Ekmabi Brillant is a master Cameroonian songman. He was born in 1948 in Dibombari, a village close to Douala. After several singles released on the Philips in the early seventies he moved to Paris to begin work on his debut album for the Fiesta Label. Here paired with the super hot producer of the day Slim Pezin he created a mini afro-pop-rock-funk masterpiece.
Proceedings open up with (our unofficial theme tune) of "Africa Africa" - layers of afro drums and percussion, psych fuzz guitar and bellowing bass all with Ekambi's call-to-arms chant. The perfect opener. "Massoma" is next up with a picked guitar line, afro boogie grooves and rolling bass. Foot tapping all the way. "Aye N’Dolam" and "Atele" are perfect example of the songmans craft highlighting his impressive vocal and lyric abilities (these are sung in Douala language).
"Aboki" is dancefloor gold. Repressed and re-issued several times recently the grooves stand out in 2016 as fresh as they did back in the day. Funky guitar, Locked on bass and killer brass. "Lambo" keeps the groove factor up and highlights the guitar mastery of Slim Pezin who manages to seamlessly mix in afro funk, pysch and jangly funk guitars all into one track. "N’kondo" melds African country and traditional sounds with funky guitar. "Essangia" hits us with sleazy laid back horns and a lazy funk groove whilst "N'Dutu" is the perfect ballad closing the album with its nostalgic vocal and guitar.
And there you have it, a most complete album which touches all the right bases and sounds incredibly fresh today.
Ekmabi went on to produce 10 more albums and in the 1990s moved back to his native Cameroon. He is still revered as a master in Africa and makes regular tours to the US, France and around the world.