1/  Pata Piya                                  (Dibango,Laswell)             6.36
  2/  Electric Africa                            (Dibango)                     10.23
  3/  Echos Beti                                 (Dibango)                     6.17
  4/  L'Arbre A Palabres                         (Dibango)                     11.46

          Recorded at Plus 30 Studio, Paris, France
          Engineer: Robert Musso
          Assistant engineer: Joelle Bauer
          Produced by Bill Laswell for Material/OAO
          Administration for Material/OAO: Roger Trilling
Manu Dibango: tenor, baritone and soprano sax, piano, DX-7, vocals; Bernie Worrell (1): Prophet 5 synthesizer, Fairlight CMI; Wally Badarou (1): Yamaha DX-7, Oberheim OB-8; Bill Laswell: DMX (1,3), Fairlight CMI (1,2), AMS (2); Nicky Skopelitis: guitar (1); Aiyb Dieng: jimbe (1,2), talking drum (1), cowbell (1,3), chatan (3,4); Herbie Hancock: Yamaha DX-7 (2,4), Piano (2), Fairlight CMI (3,4); Mory Kante: kora (4); SOUL MAKOSSA GANG - Valerie Lobe: drums-percussions; Brice Wouassy: drums-percussions; Joseph Kuo: Simmons; Jerry Malekani: guitar; Vincent Nguini: guitar; Francis Mbappe: bass & vocal; Florence Titty Dimbeng: vocal; Sissy Dipoko: vocal; Segona Peter Tholo: trumpet.

          1985 - Philips (France), 824 745-1 (Vinyl)
          1985 - Polydor (Germany), 827 014-1 (Vinyl)
          1985 - Celluloid (Netherlands), CELL 6114 (Vinyl)
          1985 - Polydor (Germany), 827 014-2 (CD)
          1985 - Celluloid (USA), CELD 6114 (CD)


Before I had this album there was no African music in my collection. Honestly this came to me via a recommendation by Musichound R&B: The Essential Album Guide which was an invaluable text in terms of me finding new and different grooves from all over the spectrum when I was in my late teens. Of course as with most people I was aware of Manu Dibango from Soul Makossa and how much he manifested African jazz-funk from that point on. Not only that but my dad often played his cassette of Manu's guest oriented comebackWakafrika during the same period as well. So in terms of his musical output this album was part of a lost period in Manu's history for me. As for his career it wasn't a lost period at all: it was a comeback. As the title implies Dibango, more than aware of the huge success of Herbie Hancock's Sound-System and the appropriations of Afro-funk and and new wave with Talking Heads around this time realized that he had something to give to this genre too. The then 52 year old Dibango understood the nature of the digitized, electronic atmosphere coming into all aspects of life and looked to bring his type of camaroonian Makossa funk into the new age. It's very true that "Pata Piya" and the very successful "Abele Dance", also presented here with an elongated and powerful remix have a sound very similar in execution to Rockit, that due in part to the fact that Herbie himself plays on these cuts and gives them many of the same flavors. The main instrumental difference is Manu's sax. The title song,"Echos Beto" and "L'arbre A Palabres" are elongated polyrhythmic jams were the electronics are somewhat less pronounced;the latter song also have Miles Davis styled dissonant,echoed trumpets that adds a strong psychedelic jazz flavor into the brew. Now they are there only as part of the song structure as opposed to the entirety of it and the multiple and pan cultural synthesizer/keyboard/production stylings of participating artists Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell and Wally Badarou have the amazing effect of drawing from three seperate and distinctive variaties of electro-funk and bringing it all together through the magic of Afrocentric musical communilism. This music will not only have every part of your body,mind and voice taking some kind of action when you hear it but it's accessible enough to jam just about anywhere you'd like.

5 out of 5

Andre S. Grindle (courtesy of