Several mysteries were hanging over Pop Makossa, Analog Africa’s explosive new excavation of funk, disco and Makossa sounds from Cameroon.
What had happened to Bill Loko, the teenage super-star whose monster hit ‘Nen Lambo’ caused such a sensation that he was forced to flee to the other side of the world? How did bandleader Eko Roosevelt go from Cameroonian prodigy to chief of an idyllic seaside village? And who exactly was Mystic Djim, the dreadlocked producer and mercurial hit-maker whose wizardry on a simple home four-track recorder could outshine even the mighty studios of Cameroon’s National Radio station?
The Makossa adventure had started in 2009 when label founder Samy Ben Redjeb first travelled to Cameroon for an initial assessment of the musical situation of the country and had returned with a compilation that was patiently brewing and waiting for the right time to be explored.
“Le coup de grace” was infringed when DJ and music producer Déni Shain was then dispatched to Cameroon to finalise the project, license the songs, scan pictures, interviews the artists and remove the question marks hanging over our heads. His journey from the port city of Douala to the capital of Yaoundé put him in contact with the lives and stories of many of the musicians who had shaped the sound of Cameroon’s dance music in its most fertile decade.
Indeed, all the tracks on Pop Makossa are a revelation. The beat that holds everything together has its origins in the folklore rhythms of the Sawa people; Ambassey, Bolobo, Assiko and Essewé, a traditional funeral dance;
But it wasn’t until this rhythm arrived in the cities of Cameroon and collided with Congolese Rumba, Merengue High-Life, and, later, Funk and Disco – that modern makossa was born.
Makossa was successful in part because it was so adaptable. Some of the greatest makossa hits incorporated the electrifying guitars and tight grooves of funk, while others were laced with cosmic flourishes made possible by the advent of the synthesizer. However much came down to the bass; and from the rubbery hustle underpinning Mystic Djim’s ‘Yaoundé Girls’ to the luminous liquid disco lines which propel Pasteur Lappé’s ‘Sekele Movement’, Pop Makossa demonstrates why Cameroonian bass players are some of the most revered in the world.
Yet at the end of it all, there was still one final mystery facing the production team at Analog Africa: how was this compilation of amazing sounds from Cameroon going to begin?
Many month and many hundreds of different running orders later and still it didn’t seemed to click … until one day when they came across a mighty song entitled ‘Pop Makossa Invasion,’ recorded for Radio Buea a tune so obscure that even in Cameroon it had never been released. Suddenly the whole compilation fell into place. ‘Pop Makossa Invasion’ makes its debut here and joins the pantheon of songs that plugged Cameroon’s makossa style into the modern world.
- Additional Information
Artist Various Label Analog Africa Music Format General Vinyl Music Format Specific 2x12" Genre African / Afrobeat, Funk Release Date 16 Jun 2017 Track 1 Position A1 Track 1 Title Pop Makossa Invasion - Dream Stars Track 1 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/AALP083/Pop+Makossa+Invasion+-+Dream+Stars.mp3 Track 2 Position No Track 2 Title No Track 2 Preview URL No Track 3 Position No Track 3 Title No Track 3 Preview URL No Track 4 Position No Track 4 Title No Track 4 Preview URL No Track 5 Position No Track 5 Title No Track 5 Preview URL No Track 6 Position No Track 6 Title No Track 6 Preview URL No Track 7 Position No Track 7 Title No Track 7 Preview URL No Track 8 Position No Track 8 Title No Track 8 Preview URL No Track 9 Position No Track 9 Title No Track 9 Preview URL No Track 10 Position No Track 10 Title No Track 10 Preview URL No Track 11 Position No Track 11 Title No Track 11 Preview URL No Track 12 Position No Track12 Title No Track 12 Preview URL No