Following on from the sweet Baba Gaston track on Matt’s Zambia 64 post last week I was prompted to haul out one or two more of Gaston's singles. One thing leading to another, I started digitising a few more, and got to wondering again why Congolese-inspired Rumba did not catch on much in South Africa (except in the north near the Zimbabwe border).
There are one or two interesting “Congo Cha Cha” tracks recorded by South African artists in the early 60s on 78rpm, and then there is the East African adventure by South Africa’s Gallo Record Company. According to former Gallo archivist Rob Allingham, the company set up Gallo Nairobi in the early 1950s. Following Kenya’s independence in 1963 visible South African ownership of the company became a problem, so Associated Sounds (East Africa) Pty Ltd (ASL) was set up as a dummy company by Gallo in the United Kingdom. ASL had their own Kenyan pressing plant.
ASL certainly released a huge amount of Congolese and East African inspired Rumba and Soukous in the 70s and 80s, with the tracks easily stretching to five minutes each on the micro-groove format. Have a look at the impressive and growing ASL discography on Tim Clifford’s labour of love – Kentanzavinyl
The Gallo ASL adventure represents one of many attempts made over the years to interest South Africans in the music of their brothers from the rest of the continent (largely unsuccessful except for a period in the 80s when Swahili music used to sell well in the northern regions of South Africa where Radio Zimbabwe's signal could be clearly heard.)
So, herewith another opportunity for those South African brothers and sisters not yet familiar with this wonderful music to give it a listen. The tracks I share today are all from ASL label in the early 70s. If these 'hit the spot' for you, leave a comment and let me know - it will help motivate me to digitise and share more from this ASL collection.
There are some fantastic blogsites dedicated to Congo music, and to the Congolese East African music explosion. Try these for starters: Dial Africa, World Service and Ambience Congo
Associated Sounds: Part One
1. Baba National: Batela Bana - ASL 7-1516 / AS 2581
2. Baba National: Noel Nakalimi - ASL 7-1516 / AS 2582
3. Stazo-Ya-Estha & L'Orchestre Baba Gaston: Ngai Muana Nazongo: ASL 7-1947 / FOL 15301
4. Stazo-Ya-Estha & L'Orchestre Baba Gaston: T.P. Englebert: ASL 7-1947 / FOL 15310
5. L'Orchestre Zembe-Zembe: Bolingo Ekomisi Ngai Liboma: ASL 7-3161 / FOL 14538
7. Neves & L'Orchestre O.T. Jazz: Matondo No 1.: ASL 7-3185 / FOL 15809
8. Neves & L'Orchestre O.T. Jazz: Matondo No 2.: ASL 7-3185 / FOL 15810
9. L'Orchestre African Fiesta: Chantal Komonela Ngai: ASL 1870 (Test Pressing)
10. L'Orchestre African Fiesta: Mobali Atulaka Te: ASL 1870 (Test Pressing)
11. Nagot & L'Orchestre Los Tumba De Nagot: Sengola No. 1: ASL 7-3157 / FOL 15265
12. Nagot & L'Orchestre Los Tumba De Nagot: Sengola No. 2: ASL 7-3157 / FOL 15266
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