Ye Ye Fever

Francis Bebey’s legacy in the popularisation of African music and African styles can not be disputed, having released a mass of popular albums and being largely responsible for throwing the music of Manu Dibango into the limelight, he was also a famed novelist & artist…dude was busy, so busy infact that there’s a whole bunch of recordings that have gone fairly unnoticed and under appreciated for years, ridiculous considering that these are potentially the most forward thinking forays into the combining of minimal electronic techniques & traditional African instrumentation to emerge.

Thankfully Born Bad records have seen fit to rectify this with the Bebey comp ‘African Electronic music 1975-1982’. i know i have this more than likely massively romanticised image of Bebey sitting around his pad in France jamming out to the early stirrings of Guerre Froide, ADN’ Ckrystall & the like, and these all feeding into his own vibe….whatever though, the track ‘Black Coffee Cola’ is a perfect example of Bebey’s willingness to experiment with the burgeoning European minimal synth waves appearing at the turn of the 80s whilst never straying from his african roots.

Francis Bebey – The Coffee Cola Song

Buy : Francis Bebey : African Electronic music 1975-1982


Poly Rythmo’s considerable discography has been neatly compiled in recent years by the Soundway and Analog Africa labels but alongside their own recordings they led a life as backing band and interpreters of many more Beninese composers outside the immediate circle of the group. This material is as rich, diverse and wonderful as anything they wrote themselves but as yet remains untouched by modern labels. The tracks could be in any number of styles, from Beninese folk styles, Afrobeat, Highlife, heavy-duty Soukous and amalgamations of these and more but all would have the Poly-Rythmo blueprint.. This track, composed by Assa Cica, is a juggernaut of marauding horns, fleet-footed syncopated rhythms, weaving guitar lines and hypnotic vocals. The horns burst out of the crackle of the record and pin you in a corner, then giveway to a light dancing rhythm with sinewy guitar lines and faint synths in counterpoint. It is dancefloor gold!

Assa Cica et L’Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou – Yokpo Wa Non Kpo Hami



Boma Liwanza were based in Nairobi, Kenya & led by Congolese musician Shango Lola. I don’t know when this album was made but I think around 1980. It has a picture of Nelson Mandela looking particularly stoic on the front & he could well be in his 60s, I like how chill the other cover guy is in comparison. a perfect example of soukous drum production where they make the hi-hat & kick predominate in the mix, especially effective when they’re creating these massive releases of tension at the end of a cycle. In fact the whole feel of the rhythm & guitar break in this track explodes with a gargantuan energy every 16 or so bars. The guitar lends a lush padding to the sound with truly mind boggling technical ability, finesse & addictive gratifying loops of joyous melody over an energetic, snaking bass throb. I should play it twice a night.

Boma Liwanza & The International Orchestra – Sina Mambo