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Soul Makossa (1972) - Manu Dibango

Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-coo-sa

Related: proto-disco - soul - Manu Dibango - 1972

I believe this is the cover of the original seven inch release on Fiesta.

Soul Makossa is a 1972 single by Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango. It is often mentioned as the first disco record, broken on New York radio by Frankie Crocker. It is probably best remembered in the chanted vocal refrain "Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-coo-sa" in Michael Jackson's 1983 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" where it is featured prominently during the song's final bridge. Dibango's lawyers obtained compensation in an out-of-court settlement.


--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_Makossa [Jan 2006]

First "discotheque" record

One of the most spectacular discotheque records in recent months [1973] is a perfect example of the genre: Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa." Originally a French pressing on the Fiesta label, the 45 was being largely undistributed by an African import company in Brooklyn when David Mancuso brought it to the attention of DJ Frankie Crocker. Crocker broke it on the air on New York's WBLS-FM, a black station highly attuned to the disco sound, but the record was made in discotheques where its hypnotic beat and mysterious African vocals drove people crazy. Within days, "Soul Makossa" was the underground record and when copies of the original 45 disappeared at $3 and $4, cover versions (many unlicensed and one a pirated copy put out under another group's name) were rushed out. Atlantic Records stepped into this confusion, bought the U.S. rights and had both the single and an album out on their own label days later . . . . --Vince Aletti via "Discotheque Rock '72: Paaaaarty!" from Rolling Stone, September 13, 1973.


Makossa, a popular musical style in West and Central Africa, originated with the Duala proper around this same time. The style mixes jazz, highlife, and soul with African traditional music. Manu Dibango popularised it in the mid-1970s with "Soul Makossa", also a pioneering Disco album. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duala_peoples#Arts [Jan 2006]

Bassline sampled?

I am pretty sure I recognized a yet unidentified acid house 303 line in the bass line of "Soul Makossa". If you know, please mail jwgeerinck at hotmail.

Release history

Seven inch Fiesta release: http://www.discogs.com/release/554205

Seven inch Atlantic USA release: http://www.discogs.com/release/229577

Manu Dibango

No review of a Manu Dibango album is complete without the now clichéd reference to "Soul Makossa." Dibango fused jazz and African rhythms, with his funky saxophone to produce a single that launched his career worldwide. The record climbed global charts, including American popular music-in 1973 no less-serving as another milestone for African music. To some "Soul Makossa" defined the concept of world music.

The story of the first ever hit by a Paris-based African is enlightening. In 1971 Cameroon's Minister for Sport financed the recording of an anthem composed by Manu Dibango in honour of the national football team, for the 8th Coupe des Tropiques due to take place in Yaoundé. The single was released in 1972, with "Soul Makossa" as its B-side. The Cameroonians were then knocked out and the record was duly forgotten. But the song reappeared on a Dibango album released at the end of 1972 by French Decca's Africa division. On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, African-American radio programmers [Frankie Crocker] were scoring heavily with "Soul Makossa". The French label paid no attention to this phenomenon and ignored the African artist, but New York's prestigious Atlantic label signed him up. The result was two years of sell-out live performances in the US and a cool two million records sold. There was a further development in 1982, when Michael Jackson revived the famous "Ma ma ma, Ma ma sa, Ma ma Makossa" chorus on the opening track of his multimillion-selling Thriller album. Dibango's lawyers obtained compensation in an out-of-court settlement. -- from http://www.mediaport.net/CP/AfricArt/100CD/CD/040.html

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