While Diggers Factory has just reissued the phenomenal African Voodoo album, one of the rarest records prized by diggers, enhanced by new liner notes by Jacques Denis, is it really possible to know how many recordings, singles or albums produced with Manu Dibango have been released on vinyl?
Even if Discogs credits him on 777 records, any true digger knows that there are still buried treasures to be discovered for the simple reason that Manu was not always credited on his titanic work. As he was also the greatest composer of film music in Africa, this makes the task extremely delicate. I can only recommend Africadelic also reissued by Diggers Factory, a pure groovy gem echoing James Brown or Isaac Hayes, which mixes afro-soul, funk and jazz, all on a background of Latin percussions nuanced by rock guitars and a soulful Hammond organ.
Papa Manu, the doyen, the great musical genius of our century, left us on March 24, 2020 at the age of 86. From his beginnings on the Franco-African music scene to the worldwide triumph of "Soul Makossa", from his years at the head of Nino Ferrer's orchestras to the Ivorian radio and television, not to mention his jamming with Fela, James Brown, Herbie Hancock and Michael Jackson, Manu Dibango was an example for humanity. His generosity was proverbial. And his humor was communicative... As such, we still hear his fabulous laughter echoing in our hearts.
To reduce Manu Dibango to African music or Afro-jazz would be a great mistake. Just like Miles Davis, he was able to explore the musical styles of our battered planet. Manu Dibango was invited to New York by the Fania All Stars. Afterwards, he encouraged many movements like the hexagonal hip-hop, with Les Little in 1992, or with the great Dee Nasty. Without forgetting the reggae, with Sly and Robbie for several albums, and Alpha Blondy for his record "Revolution", with the hit "Sweet Fanta Diallo", which popularized even more the rastaman of Cocody. It is impossible to list all his collaborations. One thing is certain, Manu Dibango lived the music without restraint, with a genius rarely equaled.
With Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango is the greatest musician from Africa to join the paradise of pure and conscious souls. To finish, discover this playlist which focuses on a tiny part of his work. And also on the artists who sampled him like De La Soul or the Jungle Brothers.
Written by DJ Ness Afro