Our hero, Jo Tongo (born Joseph Ekambi Tongo Mpondo) was born and raised in Douala Cameroon. In 1964 he headed off to Paris to begin Pharmaceutical studies. Somewhere along the way the music in his soul eventually won out and he embarked on a life of music. In 1968 his first single "Dig It Babe" released under his Jojo L'Explosif alias. A few more singles followed, as did regular appearances, contributions and productions with (fellow Camerounian) Manu Dibango, Tala AM, Manfred Ebanda and others throughout the 70s.
In 1977 Jo's the stars in Jo's timeline all aligned when he produced and recorded his debut self titled "Jo Tongo" for the Fiesta label. Recorded in both French and his native Duala language, it is a perfect example of 70s funk meeting afrobeat with African folk styles and flavors. Produced with legendary Parisian funk / disco / afro soundman Slim Pezin the album oozes style, quality, fine musicianship and is full of instantly memorable songs.
The album opens up with stunningly catchy Jangolo. It's a prefect introduction to Jo's awesomely funky bass guitar. Slim adds layers of percussive "jangly" guitar and the track is underpinned by African drums, funky stabs and 70s nascent synthesiser string machines. Tracks such as a "Kiele" and "Boso Bongo" highlight Jo's Cameroonian roots. While dancefloor stompers such as "Piani" and "A'Muna" sounds more relavent and current today than possibly they did in 1977. The album also includes plenty of swagger with the boogie-style afro swingers "Ewande" and "Muasa Loko".
The Jangolo track was a highlight of the recent Africa Seven debut release "African Airways Volume 1: (Funk Connection 1972-1980)". To Follow that up Africa Seven are proud to repress the debut Jo Tongo album in its full glory.
Jo now spends his time between Paris and New York. He is a social media and Internet wizard (buzz him up!) and is currently working on new material.