Various - Joseph Kabasele And The Creation of Surboum African Jazz 1960-1963
Planet Ilunga continues its mission to uncover and highlight the overlooked yet epic achievements in the world of Congolese rumba. This time to tell the most spectacular story of all. This is the story of the creation of Surboum African Jazz, the first Congolese music label founded by a Congolese. Surboum African Jazz was owned and managed by the best singer of all time, Joseph Kabasele, alias Grand Kallé. The label’s catalog during the period 1960–63 is largely dominated by Grand Kallé’s band African Jazz in its various formations. The band, which could rely in 1961 and 1962 on a real dream team of musicians (Docteur Nico, Dechaud, Rochereau, Manu Dibango, Roger Izeidi and Mujos among others), released in this period at least 212 songs. The second largest source of music for the label is Franco’s band O.K. Jazz with at least 136 released songs. Next, with at least 34 released songs comes Manu Dibango with his different formations. These were the first ever published songs of the late Manu Dibango. For this compilation Planet Ilunga chose an original selection of songs recorded by African Jazz in 1961 and 1962. They also included a few songs of Dibango’s bands in the final selection, in order to showcase the diversity and universal philosophy of Grand Kallé’s label. This adventurous music which was recorded in Brussels (Belgium) in the months and years after Congo’s independence is nothing less than post-colonial glory wrapped around popular music. It’s a collection of proud name-dropping songs, political and patriotic lyrics, euphoric declarations of love and explorations towards new and universal impulses and styles. The releases on Surboum African Jazz are for many Congolese the icing on the cake in the iconic history of Congolese rumba. They are a time capsule of the longing of Congolese society to be absorbed in the momentum of the nations. At the same time they are a testimonial of the musical excellence of the African Jazz musicians.