Amanaz - Africa

NOW-AGAIN RECORDS

  • £31.99


 

Originally issued in 1975, along with albums such as Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia and WITCH’s Lazy Bones, became the very articulation of Zambia’s Zamrock ethos.

The members of Amanaz were anti-colonial freedom fighters, and, according to original band member Keith Kabwe, they chose the title of their album “because of how [Africa] was shared and how its inhabitants were butchered and enslaved, its resources stolen… all the atrocities slave drivers committed.“ The closing song on the album, 'Kale,' is a blues sung in Nyanja, that traced the continent’s arc from slavery to Zambia’s independence.

Africa’s vibe ranges from anxious ('Amanaz') to escapist ('Easy Street') to straight-up pissed-off. But as much as the album rocks, there is an equal amount of roll, and a palpable tenderness - Keith Kabwe and rhythm guitarist John Kanyepa have a winsome softness to their vocals, which sit gently aside the rawness of drummer Watson Baldwin Lungu, bassist Jerry Mausala and Mpofu's growling guitar.

There’s a darkness to Africa not found on any other Zamrock records, and a melancholy drifts throughout, specifically on Mpofu’s more restrained 'Khala My Friend,' which stands as an effective, bleak situation for the Zambian everyman, the average citizen of a struggling, new nation, who might have had relatives in conflict-torn countries on the horizon, who might have been struggling to find his next meal, who might have seen a bleaker future than his president promised.

Western garage rock and funk influences are clear - the Velvet Underground-influence is most present on the nostalgic 'Sunday Morning' (which, as Kabwe recalls, was the first song written for the album, back in 1968, when The Velvet Undergound and Nico was a new release), then there's the Parliament-groove of 'Making The Scene,' and the Stooges riffs and percussion of the 'History of Man' - but Africa is also an album that embraces Zambian folk music traditions, if filtered through wah-wah and fuzz guitars.

For reasons, it appears, no longer known, Africa was given two separate mixes and two separate presses: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. Both versions are great and both essential for their own reasons, and this definitive double-album reissue presents both versions, each on its own disc. 

 

TRACKLIST:
Dry mix
  1. Amanaz
  2. I Am Very Far
  3. Sunday Morning
  4. Khala My Friend
  5. History Of Man
  6. Nsunka Lwendo
  7. Africa
  8. Green Apple
  9. Making The Scene
  10. Easy Street
  11. Big Enough
  12. Kale
Reverb Mix
  1. Amanaz
  2. I Am Very Far
  3. Sunday Morning
  4. Khala My Friend
  5. History Of Man
  6. Nsunka Lwendo
  7. Africa
  8. Green Apple
  9. Making The Scene
  10. Easy Street
  11. Big Enough
  12. Kale

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