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…
Tabu Ley Rochereau et Orchestre L’International Afrisa – Rochereau 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.
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.
Orchestre L’International Afrisa – Sambuluma 1
Orchestre L’International Afrisa – Sambuluma 2