Manu Dibango – Electric Africa

Released in 1985, Electric Africa is an album with Herbie Hancock, Wally Badarou & Mory Kante, produced by Bill Laswell.

00:00 – A1 — PATA PIYA (6.35)
06:41 – A2 — ELECTRIC AFRICA (10.27)
17:21 – B1 — ECHOS BETI (6.20)
23:47 – B2 — L’ARBRE A PALABRES (12.00)

By 1985, Dibango was back in Paris, one of the most successful African artists in the world, to start on the recordings for the Electric Africa album. This album hooked Manu and the Soul Makossa Gang up with New York avant garde producer Bill Laswell, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Parliament-Funkadelic keyboard player Bernie Worrell, Pan African synthesist Wally Badarou, New York guitarist Nicky Scopelitis, African drummer Aiyb Dieng and Malian kora virtuoso Mory Kante. This means of working gave Manu and Laswell license to fuse synthesizers and kora, talking drums and samples, ngoni and electric guitar. What it all boils down to is world beat in its truest sense.

Electric Africa remains one of Manu’s strongest albums. His deep growl of a honey and sandpaper voice and the energetic honk of his saxophone merge with the seamless samples and the myriad hand percussion and overt funkiness of his band. Herbie Hancock plays on three tracks, contributing an amazing electric piano solo on the title track and interacting with Manu’s sax while weaving to the warp of Mory Kante’s kora during “L’arbre a Palabres.” Similarly but more subtly, Laswell, Badarou and Worrell play dueling synthesizers in and around the band throughout ”Pata Piya.” All of this makes the album an hypnotic & upbeat Afro-Funk classic that will rock every part your body (and mind).

From a vinyl reissue.


Manu Dibango: tenor, baritone and soprano sax, piano, DX-7, vocals
Bernie Worrell: Prophet 5 synthesizer, Fairlight CMI (#1)
Wally Badarou: Yamaha DX-7, Oberheim OB-8 (#1)
Herbie Hancock: Yamaha DX-7 (#2, 4), Piano (#2), Fairlight CMI (#3, 4)
Mory Kante: kora (#4)
Bill Laswell: DMX (#1, 3), Fairlight CMI (#1, 2), AMS (#2)
Nicky Skopelitis: guitar (#1)
Aiyb Dieng: jimbe (#1, 2), talking drum (#1), cowbell (#1, 3), chatan (#3, 4)


Valerie Lobe: drums, percussion
Brice Wouassy: drums, percussion
Joseph Kuo: simmons
Jerry Malekani: guitar
Vincent Nguini: guitar
Francis Mbappe: bass, vocals
Florence Titty Dimbeng: vocals
Sissy Dipoko: vocals
Segona Peter Tholo: trumpet

More music by Manu Dibango…

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