Africa Seven is taking its first trip to Germany...Well Germany via Cameroun. Charlie Kingue Soppo is better known as Charly Kingson, cousin of Manu Dibango and a Cameroonian emigrant in the 1970s. Charly first headed to Paris and then found his way to Munich in 1978. He recorded two albums in his career, Born In Africa in Munich in 1978 and Dance To The Music two years later in New York. For this outing the label focuses on his debut Born In Africa. It was recorded in Union Studios in Munich with some of the city's finest (and surprisingly funky) session musicians of the day.
The LP opens up with "Nimele Bolo" a trademark Africa Seven sound if there ever was one...early growling analog synths, big stabby brass and Afro rhythms. Add in Charlys vocals and it's easy to see why this track was a highlight of African Seven's African Airways 04 Funk compilation. Next is the smooth ballad, "Makakane Masu" and the brooding "Manyaka" driven by a suspenseful string section, octaving keys and percussive horns. The flip kicks off with the rolling bass and swinging brass of "Born In Africa." This track was a single and it's the perfect microcosm of the album. It even manages to name check all the big Afro musicians of the time. "Nanga Boko" and its good time synth-boogie funk follows and the LP closes off with "Reviens-Moi" a pensive ballad about Charly's forlorn love.
After Charly moved on from recording in the '80s he stayed in Germany, performing in a series of local jazz and funk bands. Africa Seven tracked him down in 2016 and are pleased to be re-releasing his debut long player. It sounds just as relevant (if not more so) in 2018 as it did 40 years ago in 1978.