[Music/Culture] Hamad Kalkaba: The Golden Sounds (1974 - 1975)
Hamad Kalkaba and the Golden Sounds ~ An electrifyingly original retrospective of ground-shaking Cameroonian Afro-Funk anthems that were unearthed and assembled by Analog Africa over the course of a six year mission to track down the band's almost forgotten discography.
Hamad Kalkaba Malboum was born (11th November 1950) in Kawadji, near Kousseri, a town in Cameroon bordering the Republic of Chad.
Kalbaka's unearthed musical legacy consists of just six incredible tracks that combine Afro-beat, Afro-funk and Afro-jazz with a Cameroonian rhythmic swing ~ raw classics with fuzzed out bass, heavy funk grooves, socially conscious lyrics and razor sharp horns, built upon the unshakeable foundation of Northern Cameroon's mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal.
The Golden Sounds is a special album, an undeniable classic from the vast goldmine of African music. This album captivated me with the bold, mesmerising album artwork with the striking image of Hamad Kalbaka in the centre, bearing the traditional marks of several imposing vertical scars on each side of his face, carved into him as a child to remind him of his rich cultural heritage in the Musgum Tribe of Northern Cameroon.
Kalkaba has explained that the songs he recorded in the mid 1970's originated as part of a radical musical movement, initiated by musicians from all over Cameroon who started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions through electric guitars, drum kits and keyboards. Hamad Kalkbaka was backed by his band the Golden Sounds and devoted himself to the promotion of this new era of northern Camerronian music.
The band's music was pioneering and undeniably special, Kalkaba had big dreams of super-stardom which didn't materialise, but he didn't just disappear into obscurity like so many musicians who emerged from nowhere. On the contrary, Kalbaka was a colonel in the Cameroon army, a distinguished public figure and a former member of Cameroon's olympic selection committee. Still alive and active today, Kalkaba is currently serving as the president of the Confederation of African Athlectics.
The team behind the german based record label Analog Africa underwent an extensive six year journey searching to uncover these extremely rare, earth shattering Cameroonian afro-funk tracks. After the label gathered all of Kalbaka's existing recordings, they contacted the man himself, and although he seemed initially dismissive of the music he made as a young man, Kalbaka became an enthusiastic ally in this project.
He arranged interviews, filled in the blanks and provided the record label with photographs, lyric sheets and liner notes. Kalkaba's direct involvement and stamp of approval with this collection should reassure those who ponder the ethics involved with re-issuing old african cassettes. The artist's contributions gave a real depth to the release. Originally recorded in 1974-1975, Hamad Kalaba's rich musical legacy of heavy afro bangers were finally released to the world in November, 2017.
~ Listen to the full album below ~ 6 Incredible tracks ~
~ Psychic Garden