Pela Simba - Pela Simba (2006)

Hello everybody, Babe(b)logue goes on holiday, so this will be the last post for a while. See you soon, and stick around!


P.S. As far as I know, this somewhat mysterious CD collects two beautiful Pela Simba’s albums originally published during the first half of the 80’s, Pela Simba and Sambara. If you discover more info, please leave a comment here. Cheers!

«Pela Simba, chanteur-guitariste d'origine congolaise, fondateur du groupe Thu Zahina, neveu de Tabu Ley (l'un des pères de la musique africaine moderne), vous propose une musique ethno-urbaine où s'enroulent tout en couleur poésie, rythmes, chants et joie de vivre.
Thu Zahina” est le nom d’un groupe musical qui fait parler de lui au Zaïre dans les années soixante dix.
C’est le premier groupe composé uniquement de lycéens. Parmi les cofondateurs de “Thu Zahina” il y a Pela Simba.
Très vite populaire chez les jeunes, ce groupe, avec son style nouveau, fait naître dans son sillage d’autres groupes de lycéens tels que “Zatko”, “Bella Bella”, “Stukas” et bien d’autres.
Dès le départ, “Thu Zahina” se trouve un parrain de choix en la personne de l’artiste Tabu Ley (Rochereau). En effet ce dernier: chanteur et auteur-compositeur, est l’une des plus grandes stars du Zaïre et d’Afrique. Quelques temps plus tard ce groupe de lycéens est produit par Luambo-Makiadi dit “Franco”, une autre grande star du pays et du continent africain. L’arrivée de “Thu Zahina” et de tous ces autres groupes est sans conteste le départ d’une nouvelle musique zaïroise. C’est le début des artistes comme Papa Wemba, Pépé Manuku, Evoloko. Nyoka Longo,...
Après son départ du groupe “Thu Zahina”, Pela crée les “Saphirs” et ensuite rejoint Pépé Kallé, Vata Mombassa dans le groupe “Myosotis”.
En 1977, Pela arrive à Paris pour des études d’audiovisuel et de journalisme qu’il terminera quelques années plus tard avec succès. Mais ses études ne l’empêchent pas de continuer de vivre sa passion: la musique. C’est ainsi qu’il consacre ses heures de liberté à la création de l’une des premières formations musicales, d’étudiants d’Afrique Centrale.
Avec Jean-Faustin Missamou et Aimé Kobo ils fondent les “Mongali”.
Quelques années plus tard, avec Maika et Bony Bikaye, Pela joue aux côtés de Ray Lema dans le groupe “Carma” sponsorisé par Jean-François Bizot et son journal “Actuel”.
Puis toujours avec Maika, c’est la naissance du groupe “Malaika” avec des musiciens comme Denis Hekimian, Manou Lima ou le saxophone Jimi Mvondo.
En tant qu’auteur, compositeur, arrangeur ou interprète, Pela participe à un grand nombre de disques avec des artistes de renom tels que Tabu Ley, Mbilia Bel, Franco, Tchounou Bowen...
En 1986, on lui confie la direction artistique du “Kiss Club”.
Il en fait très vite un haut lieu de la musique black et métisse à Paris. On s’y presse tous les soirs pour y rencontrer des artistes connus ou inconnus; et danser et chanter sur des rythmes de toutes les couleurs.
Pendant deux ans Pela et son groupe le “Mouvement AYE” s’y produisent tous les soirs. Et les invités pour “taper le boeuf” seront pas les moindres: Higelin, Eric Serrat, Alpha Blondy, Rido Bayonne, etc.
Pela s’est produit dans de nombreux lieux réputés de la nuit parisienne tels que “Le Bataclan”, “La Chapelle des Lombards”, “Le Rex Club”, “L’espace Cardin”, etc. et dans un grand nombre de villes hors de Paris.» (EspaceConcert)

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Yengi Yol - De Seville à Boukhara (2003)

«Yengi Yol means “new way”, in Turkish as well as in Uzbek. The “Yengi Yol” Ensemble was born a few years ago when European musician E.H. During went to meet young musicians his age in Uzbekistan. Back then, when his flamenca guitar met their traditional Uzbek music, the result was convincing straight away. The band was born and several concerts and recordings were rapidly done, so that a new sound could be heard in European and Oriental countries.

Today, “Yengi Yol” has set off again, towards a new, totally original adventure where Turkish Ottoman music meets Uzbek music. The four European musicians (A.Espinouze, S.Halaris, A.Morineau et E.H.During) who took up the challenge already had sound experience of Ottoman high culture music, but they had never tackled high culture tradition from Central Asia.
The meeting occurred in May 2007 in Uzbekistan when three concerts were given (in Samarqand, Bukhara and Tashkent) to an audience dumbfounded by the new tones brought by “Yengi Yol” to their music. A few videos and some recordings give an account of what had probably never happened in centuries.
In the 15th century, exchanges were still flourishing between the door to Europe and the heart of Asia. Thus, musicians from Samarqand or Bukhara were able to play at the Ottoman court of Istanbul and vice versa. The works of the repertoire would travel over thousands of kilometres, from one end of a chain of transmission to the other, and were organized into a both refined and complex codified knowledge: the Maqam or the art of high culture music, shared by the elite of musicians from the Maghreb to China. With the passing of centuries and due to the setting up of political borders, the Maqam was progressively divided and interpreted in accordance with local claims, each region developing its own style and repertoire.
Yengi Yol proposes to go in the reverse direction. While keeping the specificities proper to each culture, they want to play Ottoman and Uzbek pieces having obvious similarities by drawing from the ancient – up to 15th century – repertoires of the court as well as Sufi brotherhoods.
As obvious and natural as the result may appear, such a meeting has never happened before.» (Yengi Yol’s MySpace page)

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Blo - Chapters and Phases: The Complete Albums 1973-1975 (2009)

«Blo fused the Afrobeat rhythms of their native Nigeria with the mind-expanding psychedelia and funk of late-'60s Western rock to forge a wholly original sound embracing the full spectrum of black music. The roots of the group lay in the Clusters, already one of the most popular Nigerian highlife acts of the mid-'60s even prior to a stint as the support band for the Sierra Leonean pop superstar Geraldo Pino, once dubbed "the West African James Brown." In 1970, guitarist Berkely "Ike" Jones, bassist Mike "Gbenga" Odumosu, and drummer Laolu "Akins" Akintobi left the Clusters to join Afrocollection with twin sisters Kehinde and Taiwo Lijadu (featured a decade later on the British television show The Tube), moving away from their highlife roots to explore a more pronounced Afro-Rock approach. While performing at the Lagos club Batakuto, Afrocollection jammed with Ginger Baker, the renowned drummer from the British blues-rock supergroup Cream; in late 1971, the members of Afrocollection joined Baker in forming the jazz-rock ensemble Salt, making their live debut the following year alongside the legendary Fela Kuti.

Despite a series of well-received live appearances throughout Western Europe and North America, the Salt project proved short-lived, and in late 1972, Jones, Odumosu, and Akintobi formed Blo, touring relentlessly in the months to come, prior to recording their EMI Nigeria label debut Blo: Chapter One. Drawing equally on the pioneering Afrobeat of Fela and Tony Allen as well as the American psych-rock of bands like the Grateful Dead and the Byrds, the record failed to live up to EMI's commercial expectations, and after signing to Afrodisia, Blo resurfaced in 1975 with Phase 2, pushing further into funk and R&B territory. Grand Funk Railroad and the Isley Brothers were the primary influences on the trio's third LP, Phase 3, but as lackluster sales continued to dog the group, Blo faced greater corporate pressure to reflect contemporary musical trends – specifically, disco, a shift culminating with 1980's Bulky Backside, recorded in London. Blo dissolved following the 1982 release of Back in Time.» (AMG)

«One of the hippest groups of the Nigerian scene of the 70s – presented here in two classic albums, back to back on a single CD! Chapter One is a landmark set of African grooves – very unusual in both conception and execution – with a feel that's unlike anything we can think of! There's definitely a rock influence in the set, but the music isn't rock at all – it's a very dark, almost dubby groove at points – and a bit more straightforwardly funk at others – almost a post-colonial style that clearly comes from a London influence, given to the group by a previous association with Ginger Baker. Rhythms are quite tight, and the bass is as strong as the drums – mixed up nicely with riffing guitar, and moody vocals that color the whole thing nicely. […]. Phase II is a critical next step for the group – music that's even deeper than before, but a bit funkier too! There's clearly some touches here of other African funk of the time – especially in the way the guitar parts groove with the rhythms – although those heavy Blo basslines from before are still nicely in place, as are some of the fuzzier production elements too.» (Dusty Groove America)

Check also RPM Records’ Blo page.

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Ancient Future - Asian Fusion (1993)

«Ancient Future was formed in 1978 by guitarist Matthew Montfort, who was interested in combining ancient musical traditions with modern technology. The band's inviting melodies, exotic instruments, and ethnic textures helped popularize of world-music fusion.

In Asian Fusion, Jim Hurley and Matthew Montfort's shared violin-and-guitar-line leads catch hold of a strong melody and bite down hard. But despite Zhao Hui's Chinese gu sheng board zither, Bui Hui Nhut's dan bao Vietnamese one-stringed lute, and assorted ethnic percussion, vernacular instruments don't share equal weight with the band's folk-classical thrust, and the cuts that are carved from indigenous music – "The Dusk Song of the Fisherman" or the lovely Indonesian degung of "Sunda Strait" – tilt somewhat toward the generic. Still, the disc's got plenty of fire, and its loveliness often surprises.» (AMG)

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