This piece, in the Lingala language of the Congos, was recorded by Hugh Tracey (see the Kankalongo Alidor post for more background on Tracey). While I’m unsure exactly where in the region Tracey recorded this piece, or where Kamwema and his friends hailed from, we do know that Tracey recorded four songs and a couple of demos by the group ca. January of 1952 (some sources say 1950, but I am not yet convinced). While both sides of this disc are in Lingala, Kamwema also apparently sang songs in Luba and Swahili.
Tracey knew and loved the acoustic guitar music played across Africa, and recorded a significant amount for Gallotone and Tracey’s sister label under Gallo’s wing, Trek. Fellow Congolese guitarist Jean Bosco Mwenda, for instance, recorded dozens of discs on Gallotone, as did the famous guitarist of Bulawayo, George Sibanda. The rate at which these discs turn up, however…well, that’s a familiar refrain.
Enjoy, and welcome to 2011. I am aiming high!
Issue Number: GB. 1731 T
Matrix Number: XYZ.7060 T
(The “T” stands for “Tracey,” of course!)