Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

LUBAKI GEANT: Divorce (AS 001)
Divorce' 'C'est Dur La Vie' / 'Mobomi Mabala' 'Mambua Nge'

Joined here by singer Wuta May and guitarist Syran (all of 4 Stars fame) Lubaki Geant invites Boffi, Jimmy and Fredo to accompany him to make quite a good assembly of 'Congo' music, begin- ning with 'Divorce'. Hang on! Don't be put off by the title because the court may not grant absolute divorce if one asks for pardon, as is the case here. I won't be surprised if the sinner is forgiven, for there is enough persuasion in the music. Beginning as a soothing rumba tightened by the strong bass line and sweet voices of Wuta May and Jean Papy, 'Divorce' immediately finds its way in the listener's favour even before real action comes in. The guitars move in rather mercilessly but do not necessarily pull uninvited. Can you guess the difference between 'Divorce' and the ensuing 'C'est Dur La Vie"? The melody, instrumental emphasis, percussion and length of horns display. Of course, your feet move.

What immediately strikes the ears in the first track on the B-side Mobomi Mabala is the vocal similarity to the singing of Franco's T.P.O.K. Jazz plus the Western feel to the bass lines which change into real Congolese halfway though the track. The vocal call and answer carries some urgency which is difficult to overlook even though this style resurfaces in 'Mambua Nge'. The reggae emphasis in the drums at the beginning of this track strikes at the roots of a develop- ment that might blossom in future but Lubaki Geant is clever enough to keep it to the minimum until the appropriate time. The vocals are bound to please but how can you ignore the warmth of the guitars which carry the main thrust of the song till the end? The rest is in the hearing.

Whether Remi Salomon succeeds or not is found in the opening 'Bris Bibi' The effect is beautiful where he employs synthesizers instead of horns, but he allows full cycle to the guitars. Taking the lead vocals Remi Salomon would easily satisfy both old and new fans. Perhaps the greatest attraction is the throbbing bass which merits every attention. It didn't take me too long to pick 'Bris Bibi' as the outstanding track with its guitars and driving beat. Remi is somebody to watch, although it might take him a bit long to convince with his style in 'Balla Bala Ngai'.

REMI SALOMON: Tres Tres Fache (AS 004)
'Bris Bibi' 'Balla Bala Ngai' / 'Africa Matanga' 'Tres Tres Fache'

Born in Cameroon to Congolese parents and partly brought up in Marseille (France), Remi Salomon was immediately thrown into an ocean of music right from his early childhood. Though a bassist, Salomon has enough flair for arrangement and composition.

As much as the jailed Nigerian Afrobeat king - Fela Anikulapo Kuti - might congratulate Salomon for his Afro-beat adaptations at the intro of 'Africa Matanga', so would the flamboyant Zairean singer - Kanda Bongo Man - lend his ears to the synthesizers in 'Bris Bibi'. Of course, Franco would frown upon using synthesizers in soukous rather than wicked guitars. Don't think that guitars are completely absent in Salomon's music. As the tail-end of the title track "Tres Tres Fache' - and the rest tick away, one forms the impression that this young Congolese musician is determined to marry guitars and synthesizers.


1. ASANTEMAN Pat Thomas (JAP) Ghana
3. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
4. SERVICE LIBRE Eyango Ndedi (DICK'S) Cameroon
5. MARIO Franco (CHOC) Zaire
6. DIVORCE Lubaki Geant (ASWE) Congo
7. BOYA YE M'Bilia Bel (STERNS) Zaire
10. TRES TRES FACHE Remi Salomon (ASWE) Congo
11. XALAT Ismael Lo (CELLULOID) Senegambia
12. SO SO KYEN KYEN Dutch Benglos (YEB) Ghana
13. KEFIMBA Ousmane Kouyate (DK) Guinea
14. MY VISION Ebenezer Obey (OBEY) Nigeria
15. MAKANSENSEMU Stephen Osei Tutu (INTER) Ghana

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

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