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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
I wish more that I spoke Lingala. I may try to learn someday. At one point I did find some online resources for learning it, and it’s a fairly widespread language.
I also had a fantasy today of taking a trip to France and Belgium and raiding their records stores for 70’s cavacha records, as well as trying to find the rest of the Kiam catalogue. Kinshasa and some other places in Africa too, for that matter. I made an online order last week from a shop in Kenya of a Kiam single that I’ve never heard before, from CDandLP. The song seems to be so obscure that even the fansite I listed to in my last posting had a question mark next to their entry of it, as if they had never laid eyes on it personally and it was only a vague rumor. No digitized versions exist online, and it may have been written in the 80’s, half a decade or more after I understood the band to be broken up. But it’s clear from the image that it is Orchestre Kiam, or another incarnation of them.
I’m collecting every Kiam song I can find on vinyl (because it will likely never be released in any other format), but I don’t actually own a record player currently. I loaned a friend a piece of recording gear a few days ago and he very generously shared with me a pile of vinyl that I can’t even listen to. And I have several Kiam records that I haven’t yet evaluated, some of which I expect are much better sounding than my digitized versions from the blogs and YouTube. So, it’s time to buy a turntable. And a phono preamp. And digitize the vinyl that I have. What a pain in the ass.