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Newsletter Summer 2006




Retro’s Top 20
The year 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of RetroAfric. The label was launched in 1986 with the release of ET Mensah’s album All For You (RETRO1XCD), which revived the career of the ageing King of Highlife and laid the foundation for the label and publishing company. That album has since been augmented with additional tracks and continues to be one of our steady sellers. ET’s songs have also proved to be perennially popular with other labels which issue compilations of music from the heydays of African music.

By a nice, tidy coincidence we have also released 20 albums in that period, which shows we have a steady, if not prolific, production schedule. That 20th release was Geraldo Pino’s Heavy, Heavy, Heavy (RETRO20CD) which in its first six months has proven to be the label’s fastest selling disc.

RetroAfric has now released albums from a range of countries – including: Ghana, Congo (Zaïre), Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania (& Zanzibar), Gambia and Sierra Leone.

We have a few more musical revelations in the pipeline to be released in good time. Whichever artiste or genre comes next, our listeners can rest assured that we are continuing our mission to research, revive and re-establish some of Africa’s greatest musical maestros – and a few more unsung heroes.

A long lifetime of achievement
Bi Kidude, the grand old lady of Zanzibari Taarab, was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the world music convention Womex 2005. Up until then her RetroAfric album Zanzibar (RETRO12CD) had been the one and only release by this nonagenarian legend. In 2005 she was also given one of the highest honours by the political leaders of Zanzibar. RetroAfric salutes this pioneering performer.

Captain Yaba promoted
The late Captain Yaba, creator of Yaba Funk Roots (RETRO19CD), was selected as Top of the World by the editors of Songlines magazine in the review pages of their January/February 2004 issue. In summary, the reviewer announced that ‘Less than 10 years old, this reissued album is already a classic.’

This perfectly supports one of our early claims that "In time all will become Retro."

Paps Touray
With great sadness we learned of the death of Paps Touray, vocalist extraordinaire with the Super Eagles. Paps had a special talent for soul music, and the range and intensity of his voice was one of the keys to the Gambian band’s success during the late 1960s early 1970s.

We send condolences to his family, friends and, of course, his long-time collaborator and colleague Badou Jobe. Paps is the person posing with Badou in the period photo on the cover of Senegambian Sensation (RETRO17CD). May his music be his monument.

 

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