Afrobeat prog pioneers Osibisa have premiered their video for brand new single Douala. The single, out March 5, is a celebration of the life of legendary Cameroon musician, Manu Dibango, who died of Covid on 24 March last year (and who’s world-wide hit, Soul Makossa, was covered by the likes of Rhianna, Arthur Baker and Michael Jackson).
Douala is taken from the band’s upcoming album New Dawn, which will be released on the Marquee Records label on April 21
“Douala was one of the simplest songs we did on the album, although it did take thirteen takes to complete; simple can be deceptive,” says original member, keyboardist Robert Bailey. “Ultimately it turned out to be a great dance vibe and well worth the time and effort spent on it. The keyboards I played could be said to be minimal, but just right for the mood of the music.
“I enhanced Kari’s original horn lines harmonically and added a few more for the overall flow of the track. It’s now one of my favourite tracks on the album.”
“Osibisa has very strong ties with Douala, Cameroon, as ex Osibisa bassist & composer, Jean Dikoto Mandengue, is a native of Douala,” adds guitarist Gregg Kofi Brown. “Jean Dikoto also played in a band with Manu Dibango, so it was quite easy for me to write a lyric honouring both of these legends. Dikoto had played bass with French rock legend Johnny Hallyday, so he always had that rock n roll edge at the same time maintaining his dignity as a French West African gentleman.
“And of course Douala’s most successfully renowned superstar, Manu Dibango, whose dynamic ‘Soul Makossa’ graced the records of the likes of Michael Jackson and Rhianna. Also, Osibisa on many occasions would step in for Manu when he couldn’t make a show.”
Douala is released 46 years on from the band’s biggest hit Sunshine Day, which reached No. 17 in the UK charts in 1975.