Orchestra Makassy

Legends of East Africa: The Original Recordings

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One of the bigger bands to emerge from the soukous renaissance in the late '70s in Zaire, Orchestra Makassy performed the hotel and club circuits of Zaire, and later of Tanzania after exile under Idi Amin. Increases in the band's popularity as well as general interest in African music from European consumers led to a landmark recording in 1982 of their first multi-tracked, major-label album: Agwaya. Orchestra Makassy has resurfaced over 20 years later on Legends of East Africa, which features the original Agwaya LP together with a pair of previously unreleased tracks from East African recordings that should be of particular interest to collectors. The soukous carries much of what would be the prototypical guitar-based, peppy, and happy sound, but there's a sophistication to this version of soukous that's sadly lacking in much of the current catalog. There's some musical complexity here, as well as more deliberate playing. Certainly worth a listen for any fan of soukous, as well as for those inundated with the sheer mass of the genre and tired of the usual.

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