Ignace de Souza & The Melody Aces (Ghana, 1962)




"All leading artists in west Africa are on Decca"

Those words are perfect to speak about Ignace de Souza who is best known for his Ghanaian Highlife, even though he was originally from Benin and played eclectic musical styles. In addition to Highlife, his diverse musical repertoire included the Cha Cha, Twist and Afrobeat. Ignace de Souza's major legacy is that he introduced Ghana to that which would be known as Soukous. De Souza's began in Ghana during the 1950's with The Shambros Band, then with The Melody Aces and The Black Santiago. The famous singer from the Broadway Dance Band, Joss Aikins, who played at the Independence Ball, is singing on this 1962's recording.



Ignace de Souza est plus connu comme chanteur de Highlife au Ghana que chanteur éclectique du Bénin. Mais il était aussi connu pour jouer du Cha Cha, du Twist; pour avoir créer l'Afrobeat avec Fela, pour avoir importer le Soukouss au Ghana, et enfin pour être un des meilleurs trompetiste d'Afrique de l'Ouest, rien que ça... De Souza se fit connaitre au Ghana, durant les années 50, avec le groupe Shambros Band, puis durant les années 60 avec les Melody Aces et enfin avev le fameux Black Santiago. Le célèbre chanteur de l'orchestre Broadway Dance Band, Joss Aikins, qui anima la fête de l'indépendance, chante sur cet enregistrement de 1962.


T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Adjaho Coffi


This fantastic album was recorded in 1981 with Poly-Rythmo Orchestra. When I heard it I discovered that Sagbohan Danialou was singing the chorus and playing drums. Adjaho Coffi is known to be a famous comedian but also a great compositor and singer. Some of the songs are purely inspired by traditional rhythms like Kakagbo. We can feel in those rhythms Sagbohan's arangements.

Cet album absolument génial a été enregistré en 1981 avec l'orchestre Poly-Rythmo. En l'écoutant j'ai découvert que Sagbohan Danialou chantait les choeurs et qu'il était à la cession rythmique. Adjaho Coffi était un fameux comédien, diplômé en France, mais aussi un grand auteur compositeur, ainsi que chanteur. Certains des titres de cet album sont merveilleusement inspirés par des rythmes traditionnels tels que le Kakagbo. On peut sentir dans les arrangements la pâte de Sagbohan.

Afia Mala (Togo) & Orchestre Black Santiago


It all started with two royal families from Togo and Benin. A princess was born on the banks of the river Mono, her name was Afiwavi Mawaulana Missohou, who later became to be known as Afia Mala. When she was small she often accompanied her mother to the traditional singing lessons of the Habobo women. This was during the time of the great Bella Bellow, the Togolese Lady of the blues. In 1984, "Ten Homte" (Black Earth) was selected by Radio France International listeners as their favourite song during their talent competition "Discovery". In 1992, Afia was nominated "Best African Female Vocalist". In 2008 she recorded an album in Cuba with the famous Aragon Orchestra. This single was recorded with Ignace de Souza and his Black Santiago Orchestra in 1978.


Afia Mala est comunément appelée "Princesse du Mono". Elle commence sa carrière en 1974, à l'époque de la grande Bella Bellow, princesse du blues Togolais. Née de sang royale, elle fait ses armes avec sa mère à travers les chants traditionnels Habobo. En 1984, elle reçoit le Prix découverte de RFI et en 1992, est nommée "Meilleur chanteuse Africaine". Enfin, en 2008, elle se rend à Cuba pour enregister un album avec le célèbre Orquestra Aragon. Ce 45 tours a été enregistré en 1978 avec Ignace de Souza et son Orchestre Black Santiago.



Star Number One (Senegal, 1976)

Orchestra "Star Number One" was founded in 1975 by Papa Serigne Seck. Papa Seck is known to be the godfather of M'Balax. This album has been released in 1976 and the title "Jangaake" is pure diamond.

En 1975, Papa Serigne Seck décide de quitter le célèbre orchestre Star Band de Dakar, fondé en 1964, pour rejoindre l'orchestre Star Number One. Il fût le premier à introduire des instruments traditionnels sénégalais comme les sabars et tama (talking drum) dans la musique afro-cubaine. Auteur, compositeur, saxophoniste et chanteur, Papa Seck, amoureux de latin-jazz et connu pour avoir inventé le style M'balax. Cet album est sorti en 1976 et le morceau "Jangaake" est une pure merveille.

Lemed Janvier & Les Volcans: "Feu Vert"

Here is a second album from Lemed Janvier with The "Volcans du Bénin". Lemed Janvier is from Benin but he is known to play congolese soukouss music and sing in congolese language which is quite rare. I think that the "Volcans du Bénin", led by Nestor Hountondji, had the best horn section in the country.
oro


Voici un deuxième album de Lemed Janvier accompagné par l'orchestre Les Volcans du Bénin. Lemed est connu pour jouer de la pure soukouss congolaise mais aussi pour la chanter dans la langue du Congo, ce qui est plutôt rare. Je pense que "Les Volcans" possédait la meilleur section de cuivre du pays.

Irede-Band Juju

I am sorry to offer you a Juju vynil in a bad sound shape but this record is a way for me to introduce the Yoruba community from Benin. Many artists are Yoruba from all the south of the country. Yoruba people are also called Nago and Juju, Apala or Fuji musics are making parts of Beninese culture.
This first production from Irede-Band juju is leaded by Akambi Elewu-Etu. It should have been recorded in 1976.

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Assa Cica


I would like to go deeper into Poly-Rythmo's sound with a prodigious record composed by Assa Cica, a famous Beninese singer (check out a very nice and recent clip from him on Youtube). That's why I'm using the "Black Square" from Kasimir Malevich for illustrating this post. Assa Cica is special. He is a poet, close to Sagbohan Danialou in his lyrics as well as his music style. I really don't know when this album was released, i think between 1976 and 1978. Lohento Eskill is singing on all tracks except on "Ananu Dogon Nu" and "Gnon Nu Fomin Lin" where Assa make us discover his beautiful voice.

Je voudrais vous emmener plus loin dans Poly-Rythmo avec ce disque génial composé par Assa Cica, un chanteur béninois célèbre et toujours vivant que vous pouvez découvrir dans un récent clip sur Youtube. Je me suis permis d'utiliser le fameux "Carré Noir" de Kasimir Malevich pour illustre ce courrier particulier. Assa Cica est un poète, proche de la nature et musicalement proche de Sagbohan Danialou. Je pense que cet album a été enregistré entre 1976 et 1978. Lohento Eskill chante sur tout l'album excépté "Ananu Dogon Nu" et "Gnon Nu Fomin Lin" où Assa Cica nous dévoile sa voix d'ange.

Kouyaté Sory Kandia (Guinea, 1971)


I would like to thank Vivien for this great contribution. This album was recorded in 1971 with two different orchestras: Keletigui et ses Tambourinis and Ensemble National "Djoliba". Sory Kandia was called "la voix d'or" (voice of gold) and Ithink that he diserved "diamond".

Merci à Vivien pour cet album prodigieux. L'enregistrement est bon et a la particularité d'avoir été exécuté avec deux orchestres: Keletigui et ses Tambourinis et l'Ensemble National "Djoliba". Sory Kandia est est le plus grand chanteur mandingue et je pèse mes mots. Il était appelé "la voix d'or" mais il mérite le "diamand".

Face A (with Keletigui et ses Tambourinis):
Tara
Hellaya
Namatimbaye
Djoliba

Face B (with Ensemble National "Djoliba"):
P.D.G - O.E.R.S
Mikossoya
Touyendé
Minawa

Ezin Gangnon

I think it is the right time, after Stanislas Tohon, to talk about traditional Tchinkoumé rhythm. A rhythm from the center of Benin. You will notice the sound quality of Vivien's rip alias "DJ Balafon". Check out a clip from Ezin Gangnon on Youtube.

Après Stanislas Tohon, je pense que c'est le bon moment de parler du rythme traditionnel Tchinkoumé, originaire du centre du Bénin, en l'occurrence de la ville de Savalou. Ezin Gangnon fait parti des anciens, il est toujours vivant et visible sur Youtube.

Stanislas Tohon: "Yallow"


Maybe you discovered Stanislas Tohon, called Tohon Stan, in a previous post. He recorded this single with the "Satelites" orchestra in 1977. Tohon Stan will become famous all over Africa thanks to Sam Fan Thomas, the geat cameroonian singer, who interpreted the title "Yallow" which would become a hit. Sam Fan thomas recorded a fantastic album on Satel Music which was early posted.
In 1978, Stan Tohon created the Tchink-system orchestra. The tchink music style remain tied to the Tchinkoumé tradition, a style of music based on the sacred "water music" that was traditionally used to drive out evil spirits after death. This rhythm can be heard on the title "Africa".

Sunny Black's Band (Poly-Rythmo, 1965)


This is my third post about Sunny Black's Band. Created by Clément Mélomé in 1965, this orchestra will become in 1969 the famous Poly-Rythmo's orchestra. In this EP, the Side one, a cara-bouche rhythm from Congo, has been composed by Honoré Senahun. The Side two, a pachanga rhythm, has been composed by Nicolas Gomez.