took kora music further in A Paris with a more modern touch while Foday Musa Suso's Watto Sitta was given a bit too much of Bill Laswell's electro dose.

The music on this latest Sterns release is a different story moving back to the historical perspectives of the Mandinka people who can boast of great kora players including the late Alhaji Bai Konte who taught Malamini Jobarteh and Dembo Konte the art.

Using the subtle musical language of the kora instrument, Malamini and Dembo present a style which is common to the Jali whose role it is to relate oral histories of the Mandinka people. Their individual styles however, slip through their music as you would hear in 'Segou Tutu' and 'Cheddo'. Their duets on the instru- ment and power of vocal expression confirm the level of their virtuosity which they acquired from the house- hold in which they lived as child

Malamini are little known in Europe and America but this LP will be the medium through which their magnificent style of play will reach a wider audience.

After the hot dances of the Zairean soukous, Jaliya might automatically become the panacea for relaxation especially while driving back home on the highway or in the early hours of the morning. Djeli Diawara Moussa's Fote Mogoban may not lose its position but 'Solo' and most of the tracks on this album will add to the rich cultural heritage of Africa and its people.


1. BEYOUNA Youlou Mabiala (TCHIKA) Congo
3. AFRICA SELECTION Tabu Ley Rochereau (STERNS) Zaire
4. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
5. OYE ODO Pat Thomas/Ebo Taylor (DAN) Ghana
6. OTITO (THE TRUTH) Sunny Ade (SALPS) Nigeria
7. MAKWANDUNGU Bopol Mansiamina (BM TINA) Zaire
9. GO SOUTH COMPILATION Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Inter Africa
10. OJO JE Segun Adewale (STERNS) Nigeria
11. ENYIDAR WO SOR East Voices Koforidua (ESSIEBONS) Ghana
12. THE MASTERS A.B.Crentsil/J.Y. Thorty (ABC) Ghana
13. MR. MUSIC Thomas Mapfumo (EARTHWORKS)
14. AGYATA WUO Asiakwa Brass Band/Konadu (BROBISCO) Ghana
15. JALIYA Malamini Jobarteh/Dembo Konte (STERNS) Senegambia

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

2nd Bookweek Africa at the Africa Centre

A unique book fair - first held in 1982 - of books and journals from and about Africa will be held at the Africa Centre in London between October 17 and 19. Space for Bookweek Africa has been fully booked and there will be over forty stands, which includes the participation of 15 major African publishers. Moreover a large "African Publishers' Collective Exhibit" will again form the centrepiece of the Fair, aiming to bring to a UK audience the scope and vitality of current publishing in Africa today, despite being an industry that labours under the most difficult conditions. This exhibit will bring together almost 900 new and recently published titles from a total of 130 publishers, representing 24 African nations. A sizeable proportion of books on display in the collective exhibit organization; and books may also be freely purchased from any of the individual stands.

Jointly organized by the Africa Centre The African Book Publishing Record, the book fair will open with a private viewing on the evening of October 16, with the opening ceremony to be performed by the distinguished Senegalese writer and film director Sembene Ousmane. Thereafter it will be open to the public between 12 noon and 9pm daily on Thursday October 17 through Saturday 19. Admission is free. There will also be a lively supporting programme of talks and lectures to be held at the Royal Commonwealth Society (Details attached). During the week the Inter- national African Institute will hold a one day seminar on "The Book Famine in Africa."

Finally, during the three days immediately preceding Bookweek Africa, a small representative working group of African publishers will meet to explore how a consortium of in- digenous African Publishers might collectively promote and sell their books in the UK, Europe and the USA by pooling their resources and know- how and by producing joints lists and catalogues. The working group will examine with a view of putting forward firm proposals - the feasibility of establishing a small permanent office in the UK, to enable handling of orders to be centralized, so that billing and shipping could be administered from one service point. The Ford Foundation, the Commonwealth Foundation, UNESCO, the V Association for Christian Comm cation, and a number of other d organizations have genera provided funds to enable organizers to bring to London African publishers to participate in working group meeting.


An exhibition of oil paintings Gorkeh Gamel Nkrumah, son of Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, will be previewed October 15, 1985 (6-10pm) at W- bourne Gallery (453 Harrow Road London W10).



Have you ever wondered?
Have you ever consulted?
With your soul?
Your psyche?
Your very self?
Your image?
Your stance?
What outlines you'd make
Like these lines make
When painted and read
As you now do read,
On a white canvas?
Yes I know, it makes
All the difference

All the contrast
The elegance
Which we've so far

talking drums 1985-10-07 Nigeria at 25 - A nation in a hurry