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Super Mama Djombo orchestra, Guinee-Bissau, West Africa. All songs recorded in Lisbon, 1980 – re-mastered from the original reels. Six previously unreleased songs now available for the first time…

Super Mama Djombo is one of West Africa’s greatest roots orchestras and especially for the people of Guiné-Bissau. The band marked a new national identity and reinvented Portuguese Creole as a language of national unity.

Before a nation can become real, it must first be imagined. It is fitting that Super Mama Djombo, the orchestra that has been the cultural stamp of Guinea-Bissau’s national identity since independence, was born in the fertile imagination of children.

Hailing from a boy scout camp deep in the jungle of late 1960’s Guiné-Bissau, Super Mama Djombo’s founding musicians have come a long way to display their wonderful music to the world. Drummer Zé, singer Herculano, and original guitar players Gonçalo and Taborda picked the name Mama Djombo as an homage to a local goddess revered by independence fighters.

Tiny Guiné Bissau is located between Senegal at its northern border and Guinée Conakry on its eastern and southern border. A former part of the mighty Mali empire, it was then one of the last African countries not to have gained its freedom from Portugal, its colonial power. Hence a fierce war for independence struck the country, until independence was eventually won over in 1974, after many years of suffering.

In the early 1970’s, the Mama Djombo underground orchestra played mostly for secret political rallies supporting the PAIGC, the major Independence Movement for Guiné and Cabo Verde. Adriano Atchutchi became the bandleader after independence, bringing a book full of his songs. Atchutchi recruited singer Dulce Neves, adding creole sweetness to its already heady mix of juvenile enthusiasm, candid melodies and touches of luso-tropicalism.