Cameroonian grooves and prodigious dancefloor creativity
Syncretic and voraciously creative, at various turns by design or by accident, the makossa genre originates from Douala and its surrounds, the largest city in Cameroon and one of the central geographic nodes of the country. Makossa itself has a history stretching back to the music of the Sawa people, though its immediate genesis comes from the mix of language – makossa means ‘to dance’ – and the “kossa kossa” refrain of songs by early makossa group Los Calvinos. Makossa reached the wider world thanks to Manu Dibango’s ’72 hit “Soul Makossa” and Michael Jackson’s use of that song’s chant in “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, but with Pop Makossa, the music’s backbone is exposed – the complexity of the genre, bringing together multiple national musics alongside Congolese rumba, highlife, and later, funk and disco, leads to singularly compelling, long-form grooves. Mystic Djim’s productions, like“Yaoundé Girls”, is psychedelically hypnotic, the producer sourcing pure fire from his four-track; Pat’ Ndoye’s “More Love” is like Arthur Russell relocated on the west coast of Central Africa, while Nkodo Si Tony’s “Mininga Meyong Mese” is lighter than air. Extras: 8/10. Thick booklet with excellent liner notes.
Down: Deviant mick Farren in London, 1970