Home Read Now Hear This: Roger Damawuzan | Seda

Now Hear This: Roger Damawuzan | Seda

Get down with the Togolese titan's fiery fusion of vintage soul, funk and Afrobeat.

THE TRANSLATED & EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Since his introduction in the ’60s, he has lit stages on fire, whether it be with The Rickers Orchestra or with The Melo-Togo Orchestra (who took home second place in the first National Festival of Tologese Music). His first seven-inch vinyl, Wait For Me, is a holy grail for diggers all around the world. It was such a hit that Togolese music is and will forever be stamped by Roger Damawuzan. He was principal in introducing Gazo, Akpesse and Kamou rhythms to modern day soul music.

Though the Tropicana Hotel in Avépozo  — a few kilometers from the capital of Lomé — has been closed for years, the many European tourists who were lucky enough to visit have not forgotten the nights that Damawuzan set ablaze with his flaming spirit and the rawness of his rigorous funk. He is timeless: Since 1987, the Tropicana is gone but Damawuzan roars on.

In response to requests from his studio and his label Tropicana Sounds — which was responsible for releasing his work during the ’80s — Damawuzan is now making a comeback with Seda, a mix of Afro, soul and funk. This album may be described, but it cannot be explained. Only through listening to this disk at a high volume will one completely understand the full scope of Damawuzan’s emotions on the mic.

A force of nature, Damawuzan could have been supported by only one group. Led by Peter Solo, the members of the Vaudou Game and Lomé’s most talented musicians are at Damawuzan’s disposal for this album. The bass thunders in his honor, the brass escorts his arrival through the drums’ rhythmatic steps, and the guitars riff so perfectly to serve as the ideal bedrock.

Likewise, this album could have been only captured, if not mastered, by one studio. The mission was accomplished by the legendary studio OTODI (Office Togolese of Disks) by utilizing solely analog equipment to capture the depth and breadth of Damawuzan’s soul in this album.

In Mina, Damawuzan’s native tongue, Seda means “listen.” This is neither advice nor a suggestion — it’s an order.”