Les Amazones d'Afrique are an all-female collective of west African musicians, campaigning for gender equality. They have been described as a supergroup, and the characterisation seems apt. Angélique Kidjo, Kandia Kouyaté, Mamani Keita, Mariam Doumbia, Mariam Koné, Massan Coulibaly, Mouneissa Tandina, Nneka, Pamela Badjogo and Rokia Koné hold a strong pedigree, and it's a rare opportunity to witness such a collaboration; the real sound of contemporary Africa. République Amazone is the sound of the diaspora of African music returning home, a reclaiming outside of genre and time. As much at home on the dancefloors of east London, or as part of an Awesome Tapes from Africa festival set in Croatia, as it would be ringing out of a cement brick house in Bamako, it showcases the sparkling range and versatility of its songstresses.
A missionary and his wife are killed by natives when they accidentally discover their golden temple, but his daughter is spared and is raised by the tribe. Fifteen years later, she seeks vengeance for her parents' murders and joins an expedition searching for the same golden temple.
The group's first album for Polydor is several steps above their EMI work. Most of the psychedelic-era influences are softened here and broadened, and transmuted into something heavier and more serious, even as the Beatlesque harmonies remain intact…
With their second album, Mirage, Camel begin to develop their own distinctive sound, highlighted by the group's liquid, intricate rhythms and the wonderful, unpredictable instrumental exchanges by keyboardist Pete Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer. Camel also distinguish themselves from their prog rock peers with the multi-part suite "Lady Fantasy," which suggests the more complex directions they would take a few albums down the line. Also, Latimer's graceful flute playing distinguishes several songs on the record, including "Supertwister," and it's clear that he has a more supple technique than such contemporaries as Ian Anderson. Camel are still ironing out some quirks in their sound on Mirage, but it's evident that they are coming into their own.