25/04/2008

The Sound of Kinshasa - Guitar Classics from Zaire (1995)

«Most of the great Afropop styles have grown out of a joining of urban and rural ideas, of indigenous roots and foreign borrowings. The story of Congolese pop music provides a complex and powerful example. By the closing years of the Belgian Congo, the city of Leopoldville (today's Kinshasa) was a place where city boys plucked out highlife songs on box guitars, phonographs and radios played the latest mambo and son hits from Cuba, and people from deep in the Congo's remote, culturally rich interior came to seek opportunity. Pop bands mainly existed to entertain the white elite, and played imitations of foreign music. The Cuban music, with African (including Congolese) rhythmic ideas at its heart, was naturally familiar and attractive to local musicians and listeners. So when musicians in Leopoldville began to make electric pop music for themselves, that music provided an obvious starting point.

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)

Link in comments

15 comments:

Radu said...

http://sharebee.com/1f1d69c5

Lucky said...

radu - maybe i already told you (then forgive me!) - but you still link to my old and dead blog 'cut-out'. i have a new place, though... ;)

salute!

Radu said...

hi, lucky,

I just found your new place, I'm gonna add it to my links... very, very interesting, by the way:)))

ciao!

Bárður R. said...

thanks, thanks, thanks for the hard to find music anywhere.

Bárður R. said...

thanks, thanks, thanks for the hard to find music anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Radu,

Thought I already left this comment but anyway a big thank you for sharing this deleted LP which I have been looking for for a long time.

J

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post and blog! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am like 13 yr old & Blonde, and I love guitar and Eric Clapton for an old guy and John Mayer is neat, he's so cutie pie.
Also...I just had to tell everyone that!! I went to a rock show and saw GW Williams Friday. he was the bestest ever.I am so in love with an older guitar man.ok so he doesn't know,but I have a crush on GW Williams.
I got his press release here
Part of him Press Release Is down Below
________________________
Friday evening,I attended the GW Williams,Rock & Blues guitar concert in Seattle I couldn't believe what GW Williams did, neither could 113,473 other people in attendance, GW Williams and his Rock n Roll & jazzy blues guitar style ,along with his Elvis like singing voice may have opened a whole new world of music,maybe a new style was born last Friday night.Rock,Blues,Jazz Guitarist GW Williams Gets 45 minute Standing Ovation IN Seattle Concert

JW said...

Great CD - long live the amazing work of John Storm Roberts and the original music label.

One minor correction in the Afropop article, and thus your quote from it: while the Ngoma and Opika labels in the Congo were indeed Greek-run, the Olympia label was not. It was a Belgian label - they briefly recorded in the Congo in the late 40s for an "African series" meant for consumption back in Belgium. Opika and Ngoma were primarily for sale locally.

bathmate said...

www.bathmateus.com
I like it !!!
Good posting !!!
Nice posting !!!

Anonymous said...

hi there, I just bump into your blogspot and I have to congratulate you on the good job, however a lot of great share links are dead ... Could you please re-fresh this link for me .... keep up the good work

Jay

Radu said...

Hi, anonymous,
the rapidshare and megaupload links are still active, so please try again.
Radu

Jay said...

Thanks a lot mate!!!!

Jay said...

Do you by any chance have the album of Dr Nico & L'Africaine Fiesta Sukisa - 1067/1968/1969

Anonymous said...

any chance you could re-upload this? I'd greatly appreciate it. So hard to find...