Adriano Atchutchi: composer, chefe da orquestra
Cesário "Miguelinho" Hoffer: rhythm guitar/sax
Adriano "Tundo" Fonseca: solo guitar
Serifo Dju: contracanto guitar
Francisco Martens a.k.a. "Chico Karuka": bass
João Mota: solo guitar
Zé Manel: drums
Armando Vaz Pereira: tumba
Joãozinho Correia: bongos
António Malam Mané, Lamine Baldé, Cesário "Ntchoba" Morgado, Carlos Baba Kanoute, Herculano Pina Araujo, Dulce Neves: vocalists

above right: Armando, Zé Manel, J. Mota, Uyé, Tundo, performing in Havana

This remarkable band was formed at a boy scout camp in 1964 and grew into a national band and ultimately a global phenomenon. After Guinea-Bissau gained independence from Portuguese colonial rule in 1974, Super Mama Djombo was the most popular band in the country for more than a decade. In 1978they took Cuba by storm,playing at a youth festival. They only had one recording session, in Lisbon January 1980, from which five LPs appeared. In 1986 they broke up. A core remained and were reassembled by Atchutchi for some projects. The achingly beautiful quality of the ballads endured, and worked well on the soundtrack to the film, The Blue Eyes of Yonta, set in Bissau and directed by Flora Gomes, released in 1996. Despite shifting personnel the original sound was maintained. Original members regrouped and were reunited in Iceland, of all places, where they recorded Ar Puro (Fresh Air) in November 2007. In 2008 they made a European tour. Their label Cobiana ultimately moved to the USA and Zé Manel, the drummer, ended up in California where he also produced a solo album.

NA CAMBANÇA (Cobiana SMD 001 1980)

Reissued on CD: Teca Balafon Prods, Portugal, 1999; Reissued on LP Mar & Sol 2019 MSR004

Often what drives us is the idea of something, say African Music. Once you heard a particularly magic song and searched and searched until you found the album and, if you were lucky, the album was bliss. Sometimes an artist or band will tug at your heartstrings in inexplicable ways and you'll find yourself blindly pursuing their music at all costs (Yes, even as far as the outrageous prices of some dealers). Certain notes or sounds become like a Holy Grail as you try to find them. What was an idea becomes an ideal, the purest expression of a feeling or sentiment in musical form.
Guinea-Bissau is a Portuguese-speaking country lodged between Guinea and Senegal but closer musically to Mali than to its immediate neighbor or even the Cape Verde islands which are culturally connected to it. Super Mama Djombo was formed at a Boy Scout camp in the mid-sixties and continued to evolve as the lads grew into teens. Members were voted in and out, or left as they gained musical skill, to form other bands. After Guinea-Bissau's unilateral declaration of independence in 1973, the group became national favorites (many people prayed to the spirit of Mama Djombo for protection -- half the populace is Muslim, the other half animist). In 1974 Adriano Atchutchi, a politically conscious activist, took over as leader. Their music, like many emergent sounds of that time in West Africa, was electrified folk music. They regularly toured to open for President Luis Cabral's speaking engagements and their concerts were broadcast live on the national radio. They took Cuba by storm at the 11th annual Youth Music Festival in Havana, 1978. In 1980 the group traveled to Lisbon for a recording session and filled 6 hours of tape, not even covering their whole repertoire. Their first album, Na Cambança, contained songs that were already well-known at home, but its release extended the fame of the band and the song "Pamparida" (based on a nursery rhyme) became a huge hit. When Super Mama Djombo played in Senegal (and a young unknown Youssou Ndour opened for them) a throng turned out to hear "Pamparida," and broke down the gates to get in. Their second album, Festival (reissued on LP by Kindred Spirits 2013), celebrated their triumphant Cuban tour and presented six more songs including the dreamy "Júlia." This music is one of those African music Holy Grails. Even if the lyrics are sometimes just lists of the names of revolutionary heroes (as in "Sol maior para Comandante"), there is a blissful guitar floating across the stratosphere, played by Tundu, who carved out his own niche alongside "Diamond Fingers" from Guinea (which also has Manding culture). The lyrics are in Crioulo, which mixes African languages with Portuguese, often sung by a young Dulce Neves in his high tenor voice. Echoplex gives a big room sound to the vocals and sax of Miguelinho. The songs are speedy and memorable or laid-back and moody; sometimes both as the haunting lyrics coast gently over an energetic percussion track.

Track list
a: Cambança Djombo*
Ramédi cu kata cura
b: Pamparira 79
Luta kana maina No 1
Sûr di nô pubis* (a.k.a. Dissan na m'bera)
Amélia Mané

* these three tracks included on 4CD comp Memôrias de Africa (Farol Music 2008)

FESTIVAL (Cobiana SMD002 1980)

Reissued on LP by Kindred Spirits 2013

a: Festival
Alma Beafada
b: Mortos nega
Sociedade de Malandros

CD release 1999

SOL MAIOR PARA COMANDANTE (Cobiana SMD 003 1983; made in USSR) For Amilcar Cabral 1979

a: Sol maior para comandante 1 & 2 (Atchutchi)
b: Chefi di guerra (Atchutchi)

MANDJUANA (Cobiana SMD004) 1980/1983

a: Mandjuana (Atchutchi)
Nhamako (Baba)
Pampa (Atchutchi/Miguel/Mota)
b: José Cumbus (Atchutchi)
Ordem do Dia (Atchutchi)
Baga Baga (Herculano)

A MEMORIA DE FAMARA MANE (Cobiana SMD005; made in USSR) 1980/1983

a: Tchêdo
b: Guiné-Cabral

TRADICIONALMENTE DJOMBO (Maxi Music MM 009.02, 1980)

1 Fùndo
2 Bambó
3 Dentro Di Polás
4 Sinhalakala
5 Marietu Djême
6 Bantan Lengo Lengo
7 Manga Di Bias
8 Endjula
9 Dona Sabel Soar
10 Pansau Na Isna

CD reissue: 2002


SUPER MAMA DJOMBO (Cobiana Records COB02)

1. Faibe Guiné [previously unreleased]
2. Dissan na m'bera*
3. Gardessi [previously unreleased]
4. Júlia
5. Seiango
6. Seya [previously unreleased]
7. Pamparida
8. Aboku boku bandi [previously unreleased]
9. Ordem do dia
10. Assalariado [previously unreleased]
11. Guiné-Cabral
12. Djuana
13. Pansua ni isna [previously unreleased]
14. Indicativo [live recording from 1976]

* included on 2CD comp Golden Afrique vol 1 (Network Medien 2005).

LES YEUX BLEUS DE YONTA (Cobalt CD09277-2 1996)

Bissau quita muda
Noiba nobo
Fidjo matcho
2 passo
Vicente da Silva

-- Soundtrack to the film Udju Azul di Yonta directed by Flora Gomes. The personnel on this 1992 recording were:
Adriano Atchutchi, composer, orchestration
Vocals: Tino Trimo, Dulce Neves & Victor Caúdo
Sax: Miguelinho
Solo guitar: Narciso
Guitar accompaniment: Mariano
Bass: Valdir
Drums: Vic
Keyboards: Paulino Viera
Percussion: Armando

Homenagem a Jose Carlos Schwarz

(CD) 1999

Shalan Guinéense
Tcon Di Papel Varela
Idi Pensa Tchiu
Balur Di Tafal Tafal
Bomn Alma
Sombra Di Cuco

Adriano Atchutchi (Composer, Bandleader)
Tino Trimo (Vocal)
Seco T. Camara (Vocal)
Narciso (Solo Guitar)
Tundo (Lead Guitar)
Sadjo (Rhythm Guitar)
Néné Mateus (Bass Guitar)
Juca Delgado (Tenor Sax)
Miguel (Trumpet)
Rui Gonçalves (Trombone)
João Vaz (Soprano Sax)
Armando (Percussion)
Uié (Drums)

AR PURO (Iceland: Smekkleysa SM148 CD 2008)

Djan Djan
Djugudé fidalgo obi Francis
Tchatcha li tchatcha
Fidjo di mi
Fé Na Bó
Nó Festa
Konta muntrus na claro

BEST OF (Grounded Music CDGR011 2012)

A superb French compilation, licensed from Cobiana (All previously released tracks)

1 Faibe Guiné
2 Dissan Na M'Bera
3 Seiango
4 Djuana
5 Cambança Djombo
6 Festival
7 Ordem Do Dia
8 Julia
9 Mortos Nega
10 Guiné-Cabral
11 Pamparida
12 Pansau Na Isna

SUPER MAMA DJOMBO (Netherlands: New Dawn ND001 2015)

Pansau Na Isna (from Tradicionalmente)
Marietu Djeme (from Tradicionalmente)
Manobra Da Pequena
Wai Nene
Sinhalakala (from Tradicionalmente)
Remedi Ku Kata Kura (from Na Cambança)

Thanks to Sandy, Mike Scott, Cheeku, Bjarki and Dr Chris

Send additions to "contact [at] muzikifan [dot] com"

Last updated Feb 2020