Hamad Kalkaba and The Golden Sounds 1974​-​1975

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“I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record
with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face,
carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country.

The record contained two songs – ‘Gandjal Kessoum’ and ‘Touflé’ – by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba.
Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon’s mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal.
The shop owner - who noticed that I was listening to the same record over and over again - mentioned that ‘There is another single with a green cover of the same artist’.

Over the next six years I searched for that ‘green cover’ and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin.
While most of the records had been beaten and worn by a life spent in the jukebox, this one had been sitting in its paper sleeve for forty years, untouched
and unplayed, seemingly waiting for us to pick it up and rip the two soulful Gandjal tunes from it, the masterpieces ‘Fouh Sei Allah’ and ‘Tchakoulaté’.

These two records, plus a third simply named ‘Nord Cameroon Rythms’ constitute the entire discography of
Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, Hamad Kalkaba
and the Golden Sounds at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon’s forgotten geniuses.

But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn’t disappeared.
Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon,
and a former member of Cameroon’s Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the
Confederation of African Athletics.
And Although Kalkaba’s job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he’d made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project.
He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaoundé in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes.

During the interview Kalkaba explained how the songs recorded in the mid 1970s were part of a movement, a movement initiated by musicians from all around Cameroon who,
with the help of keyboards, drum kits and electric guitars, had started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions.
For Kalkaba it was no different and backed by his band the Golden Sounds, devoted himself to the promotion of the sounds of northern Cameroon.

One of the aims of Analog Africa is to showcase the colourful diversity of styles that exist in Africa and its diaspora
and today we are very proud to be able to give these Gandjal tunes their first worldwide release. “
Story: Analog Africa


Analog Afrika

(EN) For a decade now, Samy Ben Redjeb’s seminal Analog Africa label has been unearthing the best in both explosive foot-shufflers and hypnotic sauntering treasures from Africa. It’s achieved more than most in celebrating the rich and diverse heritage of a much misunderstood and overlooked continent. Samy has spared nothing in his pursuit of choosing authentic and eye-opening choice records. His lifestyle and string of various jobs—from a Life Aquatic sojourn as a diving instructor in Senegal to a stint as a Lufthansa flight attendant crisscrossing the Lagos-Addis Ababa-Accra arc and beyond—have all been centered on a passion for crate digging.
Samy Ben Redjeb at his home in Frankfurt (Germany)

Samy’s inaugural kickstart happened in Dakar, where he first set up a makeshift club night at a hotel. He played an abundance of previously forgotten polyrhythm hotsteppers and dancefloor-beckoning Afro R&B howlers before embarking on the countless misadventures that would define and bear fruit as the Analog Africa record label. Starting with the sun-ripened lilt and cantering Green Arrows of Zimbabwe in 2006, and honing in on the key era of the late 1960s to early 1980s, Samy reintroduced his audience to the raw psychedelic sounds of Benin and Togo: from the now iconic African Scream Contest to the self-coined “Islamic funk belt” and heaventilting horn sections of Ghana on Afro-Beat Airways to the ethereal mystery of landlocked Burkina Faso with Bambara Mystic Soul, and the salacious accordion and Ferro-scrapped dynamism of Cape Verde’s infectious and previously banned Funaná, appearing on the reissue of the legendary archipelagos export Bitori Nha Bibinha. The story of African music, with its long-forgotten footnotes and often ignored links, has also enjoyed enlightening reappraisals—such as the Congolese maestro of electric guitar, Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, otherwise known as Verckys (anointed as “Mister Dynamite” by an astonished James Brown after watching him perform) and the mightiest funk ensemble in all of Africa, the Orchestra Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.

By dusting off rare finds, locating those responsible, and in many cases interviewing the principle team or artist behind these iconic recordings, the allencompassing journey from transforming the source material into a sumptuous (and on occasion award-winning) objet d’art is documented for posterity.

(DE) Seit einem Jahrzehnt fördert Samy Ben Redjebs bahnbrechendes Label Analog Africa das Beste aus Afrika zutage - sowohl explosive Fußgänger als auch hypnotisch schlendernde Schätze. Es hat mehr als die meisten anderen erreicht, das reiche und vielfältige Erbe eines oft missverstandenen und übersehenen Kontinents zu feiern. Samy hat nichts gescheut, um authentische und augenöffnende Platten auszuwählen. Sein Lebensstil und seine verschiedenen Jobs - von einem Life-Aquatic-Aufenthalt als Tauchlehrer im Senegal bis hin zu einem Einsatz als Flugbegleiter bei der Lufthansa, der den Bogen von Lagos nach Addis Abeba und Accra und darüber hinaus überspannt hat - sind alle von seiner Leidenschaft für das Kistenwühlen geprägt.
Samy Ben Redjeb in seinem Haus in Frankfurt (Deutschland)

Samys erster Kickstart fand in Dakar statt, wo er zunächst eine behelfsmäßige Clubnacht in einem Hotel einrichtete. Er spielte eine Fülle von bereits vergessenen Polyrhythmus-Hotsteppern und Dancefloor-beachtenden Afro-R&B-Heulern, bevor er sich auf die zahllosen Missgeschicke einließ, die das Analog Africa Plattenlabel definieren und Früchte tragen sollten. Angefangen mit dem sonnengereiften Lilt und den galoppierenden Green Arrows aus Simbabwe im Jahr 2006, hat Samy sein Publikum mit den rohen, psychedelischen Klängen aus Benin und Togo vertraut gemacht und sich auf die Ära der späten 1960er bis frühen 1980er Jahre konzentriert: Vom mittlerweile ikonischen African Scream Contest über den selbstgeprägten "islamischen Funkgürtel" und die heftig schleppenden Bläsersätze Ghanas auf Afro-Beat Airways bis hin zum ätherischen Mysterium des Binnenlandes Burkina Faso mit Bambara Mystic Soul und der anzüglichen Akkordeon- und Ferro-Scrap-Dynamik des ansteckenden und zuvor verbotenen Funaná der Kapverden, das auf der Neuauflage des legendären Archipel-Exports Bitori Nha Bibinha erscheint. Die Geschichte der afrikanischen Musik mit ihren lange vergessenen Fußnoten und oft ignorierten Verbindungen hat ebenfalls eine aufschlussreiche Aufarbeitung erfahren - wie der kongolesische Maestro der E-Gitarre, Georges Mateta Kiamuangana, auch bekannt als Verckys (von einem staunenden James Brown als "Mister Dynamite" bezeichnet, nachdem er ihn auftreten sah) und das mächtigste Funk-Ensemble in ganz Afrika, das Orchestra Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.

Durch das Entstauben seltener Fundstücke, das Aufspüren der Verantwortlichen und in vielen Fällen durch Interviews mit dem Hauptteam oder dem Künstler hinter diesen ikonischen Aufnahmen wird die allumfassende Reise von der Umwandlung des Ausgangsmaterials in ein prächtiges (und gelegentlich preisgekröntes) Kunstobjekt für die Nachwelt dokumentiert.

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