zondag 21 november 2010

Amanaz - 1975 - Africa


01. Amanaz
02. I Am Very Far
03. Sunday Morning
04. Khala My Friend
05. History Of Man
06. Nsunka Lwendo
07. Africa
08. Green Apple
09. Making The Scene
10. Easy Street
11. Big Enough
12. Kale

Arranged By – Billie David Nyati
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Jerry Mausala
Directed By, Producer – Edward G. Khuzwayo
Drums, Vocals – Watson Lungu
Guitar, Vocals – Isaac Mpofu , John Kanyepa
Vocals, Maracas, Tambourine – Keith Kabwe

This is simply a gorgeous album. Combining elements of psych-rock with afrobeat percussion drones, bluesy, soulful vocals and traditional Zambian vocal chants, Amanaz come out sounding like no one else. It's a very earnest listen, despite its ability to flat out rip'n'wail on fuzzed out guitar licks. Dig it large

Amanaz was formed in 1973. Three songs are in the native language Bemba, and 9 songs in English, recorded in Kitwe, the 3rd biggest city in Zambia up north. Musically, it goes in the same direction as Blo, The Witch and Question Mark, but this album is way cooler and stoned with amazing fuzz guitar all over which sounds like an African version of early Cream. The cover makes it look very traditional but after a few spins, you are aware that this one is very special. It's so cool, so tightly-produced and easily compares with UK underground albums with a touch of African beats. Still completely unknown, so this album has not been scored yet by the collectors' scene. A real surprise.

On record, they sound like a band that wanted to ply their trade in heavy rock, folk-pop, and funk all at once– but there’s a rawness on this album that gives it a familiar garage-band appeal. Rhythms shift from minimalist plod-stomps one track to supple grooves the next; lead singer Keith Kabwe’s voice sometimes stretches past his melodic range into an off-key flatness that would be more off-putting if it didn’t sound so spontaneous, and it’s all recorded with a muddy fidelity that, if reminiscent of bedroom tape culture, doesn’t do the music any favors by turning what could’ve been a wall of guitar squall into a flimsy chain-link fence.
Not like much of that can be helped or even really matters, since Africa is one of those albums we should at least consider ourselves lucky to even get a chance to hear. Kabwe had retired to a life of farming by the time this album was proposed for reissue, and out of the other four band members, only guitarist Isaac Mpofu still survives. So hearing Kabwe wail, “Lemme tell you something new/ About the history of the man/ He’s got nothing to lose,” in “History of Man” resonates a bit more knowing just how little was saved from the Zam-rock scene for future posterity and how close to impermanence Amanaz’s music actually came

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