PLANET ILUNGA PRESENTS
and the Creation of Surboum African Jazz
** RELEASE: 30/06/2021 **
INTRODUCING THE FASCINATING SAGA OF SURBOUM AFRICAN JAZZ IN A LARGE 32-PAGE BOOKLET WITH INTERVIEWS, TESTIMONIALS AND NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE TEXTS.
with previously unpublished information and photos
After the two previous O.K. Jazz compilation releases, Planet Ilunga continues its mission to uncover and highlight the overlooked yet epic achievements in the world of Congolese rumba. This time to tell the most spectacular story of all. This is the story of the creation of Surboum African Jazz, the first Congolese music label founded by a Congolese. Despite a few releases of Sonodisc on LP and CD, published many moons ago, which included some important parts of the back catalogue of the label, there is still a large part of the repertoire of Surboum African Jazz that remains completely hidden from the fans. That’s why Planet Ilunga associated with the children of Joseph Kabasele Tshamala (Grand Kallé) and Catherine Ingombo (Kale Kato) to compile 29 songs that were originally released on the label in the early sixties.
Surboum African Jazz is the first Congolese music label founded by a Congolese; it was owned and managed by the best singer of all time, Joseph Kabasele, alias Grand Kallé. The recordings mainly happened in Brussels, Belgium. The label’s catalog during the period 1960–63 is largely dominated by Grand Kallé’s band African Jazz in its various formations. The band, which could rely in 1961 and 1962 on a real dream team of musicians (Docteur Nico, Dechaud, Rochereau, Manu Dibango, Roger Izeidi and Mujos among others), released in this period at least 212 songs. The second largest source of music for the label is Franco’s band O.K. Jazz with at least 136 released songs. Next, with at least 34 released songs comes Manu Dibango with his different formations. These were the first ever published songs of the late Manu Dibango. For this compilation we chose an original selection of songs recorded by African Jazz in 1961 and 1962. We also included a few songs of Dibango’s bands in the final selection, in order to showcase the diversity and universal philosophy of Grand Kallé’s label.
This adventurous music which was recorded in Brussels in the months and years after Congo’s independence is nothing less than post-colonial glory wrapped around popular music. It’s a collection of proud name-dropping songs, political and patriotic lyrics, euphoric declarations of love and explorations towards new and universal impulses and styles. The releases on Surboum African Jazz are for many Congolese the icing on the cake in the iconic history of Congolese rumba. They are a time capsule of the longing of Congolese society to be absorbed in the momentum of the nations. At the same time they are a testimonial of the musical excellence of the African Jazz musicians.
THIS IS THE STORY OF THE CREATION OF SURBOUM AFRICAN JAZZ, THE FIRST CONGOLESE MUSIC LABEL FOUNDED BY A CONGOLESE.
This first ever double LP anthology of Surboum African Jazz comes with a large, thoroughly researched and well-illustrated 32-page booklet telling the whole story of this label. Included in the book, among other content, is a text by Alan Brain (director of The Rumba Kings) with never before published information and photos about the epic Table Ronde tour of African Jazz in Belgium, France and The Netherlands in the winter and spring of 1960. This text is the fruit of a research Alan initiated, and then further developed in collaboration with the Congolese author and scholar Manda Tchebwa. Furthermore, you can find in the book a detailed documentation of the recording tours in Brussels in 1961 and 1962, besides a discography of the Surboum African Jazz label and many testimonials of the Congolese community about the first Congolese music label founded by a Congolese.
- Double LP: 29 tracks, tracklist
- 32-page booklet with the whole story of Surboum African Jazz in English and French
- 180 gram vinyl
- Artwork: Pierre Huyghebaert & Sophie Boiron (Spec uloos)
- Studio engineers: Pieter De Wagter (EQuuS) and Mike Grinser (Dubplates & Mastering)
- Manufactured by Pallas Group Vinyl Pressing Plant Germany
- Numbered edition
- Worldwide distribution
CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Concept By, Compilation Producer, Liner Notes, Adapted By (Text): Bart Cattaert Liner Notes, Adapted By (Text): Alan Brain Additional testimonials (Text): Clément Ossinonde, Barly Baruti, Liliane Titi Kasanda, Sylvain Mingiele-Konko, Samuel Malonga, Manda Tchebwa, Christian Ongoba, Raoul Yema Die Lala Surboum African Jazz discography contributors: Stefan Werdekker, Alex Lesage, David Manet, Sylvain Mingiele-Konko, Tristan Cordier, Bart Cattaert Proofreader, Translated By: Alastair M. Johnston I would like to thank the following people for their valuable help and work in making this a worthy period piece. My eternal gratitude to the Kabasele Tshamala family, Alan Brain, Alex Lesage, Julien Longomba, Zoi Sakka, Stefan Werdekker, Sylvain Mingiele-Konko, David Manet, Liliane Kasanda, Alastair Johnston, Faugus Izeidi, Clément Ossinonde, Barly Baruti, Manda Tchebwa, Christian Van den Broeck, Christian Ongoba, Samuel Malonga, Max Izeidi, Gary Stewart, Daniel Léon and the Royal Museum for Central Africa.