Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

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