Thursday, May 10, 2007

Les Bantous De La Capitale

Across the river from Kinshasa is a city, the capital of The Republic of Congo, Brazzaville. Musicians traveled frequently between the two cities and Brazzaville even served as an asylum for some artists who were exiled for some period of time from Congo-Kin due to lyrical content.

This sister-city is the home to Les Bantous De La Capitale. This band is one of the many offshoots of OK Jazz. Founding member of OK Jazz (along with Franco) Jean Serge Essous, a gifted saxophone and clarinet player, left OK Jazz for African Jazz before founding Les Bantous De La Capitale with Congo-Brazzavilians De La Lune(also a founding OK Jazz member), Celestine Kouka and Edo Nganga in 1959. Like most of the other Congolese bands, Les Bantous De La Capitale has had several band members come and go. Among them, vocalists Tchico Tchicaya, Kosmos Kapitza, Pamelo Mounk'a, and guitarists Papa Noel and Samba Mascott.

There is a distinctness to Le Bantous' sound that I can't quite put my finger on. Someone more versed in musical terms would probably be able to describe it but they made great music and are definitely one of the best bands of their time. There is a certain freshness to the vocal performances (especially where Tchico Tchicaya is featured as his voice is very unique and easy to spot), the melodies, harmonies and lyrics, that pull in the listener. Guy played a great example of this on last weeks broadcast, Isabelle. Isabelle is about a man who finds out a girl he was in love with left for the other side of the river, Kinshasa. He heard that she had gotten married and he's not sure if it's true or not but the news hurts him. He misses Isabelle. Tchico Tchicaya sings lead on this song.

Another is El Mancero-Mayeya. I haven't any idea what the song is about because it is sung in Spanish but the composition is fantastic. On some parts of the song it sounds as though they have incorporated "Guantanamera" into the lyrics. It's a really nice song from a great band. Enjoy the sounds.


information for today's entry taken from:


Anonymous said...

El manisero means "peanut vendor."

ms bazu said...

peace...thanks :)