Aie a Mwana

Album: Deep Sea Skiving (1981)
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  • Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey, the girls who would become Bananarama, heard the Black Blood song "Aie A Mwana" in a French disco and decided to record it for their first demo. They were living above a rehearsal space used by ex-Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones, who encouraged the trio to try for a record deal. Originally called "Aieaoa," the song was written by the French production/songwriting duo Daniel Vangarde and Jean Kluger with a Japanese influence. When the Belgium-based African group Black Blood covered it in 1975, they rewrote the lyrics in Swahili. Bananarama learned to sing the tune phonetically and brought on Paul Cook as producer. Inspired by the song's tropical vibe, the group nearly called themselves The Pineapple Chunks before settling on Bananarama, taking the "rama" from the Roxy Music song "Pyjamarama."
  • The demo version was issued as a stand-alone single by the independent label Demon Records. It got some airplay on college radio but failed to crack the pop charts. But it did get Bananarama several mentions in the press, which piqued the interest of the Specials' frontman Terry Hall, who had started the new band Fun Boy Three. He invited the girls to sing backing vocals on the group's debut album, most notably on the hit single "It Ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)." Bananarama got the boost they needed to record their own debut album, Deep Sea Skiving, which featured a polished version of "Aie a Mwana."
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