Sam Mangwana, Maria Tebbo

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of Congolese music’s most successful missionaries stirs the dancefloor.

Recorded right at the end of the ’70s, when Sam Mangwana had become a very successful missionary of Congolese music in West Africa, this is one of the highlights of his lengthy discography. From the first, sparkling notes of the lengthy title cut Mangwana's easy, commanding voice takes charge of the record, as the early soukous beat bubbles underneath. It's wildly infectious music, uplifting and open, powered by the guitars of Syan M'Benza and Sammy Massamba, leading a crack band that plays as if it's the most fun they've had all year. Mangwana's voice is like honey, warm and sunny, a man at the very top of his game. There are nods to Cameroon and Zimbabwe, but the music (which is actually two albums together) never strays from its rumba-soukous hybrid, even on “Affaire Disco” — although it still has a beat to stir the dancefloor. Throughout, the melodies shine brilliantly and Mangwana shows just why he was a star.