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Artist: AMANAZ
Title: Africa
Format: Double LP
Label: Now-Again
Country: USA
Price: $32.00
“Repressed, miraculously. "Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambias Zamrock ethos. While other albums -- Rikki Ililongas Zambia, Witchs Lazy Bones!! -- are competitors, its hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions, and it rocks -- hard. Amanaz were serious, and they made a serious stab at an album. They titled their album Africa, according to original band member Keith Kabwe, because of how it was shared and how its inhabitants were butchered and enslaved, its resources stolen... all the atrocities slave drivers committed. Thus, their Kale, a blues sung in Nyanja, that traced the continents arc from slavery to Zambias independence closes the album. Kabwe and rhythm guitarist John Kanyepa have a winsome softness to their vocals, which sit politely aside the feral growl of drummer Watson Baldwin Lungu, bassist Jerry Mausala and bandleader/lead guitarist Isaac Mpofu. Africas vibe ranges from anxious (Amanaz) to escapist (Easy Street) to straight-up pissed-off. On the History of Man, his voice whiskey-burned, his distorted guitar buzzing like swarming hornets, Mpofu indicts his species. Theres a darkness to Africa not found on any other Zamrock records, and a melancholy drifts throughout, specifically on Mpofus more restrained Khala My Friend, which stands as an effective, bleak situation for the Zambian everyman, the average citizen of a struggling, new nation, who might have had relatives in conflict-torn countries on the horizon, who might have been struggling to find his next meal, who might have seen a bleaker future than his president promised. Then theres the clear Velvet Underground-influence on the nostalgic Sunday Morning, which, as Kabwe recalls, was the first song written for the album, back in 1968, when Velvet Undergound and Nico was a new release -- and the underground funk of Making the Scene. The album also tackles traditional Zambian music and early-60s rock -- punctuated, of course by Kanyepas wah-wah and Mpofus fuzz guitars. But every time Amanaz get too deep, too violent, they come back with an accessible song and woo their listener back to the groove. Green Apple is a civil song, featuring Kanyepas sighing guitar. It is a perfectly arranged album, from the dichotomy of Mpofus and Kanyepas lead and rhythm guitars, to the vocal harmonies, to the rhythm sections sense of space and time, which allows Africas funk to build. Inexplicably, Africa was given two separate mixes and two separate presses: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. Weve presented them both here as they each have their appeal: its up to the listener to pick the one he or she prefers. This is a highpoint of the Zamrock scene and we hope that this can be seen as its definitive reissue." - Now-Again.

Artist: AMANAZ
Title: Africa
Format: LP
Label: Shadoks
Country: Germany
Price: $46.00
"From Zambia, Africa, 1975. glossy heavy sleeve, 180 gram pressing. Amanaz was formed in 1973. Three songs are in the native language Bemba, and 9 songs in English, recorded in Kitwe, the 3rd biggest city in Zambia up north. Musically, it goes in the same direction as Blo, The Witch and Question Mark, but this album is way cooler and stoned with an amazing fuzz guitar all over which sounds like an African version of early Cream. The cover makes it look very traditional but after a few spins, you are aware that this one is very special. Its so cool, so tightly-produced and easily compares with UK underground albums with a touch of African beats. Still completely unknown, so this album has not been scored yet by the collectors scene. A real surprise." -Shadoks
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