Following on from Africa Seven's extremely well received re-press of Pasteur Lappe's second album Na Man Pass Man, the label heads back to the beginning with a reissue of his debut We, The People. The story begins in the 60's with a charming 19 year old Lappe becoming a sensation on Radio Adele in Douala, Cameroon. He went on to become the editor of the Douala Gazette newspaper and friends with other African music stars such as Tala AM, J Moboule and Fela Kuti. He also worked tirelessly promoting new and upcoming local Cameroonian talent. After moving to Paris, a stint in journalism school and publishing a book of poems, he finally settled into a new life of music in Paris.
Pasteur's first album was recorded in 1979 with the backing band and production collective called the Zulu Gang, which included Douglas Mbida (who went on to release several top flight albums himself) and Jacob Desvariaux (who went on to form Kassav). The album is full of diverse sounds; from driving funk, sweeping disco grooves, syrupy ballads, reggae, Jackson-five-esque pop to finger-lickin' soul. At its core though is the custom "Sekele" groove...a movement to encompass the dance, grooves and vibes from his native Douala.
The album opens with the pulsing grooves of "More Sekele Movement" which features driving bass, snappy percussion and catchy vocal lines from Pasteur. "Dora" is next, a sparkly Afro pop gem with stabby horns and a smooth catchy melody. Things slow down for the smooth "Watch Get My Day Dreams" featuring lazy Rhodes, an end-of-the-disco sway and Maryse Lappe on guest vocals. Things heat up once again on the flip with "Sekelimania (Nku Bilam)" bringing back the funk. Choppy guitar riffs, percussive clarinet and top-of-the-world horns power this smooth power funk cut.
Next "The Sekele Movement" keeps the horns busy with its Afro swing drums, walking bass lines and funky keys. This track was featured on the recent Analog Africa Pop Makossa compilation. The album closes with the slow and forlorn love song, "As Far I Can Remember," a partly spoken, partly sung number which talks of separation and longing. The perfect thoughtful end to one fine LP.