Following on from our extremely well received re-press of Pasteur Lappe’s second album “Na Man Pass Man” here at Africa Seven we are really pleased to be heading back to the beginning with Pasteur. It is a another fine repress. The debut album “We, The People”.
The story begins in the 60’s with a charming 19 year old Nicolas “Pasteur” Lappe becoming a sensation on Radio Adele in Douala, Cameroun. He goes on to become the editor of the Douala Gazette newspaper and become friends with other African music stars such as Tala AM, J Moboule and Fela Kuti. He also works tirelessly promoting new and upcoming local Cameroonian talent. After moving to Paris, a stint in journalism school and publishing a book of poems “Chansons Negres” he finally settles into a new life of music in Paris.
Pasteur’s first album was recorded in 1979 with the backing band and production collective called the Zulu Gang, which include Douglas Mbida (who went on to release several top flight albums himself) and Jacob Desvariaux (who went on to form Kassav). The album is full of diverse sounds; from driving funk, sweeping disco grooves, syrupy ballads, reggae, Jackson-five-esque pop to finger-lickin’ soul. At its core though is the custom “Sekele” groove… a movement to encompass the dance, grooves and vibes from his native Douala.
The album opens with the pulsing grooves of “More Sekele Movement” which features driving bass groove, snappy percussion and catchy vocal lines from our hero. “Dora” is next. It is a sparkly Afro pop gem with stabby horns and a smooth catchy melody.
Things take a slow route for the next track – “Watch Get My Day Dreams” which is a slow smooth vocal number. Lazy Rhodes and a end-of-the-disco sway. It also features Maryse Lappe guesting on vocals. Things heat up on the flip with “Sekelimania (Nku Bilam)” bringing back the funk. Choppy guitar riffs, percussive clarinet and top-of-the-world horns power this smooth power funk along.
Next “The Sekele Movement” keeps the horn department busy with its Afro swing drums, walking bass lines and funky keys. This track was featured on the recent Analog Africa – “Pop Makossa” compilation. A real find. The album closes with a slow and forlorn love song. A partly spoken, partly sung love song which talks of separation and longing. The perfect thoughtful ending to a fine LP.