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2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:32 pm
by Alan
World Service Week 4 from 23 January 2010 – records made in 1982

posted on behalf of CG

Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no - Website

1 - Segun Adewale - Nigeria - Ase - Nigeria - Segun Adewale - SARPS 5 -

2 - Orchestra Baobab - Coumba - Pirates Choice (first CD edition - 1989) - Senegal - World Circuit - WCD 14 -

3 - Samba Mapangala & Virunga - Malako - African Classics - Kenya - Sheer - SLD 149 -

4 - Nyboma - Double Double - Double Double - DR Congo - Sterns - STCD 3023 -

5 - Explainer - Lorraine - Best of Explainer, Vol 1 & 2 - Trinidad - Charlie's - SCR 1010 -

6 - Arrow - Hot Hot Hot - King of Soca - Montserrat - Red Bullet - 100.121 -

Listen again via from 11.30pm 23 Jan for 7 days

After I devoted a whole show last year to records made in 1928, arguing that this was a vintage year for recording, several listeners wrote to ask me to do it again for another year. Reversing the last two digits brings us to 1982, another vintage year, particularly for African and Caribbean artists.

I was not aware of all these records as soon as they came out but, having been given licence to roam the world in a show called A Foreign Affair on London’s leading commercial music station, Capital Radio, in 1983, I began to catch up on these recent releases and each of them carries a powerful nostalgia while still sounding objectively good in their own right, for people now hearing them for the first time. Or so I believe.

The debut album by Segun Adewale was never released in the UK, partly because it sold so many copies as an import, the potential market had evaporated. Was I to blame for playing it so often? I don’t know. Sterns released the follow-up but it did not have a track to match side one of this debut. From the opening statement of the title, through the rapid fire vocals that follows, all the way to the melodic steel guitar, the entire tune still flows through my blood. 1982 was also the year when I first heard King Sunny Ade's new album on Island, but Segun Adewale just might have outpointed it, then and now.

Image Segun Adewale

Having found a vinyl copy of the album by the Senegalese group Orchestra Baobab, now known as Pirates’ Choice, in a shop in Amsterdam, I soon became entranced with its gentle rhythms and heart-touching vocals. I’m not sure I realised how Cuban-influenced this music was, but I definitely recognised how different it sounded from Youssou N’Dour’s intense mbalax (also launched in 1982, by the way, with Immigrés). A year or two later, the Baobab album surfaced in Sterns, and when Andy Kershaw was given his own show on Radio One, I took him on a guided tour of the shop’s shelves, insisting he pick up a copy. Andy honed in on the slow burning ‘Utru Horas’, whereas I had favoured the uplifting ‘Coumba’, featuring Rudy Gomis (from Guinea Bissau). Between us, we inspired Nick Gold at World Circuit to contact the owners and licence the album. For reasons I never understood, Nick started his CD with alternate versions of the two songs we had been playing, adding the better known versions at the end. When he subsequently reissued Pirates’ Choice ten years later, he left off the originals altogether, so you still need to track down the 1989 release if possible.

Image Original Pirates Choice sleeve

Back in those days, British followers of African music had not yet focussed on a particular region of the continent, and we were equally happy to jump around to South African of even East African music. As a DJ playing sometimes in clubs or between sets at live gigs, I discovered that any of the tracks from the album by Samba Mapangala and Orchestra Virunga were guaranteed crowd-pleasers. In particular, we treasured ‘Malako’, nine minutes long and full of extra details as it raced along, with marvellous horns lines swirling around the singer’s voice. Samba turned out to be Congolese, but he put his band together in Nairobi. Once you become familiar with styles of playing bass, this is unmistakably an East African record.

Image Samba Mapangala

I had long been a fan of American singers with high voices – Smokey Robinson of the Miracles wailing ‘Going to a Go Go’, Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites asking ‘ Have You Seen Her’ – so it was fascinating to discover that this approach was a specialty of several Congolese singers, notably Mapangala and Nyboma, who also sang with Les Quatre Etoiles. Recorded in Paris, Nyboma’s album Double Double only had four tracks, but they all zipped along with a joi-de-vivre I had never heard before. Dancers were delirious with delight.

Image Nyboma

Coincidentally, Soca music in the Caribbean went through a renaissance that year, and the programme finishes with the two that had most impact in the UK. Explainer had been regarded as a second division performer in Trinidad until the news got out about how many times ‘Lorraine’ was played on Radio One. It did not make the chart, but felt as if it must have done – everybody recognised its opening ‘taxi, taxi, Airport Kennedy’ as Explainer announced his decision to leave New York and go back home.

Image Explainer

Arrow’s ‘Hot Hot Hot’ did make the chart but only just. Nobody knew what to do with a track that lasted for more than six minutes and had no obvious edit points. The British record label cut off the long bass guitar into, but that served only to lose much of the impact. Arrow is from Montserrat, and although ‘Hot Hot Hot’ looked like a classic one-ff single, he made several other good records and managed to build a proper career. This collection King of Soca is good throughout.

Image Arrow


Listen again for 7 days via from 11.30pm 23 Jan for 7 days
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Re: 2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:08 pm
by Charlie

email from

1. Allard Jansen, katmandu, nepal

If you take at Nairobi’s GPO’s roundabout direction West Ham up the hill, then you would find in ’85 on the left side an old colonialist bungalow with three stars on its roof, which by that time accommodated the Culture Club Three Star. Orchestra Virunga would play there during the weekend. A friend of my Swahili teacher in Amsterdam who went at the same time to Kenya would introduce me in the world of African music and specialist in the music of Zaire. With a gleam in his eyes he announced that we would visit the Three Star as Virunga played that first Friday. Getting into the bungalow which was boarded with beautiful African wood I was welcome by the local girls of flimsy morals with a “Mombassa” handshake. That means they do not shake your hand but take you by your genital part, whereby they look you straight in the eye. I was shocked and did not dance that night although it was rather tempting as Virunga played the three stars of the roof. Only once, after too many Tuskers, I left my safe haven to go to the loo. After I did my duty at the loo I was taken by a soft silky voiced man who washed my hands.
That night I lost my innocence and I knew what a man could buy in this world.



2. Ryan Riskowski, Omaha, Nebraska USA

More please!


Re: 2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:25 pm
by Adam Blake
On a more innocent note (!), that track "Malako" has the best bass guitar playing ever in the history of music.

Re: 2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:04 pm
by liz molony
Thanks Charlie for your rousing and nostalgic collection !.

Do you know the name of the Senegalese group’s ‘heart rending’ vocalist.

1982... my final year of 12 full gold moons rising over Africa’s dust , before leaving.
I was thinking about your comment that the sounds of Samba Mapangala and the Virunga orchestra are 'guaranteed crowd-pleasers, driving dancers to ‘deliriums of delight’.
What is their secret?
Could it be that in the 80’s Africa’s musicians were close to their tradition of LIVE performance rather than focusing on recording. Crowds arriving in dusty spaces, sophisticated bars, expecting great physical involvement with the music.
Children too, never far away, bobbing about.
When he hears these tracks our toddler adopts great air guitar postures.!

Re: 2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:09 pm
by Charlie
liz molony wrote:Do you know the name of the Senegalese group’s ‘heart rending’ vocalist.

Rudy Gomis. Your question inspired me to go back and add his name to the original post, which I had laid awake thinking about doing, without putting the thought into action. Apologies, Liz, if it makes you seem dumb for asking the question.

Re: 2010 - week 04, from 23 Jan - records made in 1982

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:50 am
by liz molony
Thanks Charlie for that info... [I thought you were resting up!] I subsequently found a great picture of Rudy Gomis with his group gathered round a ‘car rapide’ at the Plage d’Ifan, in Dakar, on January 17, 2004. It is your 'Otro Mundo' cover bus!
The [Nov 2004 ‘Vanity Fair’] article with the photo says that in 2002 Rudy Gomis, Balla Sidibe and their guitarist Barthélemy Attisso got back together and put out, 'Specialist in All Styles', co-produced by … Youssou N’Dour.!
Jan 23rd was my birthday and surprise, here came all this friendly music of Africa with its sunshine.

The ‘Otro Mundo’ selection is superb. Amazing collection. I love way you've grouped pieces and am enjoying getting to know these incredible musicians. Azam Ali’s agonised ‘Beni Beni' is beautiful.