Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

26 May 2013


Almost all Gabonese people are of Bantu origin. That being said, Gabon does however have at least forty ethnic groups with diverse languages & cultures. The Fang are generally thought to be the largest, although recent census data seem to favor the Nzebi. Others include the Masango, Myene, Shira, Pounou, & Kande. There are also various Pygmy peoples: the Bongo, Kota, & Bayaka (who I touched on in Central African Republic). The Bayaka speak the only non-Bantu language in Gabon.  

Here is another of the Ocora releases of field recordings of various ethnic groups.

Various - Musiques Du Gabon, Ocora OCR 41, 1968.
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Side A –
Arc-En-bouche Masango
Chant funèbre Masango
Ensemble Fang avec Xylophone
Orchestre de Xylophones Fang
Chant épique avec "mvet" Fang

Side B –
Chant de marche Obamba
Danse sur échasses Ndjabi
Récit chanté Pounou
Musique d'Initiation Kota
Chant avec Harpe Pygmée
Chœur de Femmes avec Tambour Pygmée


Hilarion ‘Mister Dynamite’ Nguema was born on December 31, 1943 in Nkoltant in the province from L’Estuaire, Gabon. When he was just an infant, his mother gave him up to missionaries to give him a good education. His education was closely followed by the Reverend Louis Le Dis. The church school had an excellent choir, led by Jean Marie Effene. Hilarion soon became the choir’s star.

In 1958, at fifteen, Hilarion quit high school for the bars & clubs of Libreville where he made his debut as a guitarist. In 1960 he joined l’Orchestre Jeunesse Band led by John Paul Adiwa. With the ‘Youth Band’ he honed his chops. Two years later he founded his own group, The African Succes(s). They became hugely popular. But his rapid rise brought with it unwanted government scrutiny & Nguema was throw in jail without real explanation other than comments by the Government about ‘protest songs’ though many in the private sector said ‘jealous politicians’. He languished in prison for several years. He was held first in Tchibanga, then Makokou, finally Bakoumba. It is with this last experience that inspired ​​the song “Atmosphere at Bakoumba”.

He was released in 1967 by President Omar Bongo when he came to power. After his release in 1967, Hilarion Nguema recorded many songs in the soukous & makossa stylings: "Hope"; "Libreville"; "When a Woman gets Angry"; "When a Man is Happy"; all were big hits. Then in 1972, while playing at the Cathis bar, he & his band were attacked. Four of the group, including Hilarion, were wounded with knives. The group fled Gabon for Cameroon. Nguema stayed in Cameroon until 1976.

Returning to his native country, ‘Mister Dynamite’ reformed African Succes(s), bought the  nightclub La Noya, & revived his career as musical star & now famed club owner. In 1977, a fire broke out in the dancing bar, La Noya, destroying the bar & Hilarion’s house, including all the bands instruments. The fire was determined to have been the result of arson. Disheartened, Hilarion quits music & starts a small food delivery service, becoming driver, courier, & seller.

By 1981, Hilarion Nguema can’t resist the call of the muse & rekindles his music career, recording two albums with Orchestre de la Gendarmerie Nationale Gabonaise. But his real relaunch takes place four years later when he crosses paths with producer Moussa Haissam who runs Editions Haissam-Records in conjunction with Sonodisc. Departing from his old soukous & makossa beats, Hilarion Nguema’s new sound is Afro-zouk crossed with Congolese rumba. He is one of the early practitioners of the Afro-zouk style (African rhythms blended with the fast tempo carnival style of zouk originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe & Martinique) which is extremely popular today.

 Hilarion Nguema - Crise Économique, Editions Haïssam-Records MH 107 Sonodisc SD 16, 1987. 
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Face A –

L'Amour Est Avenugle
Edzing Ya Nem
Bong-Be Yafrica

Face B –
Crise Économique
Il Faut Connaitre


Oliver ‘Noli’ N'Goma was born in Mayumba in south-west Gabon in 1959. In 1971, he entered the Orchestre Capo-Sound, together with singer François N'Gwa. During this period he started playing guitar & composing his first songs. After a brief period where he was part of a group called Kounabeli, he was recruited by the Gabon National Television as cameraman. Although he had a full-time job, he didn't abandon music. He met producer Ray Lema in Paris while there on assignment. He eventually recorded his first album, Bané.

One of his biggest hits, the song "Bane" continues to receive huge airplay on African radio stations more than 20 years after its release. It is still popular on the world-wide dance floors, though most who enjoy it don’t know it is by a Gabonese musician. The album became one of the biggest sellers in the history of African music.

Oliver is probably the best known Gabonese singer, hailed as the ‘King of  Afro-Zouk”. His Afro-zouk hits have been (& still are) extremely popular in large parts of Africa. After Bané  he made a second album Adia, also produced by Ray Lema, with the same easy-going Afro-zouk style for which he had become famous. His third album Seva, which I am posting here, offers a different perspective with more variation in styles. Here, he works in new rhythms that range from his mellow brand of Congolese soukous to salsa, indigenous dance rhythms of Gabon, as well as his trademark Afro-zouk.

Oliver N’Goma died from renal failure, an ailment he had battled for the last two years of his life, on 7 June 2010 at Omar Bongo Hospital in Libreville, Gabon. In his home country, he is regarded as “a monument of Gabonese music”.

 Oliver N’Goma – Seva, Lusafrica 36246-2, 2001.
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Tracklist –
Secret d’Amour
Ultime Appel

Zouk to youk,



1 comment:

  1. Ocora 41
    Crise Économique