Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Congolese Music

I was searching for Congolese music on my lunch break and found this video - enjoy! All Things Congo: SECRET YA LA VIE MUSIQUE CONGOLAISE RUMBA ET NGWAS...:

I researched Congolese music a little bit and found out that during WWII a great deal of musical fusion, particularly with Latin styles, occurred in much of Africa. This music was often called "soukous" which is a derivative of the French word "secousse" which means to shake. Soukous is also sometimes referred to as African Rumba. The Congolese music scene was vibrant in the 60s and 70s, with the soukous' tempos being sped up and more influenced by rock n roll over time.

Many musicians migrated to other countries, or left for Paris in the 70s as the political conditions deteriorated. Since the 1990s, Congolese popular music has declined significantly. The president at the time (Mobutu) repressed indigenous music, and Paris became a major center for Congolese music.

Does anyone know of any contemporary Congolese music I should check out???


  1. Watching the video brought old vague memories (presumably from the mid 60's) of watching artists sing similar (sounding) songs. The deportment & voice of the second singer specifically gave me a sense of "déjà vu". Towards the end I got the distinct feeling that a cross pollination of cultures was at work, especially when the small boy was singing.

  2. Interesting, Dad! So, where did you hear similar sounding songs back in the 60s? On the radio, tv, records? Was there a spread of their music after Congolese Independence from Belgium in 1960?

  3. Yes, Nikki, go see Viva Riva, a great new African movie set in Kinshasa and hear something quite different ie Congopunq.
    For other contemporary stuff listen to Fally Ipupa, Werrason...........then go on to Extra Musica, Quartier Latin, Yondo Sister, Koffi Olomide, Mbilia Bel, Papa Wemba, Aurlus Mabele, Zaiko Langa Langa, Pepe Kalle, Wenge Musica, JP MPiana, Awilo Longomba, Soukous Stars..................the list is endless.
    And then to understand where this all comes from you need to hear FRANCO and TABU LEY ROCHEREAU, the granddaddies of this exceptional music.
    I've assumed that you don't want to remain in Congo Brazzaville because across the river in Kinshasa, DRC is absolutely magic.
    Voila! After that you'll never be satisfied at a party again unless they play some Congolese rumba or soukous or ndombolo...........
    If you want to buy try Sterns Online.
    I'll be interested to know what you like/love as I reckon you'll want to keep on dancing to Congolese music for a lot longer than a month even if you've departed the country!!! Please let me know how you get on when You can drag yourself away from the music.
    In the words of Fally Ipupa in Chaise Electrique...........Do you feeling now, baby!!!


  4. Thanks so much for all the suggestions, Maggie!! I highlighted a few of these artists in a recent post: http://armchairtravelingwithnikki.blogspot.com/2011/07/recent-reader-comments-thanks-everyone.html