Orchestra Super Mazembe
cdRoots Code: st-mazembe45
'Earthmovingly glorious East African gem' say fRoots in their April 2013 issue.
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In the West it's easy to forget that the story of African music often lies not in its albums, but in its singles, and the reason is simple. As compiler Doug Paterson notes, “in Kenya in 1980, the average music fan might not have found it too difficult to come up with 10 shillings for a single, but it would have been much harder to find the 55 shillings necessary for an album.”
This album, then, is in homage to those singles. A selection of tracks from the late 1970s, all but two (Mwana Mazembe & Na Bimaka Te) have never appeared on albums, and none on CD or as legal downloads before now.
It's the story of one of the most successful East African bands of the time; a sprawling, prolific, dynamic unit that toured up and down the country and recorded hit after hit so that today they are still remembered with pleasure and affection.
In 1975, Orchestra Super Mazembe finally arrived in Nairobi having left Zaïre some 5 years before. Their first years were lean, but in 1977 they scored a huge hit with their single Kassongo, and from that point on their fortunes lay in East Africa. They were incredibly productive; by 1984 they'd released 42 singles under the Editions Mazembe imprint alone, and they toured relentlessly.
Honed to perfection on the road, in the studio the songs were all recorded in single sessions. Moreover their structure had to fit the format of a single. At around the 5 minute mark there's a repeating or chorus or instrumental. This would be the fade-out of side A and the fade-in for side B which then usually featured some fabulous guitar break-downs before building up again for the end. Our tracks have been painstakingly mastered and rejoined as originally recorded.
Hear them now, one the best African guitar bands ever: Super Mazembe – The Earth Movers!
Tracklisting: 1. Kingo Mwambe 8:30 2. Izabela 8:32 3. Amina 6:16 4. Mwana Mazembe 9:31 5. Na Bimaka Te 8:32 6. South View 7:55 7. Okova 9:23 8. Naleli Libota 9:09 9. Naleki Na Ba Zone 9:31 Total time: 1hr 17mins
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