Record sleeve of Elongi by Elongi (José and her sisters) - 1976
40 years ago, José Hoebee (née Van de Wijdeven) released her first single with her sisters. The songstress is the only member of Luv' who had an experience in the music business prior to the formation of Holland's greatest girl trio.
Here's the story of her first record....
As she was 15 years old, José made her debut in a folk & country band (Young Tradition) with her two sisters (Marijke and Yvonne) and her best friend Ad van Genechten. The group toured the folk circuit in North Brabant.
Young Tradition in the early 1970s
In 1971, they were discovered by record producer Piet Souer on a talent show "Het cabaret der onbekenden" (the cabaret of the unknowns) in Eindhoven, NL. One year later, Young Tradition took part in a TV talent show "Nieuwe Oogst" (New Harvest) on AVRO channel (they finished second).
José, Marijke & Yvonne
In 1976, José, Marijke and Yvonne formed a new group named after the first single they recorded with Piet Souer: "Elongi". It was a cover version of a classic of Makossa and World Music initially performed by Cameroonian singer Ekambi Brillant in 1975.
French record sleeve of "Elongi" by Ekambi Brillant (1975) - released by Fiesta Records
Elongi by Ekambi Brillant (1975)
"Elongi" was covered by several African and European artists.
Demis Roussos' version named "Kyrila" came out the same year as José's one and was produced by Leo Leandros (father of the iconic singer Vicky Leandros). It peaked at #40 in Germany.
German record sleeve of "Kyrila" by Demis Roussos released by Phonogram/Philips Records in 1976
British record sleeve of "Kyrila" by Demis Roussos released by Phonogram/Philips Records in 1976
Kyrila by Demis Roussos
Legendary afrofunk saxophonist Manu Dibango rendered it in 1995 for his album entitled "Lamastabastani".
Elongi by Manu Dibango (1995)
The version of "Elongi" by José and her sisters was released by Philips Records. Piet Souer produced it and wrote English lyrics. Unfortunately, it flopped. The song was included on José's first CD compilation "Alle Hits & Unieke Bonustracks" in 2005.
Elongi by José, Yvonne and Marijke (1976)
Shortly after that, Souer asked José to join a girl group he was forming with Hans van Hemert: Luv'. The rest is history....
Source: Discogs.com, YouTube