Filed under: Senegal
Senegalese popular music can be traced back to the 1960s, when nightclubs hosted dance bands that played Western music. Star Band was the most famous orchestre. After beginning by playing American, Cuban and French songs, Star Band gradually added more indigenous elements, including the talking tama drum and Wolof (Senegal’s predominant dialect) or Mandinka language lyrics. Star Band disintegrated into numerous groups, with Number One du Senegal being the best known of the next wave of bands, followed by the still active Orchestre Baobab.
In 1975, Omar Pene (also seen spelled Oumar Pène) formed Le Diamono in Dakar. The band fused mbalax rhythms and militant populism with blues, jazz and reggae influences. The other members at the time included Dama Faye (guitar), Baila Theophile (bass), Samba Dieng (keyboards), Almamy Bary (tenor sax, flute), Thierno Kouate (alto sax), Mamadou Mbengue (drums), Xalifa Fall (vocal, percussion), Baye Diagne (vocal), Bassirou Diagne (vocal), Papa Mboup (vocal, percussion).
Le Diamono released an album and this single in their first year, before changing their name to Super Diamono du Senegal, and then Super Diamono de Dakar. By the Eighties they had shortened it to Super Diamono, until recently when they became known as Omar Pene Et Le Super Diamono. They are still active to this day.
Catalog number SP 10513 on Musiclub/Soul Posters of France. No release date listed.
Filed under: Senegal
Here’s what the liner notes have to say (translated from French):
Les Tabalas… They are four young people Dakaoris students for the majority. They all are musicians banded together in this formation by the love of the music. They interpret with brilliance their own compositions…
Dérétou Senegal (Blood of Senegal) – a composition of bass player. A nostalgic song rhythm on the tempo of the tom-tom of the village.
Initiation – a composition of the soloist. Song enchantment which emphasizes the mysterious side of traditional habits.
Here is their first disc! And if you like to dance, you will not be disappointed… Remember the name well Les Tabalas!
If you have any information, please contact me.
I recently received an e-mail from Serge Michel Huchard, from Senegal. Serge knew the drummer‘s brother. Here, I’ll let Serge explain it:
I gotta tell ya, this 45 vinyl cover (4 guys in a “4 chevaux” Renault French car) has been obsessin’ me for decades, for a lotta reasons: First of all, I had French friends who had a copy in 1965 and I used to listen to it a lot and secondly, I tried to find this record for decades, to no avail. But fortunately, last year (2008) a drummer friend of mine got me the original cover, but not the record.
This record (45 vinyl) was recorded round 1963-1964 in Dakar (Senegal). The Photograph was taken behind the actual presidential palace in Dakar. Back seat: left: Lucien Blain (not Blein) was the bass player, on the right at the back or sitting on the car: Ben Tall or Caristan (can’t remember who is who), one played the lead guitar and the other one played the rhythm guitar. And finally the guy holding the snare drum is Lucien Blain’s elder brother: Alain Blain. The Tabalas never recorded again as a group.
From what I heard, CADICI was a musical production structure (not well known, they were just a few bands on the musical scene in Senegal in the early 60’s), but as far as I know, they were located in Dakar, downtown (49, rue de Grammont) in an electronic and record shop (selling old fashioned radios, amps, mics, loudspeakers, reel tapes, spare parts, records…) I guess, at the same time, they were recording a few artists locally in that location (I ain’t sure). This shop (which I knew very well) was later ran by a Spanish bloke by the name of Codina. This shop ain’t there no more.
To cut a long story short, I would say that The Tabalas were mainly influenced by Cliff Richard and the Shadows (whose records were being played on our local Senegalese radio very often). Lucien Blain (who was not only a bass player but also an accordionist, piano, organ and vibraphone player, and singer) and I met for the first time in 1971, when I joined his variety big band as a drummer (1971-1972). He left Dakar in late 72 for Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Since then, I lost track of him. His brother Alain Blain played as a profesional drummer for decades, in various bands in France. I ain’t never heard of Ben Tall & Caristan again since The Tabalas.