Los Camaroes 'Resurrection Los Vol. 1' LP
The electrifying final album from Cameroon’s legendary Los Camaroes, available on LP for the first time since 1979. Recorded live to two track at the Mango Bar in Yaound, “Resurrection Los” was the last collaboration between bandleader Jean Gabari and groundbreaking guitarist Messi Martin.
Deluxe LP (180g gatefold w/ poster) reissue features notes on the history of the band by original keyboardist Mbambo “Johnny Cosmos” Simon, plus all new interviews with producer Nicolas Mongu and engineer Emmanuel Guyssot.
Los Camaroes emerged at the end of the 1960s from the town of Maroua in the northern, predominantly Islamic area of Cameroon. After changes in name, in lineup and in management, they worked their way south to the capital to make a name for themselves; in the span of only a few years they changed Cameroon’s music scene forever, leaving a trail of sold-out nightclubs and monster radio hits in their wake. Then, at the height of their popularity, they broke up. The band had been led from the beginning by Jean Gabari, whose level-headedness and evenhandedness inspired the respect and devotion of his musicians. But it was Gabari’s alchemical collaborations with guitarist Messi Martin that drove the band to its greatest heights. Martin had developed an innovation that would earn him fame throughout Cameroon as the “king of Bikutsi”, as Johnny Cosmos explains: “The primary instrument in Bikutsi is the balafon, and Messi came up with a trick that consisted of chewing small pieces of paper until they reached the right consistency and then stuck them between the strings of the guitar.
He had been lured away from the band before by the promise of success and, in 1975, when Los Camaroes were at the peak of their power, he left them once again. Gabari tried to keep the band going, but his own longstanding battles with ill health eventually forced him to return to his hometown. With Gabari and Martin gone, the rest of the musicians drifted away in search of other gigs. By 1978, Los Camaroes were no more than a rapidly fading memory. But then came the resurrection- from out of nowhere, a businessman named Atangana Joseph appeared in northern Cameroon. His goal: to track down the original members of Los Camaroes and get them back together for their one final shot at immortality.
Producer Nicolas Mongu and engineer Emmanuel Guyssot were called in from Douala to record what was being billed as a comeback album. There was talk of going into a studio, but Los Camaroes had always thrived on the energy of the nightclub scene; they decided instead to record it live to two-track in the Mango Bar. The six tracks on the album were performed by a mixture of new recruits and veterans from the original Camaroes lineup - including Mpouli “Dodo” Emmanuel and Boloko Michel on Guitars, Eyango Claude on Organ, the percussion duo of Ndi Bellui and Enama Leon, and vocal contributions from Sala Bekono Joseph and Ngoebang Jean Marie - but the urgent rhythms and shimmering guitars sound like a band who simply picked up where they had left off.
Catalogue number: AADE07
Label: Analog Africa