Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Carlyto's Way

I was in Brussels working on Monday and Tuesday, but managed to carve out an hour from my busy schedule to head over to Matonge to sample the excellent selection of Congolese CDs at "Musicanova". Unfortunately it was shut. And although the stock was still there and there was a hand-written sign on the door saying they would be opening soon, there was an awful lot of post piling up on the floor. It does not look too promising. Does anyone know what is happening?

Fortunately the trader above the mobile phone shop at the entrance to Galerie d'Ixelles was still going, and I was able to pick up a couple of CDs, one by Tshala Muana and the other by someone I have never previously heard of, Carlyto Lassa. The CD in question is called "Africa Na Moto" and it was released in 1997.

I have not been able to find out much about Carlyto, apart from the fact that he sang with the famous OK Jazz in the late 1980s. Some websites I have looked at describe his solo style as "soukous-gospel", but I am not sure that applies to this CD. My French is poor - and my Lingala is not that hot either - but to me it sounds like he is singing of romantic love not spiritual love. Perhaps he moved on to gospel music later in his career.

Here are a couple of tracks that caught my ear on first listen this morning. I really like the guitar work, particularly the slightly fuzzy guitar that comes in at about 5:30 on "Chatelet". According to the sleeve notes there are six guitarists on the album - Popolipo, Dizzy, Lokassa, Dally, Caen and Carlyto himself. I don't know which one to give the credit to.

"Chatelet" - Carlyto Lassa

"Michokoto Wa Michongo" - Carlyto Lassa

I know it is probably wrong or unnatural, but when I heard the little motif at the beginning of "Michokoto Wa Michongo", I immediately thought of the litle motif at the beginning of this top tune from Icy Spicy Leoncie. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Popolipo is responsible for the guitar break as well.


  1. Yes, it looks as though Musicanova is no more. I last visited it on 26 May, so it was still open then. But more recently, I was in Brussels about 10 days before you and encountered the same shut-down shop. The sign said it was closed for "travaux", but there were clearly no building works going on. A woman sitting nearby said they hadn't seen the owner for four months and she reckoned he'd flown the coop. They guided me round the corner to another shop, Planet Musique, which I had visited once before, but otherwise the stock of African record shops in the area is sadly dwindling...

  2. Robert

    Thanks for sharing that information. It is a shame you had to be the bearer of bad news.