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)
Martin Luther King (part 2)
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
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.
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I really like where you’re headed with this, Pozole. While I cue up the next song, I have to say I can’t agree more with you, man. I have to walk behind the booth every other song to see what y’all are playing! And even in a record that I own, you guys bring to light these amazing songs that I haven’t even noticed. I hadn’t really paid too much attention to Ray Barreto’s ‘Power’, and on an album called ‘Power’! Thank you for rectifying.
No doubt many of you know Mongo Santamaria’s “Sofrito”, a Pelanga favorite and a classy, classy tune. A just-so-slightly melodramatic piano intro turns into one of the most memorable tumbaos in salsa, adorned by such an elegant horn section and beautiful solos waay up top. Monguito’s subtle work on the congas keeps everyone grounded and lets them shine. Restraint can be so powerful!
This is not the song I meant to post, but I can’t help it.
What you might not know is how Monguito follows this up. In the next track he brings us back down low, with a praise to Shangó that is equal parts heavy funk and pure rumba cubana. What else can I say?
O Mi Shango by Mongo Santamaría
Franz Tunda, I know you’re busy, but I also know some of what’s hiding in your crates. Wanna take it from here?
…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!
Minuit Eleki Lezi 1 & 2 197?
And now for a little taste of what to expect at this Saturday’s Pelanga! The legendary Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Benin stretches out with this scorching Sato-Salsa track. There’s nothing I really can say that hasn’t already been documented by Analog Africa in one of their many compilations featuring the band’s illustrious work from the 70’s and 80’s. That said, we’ll just let the music do the talking. Vamos!
Sometimes trying to decide exactly what records to feature in this space can make for time consuming decisions. What can I say, I’m a Libra. For the past couple of Pelangas I’ve played the title track from this wonderful Nimon Toki Lala record and each time someone has come to the DJ booth to ask “Who is this?!” So I figure that’s a good clue that I need to be posting it here—not to mention she’s one of great vocalists from Togo, a country we’ve yet to highlight.
What I love most about this Nimon Toki Lala record after her voice are the different styles she features. Unfortunately there’s no mention of date, but my guess is late 1980s. The album opens up with this feel-good soukous, Banina.
Later we get this amazing song, La Paille Et La Poutre, with Nimon’s soaring voice over a style of rumba I’ve never heard before. And you gotta love the pasted in applause. I’m not sure if this rhythm is typical Togolese or not, but I’m in love with it!
Then to switch things up a bit more here we have a guest singer alongside Nimon doing an excellent makossa called Vafa Djinam. Again no mention on the record sleeve of who this male singer is or who the musicians are. If anyone has an idea of who else was on this recording I’d love to know.