Sharp-Flat Records presents the long-awaited restoration of The Broadway Quintet's cult classic Amalume (Lekani Mowa) – a hypnotic concoction of traditional Zambian sounds and jazz-rock grooves with a twist of 1970s African psychedelia.
Emerging to serve the entertainment needs of Zambia's United National Independence Party (UNIP) in the early 1960s, The Broadway Quintet gathered seasoned talent from Lusaka's best hotel bands to fashion its esteemed lineup. Starting as a quartet and later evolving into a quintet, the group's career spanned over twenty years as favourites on the cabaret circuit and boasted a myriad of prestigious collaborations.
The Broadway Quintet's jazz sensibilities set them apart from the rock sound that dominated the music landscape of the 1970s. Yet the formula behind Zamrock, fusing indigenous Zambian sounds with Western pop, shaped their one and only 1976 long-player. Featuring modern arrangements of traditional songs, Amalume blended congas with sax sounds, folk lyrics with electric keyboard shenanigans and show business staples with jazz guitar noodling. With its psychedelic fever dream illustrated cover*, it was an explosive package of "originality and electrifying beauty" as the album's liner notes rightly attested.
Released on the Zambezi label, Amalume joined an exceptional run of mid-1970s offerings alongside WITCH, Ricky Banda and Crossbones. Officially licensed, carefully restored and beautifully reproduced, Zambia's most requested reissue has finally returned for everybody to enjoy.
* Trevor Ford's harrowing artwork references the album's didactic title track with its warning against the perils of drinking alcohol.
They hail from such old-time groups as The Rhokana Melodies, The Crooners, De Black Evening Follies and The City Quads. It was the UNIP National Band of 1962 that brought the boys together. And they’re still together 14 years later!
Tony Maonde, Zacks Gwaze, Timothy Sikova, Jonah Marumahoko, Simanga Tutani – individually, musicians of rare talent; together, The Broadway Quintet, polished night-club performers of Lusaka’s Hotel Intercontinental.
But, beneath their public image there runs, like the mighty Zambezi, a creative force that explodes with originality and electrifying beauty.
From vocal compositions like “Mr. Music” and “Change Your Mind” through the more traditional “Jiye Manguwe” and title-track “Amalume”, The Broadway Quintet move into instrumentals of the brilliance and vitality of “Matteo” and “Nifyo Fine”.
To The Broadway Quintet we say, “Thanks for a fantastic LP”.
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