Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

SUPER DIAMONO: 'Mam' (8011) 'Rewu Taax' 'Yoon Wi' 'Dou Wey'/'Ngem'

'Mam' A live album recorded at Paris' Phil'One club, Mam showcases the musical style of this great Senegalese group who have always presented a serious challenge to Youssou N'Dour el Le Super Etoile both at home and abroad. The jazzy guitar chords, systematic drumming, brassy touches and beautiful Islamised vocals in the opening 'Rewu Taax' are only parts of the qualities of the group.

The sax solos propped by Abdou M'Backe's keyboards give 'Yoon Wi' the benefit of being probably the best track. The beautiful guitar works coupled with the excellent horns arrangements encour- age Omar Pene to stretch out vocally. One is even sometimes tempted to think that Youssou N'Dour is on the vocal. The slightly faster 'Dou Wey' continues in the same vein while giving the drummers the chance to prove their worth.

The B-side kicks off the 'Ngem' co- written by Bob Sene and Omar Pene. The short sharp brass turns match marvellously with both the mood and style of the music. 'Mam' though the title track is much slower but possesses all the major ingredients of Super Diamono music. The smooth keyboards interwoven with guitar touches remove any traces of mediocrity.

On the whole, the A-side has more to offer especially the first two tracks but this is the album for you if you are looking for permanent and well-organised music. Until Youssou N'Dour's Nelson Mandela reaches the shops in London Mam would have prepared the way for Senegambian (and indeed Mandingue) music.

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Afro-Latino Live From The Bass Clef (Wave 28)

The Bass Clef club has served as a focal point for Afro-Latin music in London for the past one year. To celebrate the anni- versary this album was released to throw light on the various strands of music which you can hear whenever you go to 1 Hoxton Square, London N1. The A-side which is Afro begins with the jazzy 'Wosa Wena' by District Six, a group that mixes South African rhythms with jazz. Abdul Teejay's African Culture throw in 'Okoti Movement', a soukous- soca concoction underlined with the street music of Sierra Leone. Winnipeg My Leg' is the odd one from Orchestre Jazira while the Zaire/U.K. outfit- Somo Somo- seal it off with 'Amata'. While Abdul Teejay fashions out Zairean style guitars with frenzy in 'Okoti Movement' Fan Fan & Co. only succeeded to give a little bit of Zairean sweet voices.

The Latino B-side stretches from London School of Samba to El Sonido De Londres with Barrio Latino and the sensational Cayenne sandwiched in-between. The Brazilian samba - 'Batacuda' introduces a lot of drums and percussion while Columbia's Barrio Latino uses 'Entre Rejas' to give a light but classic salsa. The pioneers of London Latin movement, Cayenne, prefer a romantic cha cha cha in Cafe De Paris' just as the famous El Sonido De Londres park it up with a beautiful salsa which is my favourite on the B-side.

London has tried to stir up interest in Afro-Latino music (both live and recor- ded) and this compilation will no doubt be a good sampler of what is happening. The future is promising.

BEST SELLING AFRICAN RECORDS FOR 1984/85 (not in any particular order)

1. KEYNA Mbilia Bel (GENIDIA) Zaire
2. MAKASSI Sam Fan Thomas (TAMWO) Cameroon
4. IMMIGRES Youssou N'Dour (CELLULOID) Senegambia
5. TOUT CA C'ESTE LA VIE Moni Bile (SAPPA) Cameroon
6. AMOUR FOU Kanda Bongo Man (KBM) Zaire
7. TECHNO BUSH Hugh Masekela (JIVE AFRIKA) Azania
9. ELECTRIC AFRICA Manu Dibango (CELLULOID) Cameroon
10. ARMY ARRANGEMENT Fela Anikulapo Kuti (CELLULOID) Nigeria
11. A PARIS Mory Kante (SACODIS) Guinea
12. CHRISTMAS AFRICANA Kwadwo Donkoh (SHAKA) Ghana
13. 10eme ANNIVERSAIRE Elvis Kemayo (SAFARI AMBIENCE) Cameroon
14. NEW AFRICA Various Artists (STREET SOUNDS) Inter Africa
15. DANCE 4 stars (TANGENT) Zaire
16. NAKINYE George Lee's Anansi (EBUSIA) Ghana
18. KA NEA MAYE Adomako Nyamekye (YEB) Ghana
19. ZULU JIVE VOL.2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Zaire
20. AFRICA SELECTION Tabu Ley Rochereau (STERNS) Zaire
21. ASIKO Kantata (OVAL) Ghana
22. SOMO SOMO Somo Somo (STERNS) Zaire/U.K.
23. MANDJOU Ambassadeurs (CELLULOID) Mali
24. WONKO MENKO? Eric Agyemang (ESSIEBONS) Ghana
25. OBI DORA African Brothers (ABR) Ghana

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

talking drums 1985-12-23-30 looking back at 1985