Los Camaroes: Resurrection Los Vol. 1
Los Camaroes’ 1979 album, Resurrection Los Vol. 1, was the last record released by the legendary Cameroonian band who first came together in the late ‘60s. Combining both West African and Congolese influences, the album contains echoes of juju and soukous styles and big, beefy, sliding bass lines. Four-on-the-floor bass drum patterns lock grooves in place. The interplay between the guitar parts is astounding—some patterns are scribbled in the background, some scrubbed in the middle and others pecked out over the top. The guitar lines make a mesh of cascading, tumbling or stately swirling repetitions. Guitarist Messi Martin devised a unique technique of wedging dampened and wadded bits of paper between his strings. The effect mimics the buzzing depth of the balafon. (You could consider it an Afro-pop guitar version of John Cage’s approach for prepared piano.) Martin had left the group and Los Camaroes had essentially broken up before the members were reassembled with some new blood for one last record, hence the title. (There wouldn’t be a volume two of this resurrection, but asking for two resurrections might be a little much.) Martin and Los Camaroes played an updated version of bikutsi, a popular exuberant dance style. “Bezimbi” captures the sonic textures, the 6/8 rhythm and the relentlessly offbeat accents of the sound. This reissue fits
nicely next to other releases that flesh out our perspectives on the richness of popular music from throughout West Africa in 1960s and ‘70s.