Review By: Ngum Ngafor
Uber-cool Cameroonian saxman Manu Dibango’s injection of soul into his native makossa rhythms catapulted the Douala sound—named after a children’s hand—clapping game-from a local club staple to a global phenomenon with Soul Makossa. Inspired by that other very Cameroonian of pleasures, football, the monster hit was originally a B-side recording of an anthem released in celebration of Cameroon hosting the 8th Pan African football cup. Soul Makossa’s funky beat and Manu’s famous stutter made the dynamite combination that not only inspired America’s fledgling funk scene but took its sounds and those of the younger generation such as Michael Jackson and Will Smith back to the mama Africa. From this classic sensation through to dance floor hit Big Blow and the dreamy, reggae-inspired Dr Bird, The Essential Recordings is an amazing journey through Manu’s illustrious career—its abundant highlights include hanging out with Bob Marley in Jamaica and playing at the famous Muhammed Ali-George Forman ‘rumble’ in Kinshasa.
Rating: ***** out of 5
MIMI Related Link: Listen to and purchase Essential Recordings