Gambian legend musicians band go on tour

Friday, August 02, 2019

Three musicians from the legendary groups of swinging Banjul team, is gearing up for a series of concerts in Northern Europe this summer.

“We have a good memory and we can always play good songs,” says Oussou Njie, a senior, singer and lyricist of the Super Eagles.

He and Badou Jobe, who lives in the Netherlands, are the two still alive members of the famous Banjul band that made Senegambia dance in the late 1960s. Their short career has given rise to two other essential formations in The Gambian repertoire. : Ifang Bondi then Guelawar Band Of Banjul from which are Bai Janha (guitar) and Abdel Kabirr (vocals and keyboard).

These veterans of a glorious era when the Gambian music was exported must leave on August 3 for a summer tour. Abdel Kabirr, now 69, sees the opportunity of a mission: to show the way to the new generation of musicians by reviving the glory of the Gambian maestros, icons of the swinging Banjul.

Missed coup

The first stars were the Super Eagles, discovered in 1968 by a special correspondent of the BBC. The reporter, who had come to cover the burial of a minister, had spotted the group during a concert at the French Banjul Foyer. The cultural antenna of French diplomacy was then the flagship place of the Gambian nights. “Banjul was like a great Mecca,” recalls Oussou Njie. The Senegalese came on weekends; there was atmosphere, music, cheerfulness everywhere. Today is crying. There is nothing left. “

In 1969, musicians were invited to play on the premises of the BBC in London. They took the opportunity to record their only “LP” (long play, a long recording) for Decca Records. The repertoire consists of original songs sung in Wolof (Manda Ly) and English (Love’s Real Thing). From groove to groove, vinyl plays rumba, tango or rock, “everything to dance until dawn,” says Oussou Njie. Today, a good copy of “Viva Super Eagles” costs about 100 euros on the Discogs dedicated online sales platform.

The group breaks out in 1971. The rich manager who finances them realises that the adventure was not profitable. The Super Eagles do not received any copyright. “They were good at music but bad at business. They knew nothing about the record industry, “said Hassoum Ceesay, curator of the Banjul Museum and historian of the group. Popular but penniless, some members prefer to stay in Europe to try to make a living.

The musical appetite of a handful of rockers gave birth to the Ifang Bondi and Guelawar Band of Banjul groups in the 1970s. These two ensembles compose a typically Gambian sound where traditional instruments support a progressive and psychedelic rock. Very popular, they will also be ephemeral.

Source: Le monde