Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

BENY BEZY: Amlini (BB 003)
'Amlini' 'No Siban' 'Zigbo'/'Koulaba' 'Na Dre Guira' 'La Paix'

Recorded at the famous Johanna studio in Paris and distributed by Safari Ambience, Amlini may be counted as one of the interesting albums which have recently been on the African records market. The arrangement of songs are jointly done by the prestigious Aladji Toure (a competent bassist) and Beny Bezy himself who is one of the most popular musicians from among the Ivorian diaspora.

Employing the services of the likes of Totot Guillaume, Jules Kamga, Jimmy Sax, Fredo, and Kassav's Jean Claude Maimro, Beny Bezy hopes to infuse a Cameroonian makassi feel into his native music, a feat which he achieves in the opening 'Amlini' without much trouble. Bezy's voice sounds rather distant sometimes but has no harsh effect on one's ears. It comes out better in 'Koulaba' which is another good dance track.

Toto Guillaume and his team do not disappoint Beny Bezy with their various styles on their instruments. If anything at all, I dare say that 'Koulaba' is a great tune with its beautiful guitar and percussion works adorned by flashes of brassy turns.

As a native of the Ivory Coast, Beny Bezy carries listeners through a track of ziglibithy dance form in 'Na Dre Guira' probably to make his countrymen proud. It is unfortunate no other Ivorian musicians could carry on with this dance form since the death of Ernesto Djedje but perhaps it is not meant to stay.

Mark it! Musicians from the Ivory Coast are always in love with what they call 'slow' (a sort of smoochie). No Ivorian record is complete without at least one 'slow'. On this album, Beny Bezy concludes his job with 'La Paix'. The music is caressing (after all, the title means 'peace') but it can hardly make any impact internationally.

On the whole the music is balanced and the production OK, but Beny Bezy could do better, though 'Amlini' and 'Koulaba' are still decent.

PAMELO MOUNK'A: Assetou Oun Diarabi (AP 049)
'Assetou Oun Diarabi' 'La Cousine Sorciere' 'Mamiwey'/'Auto Stop' 'Amour Marche Arriere Anita' 'Jezira'

Zaire has produced Franco and Tabu Ley in the same manner as Congo has done of Pamelo Mounk' A and Youlou Mabiala. Even though the subtle difference between the styles of music of Congo and Zaire is only discernible to the critical ear, the two styles dwell on soukous and rumba or sometimes a melange of the two.

You need an LP like this one to appreciate the music of the two 'Congos', even more so since Pamelo Mounk'A like most other Congolese, went through musical training on the other side of the border in Zaire.

Pamelo has produced many hit albums including L'Amour De Nobaleke, Samantha, Adjoussou d'Abidjan and Ca Ne Se Prete Pas. Those in tune with these would only agree that Assetou Oun Diarabi is only a confirmation of his position as one of the hopes for African music. Of course, listeners should also ferret their way to his La Metamorphose which is also doing fairly well in Paris and other European cities.

Pamelo is an innovator and creator. Consider the Carribean feel throughout this album. The deliberato cadence touch to the songs in a experience which please the majority of listeners. As a Fille?' (What have you done to my daughter?) and 'La Femme Ne Sa yesterday it was 'Qu'As-Tu Fait De Ma writer Pamelo has no equal- Prete Pas' (A woman would not lend herself) today it is the description of Bamako woman, and 'Auto Stop' (thumbing for a lift in the street). What is also not lacking on this album is the gentle arrangement.

'Assetou Oun Diarabi' is certainly the best of the three tracks on the A-side but the gentle guitar works in 'Mamiwey' is also commendable. Pamelo's beautiful voice comes through in 'Auto Stop' which also uses a proportionate dose of synthesizers for a change. Needless to say that the guitar works throughout the album match with the horns in a magnificent manner.


1. BEYOUNA Youlou Mabiala (TCHIKA) Congo
2. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
3. AFRICA SELECTION Tabu Ley Rochereau (STERNS) Zaire
5. MAKWANDUNGU Bopol Mansiamina (BM TIN) Zaire
6. OYE ODO Pat Thomas/Ebo Taylor (DAN) Ghana
7. GO SOUTH COMPILATION Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Inter Africa
8. OJO JE Segun Adewale (STERNS) Nigeria Redcap James
9. PLAYS BROADWAY & UHURU (AFROBOOM) Ghana East Voices Koforidua
11. MR. MUSIC Thomas Mapfumo (EARTHWORKS)
12. AGYATA WUO Asiakwa Brass Band/Konadu
13. THE MASTERS (BROBISCO) Ghana A. B. Crentsil/J. Y. Thorty (ABC) Ghana
14. JALIYA Malamini Jobarteh/Dembo Konte (STERNS) Senegambia
15. YE WO ASAASE Nana Tuffour (KAM) Ghana

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

Poets' Corner


My feet are in divorce
With the platform
On which they tread.
My lungs can't conceal the dirt
Wrought by my hands.
Silence has broken my yearnings.
Empty yearnings!
In a grave-digger's yard;
Where bones and mourners mourn,
Not themselves;
But those that have foregone
Fortitude and love.
The oblique angle

talking drums 1985-10-14 Azumah's World Crown at stake