Sing With The Birds
Lumumba (comes from the Center of the Earth with the World Beat)
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from A&M SP-3610
You may or may not have heard that Guy Warren (a.k.a. Khofi Ghanaba), master drummer of Ghana, passed away on December 22nd. Soundological featured him in a post this summer at which time there was not so much info out there on the man beyond the basic bios and discogs. As often happens, since he succumbed to illness at the age of 85 there's been a flood of obituaries, memorials and tributes hence more facts floating around , including a comprehensive pictorial discography and a bibliography to boot here. Googling his name today is more productive than six months past, so if you really want to dig into the history of this trailblazer, now's the time to do so.
So why is Soundological posting this album by Lumumba? Well, besides the fact recordings by Warren are stupid rare and we have no more to offer you at the moment, not only are the majority of players on the album from Ghana but there's a direct through-line from the previous post, Arthur Adams. Adams plays guitar on a highly sought-after album by the bandleader (and ex-Fela drummer), Rim Kwaku Obeng, released in 1980 called Rim Arrives (Discogs.com link - if anyone has a copy we'd LOVE to hear it) which was also produced by Kwaku Lynn. From what headz say, it's one of the funkiest discofied Afrobeat albums to exist and it usually changes hands for upwards of $100 if you can find it. His other releases under the name Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng on small indie labels and private presses are mostly solo drumming affairs and usually change hands for less than $10. You can check out a videoclip of him performing live and also an interview with him over at Sounds of Africa TV.
A very rare and expensive Rim job
The identity of the artist Lumumba is shrouded in mystery but a commentator on Crud Crud mentioned he might be Duke Lumumba. There are a few similarities in the line up between DL's album from the late 60s (George Bohanon plays on both and Crusader Wilton Felder plays bass on the recently re-issued Jungle Funk while sometime Crusader session man David T. Walker plays guitar on this effort) and both were recorded in LA, but the strongest thread is that Duke played trumpet and the person going as simply "Lumumba" here plays Flugel Horn. However, outside of this circumstantial evidence, there's not much proof that they're one and the same person.
Can there be only one?
Other noted Ghananians on the album are George Lee, (a sax player who is apparently notorious for his naughty behaviour as a touring backup musician and played on Toots & The Maytals' Reggae Got Soul with keyboardist Rentzos) and Eddie Quansah (who also played on the Toots LP, worked with artists as diverse as Osibisa and Slade (!?!) who now calls Australia his home) but both forsake their instruments of choice to provide only backing vocals. The remainder of the musicians is a mixed bag and includes the lovely & talented Bobbye Hall on drums as well as a handful of no-names who are invisible to the internet.
Since it's one of the only reviews on this album on the intertubes, I'll let crudmeister Scott Soriano tell it like it is...
Review by Crud Crud
I don't know the story behind Lumumba. All the musicians except for two are credited as coming from Ghana (the two non-Africans, West Indies and Los Angeles). Though the group is named after the singer Lumumba, it seems as though a fellow named Rim Kwaku Obeng is the leader of the band. Obeng has records under his own name and they are sought after by Afrobeat collectors. The record was recorded in Los Angeles, which is rare for an Afrobeat record. How is the album? Spotty and sometimes suspect. I am not sure if the musicians were cobbled together by A&M looking to break Afrobeat or if some American producer stumbled upon them in Africa, brought them to the States and put them in a fancy studio. Many of the songs are over produced and some sound very studio musicianish. The two I donate today are the best two cuts (Ed: "Sing With The Birds" & "Love Is"), both featuring the borderline schmaltzy poetry of Lumumba.
Lumumba - Narration, Doroben Durugya (whistle flute), Ammoo Durugya (long flute), Fritwiwa (thumb gong), Dawuro (gong gong), Akasawa (shaker), Jews Harp, Conga, Ntoa (round drum), Flugel Horn, Vocals
Rim Kwaku Obeng - Ntumpan (talking drum), Drums, Donno (squeeze drum), Fritwiwa (thumb gong), Akaswaa (shaker), Brekete Drum, Dawuro (gong gong), Conga, Ntoa (round drum), Electric Piano, Ammoo Durugya (long flute), Vocals
Emmanuel Rentzos - Electric Piano, Organ, Vocals
Luther Coffey - Fender Bass
Kwabena Gyanfi - Fender Bass, Electric Guitar
David T. Walker - Electric Guitar
George Bohanon - Bass Euphonium, Red Callendar-Acoustic Bass
Bobbye Hall - Conga
Victoria Miles - Vocals
Gloria Green - Vocals
George Lee - Vocals
Eddie Quansah - Vocals
Willie Cheetan - Vocals
1 Sing With the Birds
2 Ahoma Trofo (Telephone)
3 Twoo Boe (Work Chant)
4 Ananse Sem (Akan Folk Tale)
5 N.S.U. Shiw (Hot Water)
6 Love Is 50/50
7 Kwaku Ne Kwaku
Journey to the Center of the World Beat of the Earth with Soundological HERE or HERE.