Throughout the entire month of May Soul Safari will be listing field recordings, folk, private pressings, township jive & kwela jazz, African jazz, soul & boogie, mbanqaga,and much much more with absolutely no reserves.
Records that have been presented on these pages over the last five years are now on auction. So here is your change to grab some rare African vinyl as I am cleaning out my shelves to make room for new music.
Some highlights; a collection of ultra rare and seldom heard field recordings from ILAM, recorded by Hugh Tracey. These records were purchased many years ago directly from ILAM in South Africa from what was left of their unsold stock. All records come in their original cover with the labels attached to the back cover and are unplayed, in brand new mint condition.
More Soul Safari favs like great 45’s by jive kings The Soweto Boys, mbanqaga queens The Manzini Girls are now on auction.
so have you enjoyed the holidays? Just like last year my visit to the colonial museum in Tervuren, Belgium was a special experience. The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) in Tervuren is one of the most fascinating and beautiful African institutions in the world. The exhibition “UNCENSORED. Colorful stories behind the scenes”, is the last exhibition before the major renovation begins at the end of 2012 and is your last chance to visit a traditional ‘colonial museum .
This time my interest was stirred since I received these rare recordings as a Christmas present, made by Jos Gansemans in 1973 in Zaire, sponsored by the Royal Museum for Central Africa. The recordings come from a people called the Salampasu, which are distinguished by the use of the xylophone, similar to the music of the Mchopi tribe or Chopi, a Bantu-speaking people of northern Mozambique on the borders of Tanganyika. See also my previous post more African tribal dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines …
Dances of the Salampasu, Zaire
The territory of the Salampasu in the south of the Kasayi province/Zaire is bordered by the Lulua and the Kasayi-rivers. Their neighbouring people are the Lunda in the South, the Kete in the north and east and the Lwalwa in the west.
Because of their bloodthirsty behaviour and because of the headhunting, in the past frequently attended by cannibalism, they became very feared. Consequently they remained a homogeneous people that succeeded in keeping its traditions, language and customs free from foreign influences.
To dance, the Salampasu dress up themselves with all kinds of skins, head-dresses and body paintings. The ritual characteristics find their best expression in the head-hunting dance matambu, the mask dances and the dances held during the healing rituals as there the Luanda, the mfuku, the utshumbu and the kabulukuta, the latter exclusively being performed by women. On the organological level they differ from the Lunda, Kete and Luba by the apparent preference they give to the xylophone madimba, the most important instrument of their orchestras.
From the liner notes of the album ‘Zaire, Musique de Salampasu’ Radio France BRT 1981 by Jos Gansemans
The misengu dance, Mukasa Nsaka, is one of the most impressive dances of the Salampasu.
The quantity of dancers easily amounts up to around a hundred, separated in two groups.
Now and then the groups are facing each other, they run around while dancing and threaten each other with their fightful swords, meanwhile they stamp loudly on the floor and made resound their ankle-rattles isuka. The xylophone and drum orchestra accompanying this dance is composed of four madimba xylophones, two ngoma drums beaten with the hands and two cylindrical drums ikandi on which they play with two sticks.
Zairean music owes its popularity to people like Franco, Rochereau and Docteur Nico. From Docteur Nico, Franco learned the modern style of guitar playing. Franco’s well-known way of playing is holding his guitar against his voluminous stomach and because high tones are beyond the reach of his deep bass he adjusts the sound of his guitar with the ‘capo dastro’.
When Franco plays one tone lower, the female dancers, La Zumarette come on stage in a floating manner, dressed in colourful clothes. They move around, swaying their hips, clapping their hands and dancing the fast dancing steps, characteristic for Zaire. By their dancing the musicians get inspired.
In 1953, Franco got his first real guitar from his record producer at that time. In 1956, he set up his first band O.K. Jazz. After the independence of Zaire, Franco scored a hit with ‘Musumbuku’. His band grew from 9 to 37 persons and became famous as T.P.O.K. (Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinois’) Jazz. With this group he played in most African countries and also in the USA and Europe. The sales of his records were enormous. Now he has his own record company in Zaire, he owns immovable property in that country and he also owns a house in Brussels, Belgium. Besides, he is the owner of the club Un, Deux, Trois in Kinshasha, a dance-hall and a meeting place for musicians who are members of the Zairean Union of Musicians.
Franco is a dynamic and friendly person with a good sense of humour, which he assimilates in his texts. He jokes about the contact between men and women; he not only sings about love bu also about historical events in the world.
The atmosphere of his music is cheerful; a dazzling, inexhaustible show radiant with energy. In short: what you and hear is the grand “maitre” himself.
This album was recorded in Holland during the Africa Mama Festival in 1987 and features members of T.P.O.K. Jazz
Lutumba Simaro, Madilu System, Kiesse Kiambu Wanted, Malage de Lugendo, Lokombe N’bal on vocals and the well known Nigerian saxophone player Pedro.
The poet Lutumba Simaro, who has been workin together with Franco for 30 years, is also Franco’s right-hand man and his ‘chef d’orchestre’.
The album ‘Franco & Le TPOK Jazz Live in Holland’ is like a Holy Grail to most lovers of Zairean music since it is one of the rare live-recordings of Franco just a short time of his decease. Soul Safari is happy to share it with you.
There is such a great energy on this album and a memorable line-up of 24 musicians and a group of 3 dancers La Zumarette
Franco & Le TPOK Jazz En Hollande -Africa Mama Records 87.01-1 Holland 1987