Various: Pop Makossa: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-1984
- Stewart Smith
- 12 June 2017
Joyful collision of makossa with urban dance rhythms
Pop Makossa transports the listener to the clubs of 1970s and 80s Cameroon, where the makossa style collided with urban dance rhythms. Dream Star's 'Pop Makossa Invasion' is a striking introduction, as spacey chords and reverb-drenched hand-drums bring an air of mystery to the funk. 'Yaoundé Girls' by four-track production wizard Mystic Djinm takes the sound into the 80s, with cosmic synths and rubbery bass riding the most infectious of high-tempo grooves.
Equally striking is Pasteur Lappé's 'Sanaga Calypso' from 1981, with its glittering array of synths, processed guitar grit and Caribbean lilt. The same artist's 'Sekele Movement' is a cheeky disco stepper, with clavinets and elastic bass reminiscent of Arthur Russell's Loose Joints. It's not hard to see why Bill Loko's 'Nen Labmo' was such a huge hit in 1980: hearing that glorious melody over bright guitars, stardust synths and the syncopated makossa bounce brings instant joy.
Out now on Analog Africa