Bohemian Rhapsody on: July 16, 2018, 07:42

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Mboottte ladies and gentlemen 8). Let's discuss the history of Rumba/Soukous and how it influence the Afro diaspora of today. We'll also discuss the introduction of Ndombolo, Congolese migration of East & West Africa, guitarists who changed the game, etc.

When people hear of Rumba, they identify it with Cuban-Son but Son is just one of the many variants of this interesting genre.

In the 1930's, a French Antillean man by the name of Jean Rèal of Brazzaville and a group of Pointe Noires called Kato were already using the name "Kongo Rumba"( Unfortunately, I could not find any audio

Now, let's dive in. In the 1940's, they were two pioneers such as Paul Kamba and Wendo Kolosoy "Papa. Paul Kamba is depicted as the shaping Modern Congolese Music. In 1942, he discovers a group called "Victoria Brazza". (

 In 1946, a young Wendo who was a self taught mechanic and boxer formed the band "Victoria Bakolo Miziki -- fusing traditional Congolese folklore with tibits of Cuban Son.  From returning from a fight, he joins up with a Greek business who signs him to then Leopoldville (Kinshasa) label-Ngoma. This lead to the recording of the timeless classic "Marie Louise" in 1948.

 Some say, this was the....first recorded song to have a "sebene".  Henri Bowane is credited as guitarist. The song "Marie Louise" is said to rise the dead from the cemetery. Due to Radio Congolia, this was a big hit in West Africa.

This form of Rumba known as "Rumba Sukuma". The other Latin tinctured Rumba is called Rumba Fiesta -- will later go into this.

Note that the name "Victoria"  still to prove democracies on the Nazis, where Brazzaville plays an eminent role: virtual capital of the "Free France", it hosts in 1944 the "African-French Conference" where a speech by the General de Gaulle shyly lays the foundations of emancipation. De Gaulle, aware that he owes everything to the radio, hastens to give considerable resources to the transmitter of Brazzaville, which becomes the most powerful of the continent.

 There was another pioneer that goes by the name of Elenga Zakari aka Jhimmy Le Hawaiean. He hails from Bangui, Central African Republic. He comes to Leopoldville (Kinshasa) in 1946 in where he meets with the Ngoma's label musicians such as Papa Wendo, Henri Bowane, Manuel D'olivera, Paul Mwanga and Adou Elenga. Around this time, singers are accompanied by two guitarists and percussionist. He revamped Congolese music by adding guitar solos into the mix of a complete band including 1 rhythm guitar, 1 solo guitar, 1 double bass, 1 saxophonists, singers and percussionist. He is responsible for training both Tino Barosa and Charles "Dechaud" Mwamba (

Adou Elenga

Maria Tebbo "original" later reprise by Sam Mangwana "Le Pigeon Voyageur"

Paul Mwanga

Paul Mwanga is considered as one of the precursors of Modern Congolese music. He hails from Angola. He updated the traditional Maringa and fused with the Highlife of West Afrca, Polka Pike, etc (

Part 2 will be addressing  the introduction of Grand Kalle & African Jazz, Docteur Nico, Dechaud, etc. Stay tuned!

Matebu #1 on: July 17, 2018, 04:11

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Thank you for taking the time to put this highly infomative thread together. Looking forward to part 2

masatomo #2 on: July 17, 2018, 19:27

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faithandwar #3 on: September 04, 2018, 22:32

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Bohemian Rhapsody #4 on: October 01, 2018, 04:05

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Pt 2!

As we enter the 1950's, we come across a group called Rock a Mambo. The band's name is derived from the word "rocamambu" which means the one who looks for problems.

They are considered one of most important earliest ensembles of Congolese music. Their style was an adaption of Afro-cuban rhythms such as Cha Cha Cha, the Guajira, Mambo and Son aka Rumba with including a mixture of Lingala and Pidgin Spanish. Between the late 1950's and early 1960's, one will notice how influential Afro Latin sounds shaped the music of Congo. Another interesting fact is that the African slaves are responsible for impacting known genres in the Latin atmosphere, these rhythms being Salsa (Cuba), Rumba (Cuba), Samba (Brazil), Bossa Nova (Brazil), Tango (Argentina); the Merengue of Dominican Republic has African influence as well.

Bomba from Afro Ecuadorians. Yoka sebene!

In this band, we have a roster of performers such as Lucie Eyenga, and Philipe "Rossignol" Lando, along with hornmen Nino Malapet & Jean-Serge Essous, guitarists Tino Baroza, Nico Kasanda (will discuss as well), and Gogene, the young singers Mujos and Lemy, Saturnin Pandi on congas and Honoré Liengo on bass; as well as session men from OK Jazz, some from African Jazz, including Kabasele himself, and Conga Jazz of Dewayon. Their 1957 recording about a woman named "Clara Badimwene" was Papa Noel's first session. He moved on to the Esengo studio the following year as a regular guitarist.

The year of political independence for the two Congos, 1960, saw Noel in Gabon in the company of another Brazzavillean, Guy-Léon Fylla, and his band Makina Loka.

Let's take a listen, shall we!

These recordings feature Dr. Nico et Tino Baroza.

The year 1956 is very significant, this is where OK Jazz is born and the late maestro Franco enters the public eye! :D

The creation of OK Jazz was based on the reception of Franco's first written song "Bolingo na ngai Beatrice" (My love for Beatrice)

The name "OK" either refers to Oscar Kashama (head of OK bar). Some say Orchestre Kinois. The first team of OK Jazz included  Vicky Longomba (voice), Daniel Lubelo "From the Moon" (rhythm guitar, voice), Bosuma Dessouin (congas), Pandi Saturnin (percussion) , Liberlin by Shoriba Diop and La Monta (percussion, vocals), José-Philippe Lando "Rossignol" (voice) and Augustin Moniania "Roitelet" (bass, double bass). They are soon joined by Lièvre (flute, sax) and Jean-Serge Essous (flute). Franco became leader through his charisma, songwriting skills, impressive guitar skills, fame and presence. We'll later discuss more on TPOK Jazz, Diblo Dibala's stint in TPOK Jazz and Mose Fan Fan.

For more early Franco, you can check the Sebenology below

The father of Modern Congolese Music, Grand Kalle

Joseph Kabasele decided to go into music when the Opika studio was developed. He viewed music as a key to success outside of colonial admin and business. His based his singing style after the singer, Tino Rossi.

In 1952, a young Docteur Nico Kasanda came into prominence through the songs of Para Fifi and Kale Kato. We also hear the mi-compose guitar of Charles Mwamba aka "Dechaud". He is responsible for teaching Lokassa Ya M'Bongo, the mi-composing style. We'll later discuss Lokassa.

In 1953, due to his disappointment on the lack of modernization, he creates "African Jazz" . He is the first Congolese artist to add elements of modern music such electric guitars, saxphones, tumba and other electronic instruments. Being a leading public figure in Congolese social life , he was anointed to accompany a mission to the round table talks to secure independence from Belgium. He imprinted his place in history when in 1960, he composed the song Independence Cha cha which was adopted as the national anthem of Congo as well as several other newly independent nations.

^^ Dr. Nico remains the most influential guitarist from the continent. Also, note the introduction of Tabu Ley.

The birth of Bantous de la Capitale

Congo-Brazzaville raised a number of first-rate bands, none more important than the lustrous Bantous de la Capitale. Four of its musicians, Célestin, Edo, Essous, and Malapet, had started their careers in Brazzaville in the early fifties' band Negro Jazz. Across the river in Kinshasa, Essous and two other Brazzavilleans, De La Lune and Pandi, became founding members of O.K. Jazz in 1956; Edo and Célestin joined the next year. In 1959, with the likehood of independence for the two Congos looming large, these five Brazzavilleans returned home to form Orchestre Bantou.

Important additions, Malapet (who had been in on the founding but unable to join immediately) and lead guitarist Papa Noel Nedule signed on near the end of 1960. As colonial dominos diminished in 1960 and 1961, Orchestre Bantou (sometimes called Bantous Jazz) earned a decent reputation entertaining at independence celebrations and in local night clubs up and down the West African coast. Group recorded several sides at Kinshasa's Esengo studio where Essous, Malapet, Noel, and Pandi had been members of the band Rock'a Mambo. More recording took place in Brussels. Célestin's "Les Bantous de la Capitale" emerged as the band's theme song, and the musicians took the title to be their official name.

Papa Noel found a home in Brazzaville's Bantous de la Capitale where his status gained first luster. Fashioning a modish lead guitar that some called the third school of the Congolese rumba—after Franco and Docteur Nico—Noel enhanced a Bantous repertoire that included his own compositions like "Basili Koyokana" (they no longer understand one another) and "Mobali Liboso" (man first) (

Guitar section grew into the threesome of Mpassy Mermans, Gerry Gérard, and Samba Mascott following Papa Noel's departure in 1963. Future stars Pablito (later known as Pamelo Mounk'a) and Kosmos (Côme Moutouari) fortified the vocal corps in the early and mid-sixties. Kosmos's "Ebandeli ya Mosala" (the start of work) and Pablito's "Masuwa" (the boat), a story of parting lovers, were exceptional additions to the band's repertoire. "Danse des Bouchers" (dance of the butchers) by singer Joseph "Mujos" Mulamba launched the boucher dance craze of 1965.

Gerry Gerard, the dynamic soloist of Bantous de la Capitale

Gerry-Gerard was born on January 24, 1944 in Leopoldville (Kinshasa). Painter-decorator, he made his musical debut in 1962 in the Jekokat (Congolese Youth of Katanga) of Édouard Katiki. In 1963, he crossed Pool and found himself in the orchestra of officials called Festival, as a soloist. It is Taloulou Alphonse who discovers it, in 1964, in this musical ensemble, during a concert at Pigalle. This dancehall, located at the Marché Total, belongs then to Nzalakanda, former minister in the government of the abbot Fulbert Youlou. Taloulou takes him, a few days later, to Chief Nino for a trial. He was recruited on the spot, February 3, 1964. From his first concert, his performance is acclaimed by the nguembos (spectators free riders) of the Bantous Orchestra, very influential at the time. Gerry replaces, as soloist, Passi Mermans who served as an interlude after Papa Noel's departure in July 1963. Mermans becomes a soloist. This is a real turning point in the Bantu music of the capital.

It is safe to say that Gerry-Gérard is one of the disciples of Tino Baroza, who, before him, influenced Nico, Déchaud, Dicky or Casino. In turn, Gerry impresses guitarists from both shores and serves as a reference for Pépé Felly Manuaku of Zaïko Langa Langa in Kinshasa or Lucky Mahoungou of the orchestra Le Peuple à Brazzaville.

From his beginnings in the Bantu, Gerry made his mark. His imprint can be traced in such works as Lolaka lua boso, Anto na nganda (Essous) or Nameseni boye te (Celestin). He gives the full measure of his talents, transfiguring artistically, with incandescent scores, the pieces of Mujos that still resonate in our ears: Mbanda tika tomeka or Elie Bolingo. It is an explosion of new sounds and a real highlight of the evolution of the Bantu capital.

Eighteen years later, roughly, during the great desertion of the Bantus of the capital, by Edo, Celio, Pamelo, Kosmos, Theo, and Mermans, in 1972, Gerry-Gerard remains with Essous, Nino, Pandi. In the songs Celia Shantina (Tchico) and Bongo (Essous), recorded by the Bantu of the new formula capital, he deploys, on guitar, a technique strongly inspired by Sennen Suarez, brilliant Cuban guitarist.

In 1990, Gerry left the Bantus of the capital and participated in the creation of the Bantous Monument Orchestra, along with Celestin Kouka, Edo Ganga, Bemba Pamelo, Alphonse Taloulou and Samba Mascott, under the leadership of Didier Kabala and Jacques Ongotto. After this escapade, he finds the Bantus of the capital. If he has contributed to the gestation of masterpieces like Masuwa, Congo na biso, etc., without being a great composer, Gerry-Gérard leaves to the music lovers splendid musical relics: Lisie, Na win bango, Meno kumbi nzila , extracted from a repertoire of about a dozen titles.

July 23, 2003 is the tragic end of an icon of modern Congolese music. Gerry-Gérard Biyela dies, in virtual anonymity, a few days before the fourth edition of Fespam.


The origin of Soukous ;D

I know you've been waiting for this, let's read

In truth, Soukous was born in 1959, thanks to a musician named Ibombon with his band Air Mambo.

Ibombon was playing in a bar next to the Ouenze market. Accountant of his profession, Ibombon is assigned to Dolisie. He decided to sell his equipment to young musicians on Mouila Street who had just created Sinza Kotoko (Mousse, Ya Gabi, Don Fadel ...)
"I leave you the material for a small fee, but I also leave you a rhythm. Use it. "
" The board does not fall in deaf ears. Piere Moutouari composes the song Vévé and Ma Loukoula whose swing has toured Africa. The soukous was born from there, " notes Don Fadel.

The person who will popularize this rhythm is Pamelo Mounka (R.I.P.). Walking in the night at Ouénzé, Pamélo intends to play an orchestra at the Vis à Vis bar . It was Sinza Kotoko. The rhythm pleases him. He composes "Mama na mwana" on this tempo. It's a great success ( This and Masuwa were the first songs recorded using the Soukous rhythm, the year is 1966. Before the acoustic drums were introduced by Tabu Ley Rochereau in 1969, the rhythm section was mostly led by congas.

Pt.3 will focus more on Dr. Nico, Papa Noel, Ryco Jazz, Tabu Ley, Sinza Kotoko, Bavon Marie Marie, Franco & TPOK Jazz, Johnny Bokelo, Vox Africa, etc. The 60's. Don't worry :'( Stay tuned :D!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 04:27 by Bohemian Rhapsody »