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 inspire the chant in Michael Jacksons "Wanna Be Startin Something" (and many others).
For the "Sun Explosion" album we are off to 1978, Paris. Six years after is international breakthrough with Soul Makossa, Manu is on a roll after scoring a couple of films the previous year Manu returns to the studio with long term collaborator and producer Rolande Le Couviour and Claude AchallÃ© engineering to work on an artist album.
The albums four tracks, which are all lengthy, straddle a series of styles from the lazy, reaggae jazz of opener "Anty", to the more traditional "Manu" afro-funk-jazz sound of "Matumba". Remember its 1978 and Disco is in the air. Spin the record over to the B-side and you hear the sounds of the times have made their way into string epic, funky "Motapo" and the driving brass and funky xylophone on "Sun Explosion". A record that sounds surprisingly at home in todays current musical climate.