Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

DAPLEY STONE: Anou (ZK 004). 'Anou' 'Deh' Setikpa’/‘Wapio Ninh 'Kodo Dego'.

You may not believe it but Fax Clark, Aspro Bernard, Angbakou Ludovic, Jimmy Hyacinthe, Gun Morgan, Reine Pelagie, Bailly Spinto, Alpha Blondy, Nayanka Bell, Wedji Ped, Justin Stanislas, Luckson Padaud, Johnny Lafleur, Bel Batista and Diago Strong (all sounding rather foreign) exist on the pop scene in the Ivory Coast. Dapley Stone is no exception.

Independence from French colonial rule came to the Ivory Coast in 1960 but Dapley Stone had been performing before then. His Independance became a hit and gave him the first taste of the pop market.

Anou represents some of the characteristics of Stone's music. The 6-track LP is evenly divided among aloukou, tradi- tional and slowie. As if by design, the opening tracks of the two sides - Anou' and 'Wapio' possess some beautiful and interesting moments which are the works of Bamba Moussa (Yang), a respected arranger and keyboardist.

The two slowies on the album - 'Deh' and 'Ninh'- may be considered a mere cosmetic to foreign ears but make a necessity in the Ivory Coast where slowies have been adopted as a sine qua non for almost every LP. The Lionel Ritchie feel and the suitable keyboards of Bambo Moussa contribute to make 'Deh' the better of the two.

Dapley Stone himself has not got the voice of Daouda but vocally stretches out in both 'Wapio' and 'Anou' which mix good rhythm, punch with nice brassy touches. The arrangements in 'Anou' especially the horns sound like a recreation of some of the late Ernesto Djedje's, but Stone's personal identity is traditionally strong and perpetually fast. Let those who have ears hear it; if strong enough to impose his individuality as a singer. 'Setikpa' is unique as a track you can't dance to it try 'Anou' and 'Wapio'.

ZAIKO LANGA LANGA: Zaiko Eyi Nkisi (PZL 85002). 'Etape' 'Zizita'/'S.V.P. Mbey' 'Mokili Echanger'

The prestigious Zaiko Langa Langa rebounce back with another pile of rumbas to shake the Afro pop scene. The 'return to roots' style of the group in recent times has brought new dimensions to Zairean music without necessarily removing the group from the mainstream Zairean pop. For more than 16 years, Zaiko Langa Langa have established a record hard for others to beat.

Recorded in Brussels (Belgium), Zaiko Eyi Nkisi showcases the many sides of this great band whose popularity has risen since its creation in 1971. Beginning the album with a gentle rumba - 'Etape' they later progress with heat in 'Zizita' to conclude the A-side. Sometimes, it becomes a repetition to mention Zairean guitars in a review but nothing should be taken for granted here. Both 'Etape' and "Zizika' reflect the various guitar styles of Zaire solo, mid-solo and rhythm. The drive and feel in the orchestration together with the guitar licks carry the listener through without self-consciousness. I don't blame you; Zaiko Langa Langa have got both strategy and style.

On the face of it, the B-side may not sound any different from the A-side but a closer appreciation reveals something else. 'S.V.P. Mbey' is a plodder which also lays bare the vocal superiority of the group's singers. It begins, as usual, as a gentle rumba and gradually transforms into a mid-tempo track before it finally graduates into hot soukous. The magi extends to the concluding track Echanger' which qualifies to be the best on the album.

It's still Zaiko Langa Langa but the lead singer in 'Mokili Echanger' does his job this time with that rare emotion which squeezes tears out of your eyes. Another novel thing about the track comes from the feel of the bass guitar. It's a shame the trend is cut off rather too early. All the same, the guitars propel enough warmth into the track.

Zaiko Eyi Nkisi sounds both different and nice; no more.


1. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
2. AFRISA SELECTION Tabu Ley Rochereau (STERNS) Zaire
3. GO SOUTH COMPILATION (EARTHWORKS) Various Artists Inter Africa
4. OYE ODO Pat Thomas/Ebo Taylor (DAN) Ghana
5. MAKWANDUNGU Bopol Mansiamina (BM TIN) Zaire
6. AGYATA WUO Asiakwa Brass Band/Konadu (BROBISCO) Ghana
7. ENYIDAR WO SOR East Voices Koforidua (ESSIEBONS) Ghana
8. OJO JE Segun Adewale (STERNS) Nigeria
10. MR. MUSIC Thomas Mapfumo (EARTHWORKS)
12. THE MASTERS A. B. Crentsil/J. Y. Thorty (ABC) Ghana
13. J.P. WANDJI Mama Tonta (SOWETO) Cameroon
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


If only I can reach
"Touch', 'feel', 'see'
And 'smell' man;
I would seize
To brash my life.
Still my ego;
Lie low
And let the world
Trample on the plane
Of my heart.
Harden it
With their steel feet
In solitary glory;
And I'll be humane.

abah-usah, ufumaka

talking drums 1985-10-21 Azumah The two minute wonder