Nouvelle Ambiance follow up the new wave rumba disco of Siassia & Tokobina that launched the label last year with an eponymous, 12 track compilation. Much like the inaugural release, the focus of Nouvelle Ambiance !!! is on 80s Paris, an exciting time for independent music in the capital where influences from Francophone Africa and The Caribbean combined with new production methods. The result filled clubs, bars and radio stations with new forms of dancefloor-ready rumba, bikutsi, soukous and boogie.
Label head and Sofrito co-founder has remastered and reissued some of the most vibrant examples. Our standout is by Ivory Coast-born Antoinette Konan, who sung, produced and played the ahoco (a traditional baoulé instrument) on the track. ‘M’acko’ is taken from her self-titled album recorded in 1984 at Studio Caroline, the legendary spot in northern Paris where hundreds of pan-African records were produced and also helped birth the Paris Soukous sound. “At the time”, she says, “my intention was to develop gradually, offering other sounds with the traditional Baoulé music and have it accepted by music connoisseurs, and from the feedback it seems to have worked.” Konan mainly played at galas and private shows in the Ivory Coast but after the album’s release her stature grew internationally.
To learn more about some figures behind the track, there are interviews with drummer Denis Kekimian and owner/engineer of Studio Caroline in the accompanying 28 page magazine, which also features unpublished photos from Bill Akwa Bétotè and interviews with many other contributing artists.
Nouvelle Ambiance !!! is out 21st September – buy from Bandcamp.