Next up on Africa Seven is the second instalment of our series of Manu Dibango CD re-issues from the Fiesta label. Manu Dibango is probably the most famous musician from Cameroon and quite possibly one of the most internationally well-known African musicians ever. Manu Dibango is a most versatile musician, having played and recorded almost every style of music you care to mention - soul, reggae, jazz, spirituals, blues, African, electro.

Manu DiBango originally trained in classical piano, His musical career began in Brussels and Paris in the 1950. The 1960s finds him in Congo as a member of African Jazz led by Joseph Kabasele (Le Grand Kalle). He formed his own band in Cameroon in 1963, moving to Paris in 1965. His international breakthrough came in 1972 with international hit "Soul Makossa". This went on to be inspire the chant in Michael Jacksons "Wanna Be Startin Something" (and many others).

For the "Manu 76" album we head off to (predictably) the year of 1976, in Paris. Four years after is international breakthrough with Soul Makossa Manu actually recorded two studio albums that year. Here he assembles a supremely talent bunch of musicians wh include our very own Jo Tongo (on bass) and one of Africa Sevens favorite producers, Slim Pezin on guitar. Lucien Dobat (Kassav) on drums, Alex Francfort on Piano and Georgia Dibango (at age 7) on the guest vocals.

The albums six tracks, which are all lengthy, straddle a series of styles from the Soukouss beats of "Bokikos Boogie" and "Qui Est Fou De Qui", the Afro Boogie jazz with the highly catchy "Mimbo", the driving afro future-jazz of "Mouvement Ewondo", the pensive soundtrack moods of "Besoka" and bombastic, afrofunk soul "Angola" which sounds like it could have come of the Shaft in Africa soundtrack. Arguably one of Manus finest artist albums. You be the judge.

"GRAND SORCIER OU GRAND MARABOUT?

Le Grand Sorcier et le Grand Marabout sont-ils pareils ? Ceux qui les connaissemt ne s’y trompent pas : ils siont différents. Manu DIBANGO est cepencant pareil aux deux. Car à ces personnages hiératiques de l’Afrique éternelle se rattachent l’idée du Sacré ainsi que des facultés particuliéres d’alchimie, de magie et d’envoútement. Comme avec le Grand Sorcier ou le Grand Marabout, nous nous attendons toujours à ce que Manu DIBANGO sorte quelque sortilège de son grand boubou. Ca ne rate jamais. Il continue de nous surprendre par les recherches les plus hardies, les trouvailles les plus inattendues et des sonorités toujours plus insolites. A croire que Manu se recrée perpétuellement : c’est l’artiste à son apogée qui reste en pleine mutation. Son génie et son inspiration se nourrissent cependant toujours de la méme séve : L’AFRIQUE Voici qu’à nouveau il nous conduit à travers les vastes contrées mouvantes et pleines de contrastes de cet univers Africain.

Henri BANDOLO"


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