Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

'Take Cover' 'Kuenda Mbire' 'Tarira Nguva' B.P' John Waenda' 'Dickson'/ 'George Mudiwa Wangu' 'Chipendani' 'Pamberi Nava Jiri' 'Wapenga nayo Bonus' 'Katarina' 'Amayo'

Sub-titled Zimbabwe Hits and released under Discafrique label, this compilation covers a wide spectrum of Zimbabwean pop music from the foot-stomping 'George Mudiwa' by James Chimombe & The O.K. Success, to the country and western of The Family Singers' 'Tarira Nguva'. Infinite variety of musical styles covers Jairos Jiri Sunrise Kwela Band, Ephat Mujuru And The Spirit Of The People, African Melody, Safirio Madzikatire & The Sea Cottage Sisters, Super Sounds, Patrick Mkwamba & The Four Brothers and the Pied Pipers. We couldn't get a longer list of contemporary African musicians from the same country.

As 'Take Cover' begins the A-side the beautiful music removes any fear from man's heart, especially if we address our ears to the drumming. Thumb piano lovers would tune up to 'Kuenda Mbire' while African Melody's John Waenda' would caress the feet of Zairean music lovers. The O.K. Success would have demonstrated their inclination towards Western pop music with their 'B.P.' I would vote for the closing love ballad of 'Dickson' by the Sea Cottage Sisters for its bass lines, vocal call and answer and guitar picks.

The B-side too has got a lot to offer. You may have to lock your stylus to repeat for the highly commercial 'Chipendani' if you don't want to take cover with 'Wapenga Nayo Bonus' another dance floor material. Jairos Jiri Band's 'Pamberi Nava Jiri' has got many beautiful moments - bluesy tempo and lovely guitars - but leaves real action too late to bite. The reggae influence on The Pied Pipers comes out in 'Amayo' while the female PATRICK MKWAMBA backing vocals in 'Katarina' reinforces the stand of the Sea Cottage Sisters. An album well compiled and deserving of good sales and listening.

KANDA BONGO MAN: Malinga (BM0056) 'Malinga 'E,Mame/J.T.' 'O. Eternel' 'Aime'

After the stir of Amour Fou last year, the flamboyant Kanda Bongo Man hits back with this brand new music determined to stay in the forefront of Zairean soukous music. His support line-up includes Diblo (lead guitar), Ringo Stars (rhythm guitars) and Domingo Salsero (drums and percussion). The team is certainly impressive but it is doubtful whether Bongo Man succeeded with his female backing vocals - their voices are hardly audible in 'O.Eternel'.

A good dancer and an 'animateur' on stage, Kanda Bongo Man invites the world to the dance floor with the infectious 'Malinga' which introduces the man in his 1986 look. The use of claps at various strategic points in the music is not only effective, but ear catching without sacrificing its drive. The guitar duo of Diblo and Ringo Stars throw a lot of warmth and style into 'Malinga' before it dies off as the most outstanding track on the album.

Daring to innovate, singer Kanda Bongo Man experiments with steady Western drums at the beginning of 'E,Mame before he launches back to his usual soukous with the support of the guitars and vocal response. Calling Diblo and Ringo Stars always brings some demons to Kanda Bongo Man's music and 'E,Mame' is no exception.

Beginning with guitar work which Bongo Man rather familiar, sound fashions out a musical style which would make J.T. another darling track on the album, however feeble the female back-up in 'O.Eternel'. Again, the introduction of measured claps halfway through the track is a demonstration of the man's production ability. London particularly likes Bongo Man and that trend is more likely to continue so long as he continues to feed our mind with his music.

Deeply religious (he is a member of the a believer in Rosicruscian sect) and praising God, Kanda Bongo Man throws in one religious lyrics in 'O.Eternel' which develops into a highly danceable tune a la Zairoise. The priest might find dancing easier. Welcome Kanda Bongo Man to London 1986.


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

Chart courtesy of AFROBOOM RECORDS,
1st Floor Wren Suite, 189 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16
(Mail order and distribution only.)

talking drums 1986-02-03 Demonstrations in Accra against Rawlings's economic measures