Beniko Popolipo, Guitar Legend

I was psyched to find the brief interview below of soukous guitar master Beniko, who I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with (!!!) a few years ago in Paris. In fact, you might be able to see that his t-shirt advertises Black Bazar, the band I saw him perform with, and whose song I featured on Episode 14: Congo Combo.

kimi dancing with black bazar

Showing my moves in Paris, 2012. Sadly, Beniko didn’t make it into the photo, but he was just at the side of the stage.

In the clip below, Beniko shares memories of Congolese music’s incessant band lineup changes and how he got his start. I know him best as the guitarist for my beloved Zaïko Langa Langa, so you can also hear his guitar skills on a few other episodes. Beniiiiiiko!

Interestingly, his band list drops off in the ’90s. He doesn’t mention Black Bazar but does reference his cover band, Makutanu, shown at the end of the clip doing a spot-on rendition of OK Jazz’s “Mamou.”

My only hope is that one day soon, one of these bands will make their way to NYC. Anybody out there listening? Anybody??? Sigh. It looks like I might need to get myself back to Paris, and pronto!

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2 thoughts on “Beniko Popolipo, Guitar Legend

  1. Thanks a lot Kimi. You need to drop in on the London scene also. These guys regularly converge in London to perform with their fellow artists based here like Mose Fan Fan (OK Jazz, Somosomo) Nzaya Nzayadio; (Ex leader Lipua Lipua),Guitarist Mongoley Santana (Lipua Lipua), Guitarist Fiston Lusambo (Africa, OK, etc); Safro Manzangi (Victoria Eleison); Makuta & Bamundele (Defao Boys); Kanda Bongoman; etc etc. Would have liked to see that “covered face” making the moves in Paris. Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone

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