April 12, 2017
L'Orchestre Afrisa International | Melanie
Afrisa International was the last band led by Tabu Ley Rochereau, one of the handful of people who stood at the pinnacle of Congolese music, the pop music lingua franca of the African continent. Bandleader-saxophonist Modero Mekanisi keeps Tabu Ley’s memory and music alive with this delightful album, the group’s first since 1996. Guitar is king in Congolese music, and Afrisa International has two of the very best in Dino Vangu, who plays on the Paris sessions and Huit Kilos, star of the Tacoma, Washington dates. There are Dino and Huit versions of two songs, “Mela” (tracks 1 and 7, respectively) and “Ma Fille” (3 and 8). The other standout is singer Wawali Bonane who has one of those classic gentle Congolese singing voices, not unlike Tabu Ley’s. The songs are all standards from the Tabu Ley songbook, all but 3 and 8 written by the man himself – no band in the world can play this repertoire better than this one. The pleasures of Congolese music are simple yet subtle: the flowing melodies, the endlessly cycling guitar phrases, the swing that prevents you from standing still. It’s all here – they don’t make ‘em like this any more.
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 3 10
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