Caribbean Island Music (1972)

To finish this month, here is a fantastic recording from John Storm Roberts, great musicologist who make us dive into the roots of reggae, merengue and calypso. I don not have pictures for illustrating those traditional rhythms because I didn't find some on the web. Maybe they don't exist anymore...
P.S: when I wrote this post, I didn't know that John Storm Roberts had just died. Paix à sa grande âme... Check out the article on N.Y.Times.

Side 1:
1.Calunga (Dominican Republic)
2. Ya Lo Ve (Dominican Republic)
Both of these pices have a very high African content. The singing is a called-and-response pattern, by far the most common african-drived vocal technique in the new world.

3. Amantina (mangulina, Dominican Republic)
4. Canto de Hacha (merengue, (Dominican Republic)
Those two pieces are charectiristic of the country dance music of the Dominican Republic; both have the typical accompaniment of a small accordian, tambora drum and metal
guïra scraper.

5. Ay Lola Eh (Dominican Republic)
6. Salve Corrida
7. Pindo Mama Pindo
This last piece have been recorded in a tobacco-grinding factory. Most of the work is done by hand, and the laborers sing at their work and preserve and perfect many old forms.

8. Les Deux Jumeaux (bolero, Haiti)
9. Joséphine (méringue, Haiti)
Haiti has a great deal of highly African folk music. The best-known rhythm in Haitian popular music is the méringue, which has a chicken-and-egg relationship with its Dominican cousin but has developped very differently. The bolero spread throughtout the Spanish.

Side 2:
1. Percy Where him gone? (Jamaica)
This is an example of Tambo drumming. Singing and playing both show many africanisms.

2. Bahl 'Oman Bahl (Jamaica)
3. Georgie Lyon (Jamaica)
Two digging songs, in call-and-response orm, acompagned by the rhythm of the pickaxes that Jamaican countrymen still use for digging the fields.

4. Emmanuel Road (Jamaica)
One of the best known Jamaican songs, Emmanuel road originated as a ring-play or game song (probably among quarry-men) that involves the passing of heavy stones round a circule of squatting men. This song has been heard as a calypso and in many other versions. The present recording shows it in its the original forms, sung in the thudding rhythm of the stones being passed around a circle.

5. Mango Time (Jamaica)
6. When I was In Colon (Jamaica)
7. Chi Chi Bud-Oh! (Jamaica)
8. Obeahman (Jamaica)
9. Mummies (Dominican Republic)
This recording presents a phenomenon native to the small islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The "mummies" perform in the streets at Christmas, reciting, playing and dancing in colorful costumes.

Germaine Jourias & Los Commandos (Togo/1970)

Germaine Jourias was born in Togo in 1937. She recorded this EP, the first one, with the great singer El Rego and His Commando's orquestra in 1967. This very good highlife title made her quickly famous. She died in August 2009.


Germaine Jourias est née au Togo, de mère Peul, en 1937. Elle enregistre son premier single, accompagné d'El Rego et son orchestre Les Commandos, que je vous présente aujourd'hui. Sortie en 1967, ce morceau highlife d'inspiration ghanéenne la propulse tout de suite en haut de l'affiche. Germaine Jourias nous a quittés en Août 2009.

Super Boiro Band (Guinea/1976)

The band took their name from the Camp Boiro prison, where may of the members had been guards. Members of the band included trumpeter and manger Mamadou Niaissa, vocalist Sane Camara and guitarists Karan Mady Diawara and Mamady Kouyaté.


Super Boiro Band’s first album was released in 1972, and their first single was released the following year. They released two more singles as well as their second album in 1975, and one more album in 1976. 

Traore Amadou dit Ballake

Je ne sors pas la nuit quand j'entends Ballaké.
Sa voix, la voix des nuits endiablées par la dingue,
Ecrits éléctriques sur des ondes Mandingues,
Qu'assomment des verres de whisky baraqués.

Vata Mombasa & Danialou Sagbohan

When Congo meets Benin results an excellent album from Vata Mombasa with Danialou Sagbohan on drums. Vata Bombasa was the guitarist and leader of the Lipua Lipua orchestra. This very nice soukouss album is haunted by Sagbohan's talent. It was recorded in 1983 and edited by Libert and Papa Disco.

Lorsque le Congo rencontre le Bénin, ça donne un album sublime de Vata Mombasa avec Danialou Sagbohan à la batterie, s'il vous plait. Vata Mombasa est guitariste et leader de la deuxième génération de l'Orchestre Lipua Lipua. En 1983, de passage au Bénin grâce au grand producteur "Papa Disco", il enregistre cet album, hanté par la présence de Sagbohan.

Poly-Rythmo: Gold Collection Vol.5

This is the 5th volume of this "gold collection" edited on CD by the Top Showbiz label. As you can see, the cover comes from the famous album: "Reconciliation".

1- Yawo Bebenon
2- Yewle Yawo
3- Djomido
4- Africa

Gnonnas Pedro: El Cochechivo

I think this album from Gnonnas Pedro deserves a better sleeve. Nevertheless, this Cochechivo, one of the best album of the maestro, carries his signatureIt was recorded in 1980.

Ce vinyle de Gnonnas Pedro mériterait une plus belle pochette. Néanmoins, cet album de 1980 est l'un des meilleurs du maestro.

Amadou Traore Ballake

This single was recorded in 1975 in Burkina Faso and pressed in Benin by Satel label. I bought this vinyl on Ebay thanks to the title "Bar Konou Mousso". Ballake counts the story of a pragmatic prostitute. I think that this song is rare and beautiful enough to pay it 200 dollars...
She says: "Ballake, wait until tomorrow, i have a meeting with the white man at the Independance Hotel, it's 5000 Francs...
Ballake, leave me alone, you don't have enough money. Musician is not someone..."

Ce 45 tours a été enregistré en 1975 au Burkina-Faso et pressé au Bénin par la grande maison Satel. Je l'ai acheté sur Ebay grâce au morceau "Bar Konou Mousso". L'histoire de cette prostituée qui ignore le pauvre Ballake pour le blanc, à l'hotêl Indépendance, m'a paru assez sublime pour la payer 200 dollars...

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo & Bentho Gustave (1980)

Bentho Gustave began his career with the Super Star Of Ouidah (previous post) and joined, in 1969, the powerfull Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. He is the composer and the bass player of this album which was released in 1980 on famous Libert label. I especially like "So ke mi" sung by Miguelito.


Bentho Gustave a commencé sa carrière dans l'Orchestre Super Star de Ouidah (précédent courrier). En 1969, il co-fonde l'Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. Sur cet album, édité en 1980 par sur le fameux Label Libert, il compose et joue bien entendu de son instrument fétiche, la guitare-bass. J'aime particulièrement le titre "So Ke Mi" chanté par Miguelito.

La Vedette Du Soleil

"La Vedette Du Soleil" is Zacharie Yekpo. It means the "Sun' Star" and he plays good traditional muisc from Benin. This first recordings, in mono, from Zacharie and his Bifalo Band were released in 1977 by a very obscure label: Promotion Hounsa and his brothers.

"La Vedette Du Soleil" a pour nom Yekpo Zacharie. Son orchestre est le Groupe Folklorique Bifalo. Voici ses deux premiers enregistrements datés de 1977 et produits par un label mysterieux: Promotion Hounsa et Frères. Je pense que Yekpo est de la ville d'Allada, un des trois principaux royaumes du Bénin. Son rythme est le Zinli, un rythme traditionnel très répandu dans le centre et sud sud du pays.