Okpan Arhibo: A Traditional Kind of Disco Music

Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango invented disco music out of the blue with his release of the phenomenal hit single record, Soul Makossa. The year was 1972, and it was a staggering feat from an unknown personality. The listening public could hear the instant break beats and jazz funk influences in the song. And the western musical instruments; the saxophone, drums, percussions, guitars (bass, acoustic and lead), and the piano. Soul Makossa took disc jockeys, clubbers, and everyday radio listeners in large numbers. It soon became a big favourite within the New York music scene and later the globe. The song’s core sensibility, as developed and perfected, came from somewhere; Africa. Around this time, other African musicians, Fela Kuti, Osibisa, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, working within the same jazz funk paradigm, found instant fame and recognition as innovators on the world’s music scene. And Fela fashioned “Afrobeat” which soon became a distinct international music genre in its own right. Continue reading

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