shipping approx 10/02/21
MANU DIBANGO AFRICADELIC LP
The strange and majestic musical beast that is Africadelic was Dibango’s follow-up to
Soul Makossa, but it was initially released on Louis Delacour’s library music label,
Mondiaphone, before “Soul Makossa” became an international phenomenon. As a
Mondiaphone release, it was aimed at television and film producers seeking atmospheric
background music, so the original titles are simply “Theme No 1,” “Theme No 2,” etc, with
corresponding rhythmic notations such as “3/4 Africain,” “Afro Beat 12/8” and “Medium
Soul Beat,” though once “Soul Makossa” hit the stratosphere, subsequent reissues bore actual
song titles. In any case, the album is simply wonderful, a driving mix of Afro soul, funk and
jazz, with an undercurrent of Latin percussion throughout, given further shades by rock guitar
and soul organ, as heard on “African Battle” and the title track; opener “Soul Fiesta” builds
dramatic percussive tension before Dibango drops a killer vibraphone riff, while “African
Carnival” makes the most of the full horn section, Dibango’s sax soloing giving room for
complex polyrhythmic percussion breaks. “Oriental Sunset” has beautiful vibraphone from
Dibango too, as well as a thrilling flute melody, “Monkey Beat” and “Wa Wa” are funky soul
struts and “Percussion Storm” has the band marching off into the African sunset as Dibango
unleashes another killer vibraphone melody.
Listening back to the album now, it is hard to believe that the whole shebang was
written in a couple of days and committed to tape within the space of a week, but that is all
more testimony to the greatness of Manu Dibango, one of African music’s true pioneers.
Play loud and often for best effect!