Saturday, August 31, 2019
An often-overlooked item in the discography of Les Quatre Etoiles, 1988's Four Stars at the Kilimanjaro (Kilimanjaro International Productions KIP-006-88) purports to be a "live" recording at the Kilimanjaro Club in Washington, DC but is no such thing. While I'm sure Les Quatre Etoiles did perform at the Kilimanjaro, Side One of this LP is obviously a studio recording to which dubbed-in crowd noises have been added! This occasionally occurs in classic African recordings for inexplicable reasons. Sometimes, when the records are reissued, it has been possible to locate the original masters sans the additions. That's when we're lucky, but that usually isn't the case. Oh, well, at least Side Two of At the Kilimanjaro hasn't been defaced in this manner!
Les Quatre Etoiles (the Four Stars) are, of course, the Congolese super-group that was founded in the early '80s by Wuta Mayi, Nyboma Muan'dido, Bopol Mansiamina and Syran Mbenza. They're still around and active! For whatever reason (probably visa-related) Nyboma does not appear here, and has been replaced by drummer Komba Bellow, a fine musician in his own right. That begs the question, though - without Nyboma, can this group really claim to be Les Quatre Etoiles? He's a pretty essential part of the ensemble, after all! Despite this, I think At the Kilimanjaro is an excellent recording, phony crowd noises and all. I hope you'll agree!
Les Quatre Etoiles - Kouame / Elena / Ayant Droit / Tuti / Zou Zou
Les Quatre Etoiles - Amerika
Les Quatre Etoiles - Djina
Les Quatre Etoiles - Dovi Dina
Download At the Kilimanjaro as a zipped file here. By the way, apparently when Syran Mbenza was in DC, he recorded another album, Africa: The Golden Years (African Music Gallery AMG 007), with some of the same musicians. I posted it many years ago here.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Here's another classic from the last "Golden Age" of Congo music, the 1980s!
Wuta Mayi is best known as a member of two Congolese "super groups" - Les Quatre Étoiles, which launched in the early '80s, and Kékélé, from the early years of this century. However, he's had an illustrious career not only guesting on many others' recordings over the years but as a solo artist. He got his start with Jamel National in 1967 and the next year jumped over to Orchestre Bamboula, led by Papa Noël. He was invited to join le Tout Poussaint OK Jazz by Franco in 1974, where he stayed for eight years. The launching of Le Quatre Étoiles in 1982, uniting the talents of Mayi, Nyboma Muan'dido, Bopol Mansiamina and Syran Mbenza, supercharged the African music scene, taking it to new audiences around the world.
In between stints with Les Quatre Étoiles Wuta Mayi found time to record a number of solo albums including today's offering, Tout Mal Se Paie Ici Bas (Soweto Records 002, 1984).
An extra special bonus for this LP is the presence of Souzy Kasseya, whose brilliant guitar work enlivened many recording sessions from Kinshasa to Abidjan to Paris back in the '80s. Kasseya had a smash hit in France in 1983 with "Le Téléphone Sonne." Many years ago I posted another tune by him here on Likembe, which you can find here. Souzy's worth a post of his own in the future. In fact, I think I'll do that! In the meantime, enjoy this slice of sweet Congo soukous!
Wuta Mayi - Tout Mal Se Paie Ici Bas
Wuta Mayi - Elembo Na Mi Tema
Wuta Mayi - Batamboli Moto
Wuta Mayi - Maboko Pamba
Download Tout Mal Se Paie Ici Bas as a zipped file, complete with album and label art, here. Biographical information in this post courtesy of the liner notes of Rumba Congo (Sterns STCD 1093, 2001) by Kékélé, available here.