Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

STEPHEN OSEI TUTU: Makansesemu (INT 0046) 'Makansesemu' 'Neteyaseye'l'Ade Waye Me' 'Aboa Petee'

Going through the rudiments of music at the Accra Feden Church in the seventies, Stephen Osei Tutu had the determination as far back as that to heighten some of the aspects of hi-life music. With his police training for a 12-month period in Accra, he later joined the Koforidua Police Band as a singer.

Osei Tutu's debut solo album - Makansesemu- though recorded and released in Paris is more likely to raise issues on the direction which Ghana's hi- life music is going after the success of George Darko's Friends and Hi-Life Time albums. After several listenings one cannot fail to observe the very salient features of the ex-policeman's music.

The striking thing about it all is the level of performance of the musicians including keyboardist Kofi Edu who has had experiences with such luminaries as Gabon's Pierre Akendengue. The horns twists at the beginning of 'Makansesemu' coupled with the beautiful guitar works make one wonder why Osei Tutu chose to go for funky drum - a thing which has destroyed a good part of his music. 'Nteyaseye' sounds slightly better as a rhythm but again could have done better without the funky drive.

There is nothing different on the B-side except that the rock guitar solos in 'Ade Wa Yeme' sound superb and fascinating while the bass guitar throbs energetically without paralysing the music.

In spite of the various handicaps of this LP the concluding 'Aboa Petee' has some beautiful moments - probably because it tried to keep to proper hi-life mould without venturing into too much crossover. The guitar picks offer some compensating features to the entire music which has almost sounded too ambitious in a particular direction.

Generally speaking, Makansesemu could have been a different story if Osei Tutu concentrated on what he could do best proper hi-life. Besides, a more polished vocals might do for future recordings. Makansesemu is likely to be in a limbo; buck up next time!

PUSELETSO SEEMA & TAU EA LINARE: He O Oe Oe! (ORB 003) 'He O Oe Oe!' Leshano' 'Vatse Halenone' 'Hamotsoane' Mathabo'/'Tsetala Linare' 'Thaba Tsepe' 'Katla Ka Sotlena' 'Bajoetse Saki' ?Kesetse Mahlomolenu'

London continues to be bombarded with African records from all corners of Africa. The tiny Lesotho which is a country buried in the apartheid South Africa reaches the West via He O Oe Oe! which relies more on accordions and vocals apart from guitar sweeps.

Singer Puseletso Seema team up with the group Tau Ea Linare for this recording which might have already been released earlier in Lesotho but Europe is fortunate to get it here especially as it carries the rare commodity of accordion in African music. The opening 'He O Oe Oe!' confirms the similarity between Sotho and black South African music: the fat but throbbing bass line, drum beat and jazzy guitars. Of course, you would observe a difference here: high pitch voice as against the groan of South Africans. The curious listener would wonder Seema actually sings or merely chants. The answer lies in the vocal style which runs through all the tracks.

The pounding drums in 'Ha Motsoane' would remind you of the foot stamping of the dancers a style which baffles foreigners. The accordion play throughout the album sounds great while the lone guitar work in 'Mathabo' qualifies for attention.

As if by design, it seems to me that the best songs were reserved for the B-side which shares some similarities with black South African music. The calculated and measured rhythm in the opening 'Tsetala Linare' would stir interest while the guitar-accordion partnership in Thaba Tsepe' marks a delight.

Those who listened to Dark City Sisters would be driven close to tears in 'Bajoetse Saki' which can't escape notice with its beautiful guitar works and vocals. The final track might not sound too different but would certainly delight the majority of people.

An excellent album that leaves nothing wanting He O Oe Oe!


1. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
2. AFRISA SELECTION Tabu Ley Rocherau (STERNS) Zaire
3. 1x2=MABE Youlou Mabiala (APIA) Congo
5. NASI LINGUI Moni Bile/Ben Decca (SAPA) Cameroon
6. ASANTEMAN Pat Thomas (JAP) Ghana
7. SERVICE LIBRE Eyango Ndedi (DICK'S) Cameroon
8. MAMA TONTA J. P. Wandji (SOWETO) Cameroon
9. ABIOSUNNI Gaspar Lawal (HOT/CAP) Nigeria
10. MY VISION Ebenezer Obey (OBEY) Nigeria
12. AYAYI Adomako Nyamekye (YEB) Ghana
13. MOVIN' Jackie Esam (BMCA) Cameroon
14. NA MALA Penda Dalle (DICK'S) Cameroon
15. PARTY PARTY Atakora Manu STIBAKA) Ghana

Chart courtesy of AFROBOOM RECORDS,
135 Clarence Road, London E5 8EE. (Mail order and distribution only.)

Focus on Southern Africa

A Conference on South African militarism, a threat to economic development in the Southern African subcontinent commences on Saturday 14 December at the Africa Centre.

Confronted by the rising tide of resistance by the majority black population within South Africa, and an increasing and urgent need on the part of various dominated nations in the region to disentangle from the racist regime, has in the recent past intensified repressive and terrorist measures both within and outside. of its borders in a desperate bid to retain control.

As part of the Focus on Southern Africa, the Africa Centre is holding a conference to:

*Shed light on the direct campaign of the Southern African military machine to disrupt economic life and terrorise the population in the Southern African region;

*Focus on the increasing use of puppet governments especially Angola and Mozambique;

*Explore ways to encourage and strengthen regional co-operation in the region thereby reducing dependence on apartheid infrastructure and building self- reliant economies north of the Limpopo.

Among those who will be participating in the conference are Mr Stuar Holland MP and representatives of governments and liberation movements in Southern Africa. Mr Holland will have just returned from a fact finding mission in the region.

talking drums 1985-12-02 The spy swap Sousoudis for 8 Ghanaians and families