NYC: dancing with Diblo & Papa Wemba tributes

One might think anything can be found in New York City. But some things—curiously, things I seem to rave about, like Cuban salsa and Congolese music—are too niche for NYC, it seems. So when I learned last-minute that soukous legend Diblo Dibala was in town this weekend, I rushed out to see him.

Most of my favorite Congolese musicians are no longer with us, so it was such a treat to see not only Diblo but N’Gouma Lokito of Soukous Stars fame, who joined Diblo in a rendition of one of my fav’s by Pepe Kalle (RIP), “Pon Moun Paka Bougé.”

Diblo performing Saturday night at Club Bonafide, NYC

Diblo performing Saturday night at Club Bonafide, NYC

The venue, Club Bonafide, unfortunately had little space for dancing (??!! a Congolese concert is not—I repeat, NOT—a sit-down event!!). But as I mentioned to my table-mates: there’s always the stage. And yours truly ended up there, along with several other overjoyed audience members.

The same venue is hosting a tribute concert to Papa Wemba tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 2. It’s too close to my bedtime, so I’ll be dancing with them in my dreams. BUT I’m so happy that there are Congolese dance classes every Saturday & Sunday this month in NYC, taught by Andoche Loubaki.

AND!! another Papa Wemba tribute concert is scheduled for later this month at Shrine, courtesy of the very talented Nkumu Katalay.

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