Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Orch. Carte Blanche Du Zaire

Not many boot sales around yet so forced to dig deep into the archive for this one on the Flambeau label (1985)- Printed and designed in Nigeria it says but the music is very much the soukous we know and love from Zaire (formerly the Belgium Congo ).

Not much info. gleaned on the interent about Orch. Carte Blanche so here is a brief description I found of the early soukous scene in the Congo-

"During the 1950s, when they experienced rapid urbanization and a relatively booming economy, the two French-speaking colonies of the Congo area (capitals in Brazzaville and Kinshasa) witnessed the birth of an African version of the Cuban rumba played by small American-style orchestras (called "kasongo", "kirikiri" or "soukous") with a touch of jazz and of local attitudes: Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabasselleh's African Jazz (that counted on vocalist Tabu Ley, guitarist "Docteur" Nico Kasanda, saxophonist Manu Dibango), Jean-Serge Essous' O.K.Jazz (featuring the young Franco), Orchestre Bella Bella, etc. Each orchestra became famous for one or more "dances" that they invented. So soukous (as Ley dubbed it in 1966) is actually a history of dances, rather than one monolithic genre (Ley's definition originally applied only to a frenzied version of rumba). A guitarist named Jimmy Elenga introduced "animation": instructions yelled to the crowd in order to direct their dances. Animation eventually became part of the dance, delivering both the identity of the dance, the (ethnic) identity of the band and a (more or less subtle) sociopolitical message. As dictators seized power in both Congos, musicians emigrated to other African countries, to Europe and to the USA, thus spreading soukous around the world, while in Zaire (Congo Kinshasa) soukous bands were used for Maoist-style propaganda purposes ("l'animation politique")."

Orch. Carte Blanche Du Zaire - Mauna Kindou (edit)

Orch. Carte Blanche Du Zaire - Umba (edit)

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spice-the-cat said...

Hi Michael. Interesting find. I have a collection of African music based around the Decca West Africa series from the late 50's/early 60's. It's fascinating to hear the introduction of Latin American rhythms into Africa and the way it mutated the European big band styles into something completely unique. Then followed by the guitar taking over from the brass section and what I always feel is some of the most exciting music ever created. I also have a few examples of African bands playing in a very definite calypso style. I can't quite get my head around how that influence landed in the heart of Africa at such an early date.

There are a few interesting articles on the net covering the development of recorded African music - one interesting piece is linked here:

One of these days I'm going to migrate from MSN Spaces and on to blogger and start uploading some of my more interesting stuff. One of these days...

wastedpapiers said...

Glad you enjoyed this post spice. Thanks for the link. I think that guy Vernon was a guest on Charlie Gillet's radio show a few years back? I'll have to check my archive of tapes.

I must admit I've always loved the rhumba influence on the congolese and west african music. O.K. Jazz. The Four Stars. Sam Manguauna etc.

I hope you do get a blog started. I should love to hear some of those African sounds you mention.