On Global Notes with Morning Shift and Radio M host Tony Sarabia: Rumble in the Jungle music.
In 1974, a 34-year-old Muhammad Ali entered a boxing ring in Zaire — now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo — in hopes of recapturing his crown as heavyweight champion of the world against reigning champ George Foreman. Leading up to the match was a three-day music festival called Zaire 74 that featured James Brown as a headliner, with other American acts including the Spinners, BB King and Bill Withers. Also on the bill were a handful of African musicians. Footage of performances by the American musicians along with Cuban artist Celia Cruz have appeared in two related documentaries.
Now, 43 years later, the African musicians from Zaire ’74 are getting a share of the spotlight with a new compilation release called Zaire ’74: The African Artists. We hear some of the music on the record and a few of the stories about artists involved.