Friday, October 20, 2017

Afropea Rising



I've been hesitating to post here the cover of Zazou Bikaye's 1985 LP Mr. Manager (Pow Wow WOW 7401). I don't know who the artist is or what his or her intention is, to be "ironic" or whatever. It just strikes me as being kinda racist! Anyway, I'm going to put it right here, and you can make up your own mind:

Click on the picture to enlarge. Whatever you think of the cover, I hope you'll agree with me that Mr. Manager is one of the more notable African releases of the '80s, one of the first truly "Afropean" albums and a mostly successful attempte to fuse Congolese tradition with European techno music.

Zazou Bikaye was a collaboration between French/Algerian composer and arranger Hector Zazou and Congolese vocalist Bony Bikaye. I haven't found out much about Bony Bikaye. Discogs lists two solo albums and an EP but that's pretty much it. Hector Zazou, however, who died in 2008, boasted quite a C.V., with Wikipedia listing 44 citations. He specialized in cross-cultural fusions and mash-ups long before "World Music" was a marketing gimmick, or even a thing. Zazou and Bikaye's first outing, with French synthesizer wizards CY1, was 1983's Noir et Blanc (Crammed Discs CRAM 025), and has been described as "Fela Kuti meets Kraftwerk on the dance floor" and a cult classic. It will be reissued in November, and is available for pre-order here.

I dunno. I got Noir et Blanc not too long after it first came out, and I like it, but it's always seemed a little cold and austere for my taste. Maybe it deserves more time than I've been willing to give it. Mr. Manager, on the other hand, strikes a better balance between digital and analog. Two tracks in particular, "Nostalgie" and "Angel," always got a good reception back when I aired them on my old public radio program, "African Beat" in Milwaukee. It's a great album and I hope you'll enjoy it too!

Zazou Bikaye - Mr. Manager

Zazou Bikaye - Nostalgie

Zazou Bikaye - Soki Akei

Zazou Bikaye - (Little) Angel

Zazou Bikaye - Angel

Zazou Bikaye - M'pasi ya M'pamba

Download Mr. Manager as a zipped file, with cover and label art, here. I hope I'm not stepping on any toes by sharing this here. An internet search doesn't turn up any current availability for Mr. Manager through any online stores or streaming services, but if any label or copyright holder objects, let me know through the comments and I will remove these files immediately.

7 comments:

Djouls said...

Artist who did artwork is Ben Hito. He does most of my label's visuals (Paris DJs). I can assure you the man has always been the opposite of racist. We talked together about this 1983 Zazou Bikaye cover recently...

Henk Madrotter said...

I saw them perform in 1983 when their Noir Et Blanc just came out (fantastic album just liten to it a few more times I'm sure you'll get more in to it), in Paradiso, Amsterdam, fantastic concert, I was dancing in a sea of orange as the place was filled with followers of Bhagwan (Osho) all dressed in orange.... I still play tracks from that album eacht time I do a dj set somewhere....

Next dj set will be in Rotterdam, November the 11th and Jupiter and Okwess from Congo will be performing :)

http://www.grounds.nu/agenda/jupiter-okwess/

Anyway, thanks for this album!

John B. said...

Thanks, Djouls. I love Paris DJs - the music and the artwork! Thanks also, Henk. Your blog is a treasure.

Henk Madrotter said...

Terima Kasih Banyak :)

esibo said...

Roxy Wap > your link is really insensitive, a porn site? How rude!

John B. said...

I've deleted that comment.

2b0rn0t0b said...



welcome back, Likembe!

btw, I simply adore this album!!!