Molokai

Molokai

4.0 1
by Papa Wemba
     
 

Since his arrival on the Congolese soukous scene during its late '70s-early '80s boom, silken-voiced singer Papa Wemba has worked to expand Central Africa's most popular music, taking it in directions no one could have imagined 20 years ago. His albums for Peter Gabriel's Realworld label have been rich tapestries of African, Western, and European pop styles.See more details below

Overview

Since his arrival on the Congolese soukous scene during its late '70s-early '80s boom, silken-voiced singer Papa Wemba has worked to expand Central Africa's most popular music, taking it in directions no one could have imagined 20 years ago. His albums for Peter Gabriel's Realworld label have been rich tapestries of African, Western, and European pop styles. New Age in the best possible sense, the airy yet danceable music on 1998's MOLOKAI suggests a pan-global, Afrocentric pop for the 21st century. Celtic, Cajun, Malagasy, Cuban, and American influences coexist in perfect harmony, flowing together to make music so catholic, its only unifying theme is Wemba's fleet, fragile crooning. And that crooning is gorgeous, especially when Wemba's Sam Cooke soul gels with his ace crew of female backup singers. But don't let the internationalist sensibility fool you. This is just as ebullient as the classic soukous that bore it; the organ-drenched "Bakwetu" and the spindly, guitar jam "M'Fomo Yami" could stir any dance floor from the Congo to Cleveland. In short, when people talk about the possibilities of "global pop" and "ethnic cross-pollination," they're talking about music like this.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
This nice album of vocal work from the Congolese superstar Papa Wemba harks back to his childhood in Matongue (nicknamed Molokai by some of the locals). Wemba shows off some nice work with his voice soaring over the textures created by his band and backup vocalists. Moreover, on the initial track, "Excuse Me," he makes his a cappella debut, without the security blanket of light instrumental work that normally accompanies him. This security blanket really shines through most often, however, as synthesizers mix with guitars and percussion to create a seamless texture of sound to back up Wemba's vocals all the way. This texture of sound can at time drop to the level of complicated elevator music, but in general holds itself above the usual standards for an accompanying band, with tight arrangements but soft wave fronts. The music can be relatively quick in tempo, but will still hold at a relatively relaxing energy level. The music is bouncy and uplifting in alternating turns with softer and soothing. This is Wemba at his best, providing nice works for himself and the bandmembers to display their prowess. Pick it up as an established fan of Papa Wemba or as a fan of African music who may be looking for something from the Congo aside from straight soukous.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/21/2008
Label:
Real World
UPC:
0884108007020
catalogNumber:
71
Rank:
226831

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Papa Wemba   Primary Artist,Vocals
Xavier Jouvelet   Percussion,Timbales
Valery Lobe   Drums
Guy N'Sangue   Bass
Christian Polloni   Synthesizer,Electric Guitar
Awa Maïga   Background Vocals
Moussa Sissikho   Conga,Djembe
Patrick Bebey   Synthesizer,Piano,Vocals

Technical Credits

Martha Ladly   Art Direction
John Leckie   Producer
Valery Lobe   Arranger
Christian Polloni   Arranger
Stuart Bruce   Engineer
Mike Coulson   Art Direction
Noël Ekwabi   Arranger
Tristan Manco   Graphic Design
Cyrille Taillandier   Engineer
Patrick Bebey   Arranger

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