Author Topic: 1983 - The year Atalakou & Sebene became the rage  (Read 2408 times)

Matebu on: March 18, 2016, 03:19

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"Oka Bisso"

Summer 1983 to be specific, following the release of the incredibly popular Muvaro, which presented Atalakou chants such as Fiona-Fiona, Zekete, and Fongi. Zaiko at the time was the first band to have singers and instrumentalists dance during Sebene, which greatly increased crowd interaction. The only issue was they didn't have choreography at that time and it really shows.

Then there was Etape, a composition by Max Mongali, which I believe was the ballad of the year, if I recall correctly.



The then young guitar wizard, Beniko Popolipo played with such calmness.

The first exposition of the Atalakou, with Bébé and Nono Atalakou and their shakers was in summer 1982, during the time of the World Cup on National television. Initially when Zaiko introduced Atalakou, meaning "look at me", the audiences couldn't quite grasp what was going on. What was initially a controversial addition became the cornerstone and what brought Congolese music to new heights, fueling African dance music through the 80s and 90s.


bencuri #1 on: March 20, 2016, 11:48

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Great article, thanks!

By the way, listening to 80's Records it seems to me Zaiko was one of the few bands that had dedicated atalakus. It seems to me most bands had the regular singers on animations in the 80's. I think this way Zaiko had a big advantage, and remained unchellenged this way in the 80's.

Matebu #2 on: March 20, 2016, 14:46

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Indeed; the big advantage this afforded Zaiko is that they were able to perform essentially the same chants, dances, guitar partitions until the big breakup in '88 and not have it lose popularity or fall out of favor with trends. This became in impossible in the decades after.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 15:01 by Matebu5 »

bencuri #3 on: March 20, 2016, 17:26

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The fact they had the dedicated atalaku made a big difference. When I listened to the recordings of Kin É Bouge from 88 when there was no Roberto Wunda around in Wenge, it is not the same as it sounds when he arrived. When Roberto is on the animation, the song has more power. That's why my opinion is that without him, who was a dedicated atalaku, Wenge wouldn't have been as remarkable as it turned out to be.


kamikaze #4 on: August 26, 2016, 18:24

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One thing I like About Zaiko concerts is how fanatical their fan base was. The crowd are really animated compared to say OK jazz or Afrisa.

And were these concerts staged in the open?

MwanaMokili #5 on: August 27, 2016, 20:15

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I think Zaiko shows were very interactive, but their fan base was definitely not  more fanatical than O.K

I remember once T.P.O.K came to Kenya, stadium walls were broken down by a crowd seeking to come in. The Band was playing as fans were dancing all the while. Franco could fill a Stadium better than any football match those days...

Manzambi94 #6 on: August 28, 2016, 00:10

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I think Zaiko shows were very interactive, but their fan base was definitely not  more fanatical than O.K

I remember once T.P.O.K came to Kenya, stadium walls were broken down by a crowd seeking to come in. The Band was playing as fans were dancing all the while. Franco could fill a Stadium better than any football match those days...
Franco is my favorite guy of his era, I had doubtbetwwen him and Tabu but Franco had some kind of natural charisma that was huge

MwanaMokili #7 on: August 28, 2016, 08:21

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Some Say Franco was for the masses, Tabu Ley was for the Elite.

Certainly Tabu Ley was more on vocal perfection, while Franco was more on Instrumentals. Franco's guitars and ensemble when performing was great to dance and raised the clouds from dancing. Tabu Ley was more melodic.

For a very long period there exists two schools of Lingala because of these two geniuses. Every music fan has a favourite singer to compare either to Franco or Tabu Ley.