Few creative geniuses epitomize the Tabansi label’s broad-stroke approach to music than the late Nkono Teles.
Cameroun-born and Nigeria-bred, this innovative multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and engineer was one of a select handful of backroom boffins that West African artists and producers would habitually call upon when they wanted a ‘modernist’ Afro-pop sound that would appeal across borders.
A pioneer of electronics in African music, Nkono Teles was equally at home with synthesisers, drum machines, guitar effects and computer programming as traditional instruments. One of West Africa’s most prolific producers during the 1980s, Teles is credited with more than 150 productions, spanning the work of more than 100 artists and groups.
Of Nkono Teles’ three solo-artist LPs, ‘Party Beats’ is, by far, the most innovative and characteristic. He plays all instruments, and was apparently always the first to admit that singing wasn’t his forte; hence the utilization of an eleven-piece choral section! The raw electronic effects used here have always been sought-after by breaks and hip hop producers as well as DJs, with original copies of Party Beats regularly changing hands for anything up to $700.