Saturday, March 31, 2007

Nkombo Ya Yo Nini?

What's your name?

In Congolese rhumba/soukous/miziki ya Congo, I noticed the trend of having songs where the title is a woman's name. In most cases the song involves a young man pleading his love for the young lady or asking her for a dance. Other times it may be a story about a particular relationship envolving the girl whose name is featured in the title. As I discover new (old really) music every day find that the songs with the womens names in them tend to be really good. Here are 4 selections I chose as examples of this trend in the music (mp3 links provided):

Sanda - Empire Bakuba
I actually JUST downloaded this song and heard it for the first time about 30 minutes ago and it's actually the reason for this blog. It was yet another in a long line of songs with a woman's name in the title that are just really nice. I don't know if it's the names that just have a certain ring to them that makes the songs so catchy but I'm still waiting to be disappointed by one of these. They say Adio Sanda at the beginning of the song. So I'm guessing he's said that she left (like Adios). 'Sanda....Naleli yo' (I cry for you)...

Fifi - Verkys et L'Ochestre Veve
On this one the guy is asking Fifi why she's avoiding him. I love the 'Ooooh' and 'Eeeeeh' theme throughout the melodie. Goes well with the saxophone. The break or soukous part of the song is really nice as well. Light but upbeat. I just heard this song for the first time yesterday.

Jiji - Super Mazembe
From their 70s Virgin Records release Kaivaska. I love the lyrics to this song. They're really simple but beautiful. It's a man singing to the mother of his child. He's telling her not to let gossip break up their marriage. One of the best songs I've heard, period. Great song.

Sophie Elodie - Rocheraux Tabu Ley-Sam Mangwana
This is early Tabu Ley in collaboration with Sam Mangwana. What can I say about this song. It's just so pretty. The Hawaiian guitar mixed with the Congolese style of drumming is magic. And Tabu Ley's voice fits the track so beautifully. He's singing about his girl Sophie Elodie.

Tonight Tambour D'Afrique is a re-broadcast. Still tune in if you've missed out in the past. Log onto RADIO TRIOMPHE


Friday, March 30, 2007


March is Women's History month here in the States. I was going to do a feature of just female artists as there aren't so many of them in this genre of music, but I decided against it. Like Black History Month, Women should be celebrated everyday. For that I will be spreading things out some instead of covering these women back to back or all in one blog entry. Today I will showcase another woman since Guy played a little playlist of Women singers last week.

The other day I blogged about the life and times of M'PONGO LOVE.
Today I will present to you MBILIA BEL.

featured on last week's show with YALOWA

I found this website which maps out her career pretty well. I don't have to struggle to translate the page from French this time, haha. Anyway here is the site:
*that last line about her career spiraling down hill is kind of harsh. Her 2001 release WELCOME as well as her 2004 release BELISSIMO (which both received good reviews) prove that she's still a relevant force in the Congolese music scene.

Me, I'm 24 years old, I'll be 25 later on this year. I remember this music playing through much of my life especially in the '80s but I never really got into it. Being born in America, for us kids it was like the music from your parents country was 'old people' music. And basically if you didn't see it on tv you didn't really embrace it. Even today it's hard for me to introduce this music to my friends. They say it sounds like mexican music (lol) but when I tell them what the songs are about they love it. So imagine as a kid? We (me and I'm gonna speak for my siblings and cousins too) distanced ourselves from it to an extent. At weddings and parties we danced and sang along but every other day it was Yo Mtv Raps and BET.

Better Late Than Never

Today I'm so grateful to be able to appreciate this music. I've always liked it but to truly appreciate it and understand it and know this is what I come from really makes me proud. When I listen to Mbilia Bel and Mpongo Love it gives me a look into another side of my heritage making me even prouder still. I sing. Had I been born and raised in Kinshasa I have no doubt I would have been influenced by them. I might be a 'Tigress' de Soukous today haha.

I just (re)discovered these artists this past year. As I was researching Mbilia Bel online I came across this video on
The name of the song isn't listed but it's a beautiful song. I've played it a million times already:

Ya Mbilia is still making music today as well and at 48 years old she still has great moves! This song is called Les Z'on Dit:

O zosakana te' ee Tantine*? haha Peace to Ya Mbilia for still making great african music and for being an exceptional artist. ms bazu and Tambour D'Afrique salute you.


*You not playin hunh, Auntie? lol

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tika Ko Swana Ko!

Tika ko swana, ko! = 'Stop Fighting!'

A direct quote from my mother (r.i.p.)
She would often say (more like scream) this to me and my brother when we would fight.
That was usually all she needed to say and that was it.

Sometimes I wish it were that simple in matters of WAR.
Just "Stop Fighting."

Since March 23rd (last friday) there has been violence in Kinshasa involving rebels opposing President Joseph Kabila. These rebels are under Jean-Pierre Bemba who ran against Kabila for presidency in October of last year. I will leave the important news such as this to the experts. BBC has coverage of what's been going on daily since the 23rd. Here are some of the recent headlines/articles:

News - Clashes reflect DR Congo divisions (3/23)

News - Kabila warns DR Congo's ex-rebel (3/26)

News - 'Up to 600 dead' in Congo clashes (3/27)

News - Congo's Bemba 'to go to Portugal' (3/28)


This conflict was discussed by Guy Angrand & Pierre Mbala (Tambour D'Afrique Correspondent in Denver, CO) on last weeks show (#11).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


She was dubbed "La voix la plus limpide du Zaire" (The most limpid voice of Zaire). limpid \LIM-pid\, adjective:
1. Characterized by clearness or transparency; clear; as, "a limpid stream."
2. Calm; untroubled; serene.
3. Clear in style; easily understandable.

This word perfectly describes the vocal stylings of Mpongo Love.

Aimee Fransoise Mpongo Lanu was born in 1956 in Boma, when Zaire was still The Belgian Congo. It seems only natural that The Voice of the Bas-Zaire woman be born at the mouth of the Congo River. Poetic in a way. At four years old she was given a penicillin shot for polio. An allergic reaction rendered her paralyzed. About two years later she regained use of her legs (although they were deformed) and she started school at Notre Dame de Boma where she joined the chorus.

As a teenager she worked at a Mazda Dealership. While working there through her friend she met saxophonist for Rochereau Tabu Ley, Deyes Empompo. Together Empompo and Mpongo form the band Tscheke Tscheke Love. Empompo recruits musicians to compose songs for Mpongo. At 19 she takes on the name Mpongo Love, taking 'Love' from the english for her french name 'Aimee'. 1976 she has an instant hit with "Pas Possible Maty". She performs at her first concert that year openning for Zaiko Langa Langa at the Cine Palladium. Her clear yet nasal voice, acute with emotion and precise intonation added to the subject matter of her songs gained her much deserved popularity. She began writing her own songs. Songs such as Ndaya, which promoted the idea of polygamy, caused a scandal but was a success among the Kinois public particularly with woman. She wrote several other songs, Monama Elima, Ka Pwe Pwe, Marketing International, Etc showing her dedication to her craft.

She gains even more popularity and success after her first tour which included shows in Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville and West Africa. She performed at Festac '77, an African Arts Festival in Ikeja, Nigera. She joins L'Ochestre National Du Zaire which the Minister of Cultural affairs of The Republic of Zaire created.

In that year the hate also came. A song released by fellow Diva du Zaire and popular vocalist, Abeti Masikini released the song "Bilanda landa" (roughly translated: follow follow). The public's false interpretation of the lyrics causes a beef between the two songstresses. They took the lyrics to mean Masikini was saying in spite of the success that Love has garnered she's just an imitator, follower. (Musical beefs transend, predate, and aren't limited to, Hip Hop. Just an observation :))
Mpongo came back with the song "Koba" in which she says "Okeyi kotuna nganga soki ozalaka na lisuma, lisuma te, motema na yo mbindo" ("You went to ask the soothsayer if you were cursed. you're not cursed, you have a bad heart"). This song, naturally, angered Masikini. Their rivalry continued strong until senior Kalonji Ngoy of Television National made them reconcile on the televised music show "Chronique".

In 1980 she leaves Empompo to manage her own career. Tcheke Tcheke Love is musically guided by Merry, former musical director of the army's orchestra "Orfaz". Love, writes and produces music under her new label "Love Music". She takes her act to Ivory Coast where she performs concerts at The Poliomyelitis Center. This brings her recognition throughout Africa.

Her international success comes when she releases the album "L'Afrique Dans Avec Mpongo Love" (Africa Dances With Mpongo Love). She had hits with titles "Vivre Avec Toi" "Yoko" and "Rebe". She modernized her sound on the album "Partarger" with synthesizers and percussions and her subject matter more hopelessly romantic. Though she continues to create songs that tell other stories such as "Femme Commerciante" which talks about the bravery of women, "Fetiche Mpongo" as song for her mother. Towards the late '80s she settled in Gabon, Africa.

She had suffered a long time before she settled in Gabon, of cerebral meningitis. She relocated back to Zaire. After spending weeks in the University of Kinshasa Hospital she passed away January 15, 1990. Then ended the life of a woman who made a huge mark on the male dominated industry and culture of Congolese Music, who made incredible music despite her bouts with illness and had a great business mind that allowed her to succeed in what she did. Her heart wrenching voice only to be heard on record (cd or mp3...).

Mpongo Love is a legend.

Since my father played "Monama Elima" on the show this past saturday I haven't been able to stop listening to it. I feel like this song is perfection. Everything is right with it and nothings wrong lol. I just wish I knew EXACTLY what she was saying. I can kinda get the gist but it would be good to know it all. I'm learning though.
but anyway here is an mp3 of Monama Elima in all of it's glory. This song to me is what makes Mpongo Love so great. Enjoy:


Here is a television performance from the '80s:

Tantine Mpongo Love, R.I.P.

***For this entry I pretty much translated the following pages:
(My intent is not to plagerize but have this information reach more people)***

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Papa Wemba performs Bakwetu live @ his 50th birthday. This version has a very kompas feel to it. Could be on purpose or rhythmic coincidence (lol) either way this version is really nice. enjoy...

Monday, March 26, 2007



Saturday, March 24, from 10pm to 12am, Guy Angrand spun some congolese hits for the masses from the station Radio Triomphe ( as he had done for the 10 weeks prior. He started off the broadcast, as he always does, with the song BAKWETU by Papa Wemba. The song Bakwetu is off his 1997 release M'Fono Yami

I honestly do not know what Bakwetu means but the song is very explosive and reminds the listener what s/he is in for when they tune into the show;
beautiful Congolese rhythms, guitars, and voices forming some of the best music to hit the planet. I promise to find out what Bakwetu means though (as I am dying to find out myself). Until then help yourself to an mp3 of the song.


As the weeks go on this blog will be more detailed and organized. More artists profiled, more historical context with the music, more translations of the show for the strictly english speakers. I hope you enjoy the show.





Friday, March 23, 2007



for the past 10 weeks my father, Guy Angrand, has been hosting a radio show by the name of TAMBOUR D'AFRIQUE on

This radio show showcases congolese rhumba, soukous by the likes of Franco & Ok Jazz, Zaiko Langa Langa, Papa Wemba as well as news concerning the african continent.

Every week the show is recorded by me and posted up on (Tambour D'Afrique Show Playlist)for those who may have missed the show when it originally airs Saturday Nights from 10pm - 12am Eastern standard time.

from now on i will be using this blog to link up the show and also other bits of information such as what is being talked about during the news cast.

My father speaks Haitian Kreyol, Lingala and French on the show so their may be important bits of information that our fans who don't speak any of those languages miss. This blog will keep you updated.

Although the show is 10 weeks strong (going on 11 this saturday) there are still kinks being worked out and the server over the radio station doesn't always broadcast the show through the internet (due to technical difficulties) so in the event that that happens i will still post the music my father plays on the broadcast that night and commentary on the news segment of the show.

If you are reading this and you are a fan of the show my father, Guy Angrand, thanks you so much for listening. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. And also there is a number to the radio station that i will provide you with on saturday, if ever you want to call during the broadcast to ask questions (even if you only speak english) feel free.

Stay Tuned for more blog entries coming soon. This site will be getting a face lift as time goes on. Hope you enjoy :)