Don Laka

I Wanna Be Myself

Image of Don Laka - I Wanna Be Myself
Record Label
Cultures Of Soul

About this item

A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Don Laka began his career in the ‘70s and then joined the seminal jazz outfit Sakhile in the early ‘80s. Already an established musician by this time, Laka was at the forefront of exploring the latest synth sounds of the day. Being introduced to synthesizers by Harari's Alec Khaoli, Don soon began experimenting with different synths like the Oberheim, Juno, and Prophet 5 while using a Commodore 64 to sequence them. Constantly striving for the latest sounds, Laka’s early explorations culminated in his debut solo album, "I Wanna Be Myself". 'I went and did an album, recorded tracks at Downtown Studios [in downtown Johannesburg]. Most of the album, except for "Let’s Move the Night", was done straight with a Fairlight at a different studio, of the guy that owned the Fairlight, Adrian Strydom.'

He was the only guy in the country who had a Fairlight, I think on the continent. 'This was the first commercial record made on a Fairlight in this country. I remember the other instrument I used was Jupiter 8, which was a very expensive Roland synth, and I used a Juno-60. I would layer them. The only thing I programmed was the drums. You can hear the snare sound, I think it was a mix of some cracked bottles and something that we just mixed. Holed up in the studio, Laka remembers getting special input on "I Wanna Be Myself" from master bassist Bakithi Khumalo, who would also feature prominently on Graceland. 'I remember I played all the instruments on it. I played bass, I played all. Bakithi walked into the studio and I said, ‘You know, I’m not a bass player. Baks, do you wanna do it?’ And he nailed it, in one take! Reissued for the first time is Don Laka's masterful album. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: If you study the sleevenotes or credits of pretty much any good dance record from South Africa around a certain time period (let's say 1980 - 2005) there's a 90% chance that this guy will be involved! A true star, prodigy, muse and inspiration. Don Laka we salute you!

TRACK LISTING

A1. Don’t You Like It
A2. Need To Love
A3. Falling In Love With Love

B1. Let’s Celebrate
B2. I Wanna Be Myself
B3. Let’s Move The Night

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