Louise Marie Wa Motema from
Smokey's Secret Family
Smokey's Secret Family is guitarist Smokey Hormel's exploration of African dance music from the 1950s. Focusing on the rich era of Congolese music that is marked by a Cuban rumba influence on older popular African styles, Smokey's Secret Family combines brilliantly fluid guitar work with joyful horns and percussion.
Smokey has assembled a stellar lineup of New York musicians (Doug Weiselman, Clark Gayton, Gilmar Gomes, David Hofstra) for dynamic live shows as well as for the studio recording of Smokey's Secret Famly's self-titled CD. Smokey produced and played multiple instruments on the nine song Smokey's Secret Family, released on the Afros Sambas label in 2009. The album is a collection of songs by African groups from the 1950s. "It's not the Highlife or Soukous sounds that became popular in the 70s," says Hormel. "It's that magical moment just before the heavy influence of American Soul, Funk and Rock and Roll, the pre-James Brown era of urban African dance music. There are no big drum kits, no loud amplifiers, just wild guitars bursting through small amps afloat on a sea of hand drums and shakers, often with a very distorted bass or maybe even a tuba pulsating underneath it all. It's more Latin than western. It's not Funk. It's Cha Cha, Mambo and Rhumbas, and it all has that very contagious and danceable groove."