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

1986: New Guitarist, Concerts, and a LP

Guitarist Akwesa Kumbaro, joined the ranks from lesser-know bands and filled role as solo guitarist, alongside Auguy Lutula and Bongo Wende. Earlier in his career, he has played alongside guitarist Dodoly Kadima, in the group -- les Léopards de Kikwit. 

Manhattan (Emeneya)
Ata Mpiaka bis (Safro Manzangi) (Ata Mpiaka was earlier recorded in 1985 -- with the addition of the handclaps. The earlier version has a measure of 8 beats, but this version has 16 beats produced by drummer Djudjuchet). 
Zuaka Jeux (Safro Manzangi) (Safro was the artistic director of this LP).
N'Sango (Washifa)

During this time, vocalist Washifa and Mabusele, also joined Victoria Eleison. After this LP, guitarist Bongo Wende departed to Paris to embark on a successful career. His fame increased by contributing to music sessions. 

Here are some concerts of him and Victoria in Brussels
Part 2
Part 3

1987: Nzinzi, TPOK Jazz lending a hand, and international status

The band releases "Dans Kwassa Kwassa". Kwassa Kwassa, at the time, has just emerged onto the public scene demonstrated by Empire Bakuba and Kanda Bongo Man. How Kwassa Kwassa was transferred? After Empire Bakuba recorded the "Sombokila" LP, vocalist Kanda Bongo Man invited vocalist Solo Sita to animate on his "Sai-Liza" LP (the last LP that featured virtuoso guitarist Diblo Dibala). The dance became popular.

On this particular LP, the brass section from Franco Luambo Makiadi's (remarkable instrumentalist/band leader/vocalist) TPOK Jazz (Tout Puissant = almighty) were featured. The musicians in Victoria Eleison, payed back a favor, by helping out Franco on "Attention na Sida, which was a 16 minute lecture to warn civilians about the dangers of AIDS (In the 80's, the AIDS virus was a new disease with little to no information to educate the masses, but gladly, Franco's message was powerful and informative enough -- to capture the attention of many). Attention na Sida was recorded in Brussels, while the band was in Kinshasa. Guitarist Safro Manzangi led the arrangements of Victoria.

Attention na Sida

Deux Temps (Deux Temps was first made in Veritable Victoria Principal, and was rearranged again for this LP). Likewise, the sebene of Deux Temps, is also the -- same sebene on Anti Choc's "Makome" (Zakayi LP) played by guitarist Dodoly Kadima. Who was the first creator? Guitarist Dodoly is the sole creator of those coined links, if you listen to the sebene of Gida -- you'll notice a strong resemblance. Dodoly was also part of Veritable Victoria Principal, so he reprised on Safro's Deux Temps composition. The mystery has been solved. Vocalist Mopero wa Maloba joined Victoria Eleison for a short while. After this LP, drummer Djudjuchet left to join Choc Stars, and Patcho Star left to join Zaiko Langa Langa.

Deux Temps
Bopi (the last composition by guitarist Tofolo, who sadly died of an illness in 1988.)
Angela (Makolin)

Emeneya decided to do something different to pursue an "international" sound. He diverged from the Congolese rumba by experimenting and combining South African Bubblegum Pop, Antillean Zouk, and Disco in an electronic sequence, resulting in his biggest chart-topping hit -- Nzinzi. The album gave him international recognition and sold many copies!


There was also non-international version of both Nzinzi and Kisiwu

Nzinzi (original version)
Nzinzi (Live)

Kisiwu (Live)

Emeneya was an influence to Wenge Musica. Werrason analyzed, took his rhythm, and alerted his band members that adapting Emeneya's rhythm would be best for the band's structure. We'll talk about Clan Wenge in another post.

Solo Records and Malembe Chant 

Band members such as Cartouche Pambu, Safro Manzangi, and Malembe Chant have came out with releases either backed by Victoria or with other musicians.

Here is from vocalist Cartouche Pambu's second LP --"Prima Donna"(1989), which he worked exclusively with talented vocalist Djo Nolo. Djo Nolo's Choc Musica had just crumbled, so he departed to Paris. Cartouche released an earlier LP titled "Double Jeu" (1986) with guitarist Rigo Star Bamundele (look for that!).

Prima Donna
J.M. Mamouna
Nzombo Faustino

In 1988, Malembe Chant left to create his own group called Select Musica. He was the one that discover Serge Kasongo alias Burkina Faso Mboka Liya, who was then, a goat seller. One day, Malembe saw Burkina Faso strumming his guitar and was astonished by Burkina Faso's playing -- that he invited him to join his band. Burkina Faso joined Choc Stars, then later Wenge Musica BCBG. He'll be featured in the Clan Wenge post. 

Burkina Faso in action! (He's playing on a session from Jeannot Bell's album) 
Sebene from Kibuisa Mpimpa (Werrason & Wenge Maison Mere)


In September 1988, he along with Aurlus Mabele, Abeti Masikini, Francois Lougah, and Pepe Kalle to sing at the Zenith concert in Paris, France.

Joly Mubiala 

Joly left to have a short stint with Choc Stars. He is featured on the Choc Stars' LP "AU GRAND COMPLET PECHE DE LA FEMME" released in 1989. 

Ndoki Ya Moyi

Mokusa and Kinshasa Concert

Mokusa furthered with the same formula Emeneya applied for Nzinzi, the result is the album -- came with success. This time, Emeneya was backed by his band. Most of the arrangements were held by guitarist. Safro Manzangi. Also, this was the last album to feature Safro, bassist Tembo Pinos, and guitarist Santana Mongoley.

Riva Dimbala

Here is Emeneya and Victoria live at the Palais a Peuple in Kinshasa

Okosi Ngai Mfumu (Remade uptempo live version with extended sebene)
My Baby (live)
Lusala (live)
Abisina (live)

Touring in Japan, Concerts, and a LP

Victoria Eleison was one of the few bands from Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) to tour and play in Japan, the others were Zaiko Langa Langa and Papa Wemba's Viva la Musica.

Here is Emeneya and Victoria Live in Paris

New recruits such as bassist Fellyko Mbuji Mayi, percussionist Dany Kaczito, chanteuse Thethee Monganga, and drummer Maneno Molenga join Victoria. 

Next LP is Djo Kester. The LP features remake versions of his earlier hits, including Joly Mubiala's "Amelo".  

Dikando (remake)
Amelo (remake)
Ndako Ya Ndele (remake)

Emeneya was also part of the LA SAPE movement (The Society for the Advancement of Elegant People. The movement embodies the elegance in style and manners of colonial predecessor dandies as a means of resistance). 

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