dinsdag 20 juli 2021

Jolino Kiezowa


In the summer of 1991, I was introduced to the debut album A bas la violence by Jolino Kiezowa. During a visit to the legendary (but by now closed) record shop Musica Nova, an album featuring my highly appreciated singers Carlito Lassa and Nyboma Mwan Dido caught my eye. The owner Pierrot raised his thumb and beckoned me, which meant something like: "Good record, give it here and I'll play it for you. A few moments later, Jolino's slightly hoarse voice echoed through the record shop. His voice was a perfect match with those of Carlito and Nyboma and after listening to the title track for a few minutes, I was sold, especially when Pepe Felly Manuaku gave the go-ahead for a delicious uptempo sebene with a fierce guitar solo. 

After three years of waiting, Jolino's second album followed in 1994, Regard sur le future, which I actually liked even better. In the years that followed, Jolino released a new album on a regular basis and when I started this blog in 2013, I was planning to dedicate a post to the man. The reason why this post is only now coming is that there is hardly any information about this fine singer. Because I still find his music worth listening to, I decided to take the lack of biographical information for granted. And who knows, maybe there is a reader who has additional information about this, in my opinion, undervalued artist.

Jolino, whose real name is Jolino Kiezowa Kiangala, is a French-speaking Congolese musician, founder and singer of the eponymous group. He is nicknamed "le vieux mouké ".After several participations in different groups in Congo and Switzerland, Jolino started a solo career in 1990. In 1994, his second album Regard sur le futur met with some success. He was awarded Revelation of the year by the Association of Congolese Music Reviewers (ACMCO). Also nicknamed Ya mudefend-defend, his action towards youth enabled him to be awarded a special prize for peace by UNICEF for the song Unissons-nous2. In 1997, the song Makinu mabeto was nominated for the Kora Awards. Apart from his commitment to world peace and children's rights, Jolino Kiezowa has released 6 albums to date, the last of which was released 10 years ago. Hopefully, this was not his last album. 

♫ Audio: 1997 – Jolino Kiezowa ft. Papa Wemba – Faut pas desesperer 6:29

♫ Video Clip: 2004 – Jolino Kiezowa – Maman capitaine 6:50

♫ Video Clip: 2010 – Jolino Kiezowa – Feeling 4:27

♫ Live: 2002 – Groupe Jolino live au Palais de Congress Brazzaville 8:40

2002: JOLINO  au Palais de Congress Brazzaville


vrijdag 4 juni 2021

Daouda le Sentimental

Singer/composer Tou Kone Daouda a.k.a. Daouda le Sentimental was born to Burkinabe parents on 1 January 1951 in Niangoloko (Burkina Faso). He spent his childhood in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and moved as a teenager to Bry-sur-Marne near Paris, where he followed technical training at the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel. After completing his training in 1975, he got a job as a TV technician at the Ivorian Television (RTI).

Daouda the technician

Besides his work as a technician at RTI, music was Daouda's great hobby. He especially loved the romantic and comic songs of Togolese singer/songwriter G.G. Vickey. Daouda taught himself to play the guitar by playing the songs of G.G. Vickey.

♫ Clip: 1969 – G.G. Vickey (1944 – 2013) – Vive les Mariés : 6:05

Yet, it never occurred to him to pursue music professionally. It was his colleagues at the RTI who discovered his hidden musical talent and pushed him in front of the cameras, almost against his will. The unexpected appearance on the popular TV programme "Dimanche pour tout", in which he performed his self-written song Gbaka's d'Abidjan (Gbaka means Taxibus)live, accompanied by the RTI orchestra, turned the life of the modest technician completely upside down. Daouda had become a phenomenon overnight in Ivory Coast.


Georges Tai Benson, at the time programme director of the national Ivorian TV, recognised the amateur singer's potential and realised that you have to forge the iron while it is hot. Benson wanted to produce the song Gbakas d'Abidjan and set up the label Moya productions.

♫ Audio: 1976 – Daouda – Gbakas : 4:47

The single became a success and the public asked for more. Daouda therefore decided to focus entirely on a musical career from that moment on and proved with his second single, Les Villageons in 1977 that he was not only a good singer but also a gifted lyricist/composer.

In 1978, he recorded his first LP in Nigeria under the direction of his new producer Maïkano Adamou. This album also contains the first version of the song Mon coeur balance. In this song, Daouda sings about the 'problem' of not being able to choose between two girls: the first one is the most beautiful and the second one is the nicest, my heart is swinging back and forth. His lyrics, sung in French, which appeal to a wide audience, together with a seductive melody and an extremely danceable rhythm, ensure that his popularity is rapidly growing in large parts of Francophone Africa. Mon coeur balance became one of the biggest hits in French-speaking Africa in 1978. From that moment on, Daouda was nicknamed 'le sentimental' by his fans.

In the early 1980s, Europe also discovered African pop music. In 1983, Daouda recorded a new version of Mon coeur balance for Maikano in a new arrangement written by the Congolese guitarist Souzy Kaseya. Supported by bassist Aladji Toure and a wind section consisting of Jimmy Mvondo Mvele (sax) and Fredo Tete (trumpet), all from Cameroon, this new version of the song is an ideal mix of local Ivorian music influences and the then popular Congolese soukous and Cameroonian makossa. His biggest breakthrough comes when the London Sterns label decides to release this new version of Daouda's debut album internationally.

♫ Audio: 1983 – Daouda – Mon coeur balance: 5:43

Lyrics Mon coeur balance

Meanwhile, Daouda had settled in Paris to further develop his career. In the early 80s, Paris had developed into the centre of African pop music. It was the time when the Antillean supergroup Kassav had its breakthrough, Zairean artists like Kanda Bongo Man conquered Parisian discos with their straightforward dance Soukouss and the popularity of the Cameroonian Makossa with its bouncing bass lines was at its height.

Cameroonian musicians like Aladji Toure (bass), Valerie Lobe (drums) and Toto Guillaume (guitar) were much in demand as session and studio musicians in those days. For his new record, Daouda wanted the best makossa musicians, without doing makossa himself. Daouda says about this in an interview: (...) Aladji Toure was the best arranger at the time. I had the guts to ask them for help, although their fees were far above my meagre means. But they all wanted to help me for a minimal fee. My audacity bore fruit, because to this day I am enjoying the extraordinary success of "La femme de mon patron(...).

With the album's title track La femme de mon patron - which describes the problems of a driver to whom his employer's wife makes sexual advances and threats - Daouda once again shows that he is a formidable composer/lyricist. The song is extremely danceable, cheerful and the mischievous lyrics, in which many people recognise something of themselves, bring a smile to many people's faces. By happily singing about the daily relations between men and women, Daouada's music reflects the optimistic atmosphere of the mid-80s in Côte d'Ivoire, which at that time was experiencing a period of relative prosperity. The latter perhaps explains why many Ivorians can still intensely enjoy Daouada le Sentimental's 80s hits to this day - now that the country has been in dire straits for years. 

Abidjan in the 1980s; the good old days!

♫ Audio: 1982 – Daouda – La vie est belle : 5:59

♫ Audio: 1982 – Daouda – Salsa de Niangologo : 5:00

In the years that followed, Daouda released several more albums, with varying success, with various record companies in several countries. With none of these albums, however, he managed to repeat the successes of Mon coeur balance and La femme de mon patron. 

In the early 1990s, he emigrated to the US where he lived and worked as a machine operator in Greensboro, North Carolina. He did not really succeed in building up a career as an artist in the US. After more than ten years, he returned to the Ivory Coast, where he tried to make a comeback with limited success. He released several albums, partly containing new versions of his old successes, but partly due to poor distribution, these albums were hardly available outside Côte d'Ivoire. With the arrival of modern streaming services, this situation has improved somewhat, but the question remains whether Daouda will be able to reach the younger generations with these services. He will have to be satisfied with his loyal group of, by now, mostly older fans. With his successes in the 80s, however, he will forever belong to the icons of Ivorian popular music. 

♫ Clip 2007: – Daouda & Betika – C’est pas ma faute 4:47

Daouda (le Sentimental), now 70 years old, has not forgotten how to write seductive, romantic songs, as he proves with 'Je te dis adieu', a sultry, slow mid-tempo song that has a Cape Verdean flavour, released around 2014. 

♫ Clip 2014?: – Daouda le Sentimental – Je te dis adieu 4:22


Abidjan.net – Biographie

Abidjan.net – Interview

Agence d’information d’Afrique Centrale



Ronnie Graham, Stern’s guide to contemporary African musi: Zwan ‘Off the Record Press’, London, 1988.


zaterdag 8 mei 2021

Eneida Marta



They call her the diva, the music queen of Guinea-Bissau. With a bright smile, a calm step and a full voice she has used for almost 20 years to make 2 dreams come true. The first is to take the sound of her country - one of Africa's least known sounds - to the world. The second, and what she considers her mission, is to make children's live a little better. She was a UNICEF ambassador for that very reason and left her position because she felt tied up. Along the way, music, always. Her fifth album  "Ibra" was released in 2019.


Eneida Marta was born in 1972, a year before Guinea-Bissau gained independence and the leader of the independence struggle Amilcar Cabral was murdered by order of the Portugese secret service. Despite these turbulent times, she says she had a carefree and happy childhood in newly independent Guinea-Bissau. Although Eneida Marta was born and raised in Bissau, she has a mixed background with a Cape Verdean father and ancestors from Portugal, Cape Verde. Sao Tomé and even Germany. After primary school she followed secudary education at Regional 2 and Kwame N'krumah secondary schools. As a young girl she loved to sing and she participated in singing competitions at school. While her classmates wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer, Eneida dreamed of a career as a policewoman, and if it didn't work out, as a singer.


At the age of 17 she left for Portugal to make her dream come through. After anaother 2 years of schooling, she registered for the police school and was invited for an entrance test. Yet she never ended up at the police academy, because during the admission phase it turned out that Eneida had unexpectedly become pregnant. Due to the motherhood of a first and later a second child, Eneida no longer thougt of a music career for a long time. Only after 10 years at the age of thirty her musical dream reawakened. She started looking for people who could help make her dream come through. In the beginning it was very difficult with two small children. Her ex-husband, the father of her children, presented her with a choice: It was either me or the music. She chose the music ans as a single mother  had to take her children to her mother in London. During all these years, 13 in all, she never visited Guinea-Bissau once.


It was Juca Delgado who started her career. This versatile composer, producer, arranger and musician had already collaborated with many renowned artists such as Rui Sangara, Manecas Costa and Bonga. Knowing what goes into producing an album, he was the right person to help Eneida Marta create and release her first album No Storia (2001). The album did well and received rave reviews from the public, media and fellow artists. This led to successful tours in Cape Verde, France, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and of course Guinea Bissau.

♫ Videoclip : 2001 - Eneida Marta – No Storia 4:42


After the release of her second album Amari (2002), Eneida Marta aroused the interest of "World Music giant" Putumayo records. They invited her to participate in one of their compilations dedicated to the music of the former Portugese colonies in Africa An Afro-Portugese  Odyssey (2002). her contribution to the Putumayo compilation  was the song Na Bu Mons from her first CD. This participation opened the door for the international recognation of her spectacular voice.

♫ Videoclip : 2002 - Eneida Marta – Amari 4:35


In July 2005, Eneida took first place in the World Music category, in a competition that took place in Portugal, with the song Mindjer Dôlce Mel. This winning song was also included in her third album Lope Kai (2006) and selected for another Putumayo compilation entitled Acoustic Africa (2006). In November2008, the organisation of WOMEX 2008 (World Music Expo), one of the biggest events in the professional World Music market on the planet,  selected the artist Eneida Marta for a showcase integrated in its official program. This event brought together about 3.000 delegates, 1.400 companies from more than 90 countries, having integrated  more than 50 showcases  with more than 400 artists from more than 40 countries that were divided into 5 stages. During the event  Eneida interpreted themes from her latest album.

♫ Videoclip : 2006 - Eneida Marta – Mindjer dôce mel 3:42

Her performance at this event led to a large number of bookings for performances at many international world music festivals, including the legendary Africa Festival in Hertme, The Netherlands in 2009.

♫ Live performance : 2009 - Eneida Marta @ Afrikafestival Hertme - "Tambur" 8:36


Despite years of fruitful collaboration with Juca Delgado, after Lope Kai a new phase started in Eneida's musical career. She had grown up as an artist and wanted to stand on her own two feet. She herself says about this in an interview: "I had the dream of producing my work, I wanted to try some ideas that I solidified throughout over the years. The album Nha Sunhu (2015) is the result of that, that thirst of independence".(1) The album, recorded between the cities of Bissau, Lisbon and Paris, and received praise from the public and critics.

Accompanied by musicians such as pianist Ernesto Leite (from Portugal), flutist Dramane Dembelé (Burkina Faso), bassist Gogui or gitarist Manecas Costa (both from Guinea Bissau), Eneida Marta sings a work of extraordinary beauty and complexity where also the Netos de Bandim, a traditional percussion group from Guinea Bissau. "I wanted to include the energy and authenticity of African music", justifies Eneida Marta. The texts result from a selection of works by some of the most outstanding Guinean poets, with the exception of Nha Principe, which Eneida herself wrote. "My music is Guinean", says Eneida Marta, who also explains how Congo singer Lokua Kanza once said: "I don't know your country, but I feel I understand you because of your music".

♫ Videoclip : 2015 - Eneida Marta – Kabalindadi 4:29

♫ Videoclip : 2015 - Eneida Marta – Amor Livre 5:05

Searching for melodies in Guinea's own identity and crossing the local genre Gumbe with jazz, Eneida Marta built her own sound that has references to classic names of Guinean music such as, among others, José carlos Schwarz, Ernesto Dabo or Zé Manel. "Curiously" says Eneida Marta, "I don't get much inspiration from women singers. At home I hear men like Marc Anthony, Lokua Kanza, Andrea Bocelli, Zé Manel and Manecas Costa". Perhaps this explains that the voice that really marks Eneida Marta is her inner voice, the one that makes her sing life, love, in lyrics by poets who, as she explains, "always leave something to decipher".


After the recording of her previous album, Nha Sunhu, which she entirely herself, Eneida Marta did not want again full involvement from the first to the last chord again. She therefore handed the production of her new album Ibra (2019) over to Athanase Koudou, who has worked with Salif Keita and Richard Bona, among others. This allowed her to fullu focus on the role of interpreter. In an interview she says about this collaboration: "There was a very happy marriage between the singer and the producer. From time to time I gave Athanase a few ideas to get started with. He is a very sensitive person, he seemed te read my mind and responded exactly the way I wanted". The title of the album Ibra is a tribute to Ibrahim Galissa, Guinean master of Kora, who accompanied Eneida througout her career and unfortunately died recently.

About the album itself she says: "I believe that the big difference between this record and  my former albums is the fact that, in this work, there is a mix of traditional acoustic sounds with more electronic sounds, making it a very comprehensice record in terms of artistic approach  and sound".

♫ Videoclip : 2019 - Eneida Marta – Homis Di Gossis 4:10

♫ Live performance : 2019 - Eneida Marta @ B.Leza Clube - Alma Na Fala 5:41

With this album Eneida Marta proves that she has developed into one of the best and most versatile female singers in Africa. Although she speaks only Portugese and Creole, she sings effortlessly in the many languages that Guinea Bissau has, such as Fula, Biafada, Badjara, Manjaco and Mancanha. She also regularly sings in Angolan languages such as Quimbundo. Her repertoire also consists of a mix of styles. In addition to elements of the Gumbe, the urban music style of Guinea Bissau, the influence of Cape Verde and Angolan styles is also recognizable. And that is not all. Eneida is not afraid to sing in (Senegalese) Wolof, or to give songs a Manding coloring through the use of the Kora. And then we are not even talking about the songs with a Caribbean, Latin or Congolese rumba touch.

(1) The quotes are from a 2019 interview by Mariana Madrinha with Eneida Marta.


maandag 26 april 2021

Admiral Dele Abiodun

                                                                                           The career of ‘Admiral’ Dele Abiodun – born 1948 in Bendel StateNigeria - stratches back to the late sixties. Resisting his parents’ plans for a career in medicine, Dele Abiodun used his school fees to enrol at the Young Pioneers School of Music in Accra, Ghana. Here he immersed himself in highlife music, playing bass in several bands, before returning to Nigeria in 1969 and basing himself in Lagos. 

 There he founded his own band, Sweet Abby And The Tophitters, who played Ghanaian-style highlife.  Gradually Abiodun developed his music by incorporating juju and afrobeat elements into an entirely unique ' modern juju sound', which he called Adawa (translated as ‘independent being’). The new style immediately attracted a large audience throughout Nigeria, and Abiodun has adhered to it, with occasional modifications, throughout his career. It was very special that as a non-Yoruba, he managed to become one of the most successful Juju band leaders. Eschewing the established juju practice of releasing four or five albums a year, Abiodun chose to release just one album a year, free of the sponsorship of local dignitaries and politicians. As a result, he has never achieved the superstardom of his peers King Sunny Ade or Ebenezer Obey, but has built up a loyal following and maintained substantial record sales throughout the ensuing decades. During the 1970s he released three singles, two EP’s and over 20 LPs on the Olumo label. Abiodun made use of ‘Hawaiian steel guitar and claims to have been the first to introduce the instrument to juju music. A tour of the UK in 1974 helped establish his international reputation. 

♫ Audio 1975: Dele Abiodun (ORPS 21 Side A) - Adwawa Super Sound 19:30


                                                                                                                                                  Around 1980 his career hit a dead end after a large part of his band abandoned him. Challenged by this setback, Abiodun formed an almost entirely new band and decided on a radical overhaul of his sound. He included more western elements such as electroclaps and drum machines, while also deepening the African base of his music with an expanded drum and percussion section. The new approach was introduced with 1984’s It’s Time For Juju Music and came to maturity with the following year’s Confrontation, which was released internationally on the British Shanachie label. 

♫ Audio 1984: Dele Abiodun (ASLP 05 Side A) – It’s time for juju music 10:43

♫ Audio 1985: Dele Abiodun (ASLP 006) – Oro Ayo / Oloju (Come & Do) 9:35

Abiodun continued to release an album annually until the early 1990s, but then his production stopped. However, he has always continued to perform and even today, in his seventies, he is not afraid of live shows lasting several hours. And.... in 2020, to many a surprise, he released a new album after many years, titled 'God's grace'. Hopefully, this will not be the only album and more will follow in the years to come.

♫ Docu 2020: Launching of the album ‘God’s Grace’ 22:04