Saturday, January 19, 2019

Groove o' the day: Soul Makossa

This is the groove from a track regarded as the first Disco song— Soul Makossa, by Cameroonian performer Manu Dibango. The drummer is Joby Jobs, and he has a bad right hand— he is apparently playing these running 16ths at quarter note = 114.

The tenuto marks indicate half-open hihat. It sounds like there is a second hihat on the recording, playing quarter notes, so it's possible the 16th notes are overdubbed, but let's credit him with being a badass.

He does this little variation around the breakdown at 3:15:

This is the one fill I hear, which happens in an odd spot in the middle of the track, after 2:00. The hihat part is interactive with the fill, which suggests that Jobs is playing the 16th notes live with the drums, and not overdubbing:

After around 2:30 there is another little variation, where he plays the snare drum on all four beats intermittently. Time to go practice our running 16ths...


Jonathan said...

I have never heard of this guy before but the song reminds me of Do you wanna be startin something by Michael Jackson.

Shalom said...

The genesis of this record was when Team Cameroun achieved the quarter-finals of the Africa's Cup soccer tournament. The President of Cameroun asked his friend, poet Samuel-Martin Eno Belinga, to write a poem commemorating this event; he in turn went to Camerounian saxophonist Manu Dibango, to have it set to music, and he recorded it with his group. But a 45 has two sides, and they needed something to put on the flip, so they knocked off a quick recording to fill up the space.

Funny how things work out. I doubt anyone has played "Hymne De La 8e Coupe D'Afrique Des Nations" once since the tournament ended, but that immortal groove they laid down on the B-side has become an anthem for the ages.