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Category: Inspiration (page 1 of 3)

Horoya Band – Had the Wrong Name the Whole Time

I think I mentioned before on this blog, a while ago I was sent a 45RPM record that I hadn’t ordered in a package with one that I had. The bonus LP had no sleeve and was filthy, but when I cleaned it up and put it on I was taken quickly with it. Gorgeous guitar-driven rumba with a touch of north African mystery in the notes. All played by a very tight band.

Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band

Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band

I researched it a bit looking for more by the same group. Not knowing the intricacies of French, I assumed that the full name of the project was Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band, or perhaps the operative searchable words were Conde Demba. I didn’t find much, they had another LP under the same name that I tracked down and it’s just as good.

Months later I stumbled across Horoya Band, and realized I had no idea what I was searching for. Conde Demba was a guest vocalist for two records, it seems. I’ve since found a lot of amazing music from them, from several iterations and with a diverse quality of sounds and styles.

The Horoya Band was from Guinea (I had thought Ivory Coast for some reason), and they were a national treasure, to the extent that the state eventually nationalized them (whatever that means) and they became Horoya Band National.

I even tracked down a CD of theirs called Paya-Paya, on the Dakar Sound label. I love finding reissues of this stuff whenever possible, both because I like the opportunity to actually give the artists part of my purchase money and because it means that people are still listening to music that I like. Sometimes I feel like a lonely archeologist in Seattle with no peers who I can share this stuff with. Or at least no one who will care like I do.

Horoya Band Paya-Paya

Horoya Band Paya-Paya

Shout out to the worldservice blog, where I made this discovery.

Kiam Collection Is Now Complete!

Orchestre Kiam Super Hits Vol. 1 Front Cover

Kiam Super Hits

I finally found the last two Kiam songs that I hadn’t heard! This LP popped up as an auction on eBay a couple weeks ago and I jumped on it. I have been looking to collect all the Kiam songs on vinyl, which I assume will be a years-long project. This is the third of the four Kiam LPs that I have now (they have a lot of 45s as well).

However, I was also missing two songs from my digital collection of Kiam songs, and in fact had never heard them at all. Yule and Namaraley are on this record, and I now have the whole Kiam discography in some form or another.

I listened to them for the first time yesterday. It’s a collector-grade piece of vinyl, very clean jacket and record, and it plays perfectly (this means I’ll have better versions of Mbale, Makonda and Azangai too, as soon as I get around to ripping them). I paid an awful lot for it, more than I ever expected I would. There were other bidders but in the end I was willing to spend whatever it took, and I scared them off when they weren’t able to outbid me.

As for the unheard songs? I see why no one bothered to put them online as of yet, they’re comparatively pretty weak. But they have their moments, and I’ve satisfied my completist desire for the whole catalog.

Also of great interest was the rear jacket, which has some great biographical info on it including a mantion of Lita Bembo playing in the group at one time. I had no idea about that.

Orchestre Kiam Super Hits Vol. 1 Back Cover

Kiam Super Hits

The text on the rear jacket (complete with spelling and syntax errors):

Orchestre Kiam is not a new name in the music world as when most of us hear the name of this group we are reminded of their Top Single such as MEMI, KAMIKI, YANGA YANGA –  to name but a few. This group was formed only three years ago but as a result of their efforts they have managed to get themselves a good place in the Top list of best players of Zaire in 1976 and so they were sent to Lagos Nigeria during the Black African Festival.

The name KIAM in it’s long form means KIAMUANGANA so when you hear this you know undoubtedly that Kiamuangana Mateta – the Pop star is involved in one way or the other. I should say he advises them in the musical field and arranges orchestration. It is his own band but he doesn’t play with them. The group is composed of very special members whose functions apart from playing istruments are known for their compositions – people like Kanza Rayon, Muzola Ngunga, Bamueniki [Mwana-Moni  Afinda]  Lita Bembo, Nkodia via Nkodia to name but a few.

This is KIAM’S first LP in their super Hits series and includes the latest and newest hit “MBALE” by mfui Mwane as well as “AZANGAI” by Shgungu. 

Join us and keep up to date with orch. Kiam.

So Many Riff Ideas

I feel like a bottomless well of rumba rock guitar riffs. My phone is full of like 200 voice memos, each one a recording of me whistling a theme after a count-off. No shortage of vocal motif ideas either. The more I listen, the more I hear.

Finding time to sit down and string them together into a song is the hard part. That, and lyrics.

Voice Memos

Voice Memos

I Realize No One But Me Finds This Exciting

But I found a new image of Orchestre Kiam that I’d not seen before. Also I read that both guitarists are now dead, as are a lot of the musicians from the golden era in Kinshasa. I guess there wasn’t much hope of a reunion anyway.

Orchestre Kiam Band

There was also a Kiam song on YouTube that I hadn’t heard, posted a couple of weeks ago. Mayika is the name, and now I’m only missing two songs: Yule and Niamaraley(sp?)

This is a great song, classic sebene riffs and a very nice ensemble vocal call. See what you think:

Kinda New Tune Comin’ – Malevolence

Northern Thorns had been performing a song called Malevolence for quite a few shows, though I’d taken it out of our live set and never put it on Soundcloud because I don’t consider it finished. When I completed Kill Me Again, I replaced it with that in the set.

It’s about a string of killings/disappearings/suppressings of pan-African leaders during the cold war, and how the 1960’s kicked off a renewal of imperialism that had existed on the continent since the European age of discovery. The lyrics, which need a bit of work still, include an adapted piece of a Patrice Lumumba poem:

 

“These hosannas, tuned to your sorrows, give you hope of a better world to come.”

Especially because of the subject matter, and because I am a white American man writing about black African struggle, I want the words to be their best form before I release this one. I’m taking December to edit charts, rerecord parts, reimagine melodies, etc. where I think that’s needed. This song will be getting a whole new comping pattern and more. I’ll get it out online before 2017.

Also, thank you Google for this entirely helpful definition of the word ‘malevolence.’

Malevolence definition

Kiam – Lola

This is a first for me; I’ve digitized a song from a 45RPM record, converted it into a video, and uploaded it to YouTube for everyone to hear.

Some months ago I decided to try and collect the entire Kiam discography on vinyl. This will likely be a very long term project, but for the meantime I’d be happy to at least have heard all of their songs. There are a small number that I know exist but I’ve not heard. This one is from a single released in their early career. I prefer their songs from the late 70’s, but this one is lovely too.

A good chunk of the Kiam digital recordings that I have came from YouTube and online converters. So this is my way of giving back, as this song did not exist online anywhere before my upload, as far as I can tell.

More to come later. I have another to upload shortly.

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