woensdag 18 september 2019

Djo Mpoyi: 1954 - 1993

The singer-performer Joseph Kanyinda Mpoyi, known by the stage name "Djo Mpoyi", remains forever in the memory of the many Congolese music lovers. Even the renditions of the songs of author / composer Lutumba Simara such as Mbongo, Mandola and Pablo are immortal to him. He has also left a number of unforgettable songs of his own, such as Katebe, Aziza mon amour, Kansebu and Azakaka occupé.
Born from a Burundian father and a Congolese mother, his singing career started at the age of 13 in Lubumbashi, Katanga. In the years that followed he was part of several bands, including Tao Tao, Lovy du Zaire and Orchester Kara de Kinshasha. His real breakthrough came at the end of the 1970s after being recruited as a singer in Franco's legendary TPOK Jazz in 1978. During this first period with TPOK Jazz, which lasted until 1982, in addition to the aforementioned Simaro composition Mandola (1981), he also performed Na bali misère (1980) written by Mayaula Mayoni and his own song Katebe (1981).

♫ Clip: 1982 MANDOLA - Djo Mpoy Kanyinda avec TP OK Jazz

♫ Audio: 1982 100 - 1 - Djo Mpoyi & Diatho Lukoki

In addition to his triumphs as a singer of Franco’s TPOK Jazz, from 1981 under the name Le Canon du Zaīre, Joe made several successful projects with his colleague and friend Lukoki Diatho. During the period he was also regularly heard as a guest on albums by colleagues such as Mayaula Mayoni (Veya) and Lokassa Ya M’bongo (Chérie Samba).
In 1983, after the release of the album Azalaka occupé, Le canon du Zaīre is dissolved and Djo Mpoyi joins Tiers Monde Cooperation, which also includes his comrade Lukoki Diatho. Together they also collaborated in 1985 on a number of productions by the legendary saxophonist Verckys. In the following year, Djo Mpoyi rejoins Franco's TPOK Jazz, to which he remains affiliated until the death of the latter in 1989. In the period Djo can be heard as a solo singer on the songs Masikini and Celio.
♫ Clip: 1986 MASIKINI - Djo Mpoy Kanyinda avec TP OK Jazz
After Franco's death, Lutumba Simaro becomes the band leader of the remains of TPOK Jazz. In 1990 Hommage a Luambo Makiado and 1991 Pablo Tumbajika grippingly portrayed Djo two compositions that Simaro wrote in memory of Franco. Although Djo Mpoyi can also be heard on the album Shako, released by Simaro in 1994, Pablo Tumbajika is the last recorded song on which Djo Mpoyi can be heard as a soloist. In 1993, Joseph Kanyinda Mpoyi dies unexpectedly and far too young at the age of 39.


zaterdag 22 september 2018

Andre Marie Tala

Born on October 29, 1950 in Bandjoun - Western Cameroon, André Marie Tala lost his mother at the age of four. He is raised by his grandmother, a traditional singing master in Bandjoun. His uncle plays accordion. In the early 1960s, the young Tala joined a Christian school choir led by Canadians. He plays tom-tom. In 1965 his world collapses abruptly. His father dies and André Marie Tala himself  becomes blind. The teen makes his own guitar to take care of himself. Despite his disability, he works constantly. Touched by this determination, his uncle Paul Wafo offers him a real guitar. More respite! The youngster plays a total of 18 hours of guitar a day: "I did not sleep very much and I kept going for three years", he remembers.
At the age of 17 Tala founded his first band. The Rock Boys, with which he played his first compositions  that quickly became a regional success: Although heavily influenced at this time by omnipresent French and American pop / rock sounds, the young artist wrote from the beginning his own texts. These lyrics - with an often deep moral or philosophical message - will become an important hallmark of Tala's music.
The group quickly gained some success and began a tour of the Bamileke country and the rest of Cameroon. André Marie Tala is becoming more and more confident and decided to change the name of the group in Les Tigres Noirs ( The Black Tigers). At the same time a talented and promising young guitarist named Sam Fan Thomas joined the band. The latter will later make a successful international solo career with his Makassi rhythm and reached the top of the African charts in the 80s and 90s with a string of danceable hits such as: African Typic Collection, Noa and Mandela.

In October 1972, André Marie Tala flew for the first time to France, where he signed a contract with Decca. On this occasion he starts his first collaboration with Manu Diabango. This meeting marks a turning point in his career. Three 45-rpm singles come from it, including six Tala compositions, arranged by Manu Dibango: Sikati, Forgive Me, Potaksina, Café , Na Mala Ebolo and Bwop.These titles become a great (inter)national success, In particular Na Mala Ebolo becomes a real master stroke with more than 120.000 copies sold in 1973.
1n 1974 Tala composed the soundtrack of the film Pousse-Pousse by cameroonian director Daniel Kamwa and in 1975 he established his fame with the album Hot Koki. This international success will tempt James Brown to plagiarize Hot Koki under the title The Hustle. In 1978, after four years of bitter legal battles, Tala wins the case and James brown is sentenced to pay him back all his rights.
Since his debut he is compared with Stevie Wonder because of their common disability, blindness. But also because both man are excellent musicians and composers, with a strong moral personality who both belong to the top of the black musical culture. At this moment Tala's careers spans almost half a century and his discography counts more than 25 albums.In the early 90s, Tala found again a fertile source of inspiration in traditional Bamileke rhythms. He started to modernize the musical genre Bend Skin, a Bamileke dance until then mainly practised in a tradional cultural surrounding. The research conducted by Tala on the Bend Skin rhythm, is crowned in 1993 by the release of the eponymous album, becomes a huge success in Cameroon and inspires lots of other musicians to further development of a modern Bend Skin style.
Bend Skin or Moto Taxi
In 2012, he began the project of opening a music school in Douala, Cameroon. This ambitious project is one of the dreams of the singer, which he is still actively working to achieve. In 2013 Tala starts the celebration of his 45-year enduring career with a concert in Douala Bercy. On May 17 2015 he gave a memorable show at the Olympia theatre in Paris together with his lifetime musical friend Sam Fan Thomas. In September 2016 he was on tour in the US and Canada.
In 2015 the Parisian / London based new record label Africa Seven, paid tribute to 'Funkateer' André Marie Tala with the release of the album African Funk Experimentals 1975 - 1978. This compilation is not a "best of" Tala, that has already been done in 2009 by the label RetroAfric with the CD Bend Skin Beats. For their compilation Africa Seven mainly made use of the albums Tala made for Fiesta Records from 1973 - 1978.


zaterdag 15 september 2018

Omar Pene & Super Diamono

Grewing up in Derklé , Omar Pene spent his childhood like all other kids living in urban working class districts across Africa: hanging out, playing football, playing music. Derklé 's ancient houses and streets full of ruts were alive with human warmth, with dynamic and inventive young people. When the football matches were over, it was the turn of the local troubadours. People would gather on street corners for the music which would go on late into the night.

The Streets were a way of life for Omar Pene in the early 70s. Then, when is friends began signing up to the local football teams, it was time for Omar to hook up with the local bands. Super Diamono was formed from the merger of 2 major groups from Senegal: the 'Cad Orchestra' led by Cheikh Diagne and Mady Konaté 's 'Tropical Jazz'. This is were Omar Pene started his musical career. First came CAD, with Cheikh Diagne, Bassirou Diagne and Baylo Diagne, an upcoming Dakar act in the early 70's. Pene joined them in 1975 and soon afterwards they amalgated with Tropical Jazz, to form Super Diamono. The group was reshuffled when Baylo Diagne, a well-known guitar player in Senegal took on the leadership. At that time the group also contained the talents of Bob Sene, Pape Bass, Adama Faye and Pape Dieng. 
Within a few years the fresh approach and energy which a succession of the new young musical talents brought with them, had transformed the Original band and "Senegals" famous band of talented young street rebels was born. Their regular club, Le Balofon, at No 2, Rue Macadon Ndiaye, which also fostered the talents of Youssou N'Dour and Ismael Lo in their younger days, became the fashionable hang out for the music lovers and club-goers in Dakar.
A tour of Casamance and Gambia resulted in an even tighter band. Ismael Lo joined them in 1979, becoming part of an anarchic group spirit which, unique in Senegal, prompted comparisons with Western rock groups.
♫ Audio 1984: Super Diamono De Dakar – Reewu Taax
During the second half of the 80s the group passed a turbulent period with many musicians passing through the band's line-up. Around 1990 Omar Pene took over the captaincy of the group and ushered in a new period of stability and dedication. Since 1991 Super Diamono has operated out of a company, Mediator PLC, which Omar started to put the band on a firmly  professional footing.

Omar Pene has now generated his own style of vocal delivery to carry the lyrics of the songs he has written for the band. His beautiful, haunting melodies and the sohisticated arrangements bear witness to the fact that good music is a universal language that draws people together. He now has a very dedicated and expanding following in Senegal and abroad.
The ten most recent years of  Omar Pene's career have been marked by 'an opening to the international market' , whose bassist Dembel Diop explains the reason. "The quintessence of Senegalese music is rhythmic. But to open to the international market, you need exotic harmonies to reach a wider audience. Here in Senegal, Pene has nothing to prove. It is a market of less than one million cassette buyers. So we innovated and brought more harmony to reach an international audiance". "This is how the albums Myamba (2005), Ndam (2009) and Ndayaan (2011) have allowed Omar Pene to offer the public a very sparse music", said Babacar Mbaye Diop, noting that the singer "now wants to conquer the international scene", even if since the album People (1984) he was already known in Europe.
These discs cause the departure of the "long time Diamono members" Pape Dembel Diop and Doudou Conaré . The two instrumentalists considered that they were not enough involved to the new direction. Their departure didn't change the attachment and affection that Senegalese fans and music lovers have for Omar Pene and his music. On the contrary, they have never been so strong. This is reflected in the resounding success of his return to the stage in 2014 after a year-long illness.

1 Liner Notes 'Fari'
2 Liner Notes 'Direct From Dakar' 
3 Aboubacar Demba Cissokho de l'aps 23-04-2016.


(incomplete) Overview of Super Diamono key members
- 1975-2007 Omar Pene
- 1975-1984 Baila Diagne
- 1979-1984 Ismael Lo
- 1983-1986 Amadou Baye Diagne
- 1985-1987 Moussa N'Gom
- 1986-1991 Mamadou Maiga
- 1994-2001 Babacar Dieng
- 1997-2003 Mada Ba
- 1975-2005 Lappa Diagne
Bass Guitar:
- 1975-1991 Bob Sene
- 1991-2007 Pap Dembel Diop 
Rhythm Guitar:
- 1991-2005Ousmane Sow
Solo Guitar:
- 1975-1991 Lamine Faye (Lemzo)
- 1997-2007 Mamadou Conare