donderdag 15 augustus 2013

A.B. Crentsil & (Super) Sweet Talks (International)



 From left to right: Tommy King, Nana Afful, Cropper (sitting), Arthur Kennedy, George Quansah,
Eric Agyeman, JW Thorty, AB Crentsil, John Koko, Ekow Tuyee, Kelly Koomson, Tony Mensah. 

The Sweet Talks were more than just a band, they were an institution, a training-ground for Ghanaian highlifers. The name has been imitated, taken in vain, stolen; there have been Sweet Beans and Talkative Sweets, but there was only one - or at the most, two - Sweet Talks.
The band was formed in late 1973, and shortly afterwards took up an extended residency at the Talk Of The Town Hotel in Tema. The key founder members were Pope Flynn and A.B.Crentsil (vocals) and Smart Nkansah (guitar). In the next few years, other major talents would join, including vocalist Jewel Ackah and guitarist Eric Agyeman. The band's early music had two distinct styles. One was a throwback to colonial days, with the band playing cover versions of European and North American chart hits, sung by Flynn. The other was Ghanaian cultural music, sung by Crentsil in a uniquely husky, red-blooded voice.
Born in the Western region, Crentsil had spent his early years listening to such roots styles as osode and palm wine. He worked as a railwayman, singing part-time with local bands such as the Eldoradoes and the Medican Lantics. He first met Nkansah when the latter was touring with Yamoah's Guitar Band in 1972; the two became friends and, recruiting Flynn, decided to form the Sweet Talks.

The group's first hit was the single "Adam And Eve" in 1975, which was followed by the successful album The Kusum Beat in 1976, an update of northern Ghanaian traditional music based around percussion and xylophones. In 1977, the band repeated this success with Spiritual Ghana, this time based on osode highlife rhythms. In 1979, when the band were about to set off on a tour of the USA, Nkansah left, to be replaced by another of Ghana's leading roots guitarists, Eric Agyeman, previously a member of Dr. K. Gyasi's Noble Kings. He had started his career in 1963, playing Beatles and Rolling Stones covers in Afro Boateng's Midnight Movers, and had joined Gyasi in 1972, combining the roles of lead guitarist and arranger.

 The new Sweet Talks line-up spent autumn 1979 in the USA, recording Hollywood Highlife Party with Wayne Henderson of the Crusaders (for whom they also recorded album backing tracks) and Sweet Talks. Deeply unhappy with the Californian winter, they then returned to Ghana, where they had a dispute with their manager and disbanded. Agyeman and Crentsil formed Super Brain, which lasted only a short time. Agyeman then returned to Gyasi and later went solo.

Crentsil picked up the pieces with a new line-up, Super Sweet Talks International, and released The Lord's Prayer, which included "Area Special", a hymn of praise to palm wine drinking. He then took the band to the Ivory Coast, where they recorded Tantie Alaba, which included another drinking classic in "Akpetchi Seller" (akpetchi being a form of Ghanaian gin).
In 1984, Crentsil moved temporarily to the UK, where - together with Agyeman, also visiting - he fronted a band put together by Mac Tontoh of Osibisa, which recorded Highlife Stars, released on Osibisa's own Flying Elephant label. Tontoh, Crentsil and Agyeman had hoped that Highlife Stars - also the name of the band which recorded it and gigged behind it - would make a major impact in the UK, then in the throes of a substantial explosion of interest in African music. But while the album made a huge impact on specialist audiences it failed to make any mainstream impression.

Crentsil and Agyeman accordingly returned to Ghana towards the end of 1984, Crentsil to form Ahenfo and Agyeman to form Kokroko. By this time, Ackah had formed a second, short-lived incarnation of the Sweet Talks, based in the Ivory Coast. The most successful ex-original Sweet Talks member was Nkansah who, following his departure from the band in 1979, formed the popular, highlife-based Sunsum Band, and enjoyed two top-selling albums with Disco Spiritual (1981) and the rootsier Odo (1985).

 Since Günther Gretz of the Popular African Music label released Hollywood Highlife Party on CD in 1991, several of the (Super) Sweet Talks albums have been re-released. However, this does not apply to the four 'LPs that Crentsil made between 1979 and 1983,under the name "Super Sweet Talks International." You can hear below that these albums also contain irrisistible danceable Highlife. Enjoy yourself !!!

♫   1980 OFBLS 1021 - Ode kae me   
   1981 RAS 014 - Rosina  
   1983 OIR 007 - Tantie Alaba



1975 - MEZ 100 - Adam & Eve


1976 - MEZ 100 - Kusum Beat

1976 - PH 635 4010 Spiritual Ghana


1976 - PH 635 4011 -
M'besiafo nto nsa

1978  - PH 635 4034 -
Hollywood Highlife Party

1979 - LS 53 - The Lord's Prayer

1979 - TKCLP 015 - Mewo Road

1980 - OFBLS 1021 - Srekye duku



1981 - RASLPS 014 - Rosina


1983 - ERT 1004 - Tantie Alaba


Line up (Super) Sweet Talks (International)

AB Crentsil - Lead Vocals (ST/SST/SSTI)
Smart Nkansah - Guitar, Vocals (ST)
Nana Afful - Organ, Synth, Vocals (ST)
Arthur Kennedy - Flugelhorn, Trumpet, (ST/SSTI)
JY Thorty - Drums, Percussion, Vocals (ST/SST)
Nat Arthur - (ST)
RS (pope) Flynn - Percussion, Vocals (ST)
Cropper - Rhythm & Bass Guitar (ST/SSTI)
Max Cozy - Keyboard, Violin, Percussion, (ST)
Tommy King - Trumpet (ST)
Asei Akoto - (ST)
Yaw Samuel - Conga (ST)
Eric Agyeman - Lead Guitar (ST)
Prince Kelly Komsoor - Trumpet (ST/SST/SSTI)
John Koko - Rhtthm Guitar, Vocals (ST)
George Quansah - Conga (ST)
Ekow Tuyee - Percussion (ST/SST/SSTI)
Tony Mensah - Lead Vocals (ST/SST)
Solo Mensah - Lead Guitar (SST/SSTI)
Tommy Sly Ampah - Bass Guitar (SST/SSTI)
Prince Foster - Organ (SST/SSTI)
Tex Korley - Alt & Tenorsax (SST/SSTI)
Lord Sekyi - (SST/SSTI)
Gibson Peprah - Drums (SSTI)
Evans Donkor (SSTI)
Uncle Brown (SSTI)

donderdag 25 oktober 2012

Eduardo Paim

His new CD entitled "Etu mu dietu''
The Angolan musician Eduardo Paim,  returned to the record market with his CD entitled "Etu mu dietu". "Etu mu dietu" means  "Between us," in the Kimbindu language and contains 13 songs in the Kizomba musical style.
  audio:   Etu mu dietu  2012

Eduardo Paim & Jacob Desvarieux (Kassav)

The album, which was launched last August in Lisbon (Portugal), counted on the participation of international stars as Kassav's Jacob Desvarieux, the Congolese star Papa Wemba, Cape Verdean musican Grace Evora, as well as Angolan Kuduristas Zoca Zoca and Agre G. Produced and directed by Eduardo Paim himself, "Etu mu dietu" is the result from the work of about a year and a half, which began in Namibia, through Luanda, Lisbon and Paris.
A short biography
Eduardo Paim was born in Congo Brazzaville, 47 years ago, where his parents had been exiled. As student he started  singing in 1979 with the group "Os Puros" together with Levi and Bruno Lara Marcellin. In 1982 Eduardo Paim founded a new band 'SOS', which became quite popular in Angola during the mid-eighties After he finished the course average electricity at Makarenko, Eduardo Paim devoted himself entirely to music.
In 1988 Eduardo Paim took a new step in the development of his musical career when he decided to leave Angola and to move to Portugal. In 1991 he made a successful debut with the album  "Luanda minha banda".
audio:   Som da banda - 1991
His real breakthrough, however, he reached in 1992 with his second record "Do kaiaia". The singer received his first golden disk for sales exceeding 50.000 copies.
audio:    Sao saudades - 1992
He continued his success with the albums "Kambuengo" (1994) which contained the  popular song "Rosa baila", "Chindu a tempo" (1995) and "Ka-Ne-La" (1996). 
Clip:             Rosa baile - 1994

Eduardo Paim & Paulo Flores

An accusation of involvement with drugs almost broke his career in 1997. From doing six shows a month his schedule was reduced to one per year. He decided to return to Angola in order to realise an old dream; building up his own record studio. With this new project  the "EP Studios" he soon earned a big name in the Angolan music business as producer. In this new role he supported the career of many Angolan singers and groups of the new generation such as Paulo Flores, Dog Murras and Banda Maravilha.

This focus on his producing activities reduced his own cd-output, so after the release of the cd "Mujimbus" (1998) his fans had to wait nearly eight years for a sucessor.

In fact the album "Maruva na taca" (2006) meant a real "come-back" of "General Kambuengo". With the participation of artists such as Bonga, Papytchulo, Nancy Vieira, Big Boss and Yuri da Cunha among many others, Paim gathered an impressive list of guest musicians on this album.

audio:    Maruva na taca - 2006
After "Maruva na taca"  Eduardo Paim took again a long period before he came with his new cd "Etu mu dietu".
Albums available at:
$ :   emusic
$ :   amazon




woensdag 1 augustus 2012


Born in Kinshasa on 31 December 1958 Matumona Defao Lulendo started his musical career in 1976, initially in Orchestre Suka Movema, then Fogo Stars followed by Korotoro and in 1978 Somo West. In 1981 he was enrolled into the then newly formed Grand Zaiko Wawa of guitarist Pepe Felix Manuaku before joining Ben Nyamabo in the formation of Choc Stars.

It was with both Choc Stars and orchestre Shakara Gagna Gagna (under the direction of Jeanpy Wable Gypson) that "Le General Defao" first came to national prominence. Working beside Ben Nyamabo, Debaba, Carlito, Bozi Boziana and Djuna Djunana in the phenomenal Choc Stars Defao developed his songwriting, singing and dancing talent.

He finally quit Choc Stars at the end of 1990 in order to form Big Stars with Djo Poster (another former Grand zaiko singer). The partnership was not to last and eventually Djo departed leaving Defao to be singlehandedly lead the band. He gathered together a line-up of new musicians for Big Stars. Although initially Roxy Tshimpaka joined him from Choc Stars he was not to last and eventually a young dynamic soloist Jagger Bokoko was to become Defao's regular star attraction, along with his animateur Azanga. These two feature on virtually all of Defao's post Choc Star releases, sometimes with the new musicians of Big Stars and sometimes with guest session players and well known guest vocalists. Other regular Big Star members are singers Djo Djo bayenge, Debleu Kinanga, Adoli bamweniko, guitar accompanist Mogus, bass guitarist Guy Wa Nzambi, drummer Richa Cogna Cogna and percussionists Sedjo and Kavanda.

During the first five years of Big Stars, Defao had a very creative and productive period and released at least seventeen albums, six of which came onto the European marketplace in 1995. During the 90's he becomes acknowledged as solo artist in the same league as Papa Wemba, Koffi Olomide, Bozi Boziana and Kester Emeneya. Although he still might not be selling globally in the same quantities as Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide, there is no doubting his popularity among the Congolese. That popularity stems from his voice, which is both musical and forceful. His songs are classicly structured in the two-part rumba-sebene mold, and his dance animations are eminently likeable without being overtly predictable and gimmickly. Defao has not only on of the Congo's best voices but he is without doubt the best dancer out of all major Congolese voices.

Clip: Defao live in Abidjan - Sala noki

After 1995 he took a step back, with "only" two new cd's in 1996, one in 1997 and one in 1998, the album Copinage together with female star vocalist Mbilia Bel. beside this album Defao and Big Stars accompanied in 1989 also Zaksoba, a singer from Burkina Faso on his cd Sensuel.

    1998 Zaksoba acc. by Defao & Big Stars - Nomg taaba

In 1999 Defao had another very productive year with five releases, including the albums Tremblement de terre and La guerre de 100 ans. This unbalanced production indicates a lack of guidance from a good manager, which is also reflected in his continual change of producer and record company. Sometimes he even releases alternate versions of the same material on different labels.

In 2000 he dissolved his Big Star group and spent part of the summer in paris recording the album Nessy de London, with a superstar line-up of paris-based musicians. With the help of Nyboma Mwan Dido, Luciana De Mingongo, Wuta mayi, Ballou Canta and Deesse Mukangi, to mention only the impressive list of guest-vocalists, Defao made with Nessy de London again a fantastic record.

 ♫    2000 Defao - Rigobert Song (from the album Nessy de London)

Then it becomes silent around Defao. It's said that he got mixed up in a political misunderstanding that got him banned from performing by the late DRC president Kabila. He moves to East Africa and faces several difficulties in the new millenium, ranging from money problems to visa problems. His fans have to wait until 2006 - an unusual long period in case of Defao - before he comes with a new album entitled Nzombo le soir. After another four years this cd is followed by Pur encore in 2010. Apart from the fact that the album can only be downloaded and is not available as cd, it also suffers from a rather poor sound quality. This strange relase shows again that Defao still has problems with managing his career into a direction which can really capitalise his big talent. Fortunately he came back in 2012 with  the very good sounding The Undertaker.

(* Partly based on 'From Choc Stars to Big Stars' by Martin Sinnock (The Beat Vol. 15#4 1996)

   2012 Defao - Mosky (from the album The Undertaker)

 The Undertaker is for sale at:


with Choc Stars (only albums with Defao compositions)







Although Defao had left Choc Stars, he
was still amicable enough with Choc Star
leader Ben Nyamabo to return for some
Choc Stars recordings

with L'Orchestre Shakara Gagna-Gagna


with Big Stars & solo albums

Early Big Stars recordings: Engunduka
 - Sohia doli - Simeti Afo - Hommage a
Dede & Asifo -
plus two Coc Stars
songs: Santa & Lina de ola




DEF 001 Famille Kikuta
= Pitie mon amour

ANC 095
Same as BENSON + 2 tracks
- Wadany mbamu & Somanza

1 Animation 2 Sala noki 3 Papy Vilena
4 Sam Samitanga 5 Agence courage
6 Abdalah / 7 Capinage 8 Baby Ewing
9 maintenance





1 Mere Anto 2 Martin Tino 3 Chamutete
4 Pur encore 5 Auguy Luna (ft Papa
Wemba) 6 Jojo Mandiki 7 Desequilibre
8 Johnny Lopez 9 Boni Wandera 10 Olga