Monday, April 29, 2019

Kinshasa Acoustic: Orchestre Sim-Sim International



Here is the second of three "unorthodox" Congolese albums released by the Swiss label Plainisphare in the mid-'80s. Nsimba Vuvu was a former associate of Manu Dibango and assembled Orchestre Sim-Sim International from members of a number of bands then extant in Kinshasa. Apparently their only recording, Nasiwedi (Plainisphare ZONE Z-4, 1986) continues the casual ambiance of the first album in this series, Kinshasa!, by Kawende et ses Copains (Plainisphare ZONE Z-1, 1984), which I posted a few days ago. Apart from one electric guitar, Nasiwedi is also acoustic and refreshingly casual in its approach, almost like a recorded jam session.

Researching this blog I often have occasion to consult my collection of back issues of The Beat, an indespensible magazine that was published in the US from the early '80s to the early 2000s. Volume 6, Number 4 from 1987 contains a rather dismissive review of the Plainsphare series by Elizabeth Sobo, who did admit to enjoying Orchestre Sim-Sim's album:

By far the best of the three Plainisphare contributions is the one by Orchestre Sim-Sim. Its opening selection, "Nasiwedi," combines Congolese guitars reminiscent of the Le Peuple productions of years past, highlife-style horns, sharp percussion, a fascinating, catchy beat and two rather ordinary (but adequate) male voices. Perhaps the best track and the one closest to contemporary Kinshasa music is "Sekele," a captivating dance number sung in Lingala. "Kokiko," another welcome addition to the album, is slower, with an East African flavor and alternating male and female lead vocals. 
Sobo seems to have a rather dogmatic view of how "real" African music is supposed to sound. As I noted about Kinshasa!, these three recordings, while different from the Congolese music we usually hear, are undoubtedly authentic and probably representative of a whole stratum of sounds that is seldom recorded. In a few days I'll post the final entry in the Plainisphare series, an album by Ali & Tam's and Orchestre Malo.

Orchestre Sim-Sim International - Nasiwedi

Orchestre Sim-Sim International - Eh! Ya Ya







Download Nasiwedi as a zipped file here.


4 comments:

Stefan said...

Well done. I appreciate you spot light and comment on that kind of music... Your post makes me also think, that we might not know all to much about the diversity and richness of the two Congos traditional and modern music spectrum yet, since the rumba seems to have overpowerd it all for a very long time...

I noticed an Angolan twist involvement in the Nakupenda song..., and that did not jump in because of the Swiss producers of that record...

DJ Daudi said...

Thanks, John. I have looked forward to hearing this album.

roberth said...

thank u this sounds like it will be great!
robert

Young Jay said...

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