Catalog #VAMPI 285
ReleaseW 25 - 2023
FormatVinyl - EULP
EAN Barcode8435008864514
 € 29,50 incl. VAT, excl. shipping


  1. el gallo africano
  2. la yuca raya
  3. caimito
  4. king kong
  5. la riphita
  6. la trompeta loca
  7. el nativo
  8. Chao amor
  9. el testamento


A wild and funky collection of Afro grooves that was ahead of its time in 1977 and has become a collector’s item in recent years, especially due to the growing international interest in Colombian picó sound system culture. Fruko and his studio bands Wganda Kenya and Kammpala Grupo treat us to a diverse set of African and Caribbean styles, laced with crazy synths, psychedelic guitar and infectious pan-African polyrhythms. First time reissue. 180g vinyl.

By the time Discos Fuentes released the album “Wganda Kenya Kammpala Grupo” in 1977, Wganda Kenya’s discography was expanding with many 45 singles and appearances in various artists collections. The group’s 1975 debut record “África 5.000” was a full length LP in the U.S. and a various artists compilation in Colombia, which was followed by the self-titled long player the following year. However, Kammpala Grupo, which shared the album’s title and was credited to three songs on the record, had never appeared before, yet was basically the same studio group as Wganda Kenya. Most likely the creation of this short-lived studio band was just a ploy by the label to make it seem like there were more groups playing the type of exotic afro tracks favored by the picotero DJs of Colombia’s Caribbean coast (especially in Barranquilla and Cartagena).

1974 Discos Fuentes’ management had sent musician, band leader and producer Julio Ernesto “Fruko” Estrada to the coast on an A&R mission to discover what people were dancing to in the verbenas (communal open air neighborhood parties) run by the owners of picó sound systems (decorated mobile DJ rigs). Always game for an adventure, Fruko was tasked with bringing some popular examples of these esoteric, hard-to-find African, French and Dutch Antillean records back to Medellín to serve as inspiration (or to outright copy) so that the label could enter into the growing regional market and spread its popularity to the interior of Colombia and other Latin American countries via its own studio creation, Wganda Kenya. Fuentes was always returning to exploit the rich African-rooted culture of the coast as it had with the cumbia and other regional genres before, so in a way it was not surprising that they were attuned to this particular niche phenomenon from a marginalized sector of the population. The most popular genres with the champeta dancers in the 70’s and 80’s were styles like Congolese rumba, highlife, afrobeat, juju, mbaqanga and soukous as well as the music of Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Curaçao and Dominica, all of which were fiercely guarded by the DJs who had managed to acquire them often through extreme means of travel, barter and intense digging.

The record kicks off with the joyful ‘El Gallo Africano’ which features exquisite interplay between Sepúlveda’s highlife style guitar and an authentic-sounding African style saxophone, perhaps played by Carlos Piña. In reality it was ‘Go Call Police Chief’ by prolific Nigerian highlife guitarist Chief Oliver Sunday Akanite, aka Oliver De Coque. Next up is Kammpala Grupo’s ‘La Yuca Rayá’ (‘Grated Yuca’), written by Isaac Villanueva in a style he termed son haitiano which sounds much more like Zimbabwe Shona mbira music. Wganda Kenya’s ‘Caimito’ (star apple, a type of tropical fruit), on the other hand, is actually a cover of a relatively well-known Haitian merengue song.

Kammpala Grupo then takes us from the French Antilles to the multi-cultural discotheques of Paris, where a cover version of Black Soul’s Afro-boogie anthem ‘Black Soul Music’ is retooled and renamed ‘King Kong’, perhaps in a nod to the 1976 remake of the monster flick of the same name.

Side two introduces us to the infectious merengue rebita of Angola via ‘La riphyta’ with “Paparí”, aka Mariano Sepúlveda, doing the vocals and faithfully replicating the Angolan guitar style. ‘La Trompeta Loca’ (‘The Crazy Trumpet’), probably the nuttiest track on the album, is an ingenious cover of ‘Ye Gbawa Oo Baba (Tribute To Nigeria)’ by Joe Mensah of Ghana. As with all their covers of African tunes, this rendition tightens up the original with some pop sheen, more consistent drumming and higher production values, remaking it into a powerful slow-burning dance floor filler. This is followed by one of the most powerfully original songs to come out of the entire Wganda Kenya project, Mike Char’s reggae anthem ‘El Nativo’ with Joe Arroyo on vocals.

The record ends on a more authentically Caribbean sounding note with the instrumental ‘El testamento’, a cheerful islands banger with bright brass, syncopated calypso beats and chunky cuatro guitar (or ukulele). The original was in the mento genre and titled ‘Sweet meat’, written and recorded by Jamaican trumpeter Bobby Ellis.

With all this wild and funky sounding Afro-based music in its grooves, “Wganda Kenya Kammpala Grupo” was ahead of its time and has become a vinyl collector’s item in recent years, especially due to the growing international interest in picó sound system culture.

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