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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
6
5.0 out of 5 stars

HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 June 2006
The first song, Me Bowa Ya by Mekongo from Cameroun, is a mid-tempo number with a bubbly beat and an enchanting mix of African and French vocals. The main lyric is in the African language and the chorus is in French, and it works so well.

Massoua Mo by Eba Aka Jerome from Ivory Coast is next, and this one has a long instrumental intro before the male vocal enters the mix. This single vocal is boosted by a chorus of many voices in certain parts while the string instruments become ever more engaging. Quite a stunner!

The next country is Upper Volta: the song Dounougnan by Kambou Clement has a lilting texture, intricate instrumental interplay and a soulful vocal with a spiritual undertone. Bo Mbanda by Pablo from Zaire is a beautiful melodious ballad full of yearning with absolutely breathtaking guitar parts and interesting vocal twists and turns.

The style changes drastically with Jalo by Etoile de Dakar from Senegal. This is a slow, mournful dirge with a Middle Eastern feel, soulful vocals and instrumentation dominated by what sounds like an organ. It sounds like a prayer set to music and is most compelling and memorable. The album concludes with Moboma, an uplifting slice of vocal pop by Menga Mokombi from Congo.

These unforgettable songs are all tuneful, catchy and rhythmically gripping. They demonstrate the opulent richness and variety of the African pop music of the early 1980s. I also strongly recommend Sounds d'Afrique vol. 2 for more of these wonderful African sounds from the early 1980s.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 June 2006
The first song, Me Bowa Ya by Mekongo from Cameroun, is a mid-tempo number with a bubbly beat and an enchanting mix of African and French vocals. The main lyric is in the African language and the chorus is in French, and it works so well.

Massoua Mo by Eba Aka Jerome from Ivory Coast is next, and this one has a long instrumental intro before the male vocal enters the mix. This single vocal is boosted by a chorus of many voices in certain parts while the string instruments become ever more engaging. Quite a stunner!

The next country is Upper Volta: the song Dounougnan by Kambou Clement has a lilting texture, intricate instrumental interplay and a soulful vocal with a spiritual undertone. Bo Mbanda by Pablo from Zaire is a beautiful melodious ballad full of yearning with absolutely breathtaking guitar parts and interesting vocal twists and turns.

The style changes drastically with Jalo by Etoile de Dakar from Senegal. This is a slow, mournful dirge with a Middle Eastern feel, soulful vocals and instrumentation dominated by what sounds like an organ. It sounds like a prayer set to music and is most compelling and memorable. The album concludes with Moboma, an uplifting slice of vocal pop by Menga Mokombi from Congo.

These unforgettable songs are all tuneful, catchy and rhythmically gripping. They demonstrate the opulent richness and variety of the African pop music of the early 1980s. I also strongly recommend Sounds d'Afrique vol. 2 for more of these wonderful African sounds from the early 1980s.
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on 14 August 2005
Does a tree fall in the forest if no-one hears it? If Island Records had not set out to turn Bob Marley into a star, would reggae have been anything but the equal of a local dance style from Uraguay or Pakistan? The story might have been very different..and so it is too with this record, when Island set out to do for African pop in the 1980s what it did for reggae in the 1970s.
Ok, so Island/Mango did not find an African Elvis, someone who like Marley or Eminem who was charismatic enough to sell black music to white people, but it paved the way for Fela and Femi, Youssou N'Dour and Ladysmith Mabaza (ok, Paul Simon helped too, but that was five years later).
And, perhaps more unexpectedly, coming back to this album nearly a quarter of a century on, the six tunes sound as light-footed and giddy as they did back in 1981. Maybe because we have never grown over-familiar with the style. What was never in fashion can never really go out of fashion.
Jalo, recorded by the teenage Youssou in the Jandeer nightclub in Dakar in Oct 1979, is the stand-out track, slow and burning and perhaps never surpassed. The rest is a bit samey, Ziarean-style guitar-based soukous, so its a bit of a missed opportunity with so many styles missed out (no Nairobi dance from River Road, no chimurunga from Zimbabwe or shabeen strut from the old South Africa, or even any of the great Malian divas) but we all came to learn about those wider often more subtle sounds later. For many in Britain, and the world, for those who just wanted to dance on hot summer nights, this is where Africa really started.
Some may miss the dodgy/politically-incorrect poster that came with the vinyl of the topless village gal with the Walkman headphones on, but those were the times.....
Of course, everyone in Africa these days listens to rap, and why not, and their cross-over blends are as good or as clunky as many others for whom rap is not homegrown.....but this is about fun times....
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on 11 August 2016
A friend gave me a home-recorded cassette tape of this album + volume 2 more than 25 years ago, and it did indeed get me into African music. The cassette wore out long ago, and I've been looking to replace both albums ever since--but not for hundreds of pounds. I second the call for a re-release!
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on 2 November 2006
This album should be available on CD immediately, my vinyl is wearing out its honestly that good.
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on 23 December 2010
Truly majestic CD and a real quality sampler of African music. You wont stop smiling. Used to owed this on vinyl, glad to get it on CD. Well done elitedigital for getting their hands on this rare gem.
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