Thursday 20 September 2012

Associated Sounds: South Africa’s Congo-East African link (Part 1)

Following on from the sweet Baba Gaston track on Matt’s Zambia 64 post last week I was prompted to haul out one or two more of Gaston's singles. One thing leading to another, I started digitising a few more, and got to wondering again why Congolese-inspired Rumba did not catch on much in South Africa (except in the north near the Zimbabwe border).

There are one or two interesting “Congo Cha Cha” tracks recorded by South African artists in the early 60s on 78rpm, and then there is the East African adventure by South Africa’s Gallo Record Company. According to former Gallo archivist Rob Allingham, the company set up Gallo Nairobi in the early 1950s. Following Kenya’s independence in 1963 visible South African ownership of the company became a problem, so Associated Sounds (East Africa) Pty Ltd (ASL) was set up as a dummy company by Gallo in the United Kingdom. ASL had their own Kenyan pressing plant.

ASL certainly released a huge amount of Congolese and East African inspired Rumba and Soukous in the 70s and 80s, with the tracks easily stretching to five minutes each on the micro-groove format. Have a look at the impressive and growing ASL discography on Tim Clifford’s labour of love – Kentanzavinyl

The Gallo ASL adventure represents one of many attempts made over the years to interest South Africans in the music of their brothers from the rest of the continent (largely unsuccessful except for a period in the 80s when Swahili music used to sell well in the northern regions of South Africa where Radio Zimbabwe's signal could be clearly heard.)

So, herewith another opportunity for those South African brothers and sisters not yet familiar with this wonderful music to give it a listen. The tracks I share today are all from ASL label in the early 70s. If these 'hit the spot' for you, leave a comment and let me know - it will help motivate me to digitise and share more from this ASL collection.
There are some fantastic blogsites dedicated to Congo music, and to the Congolese East African music explosion. Try these for starters: Dial Africa, World Service and Ambience Congo

Associated Sounds: Part One
1.      Baba National: Batela Bana - ASL 7-1516 / AS 2581
2.      Baba National: Noel Nakalimi - ASL 7-1516 / AS 2582
3.      Stazo-Ya-Estha & L'Orchestre Baba Gaston: Ngai Muana Nazongo: ASL 7-1947 / FOL 15301
4.      Stazo-Ya-Estha & L'Orchestre Baba Gaston: T.P. Englebert: ASL 7-1947 / FOL 15310
5.      L'Orchestre Zembe-Zembe: Bolingo Ekomisi Ngai Liboma: ASL 7-3161 / FOL 14538
6.      L'Orchestre Zembe-Zembe: Nakokota Vuela: ASL 7-3161 / FOL 15107
7.      Neves & L'Orchestre O.T. Jazz: Matondo No 1.: ASL 7-3185 / FOL 15809
8.      Neves & L'Orchestre O.T. Jazz: Matondo No 2.: ASL 7-3185 / FOL 15810
9.      L'Orchestre African Fiesta: Chantal Komonela Ngai: ASL 1870 (Test Pressing)
10.   L'Orchestre African Fiesta: Mobali Atulaka Te: ASL 1870 (Test Pressing)
11.   Nagot & L'Orchestre Los Tumba De Nagot: Sengola No. 1: ASL 7-3157 / FOL 15265
12.  Nagot & L'Orchestre Los Tumba De Nagot: Sengola No. 2: ASL 7-3157 / FOL 15266
Rapidshare Download here
Mediafire Download here


  1. great great great!!!!
    thank you.
    I love this music.

  2. Thanks, Chris. This is a fantastic post!

  3. wow--thank you! The Baba Gaston track was the only one I kept from the Zambia '64 album and would love to hear more. Somewhere I acquired "F.C. Lupopo Bana Ya Tembe," which is an amazing song; do you know anything about that one?

  4. Thanks for dropping by good people. @anonymous - I do not have any further info on Gaston's F.C. Lupopo Bana Ya Tembe - I just note from a quick google that there are plenty sites where you can dl the song.

  5. Yowsa! Sweet sweet sweet congolese sounds. The Baba Gaston single is a killer! Please get more of the ASL stuff out of the crates....

  6. THANKS for these treasures, which include two African Fiesta Sukisa sides that I've been trying to find for quite a while. From a test-pressing, no less! Any more ASL would be greatly appreciated, especially obscure Docteur Nico tunes like Alvoga - ASL 1733, Nakei Abidjan - ASL 1841, Nzoto Tambo - ASL 1931 and Motu Na Motu Abongisa / Historique du Zaire - ASL 3283. Actually, there's loads of tempting stuff in the Kentanzavinyl discography. I had no idea ASL reissued so many of these Congolese favorites. Thanks for the lead!

  7. An astounding treasure trove. Many thanks for all your efforts.

  8. fantastic, many thanks for this set!

  9. Absolutely fantastic music down the memory lane!!! I love it.

  10. Great music, great post, great research - thank you so much!!

  11. DJ Daudi Ambiance Congo says thanks! I'll spin a few of these on the program I'm sure!

  12. Brilliant ! Are you aware that someone is selling this playlist as an LP ?

  13. Thanks magicman for the heads up on the Congo Singles post being re-sold on. Thanks everyone else for your sincere thanks and love of the music. It takes one thief to deflate the good words of others. This is one of the chief reasons we are moving towards the inevitable closing of this blog.


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