Historically, the region of the Congo was a vast geographical area of equatorial Africa located in the tropical wet forest of Central Africa called Congolian forests. It also owes its name to the predominant ethnic group in the region, ruled by Kingdom of Kongo founded towards the end of the 14th century and extended from 1390 to 1914. Although the span of rule of the kingdom varied, in its greatest extent, the Kingdom of Kongo reached from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Kwango River in the east, and from the Congo River in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. The kingdom largely existed from c. 1390 to 1891 as an independent state, and from 1891 to 1914 as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Portugal. The Congo River, its main river, flows through the region forming the Congo Basin.
Some groupings advocate a return to one Congolese homeland on the basis of the historical kingdom. Very notably, the Bundu dia Kongo movement advocates reviving the kingdom through secession from Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gabon. The nowadays geographic region spans across the Republic of the Congo (former French Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaïre/Belgian Congo), and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda (former Portuguese Congo) which lies (bizarly !) between the Republic and the Democratic Republic and produces lot's of oil. Ah yes big business making lots of money with Congolese resources.
Ok the coming weeks we're hearing about the music from this African jungle heart, it's a strange place for Westerners, life is cheap and emotions rise quickly. Religion and music deliver the much needed coherance so for the coming 3 or 4 weeks we will present stars some of which have released many albums most of these never reached the Western public or even the great Discogs database. Today a man most famous for the structural changes he implemented to soukous music. The previous approach was to sing several verses and have one guitar solo at the end of the song. He revolutionized soukous by encouraging guitar solos after every verse and even sometimes at the beginning of the song. His form of soukous gave birth to the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips ........N'joy
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Kanda Bongo, born 1955, Inongo, the Belgian Congo. Soukous vocalist and band leader Bongo Man is the nephew of the celebrated Zairean singer-songwriter Jean Bokelo, who was instrumental in encouraging his musical talent as a child and later helped him to gain his first foothold in the local music scene. In 1973, with the brothers Soki Vangu and Soki Dianzenza, Bongo Man formed his first band, Orchestre Bella Mambo (later known as Orchestre Bella Bella). Stylistically, Bella Mambo struck a balance between the older big bands and younger dance groups such as Zaiko Langa Langa. The outfit toured widely in Zaire, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya before Bongo Man left in 1979, to settle in Paris, then a powerful European magnet for Francophone African musicians. He spent his first two years in the city working in a windowpane factory while building a solo career, before signing to the Afro Rythmes label in 1981 and releasing two superb albums, Iyole and Djessy, which mixed soukous with internationally appealing pop melodies.His earliest success came with his album Iyole, recorded with Orchestre Bella Mambo and Diblo in 1981. With Djessy, he further broadened soukous’ established style by adding Latin-American-derived beguine rhythms.
In 1983, Kanda Bongo Man visited the UK to play an acclaimed set at the high-profile WOMAD (World Music And Dance) Festival. Setting up his own Paris-based label, Bongo Man Records, in 1984, he released his third album, Amour Fou. In 1985 British-based specialist label Globestyle released the compilation Non Stop Non Stop. The new studio set Malinga followed in 1986, then the zouk-influenced Lela Lela in 1987. The artist’s flirtation with zouk that year continued when he played on Kassav’s classic album Zouk Time.
As the decade closed Kanda Bongo Man immersed himself in dance trends such as the Kwassa Kwassa (also the title of his first US-distributed album that combined tracks from two French releases: "Lela Lela" and "Sai." ) and Mayebo, though his style was still located primarily in the high-speed soukous tradition that he had pioneered. He continued to release records on a regular basis throughout the 90s, including the wonderful live album Soukous In Central Park. With his 1998 album, Welcome to South Africa Mr. Kanda Bongo Man, Bongo Man emphasized the South African influences on his music. Kanda Bongo Man relocated to South Africa to record 2001’s Balobi, on which he essayed a dynamic mix of kwassa kwassa and mbqanga.
Performing at the WOMAD in England in 1983, he reached the audience he had hoped to find. In 1989, Bongo Man released his first American-distributed album, Kwassa Kwassa, which combined tracks from two French releases: "Lela Lela" and "Sai." He continued to expand his following with Zing Zong, dedicated to Soki Vangu and Soki Diazenza of Bella Bella, in 1991. Bongo Man's third U.S.-distributed album, Soukous in Central Park, released in 1993, captures the excitement of his live performances. With his 1998 album, Welcome to South Africa Mr. Kanda Bongo Man, Bongo Man emphasized the South African influences on his music.
Like many African rumba and soukous musicians before him, Kanda Bongo Man also had an entourage of musicians. Many of Kanda's musicians later moved on to start their own solo careers. Most notable of these was Diblo Dibala. Known as "Machine Gun", Diblo Dibala was a vital part of Kanda Bongo Man's lineup on several albums, including "Kwasa Kwasa" and "Amour Fou".
Kanda Bongo Man still tours in Europe and the United States. On July, 2005, he performed at the LIVE 8: Africa Calling concert in Cornwall.
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More dance-floor fun comes from this very uptempo and infectious Zairian pop. Kwassa Kwassa collects the hardest-driving soukous material the Bongo Man performed during the 1980s at the height of the European-African soukous dance craze. While other albums, most notably Amour Fou/Crazy Love and Zing Zong, offer equally strong material, Kwassa Kwassa is unmatched in energetic power. There were no still bodies when Kanda Bongo Man led the rave and this album shows why. It was the last collection guitarist Diblo Dibala graced with his spirited, nimble fingers, and songs like "Sai" and "Cantique" boast the Bongo Man's brilliant talent for high-energy songwriting awash in melody. Other highlights include the tumbling "Lela-Lela," where the female backup singing adds a lovely, uniquely African touch, and "Belle Amie," which captures well the Bongo Man's reedy voice floating earnestly with a hint of melancholy. The words "Kwassa Kwassa" might have come from the French "Quoi ça?" (What's that?), an album not to be listened to just once or twice, but rather over and over and over.
Kanda Bongo Man - Kwassa Kwassa (flac 354mb)
01 Sai 6:24
02 Cantique 5:15
03 Naloti 5:14
04 Lowazo 5:12
05 Lela-Lela 6:12
06 Bedy 5:12
07 Liza 6:32
08 Lisote 4:47
09 Belle Amie 7:27
10 Ebeneza 5:40
Kanda Bongo Man - Kwassa Kwassa (ogg 138mb)
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This collection is nice look at Kanda's earlier years in Paris. The CD contains his first two albums: Iyole & Djessy.
I would say that this should not be your first Kanda album to buy. (That should be Kwasa Kwasa or Amour Fou) but if you have those, and like them--which you ought to--than this album would be the next in a natural progression of Kanda Bongo Man. The recording quality is superb and the licks are mighty featuring Diblo Dibala on guitar.
Kanda Bongo Man - Non Stop Non Stop (flac 376mb)
1 Iyole 7:32
2 N'Sambi-Carol 7:38
3 Ida 7:46
4 Tens 6:42
5 Djessy 9:20
6 Amina 7:37
7 Mazina 7:22
8 Dyna 8:22
Kanda Bongo Man - Non Stop Non Stop (ogg 155mb)
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Staff Benda Bilili are a group of street musicians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Staff Benda Bilili was formed by Ricky Likabu and Coco Ngambali with other paraplegic musicians, as other bands in Kinshasa would not work with them. They used to live around the grounds of the zoo in the country's capital city, Kinshasa, and play music which is rooted in rumba, with elements of old-school rhythm 'n' blues and reggae. The core of the band consists of four senior singers/guitarists, who are paraplegic (they had poliomyelitis when they were young) and move around in spectacularly customized tricycles. They are backed by a younger rhythm section consisting of abandoned street children who were taken under the protection of the older members of the band. The soloist is an 18 year-old boy (2009) Roger Landu, who fashioned his own instrument - named a satongé - from an empty fish can, a piece of wood and a guitar string, who plays guitar-like solos on his electrified one-stringed lute. The group's name translates roughly from Lingala as "look beyond appearances".
The band rehearsed in Kinshasa zoo, because it was a quiet location, and played the streets of Kinshasa until they were heard by Vincent Kenis, a Belgian record producer specialising in Congolese music, who arranged for the band to record their debut album, Tres Tres Fort ("Very Very Strong")
In 2006, Staff Benda Bilili's song Let's Go and Vote ("Allons Voter"), written and performed by the musicians, was played repeatedly in the run-up to the 2006 historic polls on radio and television stations; it was reported to be responsible for a 70% increase in voter turnout. Staff Benda Bilili have earned the 2009 Artist Award at Womex (World Music Expo).
Entitled Très Très Fort, the band's debut album was released on Crammed Discs in March 2009. It was produced over the course of three years by Crammed's Vincent Kenis (known for introducing and producing bands such as Konono Nº1, Kasai Allstars, and for the Congotronics series). Kenis recorded the band mostly in the Kinshasa zoo. The album also contains four of Barret & de la Tullaye's videos.
Staff Benda Bilili's Très Très Fort album was also be released on vinyl by Crammed Discs in 2010, only as part of the limited-edition Congotronics Vinyl Box Set which includes most albums on the Congotronics series. Media reactions to Très Très Fort were excellent, especially in the UK the USA, and France. Staff Benda Bilili have performed extensively around Europe, Japan and Australia, and will be touring in the USA for the first time in October 2012.
Entitled Bouger Le Monde ('Make The World Move'), Staff Benda Bilili's second album was recorded in Kinshasa and mixed in Brussels, once again by producer Vincent Kenis. The album comprises 11 new songs and features lead vocals by seven different band members. It is being released worldwide by Crammed Discs in September 2012. In February 2013 The Guardian reported that singer and songwriter Coco Ngambali has quit, along with fellow vocalist Théo Ntsituvuidi, and a tour of top European venues scheduled for March and April had been cancelled amid accusations of mismanagement.The band played some dates in Europe in Autumn 2013.
For Tres Tres Fort is a gem – dreamy, joyful and full of delicious melodies. Its music is nostalgic for the classic years of Franco and OK Jazz with its Cuban-inspired call-and-response harmonies and lilting African rhythm guitar, yet it's been reinvented with gorgeously fresh songwriting. Check out the insistently catchy guitar licks of "Je t'aime" (aka "Na Lingui Yo"), or the vocal harmonies of "'Sala Keba" or "Mwana", and you will find the melodies ringing in your head for days. The production by Vincent Kenis (who also brought us Konono No 1) is a triumph: many of the songs were recorded out in the open, in the zoo grounds, seducing us with the sounds of Kinshasa offstage.
Staff Benda Bilili - Tres Tres Fort (flac 401mb)
01 Moto Moindo 5:47
02 Polio 3:08
03 Je T'Aime 5:01
04 Sala Keba 4:26
05 Moziki 4:56
06 Sala Mosala 6:14
07 Avramandole 3:09
08 Tonkara 6:33
09 Marguerite 6:45
10 Staff Benda Bilili 5:54
11 Mwana 6:54
Staff Benda Bilili - Tres Tres Fort (ogg 159mb)
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