Africa Seven is taking its first trip to Germany… Well Germany via Cameroun. Charlie Kingue Soppo is better known as Charly Kingson, cousin of Manu Dibango and a Cameroonian emigrant in the 1970s. Charly first headed to Paris and then found his way to Munich in 1978. He recorded two albums in his career, “Born In Africa” in Munich in 1978 and “Dance To The Music” two years later in New York.
For this outing we focus on his debut “Born In Africa”. It was recorded in Union Studios in Munich with some of the city’s finest (and surprisingly funky) session musicians of the day.
The LP opens up with “Nimele Bolo” a trademark Africa Seven sound if ever there was one… early growling analog synths, big stabby brass and afro rhythms. Add in Charlys vocals and it is easy to see why this track was a highlight of our recent African Airways 04 Funk compilation. Next it is time for smooth ballad, “Makakane Masu” and its smooth jazz overtones. Next “Manyaka” the suspenseful string section, octaving keys and percussive horns drive the wah wah guitar and Charlys brooding song.
On the flip side we open up with the rolling bass and swinging brass of lead track “Born In Africa”. This track was a single and it’s the perfect microcosm of the album elements in one track. It even manages to name check all the big afro musicians of the time. “Nanga Boko” and its big smiles all around for the good time synth-boogie funk. We close off the LP with “Reviens-Moi” a pensive ballad about Charly’s forlorn love. He wants her back of course.
After Charly moved on from recording in the 1980s he stayed in Germany, performing in a series of local jazz and funk bands. We tracked him down in 2016 and we really pleased to be re-releasing his debut long player at Africa Seven. It sounds just as relevant (if not more so) in 2018 as it did 40 years ago in 1978.