Blick Bassy has released his politically charged new album, 1958, following his acclaimed album Akö of 2015. 1958 is a defiant tribute to the heroes who fought and died for the independence of his native Cameroon and is a beautiful selection of songs – sung in Bassa, his ancestral language.
The album focuses on Ruben Um Nyobé – the anti-colonialist leader of the Popular Union of Cameroon (UPC) – who was shot dead by French troops on 13th September, 1958, two years before the country became independent. 1958 is a beautiful blend of Blick’s distinctive voice and guitar, cello (Clement Petit), trumpet and keyboards (Alexi Merrill) and trombone (Johan Blanc) and is co-produced by Blick and Renaud Letang (Manu Chao, Feist, Saul Williams, Lianne La Havas, Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Blick was born in Cameroon and now lives in France. His music first took shape with the award-winning band Macase. The song Kiki from Akö was used to launch the iPhone 6 in 2015.
Um Nyobé, like Blick, was from the Bassa region and ethnic group: “…in school we studied the French version of what happened,” Blick says. “The way I learned it in the books was that they were agitators, troublemakers. Which is wrong. He was in this movement hidden in the mountains, organising the Cameroonian People’s Union, and the truth about what happened has never been out.
“The emancipation of Africa interests no-one else. People fight for their own interests and they’re right to do so. It’s up to us Africans to defend our interests on our own.”
The album is out now on the label, Tôt ou tard.
The French Africa Seven label’s next instalment returns to Cameroon with a special edition version of Momo Joseph’s in-demand LP – War For Ground – with three extra tracks.
Momo may be better known as an actor, most notably featuring in the French youth picture La Haine, in 1995. But his music is definitely as memorable. With this “Edition Speciale” reissue, Africa Seven provide all the originals from War For Ground remastered, alongside his classics Cameroon Airline, Love Africa Soul and his lesser known tack Oh Momo.
Analog Africa’s latest tropical music smasher is from Bro. Valentino. The Trinidad singer was voted among the top 50 calypsonians of the 20th Century, four of his songs have also been selected in the Top 200 calypsos of that period – Life is a Stage (1972), Barking Dogs (1974), Dis Place Nice (1975) and Stay up Zimbabwe (1979), while his 2004 history treatise Where Calypso Went was selected as Calypso of the Year. Valentino can be assured of a place among the pantheon of calypso luminaries in the hallowed halls.
At the end of the heady decade of the tumultuous 1970’s, with the echoes of the Black Power revolution of Trinidad still strongly reverberating, Valentino penned his two most commercially successful calypsoes, 1979’s Stay up Zimbabwe and 1980’s Ah Wo (Brand New Revolution). Both were reflections of the revolutionary spirit which had engulfed the Caribbean in the 1970’s. 1979 marked the historic date of the Maurice Bishop led Grenadian Revolution.
Anthony Emrold Phillip began his illustrious career in 1961 at The Big Bamboo, a minor calypso tent in Port of Spain, Trinidad, before breaking into the professional scene in 1966 at the Lord Kitchener’s Caravan calypso tent. After the Black Power revolution of 1970 he sang on behalf of the poor and downtrodden and was dubbed “The People’s Calypsonian”.
Next up on Analog Africa will be the final album from Cameroon’s legendary Los Camaroes, available on LP for the first time since 1979. Recorded live to two track at the Mango Bar in Yaoundé, Resurrection Los was the last collaboration between bandleader Jean Gabari and groundbreaking guitarist Messi Martin. The deluxe LP reissue features notes on the history of the band by original keyboardist Mbambo “Johnny Cosmos” Simon, plus all new interviews with producer Nicolas Mongué and engineer Emmanuel Guyssot. It follows the superb Pop Makossa compilation by the label of dance music from Cameroon.
Click here for the Analog Africa Bandcamp.
Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb has unpacked some finds from a recent trip to Mogadishu and is preparing to drop a new compilation of music from Cameroon.
The tracklisting for the new compilation of Pop Makossa – The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976–1984 looks absolutely monstrous bringing together rare and in demand records from artists such as Bill Loko and Eko.
It is out on June 16 and features: (1) Dream Stars – Pop Makossa Invasion (2) Mystic Djim & The Spirits – Yaoundé Girls (3) Bill Loko – Nen Lambo (4) Pasteur Lappé – Sanaga Calypso (5) Eko – M’ongele M’am (6) Olinga Gaston – Ngon Engap (7) Emmanuel Kahe et Jeanette Kemogne – Ye Medjuie (8) Nkodo Si-Tony – Mininga Meyong Mese (9) Pasteur Lappé – The Sekele Movement (10) Bernard Ntone – Mussoliki (11) Pat’ Ndoye – More Love (12) Clément Djimogne – Africa
The Mogadishu finds are revealed in the recent and brilliant radio show for Worldwide FM by the Analog Africa main man as he passed through London to master the forthcoming Cameroon compilation and play the Love & Unity Party as Analog Africa Soundsystem.
Another solid year for Analog Africa is in store.
The rapidly growing Africa Seven label release their second edition of African Funk Experimentals 1979-1981 following their Tala AM release. This comp features the best of Cameroonian musician Pasteur Lappe’s Afro-fusion, sounding very fresh today and in keeping with the current wave of all things tropical.
Nicolas “Pasteur” Lappe found popularity on Radio Adele in Douala, Cameroon. Then become the editor of Douala Gazette newspaper. He also promoted new and upcoming local Cameroonian talent.
After moving to Paris, a stint in journalism school and publishing a book of poems Chansons Negres, he finally settled into a new life of music. It’s exactly the kind of back story we love at WTM. Expect percussive, bass-driven Sekele grooves and proto-zouk, influences of calypso and jazz, synthy funk and lots inbetween. Check!
More at Africa Seven.
From 1977 and featuring top musicians like bassist Victor Edimo and guitarist Toto Guillaume, here is seven-year-old Cameroonian, Francis Mbarga, chatting and singing over some deep, hypnotic grooves. All hail Francis The Great and his LP Ravissante Baby.
Go straight to Side B (Look Up In The Sky) for the highlight of the year so far. Expect mind-bending rapping, psychedelic synths and supreme musicianship, as well as being backed with beautiful soukous music on the flip. There is also a full interview with Francis himself in this officially licensed release. Francis, born 1970, is eloquent and humble about his childhood career and this welcome addition for the world again – the original record is extremely rare in a very good condition and has been sold for lots of money (see).
Hot Casa continue their run of supreme African reissues. Look out for this holy grail, it’s extraordinary.
Hot Casa Records official reissue