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Bongos ikwue - who he?

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  • Bongos ikwue - who he?

    Picked up three LPs this weekend by Bongos Ikwue on Nigerian EMI, 'Ihotu', 'Lagos' and 'Bongos & The Groovies', the latter of which sounds (on quick tracking) like a decent LP, and the others seem to have odd good bits on them, but are rather spoiled by bad synthesiser arrangements elsewhere. All signed by Mr Ikwue, and a total punt, but anyone here know anything about these?

    In the same box was a Nigerian disco set on Rone Productions by Julie Coker, 'Tomorrow', from 1981 but sounds earlier. Nice track called 'Gossiper Scandal Monger' on there, but fairly listenable all through.

    Other than those mysterious numbers, happy to get home with Soft Machine 'Volume 2' (abc), Pearls Before Swine 'One Nation Underground' (ESP), Pentangle 'Reflections' (transatlantic), Keith Jarrett 'Bop-Be' (abc/impulse) and Tonto's Expanding Head Band 'Zero Time' (embryo).

    Bog all at the booter this morning though, besides a copy of 'City Of God' on VHS for £1 and some aubergines.
    a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

  • #2
    I don't know them but fin (who comes on ere time to time) might now. Failing that I can ask a couple of other people.

    Anything on EMI from Nigeria has got to be picked up if you see it cheap. If there is anymore I would go back! <- Changed URL


    • #3
      Good find.
      He was included on the Strut Nigeria 70 compilation with &quot;Woman Made The Devil&quot;. I am not sure whether there was any additional biographical information. The Bongos Ikwue &amp; The Groovies goes for 50 - 60 Euros on specialised websites.


      • #4
        How could an LP with the words &#39;Bongos&#39; and &#39;Groovies&#39; in the title be anything but brilliant?&#33;


        • #5
          Fin is the man to ask


          • #6
            Cheers for the info&#33;

            Did a bit of googling, and there&#39;s &#39;Woman Made The Devil&#39; listed on the Strut comp, and another on a reggae comp, but nothing else on him I can find. &#39;Woman Made The Devil&#39; is one of the standouts on the &#39;Lagos&#39; set (though the lyrics are a bit dubious - &quot;man made woman/woman made the devil/throw her out the window&quot; - uh, cheers, Bongos, mate&#33.

            The Bongos &amp; The Groovies set is actually titled &#39;Something Good&#39;, so probably isn&#39;t the 60euro one on that list. Sounds like a similar mix of African reggae and other stuff, couple of afro-beat tracks, couple of folkier songs, quite hard to pin down. Interesting though, listening to it properly, and not quite as much terrible synth as first thought: some quite mad moogy-type noises scattered about, too.

            Afraid they were the only ones there, though - four Nigerian LPs in a box of the usual Harry Secombe/Winifred Atwell/Des O&#39;Connor type stuff. God knows how they got there, but the guy&#39;s a regular seller on the Cattle Market, so I&#39;ll make sure to keep checking in case any more show up. In the meantime, hopefully Fin&#39;ll be along with the lowdown&#33;
            a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace


            • #7

              Now I don&#39;t really know that many bongos Ikwue LPs, but my memory is that they are mostly neither very good nor very rare. I seem to see some of them semi-regularly, and I don&#39;t think I&#39;ve ever heard a good one but there are probably a few good tracks scattered about, and I suspect there might be a really good album or two. Don&#39;t know really; your description sounds like most of them that I&#39;ve heard, i.e. not much cop, but perhaps not really shit. If they&#39;re signed, thats interesting. Not sure why, but interesting anyway. Still, its always worth picking up anything like that, its fucking obscure gear to just chance upon, and you can never tell with those LPs, sometimes there&#39;s something killer on them.

              Not much of a low-down, I&#39;m afraid, but there you are. If I find anything else out I&#39;ll put on here. Keep an eye on that box.

              and on the subject of surrealism, I&#39;ve just applied for a fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies... which I was faintly amazed to discover even existed. why have you got that on your avatar/ signature?


              • #8
                Cheers&#33; Yes, pretty much sounds like our bloke, though I&#39;d have to say the one with the Groovies is more consistent, if you&#39;re into that sort of African reggae sound (a lot of horns, hitting some fairly funky passages on a couple of cuts, albeit in a way that&#39;s more hi-life-funky than US funky, if you know what I mean?) but not bad overall, either.

                The &#39;Ihotu&#39; one is pretty barren, but &#39;Lagos&#39; has &#39;Woman Made The Devil&#39; and a couple of other nice folky things on it: I&#39;d guess some of the others would be better without the awful synths, but it does sound like Mr Ikwue had rather OD&#39;d on his Bob Dylan LPs around 1975...sometimes to good effect, other times with fairly dire consequences. They were signed in 1981, if the date he&#39;s written on the LPs is correct, two made out to the same names, the other to someone else, looks like thank-yous for something or other - possibly buying the records, possibly something else.

                As for my Andre Breton avatar, and Alfred Jarry signature, I&#39;ve been collecting and studying Surrealist stuff since I picked up a book on the painters by Uwe M Schede in my local library at the age of 12. Been into it ever since - what&#39;re you planning to do? Sounds intriguing...
                a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace


                • #9
                  don&#39;t know, depends whether or not I get it. If i do, probably on the links between surrealism and anthropology (general influences, and more specific things, leiris&#39;s trip to africa w/ griaule, the college of sociology and its attendees and members, etc.), esp the influence of surrealism on Claude Levi-Strauss (and thus on his unintelligable pal Lacan, and so through into much contemporary theory in loads of fields.)

                  Although I kind half have an idea to try and do a bit of rehab (from a philosophical, not personal, perspective) on old Breton, whos had a bit of bad press in recent years, mostly because of the growth of interest in Bataille who, while very interesting, is actually of rather more limited interest I think. In fact, the two things are connected, since I would argue that some of Levi-strauss&#39;s key ideas are almost identical with &#39;objective chance&#39;, and so relatively unacknowledged but very significant trajectory for &#39;orthodox&#39; surrealism could be traced from Breton into anthropology and psychoanalysis, and out into plenty of other disciplines.

                  I&#39;ll get my coat. Or, to be more precise, my tweed jacket with leather patches on the sleeves.


                  • #10
                    Yes, I always think the problem people have with Lacan as a theorist is that they attempt to reduce his prose to meanings, which once you understand his surrealist origins is not the way to go: a bit like listening to Albert Ayler or late Coltrane and complaining about the lack of a hummable tune, I guess. Read him as pure language-improv, it actually starts to make more sense...but you need to be quite accustomed to reading surrealist texts to pick that up, I guess&#33; Same with Kristeva, too - though her ideas are clearer, it&#39;s the way it works as a set of associations etc that seems to be the point.

                    As for Breton/Bataille, I&#39;m definitely on the Breton side: I think the thing about &#39;orthodox&#39; surrealism and its bad press is down to the deep unfashionability of Breton&#39;s emphasis on love and humour - Bataille&#39;s negativity (in my view) is actually less challenging to people who don&#39;t want to leave the realm of theorising and actually have to change the way they live etc. But then I&#39;ve read interviews in which even Bataille himself acknowledged that he not only owed more to Breton than he ever admitted in the 30s - 40s, but had probably been wrong in many of his challenges, too (I think they were in the &#39;Bataille: Writings On Surrealism&#39; collection).

                    Anyway, I&#39;m with Andre: so f***ing stubborn he managed to piss off the Stalinists, even while attempting to put Surrealism in the Service of the Revolution. My sort of guy&#33;
                    a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace


                    • #11
                      Yes, the Lacan scholars I know freely admit that no-one understands Lacan. Lacan scholarship actually seems devoted solely to trying to understand Lacan. Anyone who manages it passes over in the same realm of difficulty and obscurity. Like Kristeva, who also seems to appeal to the same types who think Bataille is such big news, which is kind of interesting... seems to have a lot to do with those October/ MIT press bods, who wield such inordinate influence.

                      I think it boils down to the fact that Bataille is interesting in the first instance in relation to Breton, but Breton needs nothing from Bataille. Personally I think Bataille is a bit tiresome. His writing is too florid and excitable, and lots of his ideas are quite frankly a bit silly.


                      • #12
                        Well, he basically took his own sexual predelictions and built everything out of them, which is fair enough, I suppose. But I did put together an application a few years back to do something on the links between surrealist and baroque aesthetics, and the way that Breton&#39;s (and most of surrealism&#39;s) aesthetic ideas actually follow similar lines to those of the baroque era: probably due to the internalisation on catholicism etc (not long after, Mary Ann Caws published &#39;Surrealism &amp; The Look&#39; with MIT (&#33 which covered similar ground, interestingly enough). Anyway, one thing that struck me then was that Bataille was like the aescetic/flaggelant type Catholic, Breton more the official &#39;high&#39; type...though neither would really thank you for pointing that out. As you say, Bataille is really a sort of reaction to Breton&#39;s ideas...and it happened that during the identity politics/sexuality/the body theory phase of the 80s and 90s, his predelictions fitted more closely what academics were looking for than Breton&#39;s did. I&#39;m pretty sure I&#39;ve still got a couple of articles I wrote back then (mostly focused on connections between metaphysical and surrealist poetry) knocking about somewhere: one of them was picked up for an Australian magazine, but I&#39;m not sure if it actually ran or not. If you were interested I could dig out the discs and email you copies (though since it&#39;s been two house moves since I last looked...). Anyway.

                        Hey, we&#39;ve just added surrealism and postmodernist theory to the list of VV discussions&#33; Now that&#39;s one I didn&#39;t expect...
                        a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace