LUMINGU PUATI (ZORRO)-MOSESE.
Lumingu Puati (Zorro)-Mosese.
Label: BBE Africa.
Release Date: ‘11th’ October 2019.
Over the next two years, BBE Africa, an imprint of BBE Music, will release around sixty albums from the Tabansi Records vaults. This is part of their Tabansi Gold reissue series, which got underway recently, and is a reminder of what’s the most important, influential and innovative Nigerian record label of the past six decades. Proof of that is Lumingu Puati (Zorro)’s album Mosese which will be released by BBE Africa, on the ‘11th’ October 2019. It was released forty years ago in 1979, and nowadays, is one of West Africa’s best-kept rumba-soukous secrets, and is much-prized album on Colombia’s burgeoning Champeta sound system scene. It’s a reminder of the music that Tabansi Records was releasing in its heyday.
Tabansi Records was founded in Nigeria in 1952, and filled a void when major labels like Decca and later, Philips closed the doors on their Nigerian operations. Chief Tabansi, who lent his name to what would become Nigeria’s most important label, recorded artists and then pressed the records at The United African Company’s pressing plant. After that, record vans promoted the latest releases in Nigerian villages. This was just the start for Tabansi Records.
In the sixties, The United African Company decided to concentrate on importing American and European music. With very little competition, Tabansi Records was able to concentrate on local music, which The United African Company had turned its back on. This was a big mistake.
During the seventies, Tabansi Records was the most successful Nigerian label, and its founder Chief Tabansi was one of the leading light’s of country’s thriving and vibrant music scene. He had invested in the company he had founded in, in Onitsha, Lagos, all these years ago, which had its own studios and pressing plant. The company was going from strength-to-strength.
One of the artists Tabansi Records signed in 1979 was the late Congolese musician Lumingu Puati (Zorro). He was a protégé of Kinshasa’s legendary sixties band leader Dr Nico and recorded just one album for his new label, Mosese.
When Mosese was released in 1979, it wasn’t a hugely successful album despite the quality of music which is consistent and dancefloor friendly from the opening bars of Dadavi Pitie to the closing notes of the irresistible sounding Meaculpa Mawewe. The vocals veer between impassioned, heartfelt, urgent and joyous and combine with chiming, jingling, jangling guitars, brassy horns and a myriad of percussion. It’s a captivating, hidden gem of an album that oozes quality and ought to have found a much wider audience forty years ago. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
It was only much later when Mosese became popular within West Africa’s rumba-soukous scene. Meanwhile, the album becoming so popular on the Colombian Champeta sound system scene that DJs were covering up the label or even removing it so other spinners couldn’t see what they were playing. This was similar to what used to happened on the Northern Soul scene or what DJs running Jamaican sound system scenes do.
Despite the best efforts of DJs, their secret was out and other DJs and record collectors wanted a copy of Mosese. The only problem was that it’s a rarity, and very few copies of the album are offered fir sale. When they do, it’s for prices beyond many collectors or DJs. Thankfully, BBE Africa is about to release Mosese, which is a hugely popular, in-demand dancefloor filler that will be reissued for the first time since its release on the ‘11th’ October 2019. This is reminder of the truly talented Lumingu Puati (Zorro) and his Mosese, which sadly, was the only album he released for Tabansi Records.
Lumingu Puati (Zorro)-Mosese.