Afric Simone

Afric Simone has been born in Inhambane, small city in Mozambique (Africa), in October 1939.

- Afric – is this your real name?

- Afric is my stage name, deriving from the name of the continent where I was born; but the colour of my skin is very real!.

After his father’s death Afric had to leave school and to start working, to help his mother and sisters. He was doing baby-sitting in the family of local doctor – and was constantly singing for the baby..

At the age of 15 Afric and his friend moved to the capital of Mozambique, Maputu, and started their studies as mason \ brick-layer. After the lessons have been over, Afric and his friend, in order to earn some money, performed at the city streets: played guitar, sang and danced.

A manager of one of Maputu’s many hotels have notices 2 talented young provincials, and invited them to perform in the hotel restaurant. So since then Afric was having 3 jobs at a time: on the weekend he was playing guitar and singing in the hotel, and during the working week he was working as a mason during the day and performing on the street in the evenings.

It lasted for approximately 2 years, and slowly Afric gained the local popularity: people started to recognize him on the street, and even the local newspaper wrote about him. Then the young musician was noticed by a professional music manager from South Africa.  

Afric Simone is a multi-talent, and multi-instrumentalist. He was playing guitar, percussion, singing and dancing. And even though he was not lacking the shows performing the songs composed by others, at a certain moment he decided to record his own song. «Only the these last few months have we been taking it seriously and produced something special. Then things went on like mad.”

In 1972 the single “Mister Barracuda”, was released, that brought Afric #1 in charts of many South American countries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7If5zHOONRk   After that Afric has started to spend more time performing in South America, especially in Brazil, than on his home continent – Africa.

At the certain point Afric’s manager decided to go to London, hoping that European market will give more opportunities for Afric. The expected break-through didn’t happen, but Afric and his manager have faced European show business, gained new experience and were able to realize better what music style might work.

In 1974 the single “Ramaya”, was released, that became popular in many European countries (Holland, Germany, Italy) – and Afric Simone and his manager moved to Germany.

Afric Simone speaks Africaans, German, English, Portuguese, Spanish and French. He says: “Language can’t be a problem if the rhythm, the music and the sound are alright. This idea resulted in a very special mixture of his African mother tongue and European Happy Sound. “RAMAYA” was one of many titles. Although nobody knew what it meant everybody liked it.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obgEPWXn_t0

In 1975 the next single, “Hafanana”, was released. It became one of the very few international songs, officially released in Soviet Union – and it gained for Afric an everlasting popularity in nearly all post-Soviet countries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZN2y-bJ-kQ

Hafanana — it means approximately the same, like “take it easy” in English: relax! If someone has a problem, people in Mozambique say to this person “Hafanana”, and in Kenia “hacuna matata”. This word has many different meanings… And the lyrics can be translated approximately like this:  "Hey, what do you think? You think you’ve better than me? I do not think so. You are president, I am nothafanana! You have money, I do not have anything – hafanana. But one day a wite man will die, and I will die – hafanana. We will be absolutely equal – hafanana. It will not be important if you are black or white; no wars, no conflicts – hafanana”.

 

In Greece and in Soviet Union  a track in Spanish called “Todo pasara, Maria” was released on the B-side of the single “Hafanana”; because of that, this song became Afric’s second biggest hits in USSR.

 

In 1978 Afric’s album has been released in former Czechoslovakia; as a result, he was invited a few times to perform for Czech television (in a program moderated by Karel Gott) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX4L0sMzmwM – where he surprised the spectators with fire tricks while performing “Curare”. Later this year, Afric has recorded a duo with Czech star Helena Vondrackova: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdLlKgebScs

In 1996 in Yakutsk (Russian Federation) Afric has been invited to visit the local shaman after the concert. That shaman has made some ritual that would, presumably, help Afric to live healthy till the age of 100. Judging from the fact that, despite of his age, Afric goes jogging outside every day, the magic is still working!

In 1999 Afric Simone has taken part in the festival “Tavria games” in Ukraine. He still remembers the charter plane, that the festival organizers have hired, to bring the artists from Kiev to the festival ground near Kakhovka. Afric thought that «this aircraft was ready to fall apart in the air» - and refused to fly back, insisting on driving back to Kiev (approx. 500 kilometers on the far-from-perfect Ukrainian roads).

In 2003 Afric Simone took part in the second festival “Discoteka 80s”, organized by the Moscow-based radiostation “AvtoRadio”. The festival took place at Luzhniki stadium, and has been broadcasted by the first channel of Russian television on New Year’s Eve.

In 2004 Afric Simone took part in a project “Melodies and rhythms from Europe in Kremlin». During this project Russian artists have performed the songs from international participants, and vice versa. Afric Simone has performed – together with a Russian singer Evgeny Osin – the song called “Our neighbor”, originally recorded by a polish singer Edyta Pieha in 1968: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40rg8YvcehY

 

In 2012 Afric has taken part in the festival “Legends of Retro FM”, that has taken place in Olympic Stadium in Moskau (maximum capacity 35.000 spectators).

The collaboration with the “Retro FM” radiostation has continued: in October 2014 Afric has celebrated his 75th birthday on board of cruise ship “Liberty of the Seas", during a Retro FM cruise – together with the Austrian band “Joy” and Spanish duo “Baccara”.  

In October 2017 Afric has performed in Mogilev (Belarus), at the festival “Golden Schlager”. Next to the cultural palace of Mogilev he has planted a maple, that became part of the “Alley of stars”.

In March 2018 Afric has for the first time performed in Moldova, at the festival “Retro Legends” (part of the 10-days Martisor festival).

 

Albums:

Best of Afric Simone (1998),

Afro-Lambada (1990),

Boogie Baby (1978),

Aloha Playa Blanca (1976),

Ramaya (1975),

Mr. Barracuda (1974).

 

Singles:

China Girl,

Me Gusta Bailar / Jambo Jambo,

Maria Magdalena / July,

Playa Blanca / Marabu,

Aloha / Marabu,

Hafanana / Sahara (1975),

Ramaya / Piranha (1974),

Barracuda / Hey Safari (1972).