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domingo, 8 de septiembre de 2019

The Ladies of Missema, and Pamelo Mounk'a too!

The all-female Gabonese choral group Missema was founded in the 1970s, apparently with some official sponsorship, with the purpose of promoting Gabon's President and kleptocrat-for-life El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba and the ruling Parti Démocratique Gabonais. This is well-illustrated by today's musical offering, Omar Bongo 20 Ans (Missema Productions M 2005, 1986).

What makes this LP extra-interesting to me is the presence of Pamelo Mounk'a, an outstanding star of the '80s music scene in Congo-Brazzaville. Here Pamelo contributes not only his considerable vocal talents but his arranging skills and apparently many of the backing musicians. Omar Bongo 20 Ans is therefore a worthy and overlooked entry in Mounk'a's stellar discography.

Sadly Pamelo Mounk'a passed away, too young, on January 14, 1996. Omar Bongo managed to weather the political changes sweeping Africa in the early '90s, hanging on to power through hook or crook before dying of cancer on June 8, 2009. He was then succeeded in office by his son Ali Bongo.

Missema too have managed to hang on, at least until the last decade, and continue their praise-singing ways, as exemplified by this video:

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