Tuesday, June 17, 2014

M'Bilia Bel: One of Africa's greatest songsters (Under Construction)

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M'Bilia Mboyo-Marie Claire alias M'Bilia Bel was born in Kinshasa, Aug.14, 1959. 

By the age of 17, she dropped out of school to accept a position in chanteuse Abeti Maskini's Les Redoutables d'Abeti (Abeti's orchestra was a music school for future stars to pass through). Well-seasoned after 4 years, she joined Sam Mangwana for a number of concerts around Congo-Kinshasa (then called Zaire). Near the end of 1981 when the tour was about to finish, Mbilia auditioned for Tabu Ley Rochereau. Tabu Ley was impressed and hired her right away.

       Sam Mangwana on tour with M'Bilia Bel in Kinshasa

She sings her own rendition of the late Togolese's chanteuse Bella Bellow's song -- "Akambi"

Kamunga aka Mpeve ya Longo

M'Bilia's sexy alluring looks and sharp soprano voice re-energized Afrisa International and boosted recorded sales. The title "Mpeve ya Longo" (holy spirit) from 1982 discusses the domestic problems that women face. Although Tabu Ley wrote the song, having it sung from a woman's perspective was a ground-breaking moment in the male-dominated world of Congolese music. In 1983, she addressed the legend of male dominance with the classic "Eswi yo wapi" (Where did it hurt you?), a song that she and Tabu Ley wrote together about a man getting a taste of his own medicine. The performance won her "revelation of the year" honors from Kinshasa's music writers.

She went on to feature on other songs, such as Tabu Ley's Lisanga ya Bambanda and Dino Vangu's Quelle Mechancete

The next album was titled "Faux Pas". It talks about the wrong move.

Faux Pas
Nazali Mwasi

In the next following year, her and the band released "Loyenge". The title track "Loyenge" is a beautiful up-tempo groove that resonates such rapturous delight.

                                   Balle à terre.
                                                            Bameli Soy

The next album was called "Ba Gerants Ya Mabala". Let's give it a listen:

By this time, M'Bilia and the band are at the apex of their popularity recording hit after hit along with touring all over the world -- including the United States. In 1985, she and the band releases "dans Kenya et Cadence Mudanda". Let's give it a listen:

Nakei Nairobi
Cadence Mudanda
C'est Toi Que J'aime

Around the mid 80's, she officially marries Tabu Ley and was a mature & refined performer. In their concerts, M'Bilia was the primary attraction, and whenever she appeared, the crowd -- would go wild. M'Bilia was a talented (and still is) stage performer and often excited the crowd with her exceptional dancing abilities whenever she would join with the Rocherreautes (dancers) in their routine.

The next album she made was titled "Boya Ye". Boya Ye means "Kick him to the curve".

Tonton Skol. Skol is a Beer brand that is manufactured by Carl'sberg, AB InBev (South America), and Unibra (Africa). Musicians make songs about Skol and Primus (other beer) devoting their love for the beer brand. 
Shawuri Yako. Shauri Yako was originally a Nguashi Ntimbo's composition, which led to being a --massive hit in East Africa. It was re-recorded by Orchestre Super Mazembe, and of course M'Bilia & Tabu Ley. 
Yamba Ngai

Monday, June 16, 2014

King Kester Emeneya: A tremendous influence (still under construction)

Farewell to a noteworthy giant that has touched many through his -- lyricism, music, creative dances, animations and innovative contributions to both Congolese and in general -- African Music.

Emeneya Mubiala Jean alias King Kester was born November 23, 1956 in Kikwit in Bandundu province in the west of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo (formally known as -- Zaire). At age 17, a young Jean Emeneya joined the band -- Les Anges Noirs (with Lidjo Kwempa) as a student at the Don Bosco Institute (now INDOBO) in Kikwit. After obtaining his Baccalauréat in Longo Institute Idiofa, he went to study political and administrative sciences at Lubumbashi. In June 1977, he joined Papa Wemba's new band (at the time) -- Viva la Musica. The compositions he made during his years of Viva la Musica were: Milena (1977), Kaba Zonga (1978), Ndako Ya Ndelé (1978), Kayolé (1978), Ata Nkalé (1979), Dikando (1980), La Runda (1980), Dembela (1980), Ngonda (1980), Mishueni (1981), Fleur d'été (1981), Horoscope (1981), and he also composed an earlier version of Naya before it was revamped in -- Victoria Eleison. 


70's: The Beginning of a career

Ekoti Ya Nzube
Ata Nkale

1982: The integration of Victoria Eleison

In December 24, 1982, Emeneya broke away from Viva la Musica and created his own group -- Victoria Eleison. Members of this group were: Nseka Huit Kilos, Santana Mongoley, Bipoli na Fulu, Debaba Debs (RIP), Joly Mubiala, Tofola Kitoko, Safro Manzangi, Cartouche Pambu, Nzola Ndongo alias Petit Prince, Tembo Pinos, Malembe Chant, Patcho Star and Djudjuchet alias Djudju Music.

Debut of Victoria Eleison:

Here are the 1982 singles that were released:

Jolie Masa
Livre d'or

1983: Defections and a LP. 

Entering 1983, Bipoli na Fulu departs from Victoria to join Choc Stars. He leaves Choc Stars and joins back -- then releases a single called 'Edingwe'. A LP is created titled 'Victoria' spanning classics: Okosi Ngai Mfumu, Abisina, Sans Preavis, and Souris Cacharelle

Okosi Ngai Mfumu
Sans Preavis (The song talks about the story of a woman who sacrificed to preserve her marriage only to be divorced in the end.)
Souris Cacharelle

Another defection happens, Vocalist Debaba Debs creates his own group in partnership with Koffi Olomide called -- Historia Musica. 


Mwasi Ya Ngenge (Koffi Olomide) 1983

After this LP, Koffi departs to Brussels and records his first album 'Ngounda'. 


                                          Mamie la fee


1984: Veritable Victoria Principal, LP's, defections, and new members.

In the year 1984, a defection happens -- Vocalist Bipoli na Fulu poaches Guitarist Nseka Huit Kilos, Guitarist Safro Manzangi, Guitarist Tofolo Kitoko, and Drummer Patcho Star from Victoria. This short lived group is called -- Veritable Victoria Principal (1984 - 1986). Other musicians that joined were Jarrys Fimbo, Kidima Dodoly, Wally Ngonda, and Fale Fale Japanes.

Blanche Neige

The group released a couple of singles -- before disintegrating in 1986. 

A couple of LP's are recorded in 1984. 

Sango Mbala Commission (This LP was actually recorded in late 1983). (Petit Prince Nzola Ndonga)
Safi Santa (Joly Mubiala)
Zenobi (Cartouche Pambu)
Makele (Malembe Chant)

On Sango Mbala Commission, a few members have joined to fill in the defections. The members are guitarist Bongo Wende Daclyto and vocalist Le Geant Makolin. Energetic drummer that's making the rhythm atmosphere hot is -- Djudjuchet. Check him out! The exhilarating arpeggios from Bongo Wende are -- out of this world! Also, vocalist Nzola Ndonga alias Petit Prince Bengali left to join Choc Stars alongside Defao Matumona, Bozi Boziana, Djuna Djunana, Ben Nyamabo, Monza Premier, Fifi Mofude, Koffi Alibaba, Roxy Tshimpaka, and Djo Mali.

Next LP was titled -- "Explosion!". This track was later revamped and renamed "But na Filet"; Explosion was the opener while the structure smoothly changed into the -- Kiwazenza dance/animation (But na Filet version). "But na Filet" set the standard as the introductory theme for his concerts.
Balingi Ngai Nzua Te (Malembe Chant)
Ngambelo Bis ("Bis" means remake or repeat. Ngambelo was remade and organized differently from the 1982 version.)

Reunited members, couple of LP's, and a solo debut

Next year is 1985. During this year, Emeneya releases one of his unforgettable and momentous hits -- Kimpiatu. Members who left for Veritable Victoria Principal (Nseka Huit Kilos, Safro Manzangi, and Patcho Star) are back and reunited with the King. On this LP, drummer Otis "Moto na Libanda" Edjudju Koyongonda (who was playing with Choc Stars -- at the time) was featured and a young guitarist called -- Auguy Lutula joins the ranks. After these two LP's, guitarist Nseka Huit Kilos was poached by Tabu Ley Rochereau to join his Afrisa International.

Kimpiatu (Emeneya) (The song "Kimpiatu" talks about a man whose romance is destroyed by false rumors.)
Isbond (Nseka Huit Kilos on solo guitar!)
Victoria Eleison - Isbond (Tofolo)

Mobali Ya Ngenge (Emeneya)
Soiree Dansante (Bongo Wende)

The next LP was titled "Presser Te" 

Presser Te (Patcho Star)
Mensonge (Tembo Pinos)
Wabelo Rango (Nseka Huit Kilos)
Jamaica (Otis Edjudju)

He also released a solo LP titled "Willo Mondo". Emeneya departed towards Brussels to promote the album. It includes remade versions of his masterpieces that he made in Viva la Musica. The LP was later repacked conjunction with -- Dindo Yogo's "La Congolaise" LP.  (There's an original version, he made in Kinshasa, but unfortunately, I can't post on youtube due to abundance of skips and pops. Sorry.)
Dembela bis
Elanga Nalona
Ata Nkale bis

Speaking of Dindo and Emeneya, they worked together on a session called -- "L'International DON DASS presente - Le CHOC CHOC 85 avec ses vedettes du moment". Two of the songs were composed by vocalist Nzaya Nzayadio (who sang for Lipua Lipua and Choc Stars), and the other two were composed by Mopera wa Maloba (he sang for Shama Shama and Orchestre Cavacha w/Dona Mobeti. He is sadly deceased. RIP). Solo guitarist is Pepe Manuaku, who is a magnificent and wonderful guitarist, after all, he isn't called "le magicien de la guitare" -- for no reason (Played for Zaiko Langa Langa & his group Grand Zaiko Wawa). 

Chacun Pour Soi
La Vie Blanche
Singa Bakangaka Mbwa

Monday, March 3, 2014

Akua Kamau

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Today we're going to headline newcomer Ghanaian musician Akua Kamau, who is currently part of 
the Fern Gully Records roster. He recently just released an instrumental EP - titled 'My Island Darling' 
which boasts 7 high quality songs inspired by Jamaican and African traditions.  The songs are a tribute 
to our ancestors and the sacrifices they made to give us all the opportunities that we have today.  
Akua not only wrote, but also recorded and produced the entire EP.

Watch the video for ‘Cries Of The Ancestors’ here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gevlmYREefE

Monday, February 17, 2014

Friday, July 12, 2013

The early days of Anti Choc (Bozi Boziana) From 1986-1990

Add to Google Reader or HomepageDEPARTURE of CHOC STARS

By around the end of 1985, Bozi Boziana was fired for recording outside the group such as the classic LP "Sandu Kotti", Teddy Sukami's Elombe (featuring vocalists Kanda Bongo Man & Dany Engobo who later went on to record his first LP "Megot et Dany"), and with fellow-colleague Zaiko drummer Ilo Pablo  recorded the first version of the hit "L'Oiseau Rare" which was later remade with the group Zaiko Familia-Dei (1990).

By this time, Ben Nyamabo was who now sole-leader of the group, acquired Nzola Ndonga 'Petit Prince from Victoria Eleison. Following Bozi's departure, leader of the short-lived Historia Musica, added his voice to the Choc Stars along with Lasa 'Carlito' Ndombasi from OK Jazz.

Here's a taste of what Bozi cooked up in Choc Stars:

Vocals: Bozi Boziana, Djuna Djunana, Petit Prince, Ben Nyamabo
Lead Guitar: Roxy Tshimpaka (Le Grand Niaou)
Mi-solo Guitarist: Carrol Makhamba
Rhythm Guitarist: Teddy Acompa
Bass: Djo Mali Bolenge
Drums: Otis Edjudju (RIP)
Percussions: Ekoko
Animation: Dituala

Vocals: Bozi Boziana, Djuna Djunana, Monza 1er, Ben Nyamabo, Defao, Petit Prince
Lead Guitar: Roxy Tshimpaka!
Mi-solo Guitar: Carrol Makhamba!
Rhythm Guitar: Teddy Acompa!
Bass: Djo Mali!
Drums: Otis
Atalaku: Dituala
Percussions: Ekoko

Vocals: Bozi Boziana, Koffi Ali-baba, Adoli, Defao
Lead Guitar: Sedjo Kha
Mi-solo Guitar: Carrol Makhamba
Rhythm Guitar: Teddy Acompa
Bass: Dada Acome
Drums: Otis Edjudju
Percussions: Dituala et Ekoko


This is from fellow Zaiko rhythm guitarist (deceased) Teddy Sukami's Elombe LP. I advise you to get it! 
Vocals: Bozi Boziana, Dany Engobo, Kanda Bongo Man
Lead Guitar: Diblo Dibala
Rhythm Guitarist: Rigo Star
Bass: Pablo Lubadika
Drums/Percussion: Domingo Salsero

This is the first version of the classic "L'Oiseau Rare" was later remade for the self-titled LP in 1990. The year is 1984. I sadly don't have the credits of the musicians who played in this recording.

These two are both from the "Sandu Kotti" LP (1984) which created great success! 
Vocal: Bozi Boziana 
Lead Guitar: Rigo Star
Rhythm Guitar: Teddy Sukami
Bass: Pablo Lubadika
Drums/Percussion: Domingo Salsero


Meanwhile, the fired Bozi Boziana went on to form a new band went on to form a band of un-knows. Anti-Choc, the group's provocative name, succinctly summed up his name feelings towards musicians who had sacked him. Yet he claimed to be happy with the opportunity his dismissal presented. He still had to answer to producer/band leader/instrumentalist Verckys Kiamuangana, who put money for equipment, but as long he observed his contractual obligations, Bozi was free to follow his muse. Bozi assembled a collection of young, inexperienced musicians whom he mold into stars. Givè Djo Nolo, a multi-instrumentalist with a pleasant voice, was one of the first to sign on. Djo Nolo had worked in some lower-tier bands but have never made to first ranks. Fifi Mofude, who had sung with Kossa Kossa, and along with the help of Gladia, Adoli and Guy Kalume who also were in Choc Stars. The output that came out was the first single Bezi/Explication Sissi (EVVI 58)

Vocals: Bozi Boziana, Gladia, Guy Kalume, Adoli, Fifi Mofude (RIP)
Lead Guitar: Matu Kabangu
Mi-solo Guitar: Micha Brown
Rhythm Guitar: Lidjona
Bass: Ngouma Lokito
Drums: Vechiko

The solo guitarists that were in the beginning of Anti Choc were Matu Kabangu and SOS Watondo (played on "Masanga" LP). Also bass wizard Omba Shungu alias Ngouma Lokito relatively unknown at the time, was by Bozi's side since Choc Stars. 

Here's an interview with fellow journalist/friend Scott Shuster interviewing the career of bassist Ngouma Lokito. 

J'adore guitare bass! 

Now after the integration, came out the classic hit "Mansanga" which was composed by Djo Nolo. 

The original was played by guitarist SOS Watondo, who had played with bands such as: Choc Stars, Langa Langa Stars, Monza Premier's Stars Magnats, along with a couple others. 

Here's more fantastic early Anti Choc work (when Djo Nolo was in the band):

Still in the year of 1987, Bozi added a young 14 yr old female singer named Afi-Kiabelua but her presence in the band was short. However, she released a LP with Zaiko Langa Langa backing her up. 


Still in the year 1987, vocalist-animateur Wally Ngonda (RIP) and Kidima Dodoly departed from vocalist Bipoli's Victoria Veritable Principle onto Bozi's Anti Choc. They introduce themselves with a new LP titled "Department S". 

Solo Guitarist Dodoly was one of the leading components into contributing the popularity of Anti Choc, nicknamed "la machine a coudre" which is French for "sewing machine" because how fast his fingers go along the fret-board. He reached the apex of his popularity throughout the 80s and early 90s of Bozi's recordings. 


Anti Choc reached their biggest shock in the middle of 1987 when Djo Nolo quit, taking Dodoly, along with a couple of lesser-known musicians to form a short-lived offshoot called Choc Musica. 

Here's the classic "Fatuma Bineta" released the same year:

Bozi shrugged the defectors by hiring vocalist Lidjo Kwempa away from Viva la Musica. He took off to Europe to record new songs, it resulted in Coup de la Vie (throes of life), an album with guitarists Master Mwana Congo sitting in on solo guitar in place of the departed Dodoly , answered those who thought the band was finished along with Freddy de Majunga on rhythm.

Coup de la Vie was a reprise version of Mwana Ya Congo which was a duet with Djo Nolo.

Still haven't covered the rest of 1987, after Djo Nolo leaves, they release the LP: "Zakayi" (1987). which created great success with titles such as "Zakayi" and Sentinelle". The sebene rhythm beat played in this period is called "Viva la Mandolina" as you can hear Bozi shout in some points.

A second album, Mon Mari est Gabonais (my husband is Gabonais), finds Rigo Star Bamundele on solo guitar . Let's give a listen:

When Choc Musica folded a scant year later, Bozi welcomed Dodoly back to his old position. By 1988, the musicians of Anti Choc had reached the level of their Clan Langa Langa cousins. Kinshasa's writers selected them as the year's best band, Bozi as best star, Dodoly best guitarist, and Bozi's composition "La Reine de Sabah' (queen of Sheba), the story of a man's love for a beautiful woman and how it was destroyed by gossip and betrayal, the year's best song:


Since Congolese Music was a male-dominated field, Bozi was one of the first to break that mold with the addition of female vocalists; Joly Detta filled her position in a more permanent basis. Detta had tried out with the Choc Stars, but her presence, said Ben Nyamabo, had engendered 'indiscipline' in the group. She worked briefly for a group called Afro International (created by vocalist Mimi Ley) and for OK Jazz (Massu and Laylile).

The principal source of the indiscipline Nyamabo referred to had been Bozi's infatuation with the winsome Detta. Now that he was the boss , there would presumably be no problem. 

Later, another talented one woman, named Dèesse Mukangi (goddess), a singer from Kisangani, joined the band. She previously was in a band called Super-Afro that was founded by songwriter/guitarist Shiko Mawatu in the mid 80's.

There was also another female singer called Thiza Lamounguena who was Deesse's friend, her presence was short-lived.


Kidima Odon alias Dodoly (Kinshasa, 10/11/1958)
Son of Simon and Kidima da Dorothee Mbimbi, Dodoly, between á 11 years in the music system á Kikwit and is part of the orchestra Leopard. Later it evolved in Super Fiesta, another band of the same city.

In 1974, the artist descends á between Kinshasa and very quickly in the orchestra Za-Banbus Kingabwa. The same whole year 1974 Kidima
Dodoly settled in the town of Boma and opts for orchestra bar "Mother House". The luxury living in the hinterland are suitable obvi-ously
not the guitarist, Kidima Dodoly down once again á Kinshasa, the capital, to pursue his musical career. It is thus that between, in 1975, in
orchestra Zaïna Molende Masina 3.

During this same year, the singer Madilu Bialu, seeking Connecting Components value for his orchestra Pamba Pamba, throws
his sights on Dodoly in order to ensure the guitar solo. They produce for some time but does not seem to find
chassure á his foot. Is constantly seeking, Dodoly integrates in 1976, the orchestra singer Siata Pata Mambo Ley and it evolved as a guitarist.

From 1981 to 1983, he joined the band Stukas Boys Litembo then became in 1985 a member of the Orcheste Veritable Victoria Principal. in
the same whole year 1987, he joined the band Anti-Shock singer Benz Bozi Boziana and is characterized by productions hoisted to top
level. For the record, we will remember his prowess through the following works: "The Sabbath Queen" "Doukouré", "Lubuaku", "Mustapha"
"Joel-Photo", "Matengami", "Beya = Mali"

The artist, based in Belgium, is pursuing a career as an independent musician and constantly sollcitè, he performed with many groups.

To finish it off, here's his evergreen composition:

Pierre Belkos in Mayotte

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Sorry for the long inactivity that I put you guys through, it just that I transferred my new base onto YouTube. I'll still post here sometimes so keep track! Today I'm featuring fellow LA-SAPE dresser vocalist/dancer Pierre Belkos who hails from the origin of Congo-Brazzaville, but based in Paris. 


LA SAPE (The Society for the Advancement of Elegant People) is a social movement centered in Brazzaville, the capital of Brazzaville. The movement embodies the elegance style and manners of colonial predecessor dandies as means of resistance. They are in stark contrast with the environment they live in.


Before I post the link, let give you some information about the island Mayotte. Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France consisting of a main island Grand-Terre (or Maore), a small island, Petite-Terre (or Pamanzi), and several islets around these two. France gained colonial control over Mayotte in 1843. It is the most populous of the four Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique in Africa. Mayotte chose to remain a French dependency rather than join the other Comoran islands in declaring independence in 1975. Comoros laid claim to Mayotte shortly after independence and continues to do so. In July 2000, 70% of voters opted to accept greater autonomy but to remain a part of France. In a 2009 referendum, voters approved accession to the status of department by a large majority. In fact, 95% voted in favor of departmental status. On March 31, 2011, Mayotte became an overseas department. An overseas department is part of France that is located elsewhere, not a part of mainland France. On January 1, 2014, Mayotte is set to become part of the European Union. That will make Mayotte the European Union's outermost region.
Now on to the good stuff!
Vocals: Pierre Belkos, Soule Ngofo Man
Lead Guitar: Caien Madoka
Rhythm Guitar: Bopol Mansiamina
Bass: Chida Son
Drums: Komba Bellow