Franck Biyong ‘Radio Masoda’ - Release Date June 21st 2024

We are delighted to be presenting 'Radio Masoda', the brilliant new album by the Cameroonian master musician and composer Franck Biyong. Produced as an inter-African 'dance' record and with an impressive list of international collaborators that includes the late Tony Allen, Sandra Nkaké and members of Kwashibu Area Band and Egypt 80, the creative freedom allowed to his guests and world class musicianship make this a genuinely joyful experience.

As Franck explains - "We conceived this album as a tribute to the classic/golden age of African music, and how Congolese rumba served as a bedrock for artists and musicians all across Africa. There is also an "Afro music library" aspect to the record as it presents influences of many of the African music originators and legends."

Dedicated to his mentor Manu Dibango, 'Radio Masoda' masterfully blends Central Africa's widely influential Makossa magic with Afrobeat, Congolese rumba and soukous, Ghanaian highlife and other regional styles to create something that sounds both familiar and fresh.

A highly prolific artist, with over nineteen albums released, Franck has explored decades of African music styles with an historian's detailed eye and an artist's need to reinvent. His deftness at cherry picking what he needs from traditions and blending them together with contemporary production techniques makes this a record for now.

The album opens beautifully with the mid tempo groover 'Kabasele Kingdom', its killer brass and Franck's observational lyrics cutting through his wonderfully fluid guitar lines that ripple with melodic positivity. The title is a respectful nod to Le Grand Kallé AKA the great Joseph Kabasele, the father of modern Congolese music.

The energy levels soar with the devastatingly funky groove of 'Lipanda'. Its fusion of Nigerian Juju guitars, elaborate percussion, horns and breathtaking vocal interplay between Franck and rising star Mary May, an absolute winner!

A prime example of Franck's collaborative approach is the lead single 'Oladipo', a magnificent tribute to the Afrobeat originator Tony Allen that features Tony himself on drums and Chief Udoh Essiet (Fela & Egypt 80, Roy Ayers) on vocals. Sung in Yoruba, the song is a propulsive and energising dancing track that blends the best bits of Soukous, Highlife and Afro-funk into a irresistible celebration of the Nigerian giant's life and career.

'Diamane Abele' features his fellow Paris-dwellers Sandra Nkaké and Jî Drű, and it glides along with flawless liquidity - the bass, drums and brass locked into the slinkiest of Afro-Disco pockets whilst a ringing guitar line splashes harmonics and energy.

There are two superb cover versions amongst Franck's originals. Kenyan Benga legend Daudi Kabka's acoustic classic 'Jeba Kubwa Na Viboko' is completely transformed into a sunny, swaying dance number by the exquisite addition of drum machines, horns, piano and the lush vocals of the female singing group Karama. Similar has been achieved with 'Liwa Ya Wech', Congolese genius Franco Luambo's early rumba standard dripping with romance and smoky jazz room grandeur.

Mozambican musician and social activist Helio Vanimal provides the lead vocals on the Dibango-influenced 'Mbopi Road'. Opening with congas, bass and spacey guitars, a heavy horn arrangement and jazzy keys add a powerful engine as the song builds to a blistering Afro-Rock finale.

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