Greek-run record labels – Ngoma, Olympia, and Opika – were the first to produce local records during the 1940s. But by the time African labels, Loningisa, and later Veve, entered the game, something had happened to the music. The Cuban piano parts had been adapted to guitars, and in the process, the cycling, polyrhythmic qualities of traditional Congo music, especially that of the sanza hand piano, had changed the color of the guitar parts. Gradually, guitar would emerge as the dominant melodic and harmonic instrument in Congo bands. The biggest bands in the 1970s and 80s would typically feature three guitars, and sometimes as many as five, all playing different, interlocking parts.
Vocalists sang in Lingala, a composite language developed during the years when the Belgians used laborers of diverse ethnicities to build a cross-continental railroad. The language had a warm, liquid flow, and the singers were excellent soloists and harmonists. When the Belgian Congo became an independent, nation in 1960, the new capital, Kinshasa, was alive with a beautiful, new hybrid sound unlike anything else in the world.» (Read more on Afropop)
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