Press Clipping
International Studies

Except for disco-dancing Europe, the world in 1974 was oblivious to Afropop groove music, which caught on only eight years later when King Sunny Adé busted out of Nigeria. It was unfortunate South African trumpeter-humanitarian Hugh Masekela and his production partner Stewart Levine were stymied by legal issues as they tried to get African musicians wide recognition by releasing recordings of a spectacular concert in Zaire—a tie-in to the heavily hyped Muhammed Ali–George Foreman boxing match called “The Rumble in the Jungle.” At long last, good news: Masekela and Levine happily unveil Zaire 74: The African Artists (Wrasse 349; 51:03/64:38 ++++). Sweet soukous singer Tabu Ley Rochereau puts his Afrisa band through its syncopated paces on five romping tracks. Guitarist Franco and his TPOK Jazz Orchestra are just as powerful, offering the work chant “Mosala” and nine more songs. Jangly electric guitar textures, horn sections and reams of Afro and Caribbean rhythms generate terrific dance excitement among the huge swaying audience. A supernova of international fame despite career-harming racism, Miriam Makeba roots her beautiful singing in heartfelt concern for continental solidarity and Xhosa traditional music. The Congolese soukous group Orchestre Stukas, on four tracks, succeeds admirably in keeping the polyrhythmic proceedings rapturous. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, featured singer-guitarist Abumba Masikini expresses anguished regret on “Limbisa Nga.” Regrettably missing: Manu “Makossa Man” Dibango.