Orchestra Makassy - Agwaya (1982)

«In 1980 a 15-man band from Dar Es Salaam got together in a Nairobi studio for some young Brits who wanted to cash in on the Afropop boom that was happening thanks to King Sunny Ade. Mzee ("Elder") Makassy was the leader and principal vocalist of the band named after him; Tshimanga Assosa of Maquis Original contributed singing and songwriting skills. (The songs are in Shona, Swahili and Lingala.) Mose Se Sengo a.k.a. "Fan Fan" is often mentioned in connection with the band as he had been chef d'orchestra before striking out on his own, and he co-wrote two of the songs on the album, but the guitarists on the record are Aimala Mbutu and Alfani Uvuruge. The excellent, bustling Kasongo Shinga played bass, and there were two drummers, a tumbador, and four horn players, including Twalib Mohamed as trumpet soloist and Akuliake Saleh on alto sax. In short, a classic East African dance-band line-up. The opening cut, "Mambo Bado," by Assosa, did become a dance-floor hit, at least in the limited world in which I was deejaying. It still gets you going from the first note. "Kufisilika Sio Kalema" is another mover and shaker in the Virunga style. The ballad "Nakolela Cherie" that closes side one is a haunting ballad about a man whose wife has abandoned him and the kids. There is a bright guitar part in the style of "Fan Fan" and muted trumpet adding to the pathos. Most of the songs contain wry social commentary. Side Two opens with "Mosese," obviously penned by Fan Fan, about a man complaining to his fiancée, followed by "Athumani," a song in which a young married woman complains about her husband running around. The bass is high in the mix for the moody "Mke Wangu," another classic track in which the singer tells of a man who lavished material goods on his wife only to have her leave him. Periodically he says "No smoking!" or "Disco!" in English, seemingly exhortations to the guitarists who are working out. "Molema" by Fan Fan and Makassy at the end of Side B, winds the set down beautifully. "Mambo Bado" should have prompted the group to international stardom but Virgin failed to promote them and they broke up. A further tragedy is that the album has not been reissued on CD [In fact, what you got here is a vinyl rip].» (Muzikfan)

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Anonymous said...


Errol said...

thank you.

jack said...

Thanks for this one.

Radu said...



Jérôme said...

awesome!!! thanks!

osbert said...

i love you man, i've been playing my mp3ed version of my old cassette recording that i made in prob'ly 84, thanks and viva africa, who is mama for all of us, natural skin and bleachers, she loves us all

Rhythm Connection said...

Love your blog! By the way, this album was rereleased on CD with a couple of extra tracks in 2005, and still is available at sternsmusic.com.

I was checking availability of this great album before recording mine and posting it on my site. So not only did you beat me to it by years, so did Stern's!


LeFranck said...

Again so sad. The link is dead in the meaning that the server is down.
This is what I read:

"Server is under technical emergency maintenance. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and we appreciate your patience. Our staff are working on it, please try again later."

I really hope you will help all of us African music lovers with an additional link to another server.

Thanks for sharing this fantastic and hard to get music