Formed in France in the early 1970's the Kongas boasted several members that would change the face of disco music, among them Don Ray and Cerrone. The
Kongas were regularly booked at the Papagayo Club in St. Tropez on the French Riviera. During this period in 1973, label owner and producer Eddie Barclay heard
Cerrone and his band and signed them to record their first record. The song "Boom" was a minor hit and the group toured Europe, Japan and Africa to promote their
debut album "Afro-Rock." The exposure broadened Cerrone's musical concepts and gave him an opportunity to perform his own material. After three years, due to
extreme personal conflicts, Cerrone left the group.
After launching his own successful solo-career, Cerrone reunited with his old pals to produce their sophomore effort. Recorded in September and October of
1977, Cerrone used three top studios to piece together his masterpiece. Basic tracks were laid down at Trident Studios in London, vocals and overdubs at Musicland
Studios in Munich, (where he used two of Giorgio's favorite singers Kay Gardner and Sue Glover) and the mix down was completed at Ferber Studios in Paris.
Released in early 1978 on Barclay Records, "Africanism" shot up the charts in Europe then Polydor Records quickly licensed it for American dancers. The album
featured a side-long medley of "Africanism/Gimme Some Loving" the former a collaboration between Don Ray and Cerrone and the latter a pounding remake of the
Spencer Davis hit. Two other tracks rounded out the album, "Tattoo Woman" and another Ray-Cerrone favorite "Dr. Doo-Dah." The album attained classic status
immediately, but it was apparent that Cerrone had no desire to permanently reunite with his old pals. And without Cerrone in the group it's second album
"Anikana-O," released On Salsoul in 1978, failed to replicate their earlier success.
The group, nor Cerrone, were completely done yet. Cerrone resurrected his old pals for a 12" single in 1982. "Why Can't We Live Together," (a rehashing of the
Timmy Thomas classic), was released on Cerrone's own Malligator Records but it was the delicious b-side, "The Fun Cry," that proved to be the hit. Luckily when
Henry Stone's Hot Productions re-issued the "Africanism" album on compact disc they included both tracks as bonuses.
Their would be no further releases under the Kongas banner but many of the musicians would continue on, some even playing on future Cerrone projects. Despite
often being thought of as a studio-only group, we honor the men for their timeless contribution to the disco genre.