Eko Kuango – Eko Kuango [LVLP-1702]

Belgium based composer, poet and multi-instrumentalist Denis Mpunga formed Eko Kuango in the early ’80s. A unique fusion of African rhythms, jazz, subtle synth arrangements with an eastern flavour; they managed to introduce a strong sense of poetry – both musically and lyrically. The band garnered a reasonable following from numerous concerts played during their career, but remained little known except by a few music aficionados around the globe. Eko Kuango only released 4 tracks in the form of an EP in 1986, the band recorded one year later a studio album with the help of renowned sound engineer Patrick Hubart which until now remained totally unreleased. Now with a newfound interest in their work, Libreville Records offers in this edition both the 4 tracks from the original EP and the tracks from the session of the ‘lost’ album.

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Eko Kuango – Eko Kuango [LVLP-1702]

Fabriano Fuzion – Cosmik Sindinka [BM1805]

Since childhood Serge Fabriano bathed in music, between his native Guadeloupe and Paris where he grew up. He attended the music conservatory, learnt how to play bass, played with many musicians and was ultimately angling for a career as a music teacher. During the mid-70’s, he alternated between teaching classes and live gigs, and performed in Germany with a funk band comprised of ex-GIs from the US Army. From 1978 onwards, Serge Fabriano devoted more time to music. He became a musician’s musician, doing studio recordings with rock bands and he also played with members of the Caribbean diaspora. Later the group Fabriano Fuzion was born. The band brought together some of the Caribbean’s most inspired musicians: Martinican-born Mario Canonge on the piano, Alain-Jean Marie on the synth, Labor brothers on saxophones, Claude Vamur on the drums, singer/percussionists Marie-Reine Lamoureux and Marie-Céline Lafontaine, Roger Raspail, Sully Cally and Hector Ficadière on Ka percussions. It is precisely the Gwo Ka – this ancestral “root” music deeply embedded in the heart of the Guadeloupe musician – which constitutes the rhythmic backbone of this first opus. The Gwo Ka, the jazz, the poetry and the spiritual vibe are gathered here to form a splendid album; one of the true masterpieces to emerge from the French West Indies.

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Fabriano Fuzion – Cosmik Sindinka [BM1805]

The Mandatory Eight – Soul Fanfare #3 [ATA014]

From the opening drum pick up of ”Soul Fanfare #3” it is clear that The Mandatory Eight are here to make you move. With proud horn lines reminiscent of something that you might find in the Stax vaults, Soul Fanfare definitely takes it’s lead from backing bands such as the Barkays and the funkier side of Booker T and the MGs. One can imagine that this was definitely a set opener for the group, guaranteed to put foot to floor. Guitar and bass have a care free movement and feel, conjuring up tones of late 60’s summer soul hits. The B-side ”Turn It Out” has a darker, moodier feel to the previous side. Still a dance floor filling groove, the band take a direction more similar to below the radar funk outfits such as Amnesty or LA carnival. Biting minor horn lines set the tone backed by a bubbling bed of congas, rhythm guitar, unruly bass and drums which don’t dip below boiling for the duration. ”Turn It Out” features a manzarek-esque farfisa organ solo which sets the sonic tone of a band without funds but with plenty of soul in the bank. Both sides will reflect well for different moods on the same dance floor.

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The Mandatory Eight – Soul Fanfare #3 [ATA014]