"Masimbabele" was released in 1983 as a 12-inch-Maxi at ROUGH TRADE . The record was available in stores in its original version for more then a decade. Today this Maxi is a much sought-after collector's piece. No one spoke of World Music yet, when Helmut Zerlett and Stefan Krachten in cooperation with Reebop Kwaku Baah created a unity of Ethno-elements and Dance Grooves with their track and like that created a trendsetter. Baah, who died in 1982, was also percussionist at GINGER BAKER AIRFORCE, TRAFFIC and later on CAN. "Masimbabele", which was only released after Baahs death, was his great legacy. The track provoked new remixes again and again over the years. It is featured on a lot of compilations, besides others on "POP 2000", which documents five decades of german pop music. THE UNKNOWN CASES themselves have just produced "Masimbabele Acid 2000" out of mixes of the year 1995. This 2000-Remix and other "Masimbalele"-Mixes are released over the music-platform Vitaminic in the Internet.
Helmut Zerlett on "Masimbabele":
"I made a beat in the studio with a rythm-machine, played a Synthesizer to it and sang a background to it. Then Reebop joined in. I played the tape to him on my R4 and he said "Oh, that's a funky tune! I'd like to sing to that right away." He drummed, played Conga and sang the "Masimbabele"-lyrics. He only sang once and that was the first shot. Then I made the background to "Masimbabele" with him.
The words are about a Reggae-musician, who was called Mataya Clifford and his children Masimba and Maya. They play together. He keeps putting his hand on Masimba's "belly" and on Maya's "belly", and they start laughing. Because it sounds so groovy, so hooky, "Maya bele, Masimba bele", we repeated it so it became the chorus.
There are a lot of people who felt inspired by "Masimbabele", for example Jasper van t'Hoff, head of the Afro-Jazz-Rock-Band PILI PILI. But it was also simply imitated by some. Still it is of course great to notice, that the entire music-scene is using you as a role model for certain things.
Actually it wasn't easy to release the track at first. Ethno wasn't a music style at that time. We went to the established record-labels and they told us: "Well, a rock-guitar and a funky beat with african singing..., we don't know how to sell that, we don't have a pigeon-hole for this". ROUGH TRADE were the only ones who said "Awesome" and all of the sudden we had sold 100.000 records without one Mark spent for promotion. The track ran for years and years. Even young people who are only 20 years old, still know "Masimbabele". Even though they were three years old back then."
UNKNOWN CASES MASIMBABELE lyrics are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.