Northern Thorns

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Category: Records (page 1 of 2)

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.

New Show on the Calendar, Recording Updates Etc.

August 6th at Barboza, with Brandon Krebs and Stella Crest. It should be a great night playing with good friends and other supportive friends in the crowd.

Northern Thorns at Barboza

In other news, work continues on the full-length, with Bob Cheek at ExEx. It’s a fun way to make a record, passing the files back and forth in WAV format between ProTools and Logic. Lalo Bello came in and laid down some congas for a rumba-ish song that may end up as the final track. Now I get to edit them and give them back to Bob. Fun!

And we’re re-amping guitars. It’s great hearing them come alive and picking out pedals. A selection of what we’ve been using:

More on that soon! We hope to finish the re-amping this afternoon in fact.

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.

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:

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.

New 45’s

A couple new 7 inches showed up today, an order I had made from a record store in Kenya on their eBay page. Kiam’s Memi pts I and II and Eboko Ley’s Trahison pts I and II. Memi is one of Kiam’s best, with probably the best guitar work of any of their songs.

Orchestre Kiam Memi Eboko Lay Trahison

 

Eboko Ley is comparatively obscure. I ran across them while searching YouTube for Kiam stuff; someone had mislabeled an Eboko Ley song called Meya as a Kiam song. I downloaded it and listened to it for months thinking it was Kiam, and it’s a good song. I did find it odd that none of the online Kiam discographies included it, even as a questionable song of theirs. Eventually I went back and read the comments on the YouTube video, in which someone points out (in French) that it’s not a Kiam song at all, and admonishes the uploader to correct the info. It has not been corrected since, and seems to be a part of the English language Kiam web lore at this point. But I thought the song was catchy, if terrible sound quality, so I looked for more from the group. This 7″ is all I’ve found so far. I’ll probably upload it somewhere eventually so others can hear it. As of now I haven’t listened to it yet.

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