Monday, April 30, 2007


Bavon Marie Marie was born Siango Bavon Marie Marie on May 27, 1944 in Kinshasa, Congo. He was the type of boy who caused a little trouble but was very intelligent.
He was popular in his "Far West" district of Bosobolo. As he grew older his lifestyle grew more flamboyant, drinking heavily and bleaching his skin. Bavon like his brother the great Franco Luambo Makiadi, was a guitarist and played for a few bands before
he landed a solo guitarist spot in the orchestra Les Negro Succes. In the late 1960s he and his parter Leon Bholen became idols as leaders of Les Negro Success.

His name and legacy can never be detached from that of Franco's though by many accounts Bavon Marie Marie was just as talented as his older brother was. Naturally he was overshadowed by his brothers age, experience and greatness. After all Franco was the Grand Teacher/Le Grand Mattre of Congolese Rumba. It only made sense that as his younger brother Bavon Marie was his student. Bavon Marie's guitar technique was a more youthful, funkier version of his brother's. As I listen to "Lucie Tozongona/Lucie Come Back" (listen to Lucie Tozongana) I hear the obvious nuances he picked up from his
brother such as his sense of rhythm and how he chooses to place his guitar picks. But something is a little more spunky about it. He was like a Franco for the younger generation. His melodies and lyrics were just as infectious.

On August 5th in 1970, Bavon Marie Marie was killed in a fatal car accident. According to Frank Bessums site Musiques d'Afrique, legend has it that the fatal night began with a dispute between Bavon and Franco in which Bavon accused his brother of sleeping with his girlfriend, Lucy. And it ended with Bavon Marie Marie deceased at the wheel and Lucy with no legs. Other sources site his alcoholism and that he was upset that Negro Succes had missed a show. Either way his death is a great tragedy. We will never know what innovations he might have brought to Congolese music had he not died. May he rest in peace.

Bavon Marie Marie had a knack (like his brother) for writing songs that touched the people. On last weeks broadcast Guy played the song "Mwana 15 Ans/15 Year Old Child" a Negro Success song which is sung from the point of view of a 15 year old girl in Congo. She is sad because her family is looking to have her married off soon but she wants to go to school and grow up some more before she does that. Guy played the song in correlation with his examination of Illiteracy among the youth in Africa, particularly the girls and how it affects them socially. 30 some odd years after "Mwana 15 Ans" was released this song is still very relevant today.

Here this masterpiece here:
Mwana 15 Ans


sources for today's entry:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Nite Videos...

About a month ago I started posting up video clips on Sundays. The reason for this is that I kept running into some REALLY REALLY great quality clips on You Tube that I had to share. I would like to take this time out to thank some of the people who post those quality clips, (these are their 'names' on You Tube. I don't know their real names but they are appreciated just the same):

Thank you so so much for uploading such wonderful pieces of history. These videos must be retained for future generations and you all are doing a great job of keeping them in rotation.

Today I bring you very heartfelt video. Live footage of Franco singing one of his more personal songs "Kinshasa Mboka Ya Makambo" which means in english, "Kinsahsa City of Problems. During the time that Franco wrote the song there were rumors swirling around him. Some people believed he was a drug dealer and others claimed he no longer loved his city. The rumors obviously hurt Franco as you can tell by the emotion he puts into the performance. When he asks for his guitar 'so I can speak' the song gets even more intense as he lets the guitar strings tell the rest of the story. This is one of the most heart wrenching songs I've heard and seeing the live footage gives the song that much more depth. Franco by his word loved his people and wondered why they wanted to see him fail.

(peace to rahndi for the clip)

Tambour D'Afrique: Last Night Recap

Last night's show went very well. Guy played a very nice selection of songs from various artists, Orchestre Makassy (Kenya), Bavon Marie Marie (Franco's brother), and Festival du Zaire among many others.

During the world news segment Guy discussed the issue of illiteracy (or analphabetism) in Africa and other third world countries and how it effects the family structure. Young girls are forced to forgo school and get married while boys are sent to get an education. This in turn causes a strange shift in the family structure where young girls have to marry older men. This form of sexism keeps the female child from developing to her full potential as a person and her worth is placed in having and rearing children. Guy played a clip from UNESCO that dealt with the issue. I will definitely have a blog on the subject in the following week.

Guy then introduced a new segment to the show where he Showcases a particular artist giving a little bit of information and playing a selection of songs. Last night he showcased the artist Franco. At the beginning of this month I blogged extensively on Franco so I won't blog again about his life but I will also do a small showcase of him sometime during the week.

I would say last night's shows was one of the best and it seems Tambour D'Afrique is on a nice roll. The best is yet to come so keep on listening and thank you for the support.

Download last night's show here: Tambour D'Afrique 4/28

Stay tuned for Sunday Nite Videos later on tonight :)


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tambour D'Afrique Tonight...

Tonight a brand new episode of Tambour D'Afrique will be airing on Radio Triomphe @ 10pm to 12am Eastern Standard Time.
To tune in just go to and click on the link next to the microphone at show time and enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Couple of Classic Remakes...

PEACE Come to find out the episode that aired last Saturday was indeed the very first show to broadcast. In order to not confuse anyone any further I will leave the shows numbered the way they are for now. Sorry about that. Now on with the blog...

In the first broadcast Guy briefly discussed Wendo Kolosoy and then went on to talk about the two main "schools" in Congolese music that existed during the late '50s and '60s. Those two schools were African Jazz and OK Jazz. OK Jazz spun off of African Jazz and became a 'school' in its own right. When we use the term 'school' we mean the artists who played with these orchestras learned a particular sound. Some would take what they learned and eventually spin off into another group of their own. As been stated before of these two schools several Congolese musical stars came forth. Some were more known than others. Tino Baroza is one of these lesser known stars. He was a solo guitarist for African Jazz before he left to start the band Rock A Mamba with guitarist Papa Noel and others. I bring up Tino Baroza because on last week's show my father played a version of Jamais Kolonga that the liner notes of Congo: Rumba on the River credit to him, recorded in 1959. Last week when I blogged about Sam Mangwana I linked his rousing, upbeat 1996 version of Jamais Kolonga from the album RUMBA not realizing that I had heard the song before. Tino Baroza's version is a slower and sounds more traditional as far as the rumba rhythm is concerned. I love both versions. Here is Tino Baroza's:

Jamais Kolonga (1959)

I wish I had more information on Tino Baroza. All the information I have posted on him here come from the liner notes for Congo: Rumba on the River Vol. 1. I can't even find so much of a picture of the guy. But he is remembered.

Another song they I was surprised to hear in last weeks broadcast was the original version of Kelya as sung by Tabu Ley Rochereau for African Jazz. This version of the song was recorded in 1959, the year Mbilia Bel was born. She would eventually remake the song under Tabu Ley et L'Afrisa International 24 years later and release it on her debut album "Eswi Yo Wapi" (spelled Kelhia for some reason). Here are both versions of the song, which do you like best? I personally can't choose:

Kelya (Tabu Ley/African Jazz)

Kelhia (Mbilia Bel/Afrisa International)

It's always cool to me to here the different versions of Congolese songs remade and appreciated by different artists. Hope you can appreciate them too.


Monday, April 23, 2007


If Joseph "Le Grand Kalle" Kabasale is considered the father of Modern Congolese music then one must place Antoine Wendo Kolosoy as Grandfather of the legacy of Modern Congolese music. He emerged mixing Congolese traditional melodies that he learned from his mother with Cuban rumba, waltz, and tango. His first hit "Marie Louise" was recorded in 1948, which earned him jail time for the song was accused of being able to wake the dead. Read more about Papa Wendo in this wonderful 2002 interview given by Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide:

Wendo Kolosoy Interview from

At 82 years old he is the oldest living Congolese performer. Sadly in this day and age this seems to be rare. We still have Tabu Ley, Sam Mangwana, Mbilia Bel, Papa Wemba and Pepe Felly (among others) still with us making music. Let us hope they make it to see 82 and beyond and continue to move us with their music in the meantime.

Upon his return to the scene Wendo Kolosoy opens up his album "Marie Louise" (1999) with a tribute to one of Congolese music's 'gone too soon' fallen stars, Pepe Kelle. It is named for Pepe Kalle as well and it is in one word Beautiful. The memoriam is short but heartfelt. Coming from the Grandfather of modern day Congolese music, it also speaks to Pepe Kalle's greatness. Pepe Kalle(song)

On the same album is a remake of his 1948 hit Marie Louise

You can hear snippets from (and purchase) Wendo Kolosoy's return from retirement "Marie Louise" and also his 2002 release "Amba" @ Stern's Music. Just click the link that says samples and enjoy.

Antoine Wendo Kolosoy is a walking breathing living legend and we here at Tambour D'Afrique salute him.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Nite Videos...Connecting The Dots.

I've always loved the feel and the sound of Salsa, Merengue, Rumba, Bachata and the like but I never got INTO it. I mean as a kid I wasn't really INTO my own music (Kompas and Ya Miziki Ya Congo respectively) so I wasn't exactly about to dive headfirst into Latin American music. As I (re)discover Congolese music and it's roots I find myself getting more and more into Latin American music. It is no wonder why there is a connection between the music in Latin America and that of what some call "Congolese Afro Pop" (I'm going to keep a tally of how many different names for Congolese music I come across lol). As Guy stated on the show last night, there is the matter of language. Lingala as a language seems to fit the rhythm of Rumba the way Spanish does. Guy admits on the show last night that when he first stepped off the plane at age 12 with his family and he heard the people speaking Lingala he could have sworn it WAS Spanish. The influence of the Portuguese on the language are probably to 'blame'.

And of course there is the matter of rhythm that traveled with the enslaved Africans that found themselves in the Americas, only to find its way back to Africa through radio waves and Cuban hotel lounge singers. The Congolese who fell in love with Cuban Rumba took on the music so naturally. It doesn't sound out of place at all to hear early Grand Kalle et African Jazz next to say...Celia Cruz. Although she is known as a Cuban Salsa singer I bring her up for good reason...

It's gonna sound silly but I remember distinctly first seeing Celia Cruz on Sesame Street as a child. And although I was never a true fan of her music I was always a fan of HERS and was always pleased to see her on television. She's the only big STAR of Latin American music that I really am familiar with (aside from Tito Puente, whom I was acquainted with through an episode of The Cosby Show).

It was recently brought to my attention that Celia Cruz performed in Kinshasa in 1974 in the huge concert held for one of the biggest fights in the history of boxing, most famously known as The Rumble In The Jungle.

Muhammed Ali and George Foreman weren't the only show in town that October. Big American stars like James Brown and Ike & Tina Turner were there as well as local superstars like Franco & OK Jazz. Also present were Hector Lavoe and The Fania All-Stars who accompanied Celia Cruz.

Here is some footage from You Tube that I found of the concert. Honestly to see the Puerto Rican band and Cuban songstress exchange energy with the African crowd was so beautiful to me I had to blog about it. It is a live reel full of the fantastic sounds of a people returning home and their family welcoming them.

Performing: KIMBARA


I leave you with Le Grand Kalle et L'African Jazz's version of Guantanamera

R.I.P. Celia Cruz and Hector Lavoe...

Until next time...PEACE


Last night Tambour D'Afrique, hosted by Guy Angrand, aired with no problems. It was a rebroadcast of the second show recorded. Although it was a rebroadcast this was one of the shows from earlier that I was unable to record and place in the playlist for you all. So it's like new but as you can tell by a few simple errors made that it was just the beginning of this great show.

In the playlist over to the right, I had to make some corrections as far as the show numbers. The show that WAS labeled Show #2 previously is now "Show #3." and Show # 3 is now "Show #4." the rest of the shows I left as they were. I was trying to label the show by WEEK but since there have been some technical difficulties causing me to miss a few shows and also due to rebroadcasts I kind of lost track of which show is from what week lol Pardon me for that...

If I'm not mistaken the show has been running for 15 weeks now
but from now on I will be just numbering them. The last new show that I recorded
was Show #11 so starting next week I will start with 12 and so on.

Here is a downloadable link of last night's show:

In this broadcast Guy touched on the origins of "Modern Congolese" music. This week I will break the episode down into parts and give you Show #2 in blog form. Thanks for tuning in. Stay tuned for Sunday Nite Videos later on tonight...PEACE

Saturday, April 21, 2007

SAM MANGWANA | Tambour D'Afrique Tonight...

This week I have covered Le Grand Kalle and a couple of his protoge's, Dr. Nico and Pepe Kalle. In weeks past I also covered Franco and Tabu Ley, both of whom got their start with Le Grand Kalle, branched off and started their own bands, which launched the careers of several other artists. One of those artists has become a big star in his own right and he goes by the name Sam Mangwana. He began his career with Tabu Ley and L'African Jazz then later joined Franco and his OK Jazz. He was also in 4etoiles and had his own orchestra, Festival Des Maquisards. Read about his career at length here:

Sam Mangwana's Biography

It is amazing to me how these different artists that I've blogged on so far ALL have had (for those still with us, STILL DO have) huge followings and massive worldwide success spanning several decades. Sam Mangwana still continues to make wonderful music and innovate within the realm of Congolese Music by mixing different influences while still keeping it fresh.

Here is a nice review for Cantos De Esperanca his most recent, 2003, release which speaks to Mr Mangwana's versitility as a singer and composer.

Let us not forget his voice. It is one of rich texture which he inflects effortlessly from baritone to falsetto. One of the best in music. Here is some examples of his greatness over the years.

Zela Ngai Nasala 1969 release w/Festival Des Maquisards

Jamais Kolonga from the 1995 release Rumba Music*

Toujours OK from the 1989 release Forever w/Franco


*this file is now mp3, enjoy :)

TAMBOUR D'AFRIQUE will hopefully air tonight. As of right now it SHOULD. Last week as you may know the web servers failed and the show was cancelled. Please tune in tonight @ 10 pm EASTERN time by visiting RADIO TRIOMPHE and clicking on the link next to the microphone. Thanks for keeping up with the show and the blog. Guy and myself truly appreciate it.


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Another star who got his start with Le Grand Kalle & L'African Jazz was Pepe Kalle. His connection to Le Grand Kalle is unique in that he was a homeless boy that Le Grand Kalle took in. Read his story here:

The Life of Pepe Kalle

Here is an obituary. What I find interesting about this obituary is that it does more to explain Congolese music and how it took shape and how Pepe Kalle took part in that than it does the life of Pepe Kalle but it's a good source of information.

Obituary from The Independent (London)

For someone with such a large stature he was definitely a dynamic performer, as evidenced by the kwassa kwassa clip I posted up last Sunday. His voice is also one of the best in Congolese music. His baritone is extremely smooth and clear. Empire Bakuba's arrangements and blending of different sounds (particularly Zouk & Kompas) and ability to update that same sound that made them popular in the 80s is amazing. Listening to his music it is really no wonder why he is so popular. It speaks for itself.

I chose 3 random (but great) songs. One for each decade starting with the 70s. Enjoy:

Lundokisi (70s, not sure what year)

Nazingi Maboko (from the 1987 release Bakuba Show)

Young Africa (from the 1996 release Garder Votre Souffle)

R.I.P. Pepe Kalle...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Yesterday I briefly covered Le Grand Kalle, the father of Modern Congolese music. It was mentioned that Grand Kalle et L'African Jazz birthed the careers of several artists. So far of those artists Franco and his All Mighty (Tout Pouissant) Orchestra Kinshasa Jazz and Tabu Ley and his African Fiesta have been covered. Today I bring you another star in ya miziki ya Congo's constellation, Dr Nico Kasanda.

The Biography of Dr Nico

Here are some examples of Dr Nico's greatness...

Na Kendaki Na Poto
Yaka Toyambana

May he rest in peace with the rest of the greats who have passed...

Monday, April 16, 2007


Since we have the time I decided we should maybe take a few steps back. When the show first began back in January, Guy covered the origins of what some would call "Modern" Congolese music. The man responsible for bringing forth favorites such as Franco et TP OK Jazz, Rochereau Tabu Ley et L'African Fiesta, Dr. Nico, Pepe Kalle, and so on and so forth, goes by the name Joseph Kasabale Tshamala aka Le Grand Kalle. Read his biography here:

Le Grand Kalle

A couple of African Jazz selections. Enjoy:


La Vida Africa

Basi Ya African Jazz

*Notice the language in these songs. As I pointed out in an earlier when I posted Café by Franco & Ok Jazz, in early Congolese music they sang in a creole that was a mixture of lingala, spanish and some french a lot of the time. It sounds really pretty with the music.



It seems in an entry I made on April 12th I made a mistake. It seems the clip of Papa Wemba and band singing Monama is not Zaiko Langa Langa but Viva La Musica after all. Sorry about the mix up

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Nite Videos...and the beat goes on

Last night's show was cancelled due to technical difficulties. As stated in the first entry of this blog the servers have failed in the past. In the case that this happens I will just bring you some music and some commentary to go along with it. I still intend to bring you the rest of the Pepe Felly interview in english, please hold tight with that.


"Mama bina, nzoto elingana..."

The quote above means "Dance Mama, your body wants/needs to..." It's from the song Ikwa by Flaisha Mani (1996). Dancing is a HUGE part of Congolese music. After all, music (for the most part) is supposed to cause the movement of the body as well as the spirit. Congolese music has no problems doing both...

As a child in the late '80s the first dance craze I was introduced to was the Kwassa Kwassa. Before the roger rabbit, the cabbage patch and running man (three different dances that took over hip hop in the late 80s/early 90s) took over my dancing technique, I was a wee youth attempting the kwassa kwassa with my older sister to Congolese music. 'Kwassa' is a variation of the french for 'what's that' ('quoi ca?'). It wasn't until recently did I realize that several different artists chanted "KwassaKwassa..KWASSA!" on their tracks when the craze hit. For the longest time I thought it was a particular song to which a dance was made lol Here's to learning new things everyday!

The other day I found footage (thank goodness for YOUTUBE seriously)
of Grand Zaiko Wawa performing on TV and PC Mpondolo and Co. showing the world how the Kwassa Kwassa is done!

These guys really killed it. You can't help but attempt the moves when you see it.

The Dancers for Empire Bakuba bring more variation to the dance and check out the ladies getting down. Pepe Kalle, the inventor of the dance, gets busy with it at the end too!

I urge you ALL to try this at home! lol

Catch you all tomorrow, there will be a show and tell, everybody get your youtube clips of you doing the Kwassa Kwassa ready...just kidding lol but If you want to by all means! Until tomorrow...PEACE :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Tonight a brand new episode of Tambour D'Afrique will be broadcast @ 10pm to 12am, Eastern Standard time. Visit for the link to the broadcast.

Today I have a brief english explanation of last weeks (Show #13 was a rebroadcast of Show #8) interview with Pepe Felly Manuaku Waku. For some odd reason since the show aired I've been calling Show #8, Show #9. So my Show numbers are lil' bit off. I'll have that all figured out soon. Anyway to hear the show I'm speaking of check out the playlist to the right, in the margin and click on Show #8. Sorry for the mix up. On with the show!

Guy started the interview off introducing Felix Pedro Manuaku Waku aka Pepe Felly.
They cover a little of his early history. His grandfather was a musician in the Congolese rumba scene so he was exposed to the music very early in life. The first band he joined before joining L'Orchestre Zaiko was in another band, L'Orchestre de Belky (named for an area) which went defunct after a month for reasons Pepe Felly doesn't know. The director of the band just quit.

Guy plays a portion of "Ce La Verité" and then talks about how he was introduced to Zaiko Langa Langa. Pierre Mbala and Guy grew up together in Thysville (now Mbanza Ngungu), Congo. When Guy would leave to go to school in Europe Pierre would send Guy tapes of Congolese music. One day, with much excitement, Pierre sent Guy a Zaiko Langa Langa tape and urged him to listen. From then on, Guy says, he was a Zaiko Langa Langa fanatic and particularly a fan of solo guitarist Pepe Felly.

In the United States Guy was in a band by the name of Diffusion. With his band he returned to his 2nd home-country Congo(Haiti being his first). He talks about how they met at a show at VICTOIRE and became cool right away. They were able to keep their friendship even though they would only see each other every few years. Pepe Felly then reminds Guy that he was the first to introduce him to super guitarist from the states, George Benson.

Guy Angrand singing lead for Diffusion @ Brooklyn College n 1976


I apologize because my french is pretty limited. I've reached a point in the interview where, well, I have no idea what's being said lol I understand the questions asked but the most important part, the answer, is going right over my head. I really want to continue with this though because Pepe Felly is such a great musician and this is a great interview because it's just 3 friends talking and questions that other interviewers may not ask are being asked. When I get the chance, I will have Guy help me translate the rest of the interview. Hopefully I will have the rest of this up by tomorrow night. Sorry for such an abrupt ending. I leave you with an MP3 of some of Pepe Felly's best work Chouchouna, check for the sebene!

Chouchouna 1 & 2

Until next time...PEACE and don't forget to tune into TAMBOUR D'AFRIQUE tonight at 10pm EASTERN time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Introducing PEPE FELLY

It seems I made a mistake. It seems the clip of Papa Wemba and band singing Monama is not Zaiko Langa Langa after all but Viva La Musica . Sorry about the mix up


Introducing: Pepe Felly Manuaku Waku

Pepe Felly is also an original band member. Those who write up on Zaiko Langa Langa tend to only mention the names of those who sang upfront at one point or another. But Pepe Felly has been a vital part of Zaiko Langa Langa from the beginning and is responsible for changing Congolese music by introducing the Sebene to the song format. The sebene is a melody on two or four measurements, looped to express what the singer cannot express with words. It's the expression of the songs emotion through melody. This part of the song allows the music to connect even more with the audience. No, Pepe Felly was not a singer but as lead guitar soloist, he was definitely a star in the Zaiko Langa Langa line up just like Papa Wemba or Nyoka Longo.

Pepe Felly was born, Felix Pedro Manuaku in 1954 in Congo-Kin. The bio on his official website (which is in french) doesn't specify a city or village. He was born second in a family of 7 boys and 5 girls. As a child he attended The Academy of Beautiful Arts of Kinshasa. He began his career with Zaiko at the tender age of 15 in 1969. By 1973, at only 19 years old, Pepe Felly was named the best guitarist of the third generation of modern Congolese music by the Congolese press. In 1977 he played with Tabu Ley at Festac of Lagos, Nigera, recorded "Love Me Love Me" with reggae sensation, Jimmy Cliff and the French singer, Jacques Higelin. His guitar dominated Zaiko's sound until he left the group in 1980 at which time he formed Grand Zaiko Wawa. From '85 to '88 he toured with Grand Zaiko Wawa through Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Rawanda, Burundi, Niger, Switzerland, Belguim and France. (Zaiko Langa Langa has splintered into several spin off orchestras by this time. These 'splinters' will be covered over time...)

In 1989 Felly relocated to Switzerland where he took part in workshops of The Lausanne School of Jazz and giving lessons of guitar at Hello Jazz with American saxophonist Robin Kenyatta.

2005 found Pepe Felly meeting Narcisse Okon, an event coordinator, concert programmer, and DJ from Ivory Coast. Together they form Pepe Felly & Band who bring forth L'Afrique C'est Chic. L'Afrique C'est Chic is a showcase of African music from across the continet which seeks to be an international annual music festival.

Today Pepe Felly still lives in Switzerland and continues to play music. Tomorrow I will transcribe Show #9, the interview between Guy Angrand, Pierre Mbala and himself which goes more into what he's doing at the present time and talks about the history of Zaiko from a first hand experience. Also a few mp3s to go along with it. Stay tuned. PEACE...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bemba Seeks Refuge In Portugal...

I've been reading all types of articles in the past few weeks in trying to keep up with the violence that erupted in Kinshasa, lead by Jean-Pierre Bemba's security in late March.

Here are some updates on that situation:

BBC News: Opposition leader leaves DR Congo UN Helps Bemba leave Congo-Kinshasa

A few days ago as I searched for songs by Faya Tess (Mbilia Bel's reason for breaking ties with Tabu Ley; I couldn't find any articles on her. Any information on her is welcomed) I found the song "Bana" a duet between herself and Lokua Kanza. Bana (which means "Children" in Lingala) is a song about the trials many children are facing on the Continent and what is needed to ensure their futures aren't doomed. I'm not sure if this song is on a Faya Tess or Lokua Kanza release but it is featured on Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Africa compilation. I was so moved by the beauty of the song I decided to put some new software I had to work and made a lil' video using pictures I saved off google,, and Broadcaster StudioPRO. Guy has spoken on the major issue of child soldiers in the Congo (and other parts of Africa) so I wanted to incorporate that into the video. Warning though some of the pictures are rather heart wrenching (no blood).

Faya Tess & Lokua Kanza: Bana

I'm still working on my next entry in the series of entries following the career of Zaiko Langa Langa and Pepe Felly Manuaku so hold tight. Until next time...Peace

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"The Zaire Of Our Ancestors"

That's what ZAIKO means. Taken from their official website:

" The name an abreviation of Lingala expression signifying,' Zaire (Zai) ya Bankoko (Ko) ' = Zaire of our ancestors."

When I think of Zaiko Langa Langa I would say they definitely represent and remind me of the Zaire of my most immediate ancestors, namely my mother. In 1971, the year after Ochestra Zaiko formed, the Congo was christened Zaire, for the great river and as if almost on cue L'Orchestre Zaiko came and took the Congolese music scene by storm. Thus creating the soundscape for the Zaire of my ancestors closest to me (in time).

*My father says people don't like to even see the name Zaire because of what was happening politically during that period between 1971 and 1997 when that was the country's name. Pardon me if this brought you any bad feeling. I was just expressing
what I felt when I found out what Zaiko meant.*


It must be said that Zaiko Langa Langa transformed Congolese music and aided in giving it a more distinct sound from rumba. First step in moving in that direction was leaving out rumba's stapled horn section. The solo guitar and sped up snares and drums were the stars of the show and once the beat would break they forced the listener to move. Meanhile the strong harmonies carried lyrics of love and life that moved the listener inside. Their live show was nothing to scoff at either. They brought great energy to the stage popularizing the "ANIMATIOR" in ya miziki ya Congo. The animator would shout call and response sets and dance moves bringing the crowd into a frenzy. The singers themselves would get down too!
Check them out in this 1975 performance on National Zaire TV performing LISAPO. Pepe Felly is there but in the shadows letting the guitar skills steal the show. The singers at this time were (from left to right): Mbuta Mashakado, Bimi Ombale, Nyoka Longo & Likinga

this entry is dedicated to my mother, may she rest in peace

myriam nsalu vita luyeye-angrand 1959-2001
(photo courtesy of guy angrand)

Monday, April 9, 2007


Before delving into the history of the one Pepe Felly it's only right that I give a background history of the band for which he played solo guitar, Zaiko Langa Langa. Zaiko Langa Langa is an orchestra (or band) whose history is very deep. Beginning with it's four original members.

Origins of Zaiko Langa Langa

As i gather more information of each band that introduce over time you'll notice that the bands were always shifting, switching and ditching members, and also forming new bands. In some cases they kept their own bands and still collaborated with other ochestras. From the future looking back it just seemed like musicians were just really all about putting out music. but not just that but putting out GREAT music. [It's like I can sense the] innovation and collaboration and just the all around love of music and freeing up the people with the music (even if it wasn't always the most political music), all of that really makes it hard for one not to romanticize about that time period especially when the music we were left with is so beatiful.

More Zaiko History

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Zaiko Langa Langa holds a special place for my family. My mother's uncle was once a guitar soloist and composer for the group (top row, second from the left, MATIMA MPIOSSO). My parents basically knew them (whoever was in the band at the time in the late 70s when they met) and on top of that my father is good friends with Pepe Felly. I won't give too much more away. Tomorrow I will continue with that... for now I leave you with some of Zaiko Langa Langa's early songs. Enjoy:

Zaiko Wawa 1
Elo 1 & 2
Massamba w/Empire Bakuba


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sunday Nite Videos ft. Tabu Ley & Franco

I'm working on a blog that will map out the history of Zaiko Langa Langa and introduce Pepe Felly to those who may not know his great significance to Congolese music.

Today though I will bring to you a few videos that I've found online.

Yesterday I brought to you the artist, Tabu Ley.
Here is some footage of Rochereau at work:


...his stage show was fresh...


...featuring (now ex-) wife, Mbilia Bel. Nice dancing from both...


...this is a new video to an old classic song...

Some Franco + TP OK Jazz:


...keep your eyes peeled for Sam Mangwana...


...those outfits are the epitome of GROOVY...pretty song


...the interaction between the lead singer and Franco is classic...

Watching this footage really makes me smile. It adds another dimension to the music for those of us who weren't present at the time of these recordings. I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did. Peace...

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Since this blog has been started I have blogged on two female artists, Mpongo Love and Mbilia Bel. Both artists owe their career to Tabu Ley. Mpongo Love's career jump started when she met Tabu Ley's saxophonist at the time Empompo Loway Deyesse and Mbilia Bel went from singing back up for a few artists before becoming Tabu Ley's right hand (as well as wife). Tabu Ley's career spans over 50 years beginning with his first recording "Bessama Muchacha" under Joseph "GRAND KALLE" Kabasele's African Jazz. He later formed L'Ochestre Afrisa International which, along side Franco et TP OK Jazz, was the most succeful African band of its time. Here is a more complete Biography of the Congolese great, Tabu Ley and his accomplishments:


Here are a couple of his biggest hits, and one he wrote for Mbilia Bel:



ESWI YO WAPI (sung by Mbilia Bel)

click at showtime
and enjoy the show. This week Guy is still on vacation so there will be another re-broadcast. This time it will be of Show #9 featering Zaiko Langa Langa guitarist Pepe Felly Manuaku. PEACE...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

FRANCO continued...

Franco's Music Through The Ages:

60s: Café -as evidenced in last weeks rebroadcast of Show #3 it was shown that Franco (& TP OK Jazz's) style of rhumba was much closer to 'traditional' rhumba during the 60s. Some songs such as Café had the singer singing in a lingala-spanish-portugese 'patois'. In this song (from what I gather of the patois) a man is picking up a woman. "Como te escriban Cafe?" (How do you write Café?) from that line I also gather that the woman's name is Café. Don't quote me on that though lol

70s:Radio Trottior - by the 70s Franco's sound was much more distinguishable from traditional rhumba and lyrically portrayed Kinshasa's social landscape with more accuracy. Franco's strength, next to being a band leader and superb guitarist, was his ability to write lyrics that the people could relate to. Radio Trottior (literally Sidewalk Radio) is about gossip and how it can cause problems if you listen to what people are saying on the street.

80s:12,600 Lettres - Franco received thousands of fan letters. A re-occurring theme within these letters was woman complaining that their sister-in-laws dislike and mistreat them. The hook goes: Bandeko ya basi yo yo yo yo balingaka basi ya bandeko mibali te mpo na nini; meaning 'Why do sister in laws not like their brother's wives?' After the song goes off there is a 'Debate' between Franco and his band members (men and women alike) discussing the subject of inlaws for approx. 12minutes. 12,600 Lettres Debat

Franco & Tabu Ley

These are just a mere three examples of Franco's lyrical prowess over the years. His prolific nature prohibits me from really delving into his collection and picking out songs to dissect because frankly it would take the span of Franco's career, so I just chose a few selections for today.

At the beginning of 1987, Franco recorded a song which is considered the most intense 15 minutes ever recorded. The song Attention Na Sida (beware of Aids) was sung mainly in French in order to reach a wider audience. Amid heavy drums and almost eerie guitars ,Franco thundered out an emotional message ,talking about the disease ,imploring mankind to be more careful in their relationships ,while urging governments to take further steps to fight the epidemic. Even for those who could understand what was being said, Franco's emotional, prophet like outburst sent shivers running through their spines.

Attention Na Sida

October 17, 1989 Franco passed away from complications of AIDS. Franco is the face of Congolese music, which is a great source of pride for the Kinois and Congolese in general. He laid the foundation for Soukous and countless other artists and orchestras who also in turn made incredible music in the same vain as Franco. Franco IS ya miziki ya Congo and he is awfully missed. R.I.P. Ya Franco

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


No one can mention Congolese music without mentioning Franco et Le Tout Pouissant O.K. Jazz. Franco is said to have shaped modern Congolese music from his innovative guitar strumming technique to the subject matter he covered in his music, Franco was an Originator of the genre and several Ochestras and musicians owe their success their success to him.

Franco Luambo Makiadi - Wikipedia Entry

I found this great village voice article on Franco in which he is dubbed "The James Brown of Africa".

Franco de Mi Amor by Robert Christgau

Last weeks show (which was in actuality Show #3; click playlist on the right hand side to listen) Guy covered Franco's earlier works such as Est Ce Que Oyebi?, Cheri Lovy. These songs are from the late '60s. Franco's writing style is appealing in that he covers everyday relationship issues. His phrasing (or it could just be the Lingala language that allows for it) is poetic yet simple. The story Cheri Lovy is about a young woman who wishes badly to get pregnant by her man. So badly in fact that she even goes to the market to buy a doll and dresses the doll as a child and gets laughed at. But she's that desperate. 'Nakobota papi, Nakobota..." she says (i will give birth papi, i will). My favorite song from this era of Franco is "Nayebaki Likambo" which means "I Know Problems". A young man talks about how he lost his love, he doesn't want to speak or go anywhere. Basically he's love sick. He says tell my granma and family I'm going back to Kinshasa because he can't find his love where he is.

Nayebaki Likambo - Franco et T.P. OK Jazz

More to come...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

From Congo To Nigeria...

Like I said in yesterday's blog last night's show was a repeat. Show #12 was actually a repeat of Show #3 (you can hear show number two by clicking the play list over to the right under the slide show). That show was a continuation of a series of shows that Guy had mapping out the history of rhumba in the Congo musically and also through the knowledge he has for the music. He covered so much in just those two hours so beginning Monday I will try to piggy back as best I can off of what he's said and bring a good weeks worth of blogs.

Today I want to introduce you to an artist I just discovered. Some of you may know him already...His name is Tchico Tchicaya and he is from 'the other side of the river', Congo-Brazzaville. TCHICO TCHICAYA

From his 1981 release "Jeannot" I bring to you "From Congo To Nigeria"

I've learned that Congolese music was (still is?) massively well received by the rest of the Continent. Brazzaville is close, so it's no surprised you'd find artists there doing what the musicians Au Kin were doing. But I was fascinated to find out that bands from Kenya and Tanzania and the like also played ya miziki ya Congo (congolese music). I can understand the appeal of this music. It's sad that "World" music doesn't get any real play in the United States. Hopefully one day that can all change.


PAN-AFRICANISM IS THE WAY TO GO...more on that in another blog, another time. Stay tuned :)