Kinshasa to Memphis

A beautiful tribute from the greatest singer of Congolese rhumba, Tabu Ley Rochereau et l’african fiesta national for one of the greatest men the US ever gave birth to.

Martin Luther King (part 1)

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Martin Luther King (part 2)

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#45Friday – Trio Madjesi

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Today being #45Friday (on Fridays folks on Twitter and Instagram share pics of their favorite 7″ 45rpm records) it gives me the perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite 7″ singles from the past year—Trio Madjesi et Orcestre Sosoliso’s Tshitsha. Trio Madjesi were one of the slew of “youth groups” that Zaire was churring out in the late 60s-early 70s. The trio of singers emerged out of Verkey’s group Orchestere Vévé  and who’s name Madjesi was formed from combining their own nick names: Matadidi, Djeskain, and Sinatra. As you’ll notice it didn’t end with combining of names. This may be one of the few song you’ll hear combining Spanish, Lingala and English in one amazing soukous track – just wait until the 3:30 mark.

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In 1969 James Brown made the historic trip to Zaire where he performed several shows in Kinshasa that was originally apart of the promotion of the Muhammad Ali vs George Forman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight. Those shows had a huge impact on the many young performers like Trio Madjesi. Check out this awesome 25 minute clip from 1973 TV appearance where you can easily see how they incorporated a lot of James Brown’s show style performance. My favorite part comes half way through when they perform in the full Zaire national team football kit while juggling a ball—or rather try to (you recall Zaire qualified the only time in their history for the 1974 World Cup where they didn’t fair so well.) Enjoy!

-Jacobo

Tabu Ley Rochereau et Orchestre L’International Afrisa

Close to this time last year, November 30, 2013, the music world lost the great Tabu Ley Rochereau —leader and singer for his band Orchestre L’International Afrisa. I wish I could boast that I owned a great number of his records, but the man produced so much music over his career I doubt I will ever come close. Just days before he passed I happened to be doing a little “Black Friday” record shopping and came across an original two volume set of LPs from 1960s that highlighted his amazing Cuban influenced songs and features Dr. Nico on guitar before his departure to form his own group. I really can’t express enough how much I love this music. Just listen…

 

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Tabu Ley Rochereau et Orchestre L’International AfrisaRochereau Pascal

Tell me that isn’t pure sublime. But then there this, Arsene Dionge, a song of such immense beauty and emotion it’s almost too much to take.

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Tabu Ley Rochereau et Orchestre L’International Afrisa – Arsene Dionge

While in France a couple months ago I made sure to pick up more his records, specifically his material from the 70s when he branched out from Congolese Rumba and Cuban songs to produce more Soul influenced music. Here’s a wonderful example from 1973 that highlights the brilliance of Tabu Ley by his ability to lyrically construct a song using only 1 word — Sambuluma.

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Orchestre L’International Afrisa Sambuluma 1

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Orchestre L’International Afrisa Sambuluma 2

Podcast: Egypt and beyond

Frenchy

Hosts Arjuna (dj smokestack), Jacobo (dj pozole), Federico (dj papicultor), and May-Li (dj china tu madre) welcome special guest Daniel French from one of the hottest bands from East LA Las Cafeteras to La Sala. Our vinyl journey begins with classic sounds from Egypt then continues onto Tanzania, Zaire and Colombia before returning to California to connect the old with the new.

You can download and subscribe to it for free on iTunes along with all our previous episodes. Leave a review and let us know what you think.

 

Podcast – Episode 1

Please excuse our recent absence from this space. We’ve been doing some remodeling and maintenance, but we’re back now! We’re still very excited to continue sharing more music and culture. In fact, last week we got together and recorded our very first Pelangacast live from our LP clubhouse! The concept is not to have the typical radio “programmed show,” but instead to invite you into our cozy wall-to-wall collection of culture on vinyl as we share stories and discoveries from our musical addictions.

Below is our first episode with more to come soon. Have a listen, and let us know what you think.

 

Playlist

  1. Intro
  2. Advice – I. C. Rock
  3. Ce La Vie – Les Difficiles De Pétion-Ville
  4. Ah Ah Oh No – La Protesta (ft. Joe Arroyo)
  5. El Preso – Louis Towers [NOTE: This unlabeled record was in a Grupo Kuwait sleeve, but it’s actually Louis Towers]
  6. (Where Were You) Last Night – Sumy
  7. Banana Juana – Ralph Robles
  8. Guami Guami – Sir Victor Uwaifo and his Melody Maestros
  9. Jessie – Kanda Bongo Man

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Why Zumba when you can Rumba?

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…with Franco and L’Orchestra TP OK Jazz! I mean no offence to Zumba enthusiasts out there, but with Franco’s hypnotic guitar playing and trademark Congolese Rumba, why workout to anything else? Here’s a 9 minute groove that’s guaranteed to get your whole body loose!

 – Smokestack

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The Sound Of Kinshasa

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Once upon a time I couldn’t be bothered with compilations. Why not go straight to the source, I thought. Well, that shortsightedness eventually gave way as I found myself listening to large dosages of Ethiopian Jazz around 2003. With no plans to go record digging in East Africa and being too poor (and uninterested) in shelling out $100 plus for a single piece of vinyl on Ebay, the Ethiopiques series was my next best option!

Since then my eyes have opened to the ever-increasing number of compilations that are released each year, documenting even the smallest of musical niches, say like…cinematic Pakistani Psych-Pop or Peruvian Psych-Rock. Who knew such genres even existed?!

While finding original vinyl pressings remains hard to trump, over the years my appreciation for carefully crafted compilations has continued to grow. Just within the wild resurgence of West African music in recent years, labels like Sound Way, Strut, and Analog Africa have dedicated countless time to researching, locating, remastering, and releasing lost and forgotten music from a large part of the African continent. My favorite of these comps are chalked full of incredible artwork, photos, history and interviews with the original recording artists!

While earlier compilations of African music that came out during the 1980’s “World Music” awakening may not compare to the sleek packaging and dense liner notes of today’s comps, the musical content is often just as deep. Check out for example, The Sound of Kinshasa, an early 80’s compilation highlighting the influence of acoustic “Spanish” guitar and Latin rhythms on traditional Congolese music. Compiled and released by the British-born ethnomusicologist John Storm Roberts on his own mail-order label Original Music, The Sound of Kinshasa does an excellent job exemplifying the connections between Latin dance music such as rumba, chachacha, and salsa with Congolese rhythms like kirikiri, soukous, and boucher.

Featured here are 4 of my favorite selections from The Sound Of Kinshasa. Enjoy!