African Voodoo, Manu Dibango’s rare and unknown treasure !
1971 : Manu Dibango records the precious album African Voodoo in line with its twin Africadelic. Twelve masterful Afro Soul, Jazz, Funk or Latin nuggets without a ripple for more than fifty years, which are taking us deeply into Manu Dibango’s brilliant dicography.
The authentic material composing African Voodoo, modestly qualified by the maestro as « a bit spicy mood music », was promised to another destiny before representing one of the most emblematic albums of Manu Dibango’s discography.
Recorded in 1971 at Mondiaphone label studio, this album was not meant for sales. It followed a request of Afro-Urban sounds dedicated to French TV and radio shows seeking athmospheric background music.
Barely entered the studio, the eight musicians recorded it all in three days, without having planned anything !
« It was up to you to play what was coming through your mind, to broaden your imagination ! » entrusted Manu to Jacques Denis in 2008.
The one we call today « The Old Lion » did not take up this challenge lightly, or chose his musicians by chance ! The cream of the time formed his Afro-French-Carribean band :
Yvan Julien (Trumpet), Slim Pezin (Guitar), Jacques Bolognesi (Trombone), François Jeanneau (Saxophone), Lucien Dobat (Drums), Emile Boza (Percussions), Manfred (Bass Guitar), and Manu at Vibraphone, Marimba, Saxophone, Organ and Piano.
The same band who played by his side since 1967, in particular in the Television show « Pulsations », in which Manu conducted his very own orchestra. He was moreover the first musician to manage his regular orchestra on TV !
And the result of these recordings was mind boggling !
The freshness of the sound and groove emanating from it are undeniable, and straightaway place this album like a standard of the genre while listening to the first notes !
The very rhythmic Groovy Flute generously opens the album with its solar and constant flute melody. Our ears then savor an African Pop Session with a heavy and imposing rhythmic, or a Ba-Kuba with a slow and mesmerizing tempo. More rhythmic and percussive tunes like the wild Wilderness reminding us Isaac hayes’s shaft, or the swinging Soul Saxes Meeting, one more time show the ingenuity of the composer and the extreme variety of styles he was able to play. The African and Latin tones are almost omnipresent all along the disc. Jungle Riders and its electric guitar and flute solos - as melting as jazzy - supported by Coconut and its very Caribbean rhythmic, or the transcendent Walking to Waza, bear witness.
As sublime as surprising, African Voodoo perfectly illustrated the « Afro Somethin’ » invented by the maestro during a time interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. Barely published, these words were then used by all medias. Simple description, and undoubtedly efficient, of the genres crossing Manu Dibango embodies through his music and his universal speech ; a REAL word citizen for whom music has no color.
1. Groovy Flute
2. Soul Saxes Meeting
3. African Pop Session
4. Walking To Waza
5. Out of Score
7. Zoom 2000
8. Aphrodite Shake
10. Jungle Riders
11. Iron Wood