Next up on Africa Seven is the second edition of our "African Funk Experimentals" LPs. With these we took some of our favourite African artists, choose the most funky we can find and then put together a compilation of their choicest and funkiest tracks. Of course that may not be their most popular or best selling tracks… but that’s just fine. We are digging for the funk.
Step forward Cameroonian funk master Pasteur Lappe. The story begins in the 60s with a charming 19 year old Nicolas “Pasteur” Lappe becoming a sensation on Radio Adele in Douala Cameroun. He goes on to become the editor of Douala Gazette newspaper and become friends with other African music stars such as Tala AM, J Moboule and Fela Kuti. He also works tirelessly promoting new and upcoming local Cameroonian talent. After moving to Paris, a stint in Journalism school and publishing a book of poems "Chansons Negres" he finally settles into a new life of music in Paris.
Our hero makes a trio of albums from 1979 to 1981 with backing band and production collective called the Zulu Gang which include Douglas Mbida (who goes onto release several top flight albums himself) and Jacob Desvariaux (who went on to form Kassav). The three albums are full of diverse sounds; from driving funk, sweeping disco grooves, syrupy ballads, reggae, Jackson-five-esque pop to finger-lickin’ soul. At their core though is the "Sekele" groove... a movement to encompass the dance, grooves and vibes from his native Douala.
Our album opens up with the pulsating percussion and floor-filling bass groove of "More Sekele Movement". We then move onto Africa Seven favourite "Na Real Sekele Fo'Ya" which takes stabby moog bass synth to a whole new level of grooviness. "Sanaga Calkpso" is more experimental in comparison its moog groove would go onto to form the basis of a highlight of the debut Kassav album. "Hiembi Nin" is a song in two parts; half Shaft groove and half synthy Calypso. "Back To Funky" is dance funk and features Maryse Lappe guesting on vocals.
Opening up on side two of the record is the Rhodes and sax led jazz funk of "Mbale", followed by the clavinet groove, sleezy brass and politically charged lyrics. "Sekelemania" is a cool piece of tropical, calypso funk. Lead track from Album 2, the single "ABC" is stomping afro, pop funk delight closes proceedings.
The nostalgic poet, with Africa at his essence Pasteur Lappe, we salute you.