Following on from Sunday’s upload of ‘In Fine Style’, I move genres, continents and decades to bring you ‘Jotongo’ (Mayala MA4005, 1986) by the wonderfully named Rigo Star & Josky Kiambutuka. A fantastic little record.
This is a wonderful pop album. One listen, and you might disregard it as just another (and there are quite a few) catchy guitar pop record from 1970/80s Congo. They did rather take Highlife and run it to the ground. However ‘Jotongo’ is much more than that. The dual guitar lines are much more intricate than many other Highlife bands (I’m looking at you, Victor Uwaifo (I love him, but the man does love the old I, IV, V solo)), and in fact remind me of the guitar work of Joshua Dube and Jonah Sithole from Thomas Mapfumo’s band The Blacks Unlimited (upload coming soon).
Granted, Dube in particular had a remarkable ear for combining rhythmn and lead guitar, and it would be a little hasty of me to say that the guitar lines on ‘Jotongo’ match Dube’s finest work. But then this album is a completely different beast from a completely different country.
Apart from the joyous guitar lines, the vocals here are sweet and do more than just run along the guitars and bass. Instead they provide an extra level of harmony and musical interplay; always rapid-fire, and always backed up by the ever-reliable uptempo highlife drumbeat.
Okay. Enough said for now. This album is more like a modern EP in length. So PLEASE download and listen to it. Anyone who fails to at least tap their leg to this music has no soul. And anyone who dislikes track 5 ‘Malia’ should come and see me. Because we have major problems.
– Steve Eldon Kerr
ps. John B. over at Likembe noted that no other artists were featured on the record’s sleeve. Suggesting that Rigo and Josky contributed all the parts via overdubbing. PUNK ROCK!