Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Desert Island Music

Given that he's one of the most illustrious Congolese musicians of his generation, information about Côme Moutouari, better known as Kosmos, is a bit hard to come by. I know that he's one of a trio of musical brothers (the others being Michel and Pierre Moutouari), that he got started in the '60s with the legendary Bantous de la Capitale in Brazzaville, that he left that congregation in the '70s with Pamelo Mounk'a and Celio to form Trio Ce.Pa.Kos and Orchestre le Peuple, and that in the '80s he recorded a series of solo LPs that are some of finest Congo recordings of that golden decade.

Of these, Ba Camarades (Safari Sound SAS 040, ca. 1983) is true "desert island music" that stands as a distillation of all that was great about '80s Congo music: the sweeping guitar filigrees, the understated horns and above all, Kosmos's lovely voice. They sure don't make records like this any more!

Download Ba Camarades as a zipped file here. Here are some earlier recordings by Kosmos that I took from the compilation CD Best of Kosmos Vol. 2 (Glenn Music GM 324008, 1995). The song translations are from the liner notes. "Miléna," recorded with Bantous de la Capitale, is one of Kosmos' best loved songs. In it the singer recounts the pain his love for Miléna is causing him: "They make me suffer for loving you. I didn't know that my mother-in-law was a merchant of children. She wants me to give her all of the money I make. Oh mother-in-law, please don't tell Miléna to give my child to a man richer than me":

In "Kamwiya" Kosmos and Pamelo Mounk'a sing, "You are losing your way. Bring your heart back to its place. I love you but don't come to me because of bad advice. Don't lose the light of my love. I'm fed up with that suffering":

"Milla, I've heard something horrible. Tomorrow you're flying to a foreign country. Where you are going there are a lot of men. I am afraid you will forget me. I am crying. You leave me with a wound that can only be healed by your return":


Ronald said...

Kosmos rejoined Les Bantous when they reformed in 2006, they played some concerts in Europe the following year. Here a link to the pictures I took in Nijmegen:

Last year Les Bantous played in France again but this time Kosmos was not with them, and it is true info about certain artists is difficult to find

Anonymous said...

Excellent post one of my very favorites musicians
Thanks you

wuod k

Anonymous said...

Fantastic album - I still have the vinyl for this but no turntable. This reminds me of being a young student in Paris in 1981/82 - I taped 'Madou Sesselesse' off the radio and it was on heavy rotation in our flat.

Thanks so much!

John R, London

Anonymous said...

Fabuleux, milles fois merci d'avoir posté ces tubes intemporels que ceux de Kosmos.La cerise sur le gâteau c'est indiscutablement "Madou Sesselesse"c'est le plus beau tube d'un chanteur africain qu'il m'ai jamais été donné d'écouter."JIM

LeFranck said...

Thank you Likembe for this great release of Kosmos Moutouari. Is it possible for you to post the front sleeve of "Best of Kosmos vol 2".
Its impossible to find the front anywhere.