“Latin music, is it really foreign to us Africans? I don’t think so. Listen to the drums, to the rhythm. It all seems very close to us — it feels like it’s our own culture,” declared singer Amara Touré.
It would’ve been hard to predict how veraciously the musical landscape would change as Cuban sailors made their way to West Africa in the early 40s. As Senegal began to go crazy for the Caribbean grooves of Son Montuno and Patchanga in the late 50s, there was one man who remained at the forefront of this new cultural fusion.
It took only ten songs for enigmatic Guinean percussionist/singer Amara Touré to become legendary. From 1968 onwards he became intertwined with the sound, bringing a breath of fresh air into Dakar’s nightlife with numerous touring bands. Fast forward to 1980 and Amara Touré’s success poured across the borders of Cameroon, where he went to team up with the powerful Orchestre Massako. Touré recorded an LP at that time which is hailed by many music aficionados as one of the very best African albums. Quite mysteriously, after the release of his LP in 1980, Touré disappeared. Apparently he was last seen in Cameroon but it is unknown if he is still alive today.
Frankfurt-based label Analog Africa is now uncovering his journey, releasing ten treasures that represent Touré ́s complete discography, carefully re-mastered from original session tapes and vinyl records. Today we’re streaming ‘Temedy’, a laid-back jazzy cut that places itself perfectly in those smokey, poorly lit West African juke joints, where dark rum was sipped and couples danced, swayed and melted together. His Mandingue roots fuse with the Senegalese sound that he had mastered — the perfect foundation for Touré’s Cuban interpretations.
Amara Touré’s ‘1973 – 1980’ is available on 2XLP gatefold vinyl, CD and digi right now on Analog Africa.