Hamad Kalkaba And His Golden Sounds - 1974-1975 LP
Label: Analog Africa
Analog Africa on Hamad Kalkaba And His Golden Sounds 1974-1975: "I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaounde, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face, carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country. The record contained two songs - 'Gandjal Kessoum' and 'Toufle' - by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba. Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon's mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal. The shop owner finally said to me 'There is another single with a green cover of the same artist, if I am not mistaken'. Over the next six years I searched for that 'green cover' and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin.
"These two records, plus a third simply named 'Nord Cameroon Rhythms' constitute the entire discography of Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, this album at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon's forgotten geniuses. But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn't disappeared. Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon, and a former member of Cameroon's Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the Confederation of African Athletics. And although Kalkaba's job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he'd made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project. He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaounde in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes."