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ARTIST
TITLE
Orchestre Abass (De Bassari Togo)
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
AADE 010LP AADE 010LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
1/18/2019

In 1972, Orchestre Abass released two incredible singles on Polydor. These records -- featuring "Samarin Banza", "Haka Dunia", and other Afro-funk masterpieces -- were powerful enough to knock any music head out, but it wasn't until the discovery of some unreleased material by the band that the seeds for this project were planted. It all happened in 2008 in Ghana. Analog Africa head Samy Ben Redjeb was going through some tapes that had previously been the property of Polygram, one of the major record companies based in west Africa. In the late '80s political instability and curfews had paralyzed the music industry forcing Polygram to close their Ghanaian subsidiaries leaving all of their recordings behind. These recordings had been packed in boxes and left vegetating in an Accra warehouse for three decades. All of the tapes looked unharmed and the Orchestre Abass tape was in excellent condition. Samy began fiddling around with the idea of releasing an album of the band and that plan got an additional boost with le "coup de grace" which had landed in the form of an ultra-rare tune called "Honam" discovered in Sotoboua, a small northern Togolese town. Samy had previously discovered some similar music in Northern Benin and in Nigeria and pictured an area that spread all the way from Northern Ghana to Northern Cameroon, an area he dubbed "The Islamic funk belt" due to the fact that Super Borgou de Parakou, Napo De Mi Amor, Uppers International, and Hamad Kalkaba, just to name a few, were from that "belt" and made up of musicians with an Islamic background. This can be felt and heard in the music and particularly in the singing, since many of the musicians had attended koranic schools and the languages used in the songs often had Arabic elements fused in. Orchestra Abass' recordings, with their heavy, organ-led sound, combined with the deftest of musical touches, were the work of a rhythmic powerhouse, deeming them one of Togo's funkiest bands. Unfortunately, Malam Issa Abass, the founder, guitarist, and organ player of the band, was killed in 1993 by a grenade thrown into his bedroom. Samy tracked down Thon Komla, one of the band´s songwriters, and Abderaman Issa, the guitar player of the band, to help him reconstruct the biography of the band. All the music was licensed directly from the various composers of these songs. 180 gram, virgin vinyl; gatefold sleeve with previously unseen pictures and a detailed biography of Orchestre Abass.