Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sinuous and seductive
David Ballard | Cairo, Egypt | 09/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone seeking to relive or research African popular music's heady, optimistic days of the late 70s and early 80s, an epoch when that music began to win fans around the world, should start with this collection from the great Pamelo Mounk'a. While Pamelo's name has not been carved in the pantheon of African music greats of that era such as Franco and the TP OK jazz, for a few short years his rhythms provided the soundtrack for countless nights on dance floors from Kinshasa to Abidjan to Paris and beyond. Pamelo's contribution to African music was short, but intense-- and intensely appreciated by millions who can still summon up his infectious tunes and lyrics from memory-- and often do.Pamelo's songs follow the traditional soukous pattern of creeping forward in a slow burn of almost ballad-like quality, and then gradually building up heat until they burst into flame with infectious guitar-driven rhythms that are impossible to ignore. While almost all artists of the era respected this musical structure, many singers seemed to be anxious to put the slow stuff behind them and get on with the guitar attack. Franco's songs, for example, often sound raw and under-produced as they build to the climactic rush of the "main" part. In contrast, Pamelo's great strength is that he complemented his irresistible melodies with controlled, almost delicate, vocals and superior production throughout. He convincingly conveys a wide range of emotion in each song-- his lush, unhurried introductory phrases are as carefully crafted as the feverish, extended ecstasies of the main body of the song.Pamelo Mounk'a's hits expertly captured important sociological trends his African (and other) audiences would appreciate. Urbanized upwardly-mobile members of traditional societies everywhere chuckled at the uncomfortable position of the narrator of "Ce n'est que ma secretaire," pleading to his lover that there is nothing between him and the woman she saw him with-- "she's only my secretary." "Argent appelle l'argent" bemoans the bewildering economic truths that dictate that a poor person who wants a loan "to become rich" soon learns that banks only lend money to people who are already "rich."The lustrous "Samantha, tresor hindou" is the most engaging song in the collection and the most vivid illustration of Pamelo's eternal appeal. During the silky initial moments of the song, the narrator woos his (foreign) lover, imploring her to come with him to Africa, in the name of love (viens avec moi en Afrique au nom de l'amour). As if to anticipate the many kinds of heat such a liaison would produce, the churning, swirling, rhapsodic chorus that winds, sinuously, to the end of the song issues a challenge: Is it forbidden to love a girl from another country? To rally support for his cause, Pamelo invokes the countries such a girl might come from, cleverly enlisting the support of crowds of revelers all over the continent. When Pamelo pleaded his case singing, "Is it forbidden to love a woman from Senegal?" dance floors in Dakar would erupt with "NON!" The litany of lovers' locales extended to the Caribbean and Europe.Largely forgotten now, once listened to Pamelo Mounk'a's music is unforgettable."