Review: These days, Hamad Kalkaba is a retired Army colonel and track and field athletics administrator in his native Cameroon. Yet back in the mid 1970s, he was a musician with dreams of potential super-stardom, trying to update traditional Cameroonian "Gandjal" music for the funk generation. To that end, he recorded a small number of singles and EPs alongside his backing band, the Golden Sounds. It's those thoroughly obscure and overlooked releases that make up Hamad Kalkaba & The Golden Sounds, a retrospective of his pioneering work. Sitting somewhere between Afro-beat, Afro-funk and Afro-jazz, with a distinctively Cameroonian rhythmic swing, the music showcased on the album is undeniably special.
Review: The work of Northern Brazilian musician-turned-bandleader Mestre Cupijo has long fascinated record collectors. Much of the allure can be attributed to Cupijo's trademark sound, which fused African-influenced Brazilian dance music and traditional Amazonian rhythms with sounds from Colombia (notably cumbia), Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The results, as showcased on six albums during the 1970s, were exciting and enthralling; a cross-pollination of sounds heavy on jaunty horns, shuffling rhythms and celebratory vocals. Here, Analog Africa presents the first in-depth retrospective of Mestre's work, hand-picking the finest tracks from his six obscure 1970s albums and offering them up in remastered form. For anyone interested in either African or Brazilian music, it should be an essential purchase.
Review: Famously, Shadow's Sweet Sweet Dreams album was panned by critics when it first appeared way back in 1984. In the years since, it has attained cult status, with collectors of Trinidadian music particularly enjoying its curious blend of bustling boogie electronics, Soca rhythms, traditional instrumentation and sassy disco-pop style. As this tasty reissue proves, the album has lost none of its lustre over the last 30 years. Put simply, it still sounds ahead of its time, with intergalactic dancefloor workouts such as "Let's Make It Up" (with its "we're gonna have a party" refrain) and "Way Way Out" resonating particularly loudly.