CULT CLASSIC: SIDIKU BUARI-DISCO SOCCER.
Cult Classic: Sidiku Buari-Disco Soccer.
There are very few people who manage to forge a career in both sport and music, but Ghanian born Sidiku Buari managed to do just this. He was a silver medallist in the 400 metres at the 1963 All-Africa Games held in Dakar, Senegal. Two years later, in 1965, Sidiku Buari was a member of the 4×400 relay team at the All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, when the Republic Of Congo won a bronze medal.
A year after his second appearance at the All-African Games, Sidiku Buari emigrated to America in 1966, and studied music at the New York School of Music. After that, Sidiku Buari studied interior design at the La Sale University in Chicago, Illinois. By then, Sidiku Buari’s musical career was underway, but his love of sport saw him playing baseball to a reasonable standard during his three decade stay in the United States. However, while Sidiku Buari was a talented and successful athlete he enjoyed more success as a musician.
Sidiku Buari was a prolific artist, arranger, composer and producer who during his long and illustrious career, released in excess of twenty-five albums.
He released his debut album Buari, on RCA in 1975. It featured legendary jazz drummer Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie who plays a starring role on this über rare fusion of Afrobeat, disco, funk and soul. This genre-melting album launched the career of this truly innovative artist who successfully fused African and Western music.
That was the case four years later in 1979, when Sidiku Buari released his sophomore album Disco Soccer. He was joined by an all-star cast when he recorded this future cult classic.
When Sidiku Buari was recording the eleven tracks that became Disco Soccer, he was joined by what was the creme de la creme of session musicians. This included two of the go-to horn players, The Brecker Brothers saxophonist Michael and trumpeter Randy. They were joined by trumpeter Jon Faddis, saxophonist George Young, trombonist Barry Rogers while Christine Snyder and Valerie West played French horn. The string section featured violinists Danny Reed , Lucy Corwin, Paul Scales, Bob Rozek and Stan Curtis plus cellist John Reed. Completing the lineup was percussionist Errol ‘Crusher’ Bennett. Together this multitalented band combined the music heard in Accra and New York in 1979.
Disco Soccer was released on Polydor later in 1979, and just like Sidiku Buari’s debut four years earlier, combined a myriad of disparate musical genres. The Ghanian bandleader and multi-instrumentalist backed by his all-star band, fused elements of Afrobeat, late-seventies disco, boogie, funk and soul. This was combined from the opening bars of Koko Si right through to the closing notes of Games We Used To Play. For forty-three majestic minutes the music veers between slick and sharp to soulful, funky and dancefloor friendly as Disco Soccer heads in the direction of traditional Ghanian music.
This is Ghanian music with a difference. Listen carefully and the sound of Southern Soul, and especially the Stax can be heard. There’s also a Motown influence on Disco Soccer as African and Western music combine to create irresistible genre-melting music.
It’s a captivating combination where one minute, the listener is enjoying what could be the soundtrack to an evening in Studio 54, in New York, before being transported to the Ghanian capital as they hear they other side to this cult classic, Disco Soccer.
Despite the quality of the music the album that wasn’t a huge success upon its release. It was only much later when it was rediscovered that the album started to be be heard by a wider and appreciative audience. They also discovered the album’s secret.
This was what Sidiku Buari called the Disco Soccer dance. It was: “a brand new dance-also called The Spirit Of Sports Dance. The most important part of this dance is the footwork of the steps. Just Remember, the “Soccer ball” is the drum beat of every disco beat, as well as this new dance-so, follow the drum beat and you will find it easy to dance. Hand swinging, head shaking, body moving, slightly kicking, jumping and stepping is a part of this dance.”
Given the irresistible, genre-melting music on Sidiku Buari’s sophomore album Disco Soccer, even those lacking in coordination will soon be moving and grooving and enjoying The Spirit Of Sports Dance, and recreating the spirit of 1979, when this oft-overlooked cult classic was originally released.
Cult Classic: Sidiku Buari-Disco Soccer.
- Posted in: Afrobeat ♦ Boogie ♦ Disco ♦ Funk ♦ Soul ♦ Southern Soul
- Tagged: Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Buari, Disco Soccer, Sidiku Buari, The Brecker Brothers
I shall try to include music by this band in The Happening.
That would be great if you could play something from Disco Soccer on The Happening as it’s album that really deserves to be heard by a much wider audience.
There’s been some wonderful reissues from the Tabansi back-catalogue since 2019. BBE Africa are reissuing sixty albums from a two year period.