Mom Jombo - the name of the spirit to which the guards of Guinea-Bissau applied for protection during the War of Independence, which gave the name of one of the most popular groups of West Africa - Super Mama Djombo. The group took shape in the mid-60s, when its participants were still children, toured extensively in the 70s and 80s, recorded many fine African-American ballads and became a symbol of national unity…………….
One of the great West African electric roots bands of the 70’s and early 80’s. With five interlocking electric guitars and several-part vocal harmonies, this fifteen-person orchestra blazes through fresh interpretations of traditional rhythms…………….
Before a nation can become real, it must first be imagined. It seems appropriate that Super Mama Djombo, the band that became a primary expression of Guinea-Bissau’s identity after independence, was born in the fertile imagination of children. Four young friends (the youngest was only six) came together to play at boy scout camp, and got their first taste of success. Soon they were playing weddings and parties around Bissau. This young band was serious, and voted out any members who they thought weren’t keeping pace with the group as they became more skilled. …………..
Recorded in Portugal in 1979.
Here’s a wonderful little slice of history from the tiny country of Guinea-Bissau. From its beginnings in a boy scout camp, Super Mama Djombo emerged to become one of the country’s leading bands during the late ‘70s and into the earliest part of the '80s. The 14 tracks here are the product of their only recording session, in 1980, six glorious hours that produced some amazing music, including the West African hit “Pamparida,” based on a children’s song, a track that made them into regional stars. But it’s only one of the great things here. There’s some searing music, some beautiful singing, and a very electric atmosphere throughout. There are also some unusual details, like the strange whistling on “Pansau Na Isna,” for example; it’s jarring and completely unexpected, but it works. Across the whole album there’s plenty of driving percussion, always understated, and the guitars offer a mesh of sound that happily owes little to Congolese rhumba – the fretwork is harder. Inevitably, there are Cuban elements in the music, as in the opener, “Faibe Guiné,” but the African element is always highly evident – “Ordem Do Dia” couldn’t be from anywhere else, with its gorgeous guitar arpeggios and ineffable harmonies. Six of these tracks have never been released before, making this a vital document of one of the most important African bands of the late '70s. ~ Chris Nickson….
Before a nation can become real, it must first be imagined. It is fitting that Super Mama Djombo, the orchestra that has been the cultural stamp of Guinea-Bissau’s national identity since independence, was born in the fertile imagination of children. Four young friends started the band at boy scout camp in the mid-60s. Searching for a home-grown name, they chose Mamadjombo, a sovereign and revered female spirit that revolutionaries appealed to for protection.
Orchestra Super Mama Djombo led an effervescent period of cultural revolution in the independence era. The band sang a new national identity: neither Portuguese nor divided by indigenous roots. They reinvented Kriol (the synthesis of Portuguese and African languages spoken in the cities) into the language of national unity. Their success was almost immediate. They toured Lusophone Africa, Cuba, and Portugal and traveled regularly with first President Luís Cabral, representing the new nation to ecstatic crowds. In 1980 the band went for its first recording sessions in Lisbon, and blazed through 6 hours of tape. Their releases on LP extended the band‘s reach and opened new opportunities—particularly the track “Pamparida.” Adapted from a children’s play song, this infectious track made the band a West African sensation. It was probably “Pamparida” that filled a stadium in Senegal to capacity, where a then-unknown Youssou N'Dour opened for the Orchestra. When the music started, the crowds outside literally broke down the doors to hear Mama Djombo play. Later that year Luís Cabral was deposed, and opportunities at home began to dry up.
The founding members of the band spread to the corners of the world—building new lives, developing solo careers—but the band continued to resurge and reflect the people back to themselves: the sound track of the Bissau-Guinean film “Blue Eyes of Yonta” (awarded “Un Certain Regard“ at Cannes Film Festival), some limited releases in Portugal, and the album “Ar Puro,” produced and released in Iceland in 2008. Bissau-Guineans of all generations know these songs by heart.
“Guinea-Bissau is the source“ says lead composer Atchutchi, “no matter where you go.“…………
Highly recommended! A gorgeous, utterly alluring collection of music by one of the most influential popular bands from the tiny nation of Guinea-Bissau. Super Mama Djombo formed shortly before the nation’s independence from Portugal, and their fortunes rose and fell along with that of the country’s first president, Luis Cabral. Touring widely, they gained a strong loyal audience, and made it to Lisbon in 1980 for a mammoth, marathon recording session that yielded material for the five albums (and previously unreleased tracks) that contribute to this collection. What’s most striking about the first songs on this disc are the glorious lead guitars, full of subtle wah-wahish reverb, and quite unlike most African electric guitar work. These songs are also quite lyrical; the slower numbers convey a haunting loneliness with a strong, sorrowful spiritual feel. On later tracks, the band eschews this guitar effect, and sound more like other bands of the era. It’s all high quality stuff, though, some of the finest African pop you’re likely to come across. (Note – the band broke up in the early '80s, following a political coup that undid much of the cultural liberalism of the early independence era. Drummer Ze Manel released a solo album that was critical of the new government, and was compelled to emigrate elsewhere; the Cobiana label has also released one of his recent albums, “Maron Di Mar.”)…..By DJ Joe Sixpack……..
Members Adriano Atchutchi (composer), Zé Manel (drums, guitar, vocals), Miguelinho N’Simba (saxophone, guitar) Armando Vaz (percussion) Fernando Pitchetche (guitar) Jamil Mane (guitar) Valdir Delgado (bass) Dulce Neves (vocals) Binhan Quinhe (vocals), Karina Gomes (vocals), Luis Taborda, Tino Trimo (vocals), Ivan Barbosa (keyboards, vocals)
Tracklist 1 Faibe Guiné 4:57 2 Dissan Na M'Bera 5:14 3 Gardessi 6:33 4 Júlia 6:54 5 Seiango 4:05 6 Seya 4:42 7 Pamparida 5:52 8 Aboku Boku Bandi 4:31 9 Ordem Do Dia 4:28 10 Assalariado 6:04 11 Guiné-Cabral 6:09 12 Djuana 6:54 13 Pansau Na Isna 4:57 14 Indicativo 2:29