Maloko was an African soukous band that came together in 1988 under the direction of Ibrahim Kanja Bah, a US-based music producer originally hailing from Sierra Leone. To lead the group he recruited Cameroonian guitarist and arranger Vincent Nguini, who grew up with the sounds of Zairean pop and soukous that were popular across West Africa. The group was only a one off project and made one album Soul On Fire. After the group disbanded, Nguini went on to become guitarist in Paul Simon’s bands and appeared on four albums including Rhythm Of The Saints, the follow-up to Graceland. Other band members included Syran Mbenza best known for his involvement with Quatre Etoiles and Kekele and widely acknowledged as one of Africa’s best guitarists. The Soul On Fire album consisted of covers of classic American soul tracks that were soukous-ified so to speak.

Links To Peel

Peel mentioned on his 11 January 1989 show that Charlie Gillett gave him Maloko's Soul On Fire album, which was released some years ago.. His enthusiasm for the band's soukous-flavoured cover of the Wilson Pickett song led to its inclusion in the 1989 Peelenium. Peel loved the track so much that he played it twice in a row on his BBC Radio One show of 05 April 2001.


Other Shows Played

Soukous version of Midnight Hour by Maloko

Soukous version of Midnight Hour by Maloko.wmv

  • 30 March 2000: In The Midnight Hour (12" Promo) London
  • 23 May 2000: (JP: "When the John Peel Roadshow goes out and about - which it very seldom does these days - the highlight of the set as I see it anyway is when I follow Wilson Pickett's version of 'Midnight Hour' with one by Maloko, which I've featured on this programme on numerous occasions, fantastic sort-of soukous version of the old favourite.")

External Links

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