SELECT DISCOGRAPHY OF SUPER MAMA DJOMBO

Often what drives us is the idea of something, say African Music. Once you heard a particularly magic song and searched and searched until you found the album and, if you were lucky, the album was bliss. Sometimes an artist or band will tug at your heartstrings in inexplicable ways and you'll find yourself blindly pursuing their music at all costs. Certain notes or sounds become like a Holy Grail as you try to find them.

Guinea-Bisseau is a Portuguese-speaking country lodged between Guinea and Senegal but closer musically to Mali than to its immediate neighbour or even the Cape Verde islands which are culturally connected to it. Super Mama Djombo was formed at a Boy Scout camp in the mid-sixties and continued to evolve as the lads grew. Members were voted in and out, or left as they gained musical skill. After Guinea-Bissau's unilateral declaration of independence in 1973, the group became national favorites (many people prayed to the spirit of Mama Djombo for protection -- half the populace is Muslim, the other half animist) and had a string of hits. Their music, like many emergent sounds of that time in West Africa, was electrified folk music. They regularly toured to open for President Luis Cabral's speaking engagements and their concerts were broadcast live on the national radio. They took Cuba by storm at the 11th annual Youth Music Festival in Havana, 1978. In early 1980 the group traveled to Lisbon for its only recording session and filled 6 hours of tape, not even covering their whole repertoire. Their first album, NA CAMBANÇA, contained songs that were already well-known at home, but its release extended the fame of the band and the song "Pamparida" became a huge hit. When Super Mama Djombo played in Senegal (and a young unknown Youssou Ndour opened for them) a throng turned out to hear "Pamparida," and broke down the gates to get in. Their second album, FESTIVAL, showed them on their triumphant Cuban tour and presented six more songs including the dreamy "Júlia." This music is one of those African music Holy Grails. Even if the lyrics are sometimes just lists of the names of revolutionary heroes, there is a dreamy guitar floating across the stratosphere, played by Tundu, who carved out his own niche alongside "Diamond Fingers" from Guinea (which also has Manding culture). The lyrics are in Crioulo, which mixes African languages with Portuguese, sung by a young Dulce Neves. A touch of Echoplex gives a big room sound to the vocals and sax of Miguelinho. The songs are speedy and memorable or laid-back and dreamy. The band broke up in the mid-80s but the achingly beautiful quality of the ballads endured, and worked well on the soundtrack to the film, THE BLUE EYES OF YONTA (released in 1996 on the Cobalt label), set in Bissau and directed by Flora Gomes. (That session had mostly new members but they were playing old material.)

Personnel:

Adriano Atchutchi: Composer, chefe da orquestra
Cesário "Miguelinho" Hoffer: Viola ritmo
Adriano "Tundu" Fonseca: Viola solo
Serifo Dju: Viola contracanto
Francisco Martens a.k.a. "Chico Karuka": Viola baixo
João Mota: Viola solo
Zé Manel: Bateria
Armando Vaz Pereira: Tumbista
Joãozinho Correia: Bongois
António Malam Mané, Lamine Baldé, Cesário "Ntchoba" Morgado, Carlos Baba Kanoute, Herculano Pina Araujo, Dulce Neves: Cantores

NA CAMBANÇA (SMD 001) 1978

a: Cambança Djombo
N'simba
Seiango
Ramédi cu kata cura
b: Pamparira 79
Luta kana maina No 1
Sûr di nô pubis
Amélia Mané

CD release 1999

FESTIVAL (SMD002) 1978

a: Festival
Alma Beafada
Tamanco
b: Mortos nega
Júlia
Sociedade de Malandros

CD release 1999

SOL MAIOR PARA COMANDANTE (SMD 003 1983) For Amilcar Cabral 1979

a: Sol maior para comandante
b: Chefi di guerra

MANDJUANA (SMD004) 1979

a: Mandjuana
Nhamako
Pampa
b: José Cumbus
Ordem do Dia
N'alê
Baga Baga

A MEMORIA DE FAMARA MANE (SMD005) 1979

a: Tchêdo
b: Guiné-Cabral
Flnala
Djuana

TRADICIONALMENTE DJOMBE (1980)

CDs:

SUPER MAMA DJOMBO
SUPER MAMA DJOMBO (Cobiana Records COB02)

1. Faibe Guiné [previously unreleased]
2. Dissan na m'bera
3. Gardessi [previously unreleased]
4. Júlia
5. Seiango
6. Seya [previously unreleased]
7. Pamparida
8. Aboku boku bandi [previously unreleased]
9. Ordem do dia
10. Assalariado [previously unreleased]
11. Guiné-Cabral
12. Djuana
13. Pansua ni isna [previously unreleased]
14. Indicativo [live recording from 1976]

-- Cobiana Records has done a great service making this selection available on CD.

LES YEUX BLEUS DE YONTA (Cobalt CD09277-2)

Bissau quita muda
Cansare
Yonta
Noiba nobo
Fidjo matcho
2 passo
Carnaval
Djugude
Vicente da Silva
Bajuro

-- Soundtrack to the film UDJU AZUL DI YONTA made by Flora Gomes. The personnel on this 1993 recording were:
Adriano Atchutchi, composer, orchestration
Vocals: Tino Trimo, Dulce Neves & Victor Caúdo
Sax: Miguelinho
Solo guitar: Narciso
Guitar accompaniment: Mariano
Bass: Valdir
Drums: Vic
Keyboards: Paulino Viera
Percussion: Armando

Homenagem a Jose Carlos Schwarz

(CD) 1999

Shalan Guinéense
Tcon Di Papel Varela
Mame
Idi Pensa Tchiu
Caburmur
Balur Di Tafal Tafal
Bomn Alma
Sombra Di Cuco

Tradicionalmente Djombo

(CD) 2002

NO INFO

AR PURO (?? CD 2008)

Alma
Djan Djan
Djugude fidalgo obi Francis
Tchatcha li tchatcha
Fidjo di mi
Filum
Ne Na Bo
Baliera
N'Tchintche
No Festa
Konta muntrus na claro

Thanks to Sandy, Mike Scott, Cheeku, Bjarki and Dr Chris

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Last updated July 2008