Africa Seven’s reissue of Pasteur Lappe’s We, The People is the first for the label in 2018. The second album Na Man Pass Man sounded well pressed last year and there’s more fresh tracks here for fans.
Nicolas “Pasteur” Lappe became a sensation on Radio Adele in Douala, Cameroon, in the 1960s. He went on to become the editor of the Douala Gazette newspaper and become friends with other African music stars such as Tala AM, J Moboule and Fela Kuti. This first album was recorded in 1979 with the backing band and production collective called the Zulu Gang, which include Douglas Mbida (who went on to release several top flight albums himself) and Jacob Desvariaux (who went on to form Kassav).
The album opens with one of the more pulsing grooves of the LP – More Sekele Movement – before taking the pace down into smooth, sometimes sleazy numbers. As Far As I Can Remember is a really trippy, spaced-out, cosmic groove with Pasteur crooning and introspective:
The slow stuff is nestled alongside dancefloor favourites, such as The Sekele Movement (check the amazing guitar at five minutes).
The Africa Seven label launched more than three years ago and they continue to be one of the best reissue labels. Their first release back then (Airways One) has been repressed four times so far and after 40 or so releases later the fourth installment of rare and essential tracks has dropped.
Highlights on the compilation include Tala AM and the band Eko, both from Cameroon. Also fellow country woman Uta Bella, who began singing in the 60’s and by the time disco hit in the 70’s she was already an established singer in her native land, here the locked groove of Nassa Nassa is a perfect slice of the African disco times.
Charly Kingson (cousin of Manu Dibango) also features with his Nimele Bolo – recorded in Germany with the cream of Munich’s session musicians. Dibango’s 1978 disco, jazz funk classic Sun Explosion maintains the welcome theme of disco cuts from the East African country (gorgeous Nigerian and Ghanaian disco having proliferated the compilation market recently).
Side two opens with Elvis Kemayo and his piano and guitar funk bomb Biram. Momo Joseph gives us Africain – best known in France as an actor and this disco funk groover was released on his self pressed LP War For Ground in 1983. Nigerian, ex Funkees member Jake Sollo is next with Tinni Yanana – recorded in the UK in 1983. The quality control is as high as usual.
Also out recently was the next installment in the African Funk Experimentals series and is also an essential collection of the work of Jo Tongo. This is superfly and funky.
The latest WTM radio show opens with a selection of tracks from both releases:
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.