Zaire ’74 Live!

I wish I was of party-going age in 1974. That was the year of the famed Ali–Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa. In anticipation of the fight, a mega-concert was held in the city featuring musicians from the US and Africa, mostly from the Congo.

I saw snippets of the concert in two documentaries: When We Were Kings (about the fight) and Soul Power (about the American musicians, mostly). If you’re anything like me, you would have been eager to see extended clips of OK Jazz and others.

I’m hoping that that film is in the works, but in the meantime, the live recordings are now available in the recently released album, “Zaire ’74: The African Artists.” Among the musicians featured are OK Jazz and Tabu Ley’s Afrisa, featured previously on Cavacha Express!, as well as Congolese female singer Abeti. Visit the Archives of African American Music and Culture’s Black Grooves blog to learn more and listen to tracks!


Franco was Here


Nostrand Ave., Flatbush

In the early 1980s, not long before he would leave this earth, Franco set foot in Flatbush, Brooklyn. And this weekend, I was there.

I learned this amazing fact in the fall in NYC, when I visited the Pan African Space Station, a pop-up exhibition sponsored by the South Africa-based publication, Chimurenga. If this name sounds familiar, it’s because I made a post about them last September, when I lamented about not being able to go to their pop-up Congolese music performance in Paris.

Little was I to know in September that I was in for a treat here in NYC. Upon walking into the exhibition, the display of vinyls immediately caught my attention. I recognized many: they appeared in miniature in my IPod when I played my favorite Congolese songs.

I soon met the owners of this wonderful display: Roger and Rudy Francis, brothers who were instrumental in introducing Americans to music from the Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, and elsewhere by producing records and operating a radio station and a store called the African Record Centre.


Brooklyn’s gateway to African music

As I drooled over the vinyl display, squealing at each new record I saw, Roger and Rudy told me something that titillated me even more: Franco visited them. In Brooklyn. During my lifetime. Walking distance from my apartment!!!

I cursed the inventors of the world for not yet building a time machine. When I got over that, I did the next best thing:



Congolese music for sale in Brooklyn

And this weekend at the African Record Centre, I bought my first my first Congolese vinyl: a 1980 recording of OK Jazz’s hits. I don’t own a record player, and I already have the MP3 version, but I just had to, for sentimentality’s sake. It’s one of my favorites, and if the digital thumbprint image can put a smile on my face, imagine what this one does.


kimi’s first Congolese record – in the flesh, that is

If you love African music and are ever in the Brooklyn area, a visit to the African Record Centre is a must! For more info, see here.

Liner Notes: Episode 11: The 50s

Aired live February 24, 2016, and available here online

Tonight I’m taking us way back to the 1950s and even the 40s—the earliest days of recorded Congolese popular music. It’s quite different from most of what I’ve played so far. Back then, musicians were still closely imitating Cuban music, and some songs were even sung in Spanish. The songs are also quite short—most under four minutes. And, unlike my favorite tunes from the 70s, there are many songs about love as opposed to lamentations.

Congolese partygoers in the 50s, captured by photographer Jean Depara

Congolese partygoers in the 50s at the Oui Fifi, captured by photographer Jean Depara

A plethora of recordings exist from the 50s, and I own very few because I prefer the music styles that evolved later. If you’ve listened to my earlier episodes, you’ll know that OK Jazz is my favorite band, and I don’t even like many of their songs from that time. But recently, I found a compilation of 50s music, and four musicians kept grabbing my ears: Léon Bukasa, Camille Feruzi, Manuel D’Oliveira, and Adou Elenga.

Coincidentally, I next found a song from the 80s that memorializes all of these men, in addition to Wendo Kolosoy. If you’re a fan of Wendo, you won’t hear his music tonight because it’s not really my flavor, but I had to mention him because of his significance to the history of Congolese popular music.

He was one of the first superstars, such that this whole era of music I’m showcasing tonight became known as tango ya ba Wendo—“Wendo’s time.” And you can hear this referenced in songs even into recent times. Which is incredible, considering that at Wendo’s peak of stardom, he stopped performing in response to the Mobutu-led coup, which occurred just weeks after the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960. And he didn’t perform again until the 90s, after Mobutu was finally ousted.

The dapper men of African Jazz

The dapper men of African Jazz

As you listen to the songs tonight, keep in mind that in the 1940s and 50s, both Congos were under colonial domination: by France to the north and by Belgium to the south. And on the eve of independence for both countries, their popular music scene was already going strong, with band lineups constantly changing. In fact, most of the musicians you’ll hear tonight performed with each other at some point, including in OK Jazz.

First up is a song that I fell in love with the first time I listened to it, a few years ago. It’s one of my favorites by far from the 50s. The mighty Joseph Kabasele with “Parafifi.”

So there you heard the suave voice of Kabasele, also known as Grand Kalle. And along with it, the lovely guitar work of Nico Kassanda, who was only thirteen years old. The title he later chose for himself—docteur (doctor)—is much deserved. Next up is a song by African Jazz, the band Kabasele and Nico later formed. And the song is “Lea.”

A very young Dr. Nico working his guitar

A very young Dr. Nico working his guitar

Next up is Camille Feruzi, known for his use of the accordion. When I first heard this song, a line in particular jumped out and got a chuckle out of me: “Okoki kozua mobali lokola ngai te.” If you don’t speak Lingala, you’ll hear the meaning after this song, “Lingale.”

So, what did he say? To borrow from Lou Rawls—you’ll never find… Yes, he declares to Lingale that she won’t find another man like him! And moving right along, of course I can’t seem to make an episode without including OK Jazz, so they’re next! Franco and the fellas actually got their start in the 50s, so it’s only appropriate. OK Jazz with “Mabe Nde Kolimwa.”

Léon Bukasa, kimi's latest favorite singer from the 50s

Léon Bukasa, kimi’s latest favorite singer from the 50s

Next up are a two songs by Adou Elenga. When I listened to his “Tebo” for the first time, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the inspiration for Sam Mangwana’s “Maria Tebbo,” which I played on Episode 3, and lo and behold, it was! Following that will be “Ata Ndele,” which was banned by the Belgian colonial authorities. They probably felt threatened by what it seemed to imply—to borrow from Sam Cooke: a change gon’ come.

For more fun facts about the other songs in this episode, listen here online.

Episode 11 Tracks:

Parafifi – Joseph Kabasele
Lea – African Jazz
Coco – Tino Baroza
Lingale – Camille Feruzi
Mabe Nde Kolimwa – OK Jazz
Merengue – OK Jazz
Tebo – Adou Elenga
Ata Ndele – Adou Elenga
Basi Banso Tapale – Manuel D’Oliveira
Mama Aboti Biso – Manuel D’Oliveira
Elongi ya Cherie – Manuel D’Oliveira
Kenga Mwangandu – Léon Bukasa
Mantare Mwasi Kitoko – Léon Bukasa
Bolingo Na Biso Na Yo Esila Te – Léon Bukasa

Liner Notes: Episode 9: Yo, Leki!

Aired live May 27, 2015, and available here online

This show is the last for the season but I’ll be back in August or September with music by Nyboma and Lipua Lipua, Orchestre Bella Bella, Shama Shama, Pepe Kalle, and more.

Tonight’s focus is ba leki or les petits frères (or little brothers, if you don’t speak Lingala or French). The title of the show, “Yo, Leki,” is simply “you, little brother,” and it comes from the infectious 90s song “Solola Bien” by Wenge Musica. My favorite part is this moment (not to mention the awesome ndombolo dancing and the chimp that’s like what the ?!@!).

Les petits frères of Wenge make us bouger bouger!

Les petits frères of Wenge make us bouger bouger!

It sounds so endearing, like advice from a big brother to his leki, until you realize he’s probably bashing musicians who splintered from his group.

This made me to think about real-life sibling rivalry in Congolese music, and, in a more positive light, the younger generation of musicians who borrowed from their older bros, so to speak.

When I started going to African dance parties many years ago, all I knew about Congolese music was the ndombolo style of Wenge and the like. So imagine my amazement when I played some oldies and discovered they’d been sampled! Especially for those of you who listen to Congolese music but have never heard anything before the 80s or 90s, this should be a special treat.

Bavon Marie Marie and his Negro Succès

Bavon Marie Marie and his Negro Succès: inspiration for the next generation of Congolese musicians

But first we’ll begin with the tragic tale of two brothers. Franco Luambo Makiadi and his band OK Jazz had been on the scene for a while when his petit frère, Bavon Marie Marie, started stealing the spotlight. First up is the song “Etabe ya Mofude” by Bavon and his band, Orchestre Negro Succès.

I started listening to Congolese oldies on a CD somebody gave me, and it had no track names. In those days, I thought Franco and his brother were the same person because their sound was so similar. I wonder if it was due to competition between them. In this next song, “Tonton” by OK Jazz, you can hear echoes of the song I just played.

Franco and the more established Tout Puissant OK Jazz

Franco and the more established Tout Puissant OK Jazz

Bavon Marie Marie, Congolese music's rising star, gone at 26

Congolese music’s rising star, extinguished at 26

The relationship between these brothers unfortunately went beyond playful rivalry. One night, they were arguing over a woman, as the story goes. Bavon, who’d had too much to drink, drove off with her, and his car crashed into a tree.

She lost both her legs. He lost his life. He was only 26 years old.

This next song by OK Jazz is a tribute: “En Mémoire de Bavon.”

In that song we heard the voice of Vicky Longomba. If you’re familiar with Congolese music of the latter years, this name might sound familiar to you. Vicky Longomba was the father of singer, dancer, and former drummer Awilo Longomba, who incidentally sampled many old Congolese songs, including this next one from the early 2000s, “Faux Dossier.”

Awilo Longomba, petit frère & king of samples!

Awilo Longomba, petit frère & king of samples!

Well, if danse makoloba [correction: makolo pente, as in “heavy footed”??] that he sings about that makes you bouger bouger was really a dance, Awilo didn’t invent it. Check this out: Negro Succès’s song, “Nelly na Place na Ngai.”

This next song from the 90s also sampled from [“Nelly na Place na Ngai”]. Just listen carefully to the rap they do near the end. The song is “Ma Chérie” by Nouvelle Génération de la République Démocratique.

And next I present to you what is probably OK Jazz’s most famous song. Incidentally it’s one I don’t like so much, but I’m showcasing it here because Awilo uses a very famous part: “Lelo makambo, lobi makambo. Biso tokosuka wapi-o?” (Today, problems. Tomorrow, problems. Where will it all end?). Of course, that song is “Mario,” featuring the svelte-voiced Madilu System.

For more fun facts about the other songs in this episode, listen here online.

Episode 9 Tracks:

Etabe ya Mofude – Bavon Marie Marie et Orchestre Negro Succès
Tonton – Franco et le Tout Puissant OK Jazz
Libanga na Libumu – Orchestre Negro Succès
Marie Naboyi – OK Jazz
Savon ya Sika Astra – Orchestre Negro Succès
Savon Reward Chez Marsavco – OK Jazz
En Mémoire de Bavon – OK Jazz
Faux Dossier – Awilo Longomba
Nelly na Place na Ngai – Orchestre Negro Succès
Ma Chérie – Nouvelle Génération de la République Démocratique
Ben Betito – Zaïko Langa Langa
Mario – OK Jazz
Gâter le Coin – Awilo Longomba

Wednesday, May 27: Episode 9: Yo, Leki!

Episode 9 of CAVACHA EXPRESS! will feature Congolese music’s petits frères (little brothers)…literally and figuratively. After a face-off between brothers Bavon Marie Marie and Franco of OK Jazz, we’ll listen to the next generation of singers like Awilo Longomba, who paid respect to their “big brothers.”

Create a FREE account here to listen LIVE on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EST (New York City time zone).

After this episode, CAVACHA EXPRESS! will take a break for the summer and will be back around August. In the meantime, you can listen to past episodes on YouTube.


Kimi K.

Liner Notes: Episode 5: Love that Voice! Ntesa Dalienst

Aired live March 25, 2015 and available here online

Tonight I’m focusing on yet another of my favorite voices in Congolese music: that of Ntesa Dalienst. He built his career with my favorite band, OK Jazz, but before that, he helped launch the group Les Maquisards, which Sam Mangwana was also affiliated with.

Ntesa Dalienst

Ntesa Dalienst

So, why do I love this man’s voice so much? Like Sam Mangwana and Josky Kiambukuta, who I profiled on the last two episodes, Ntesa’s voice is distinctive and memorable, but unlike those other two, it’s high-pitched.

I mentioned in an earlier episode that men with high-pitched voices in Congolese music sometimes sing from a woman’s perspective. This gender-bending is much appreciated by me, considering I’m a soprano who loves to sing along, and considering that women are practically nonexistent in this music scene (you might have noticed that none of my episodes so far has featured a female vocalist).

one of many OK Jazz albums

one of many OK Jazz albums featuring Ntesa’s vocal talents

In the 70s and 80s, there were a few female stars—notably M’bilia Bel, M’pongo Love, and Abeti—but as much as I’m an advocate for women’s rights, I much prefer the gentlemen of Congolese music.

And gentleman Ntesa Dalienst seems to have been, at least from his musician’s persona. He penned the anthem to women, “Bina na Ngai na Respect” (dance with me respectfully), which I played on Episode 2. And photos of him show a very tall man who is always smiling. If this isn’t enough to endear him to you, hopefully the sweetness of his voice will.

Ntesa with Franco

Ntesa with Franco

Tonight I begin with the song that introduced me to Ntesa, from his time with Les Grands Maquisards. I loved it so much that it was one of the first songs I learned to sing verbatim in Lingala: “Jaria,” a plea of love to a young lady whose mama and tata don’t quite approve, unlike her Auntie Celia.

Les Grands Maquisards

Les Grands Maquisards album

Next up is another one by Les Grands Maquisards, “Biki,” a plea for marriage. I’m not sure what Ntesa is saying at the end because it’s not Lingala, but whatever it is, it makes him cry. I believe this is the only song in my collection that drives a singer to tears, by the way. Oh, mawa!

And finally, I’ll end with one of Ntesa’s big hits with OK Jazz, where he sings from a man’s perspective about a woman named Mouzi, who makes him feel, he says, as though a tick has entered his heart.

So now I hope you understand why Ntesa’s voice has entered my own heart. But unfortunately, this man is no longer with us! If they ever figure out time travel, you can bet that I’ll be headed to some nightclub in the Congo, circa 1975.

In the meantime, Ntesa lives on through the voice of his daughter, Christelle Ntesa Love, who is following in her father’s footsteps with her own version of “Bina na Ngai na Respect”!!

For more fun facts about the other songs in this episode, listen here online.

Episode 5 Tracks:

Jaria – Les Grands Maquisards
Biki – Les Grands Maquisards
Maria Mboka – Les Grands Maquisards
Tala Ye na Miso – OK Jazz
Mobali Malamu – OK Jazz
Mouzi (Liyanzi Ekoti Ngai na Motema) – OK Jazz

Maria Mboka record

Maria Mboka record

Liner Notes: Episode 4: I Love Josky!

Aired live March 4, 2015, and available here online


Josky! Nalingi yo!

Tonight’s episode features yet another one of my favorite singers, Josky Kiambukuta, during his career with OK Jazz. If you’ve listened to earlier episodes, you know that OK Jazz is one of my all-time favorite bands from the Congo.

I have to make an aside about this band, which had the great Franco Luambo Makiadi as its leader. When I’ve mentioned to some Congolese folks that I love OK Jazz, I’ve gotten distasteful looks. As one person put it bluntly: Franco destroyed other bands. You see, despite Franco’s amazing talent, he seems to have felt threatened by the competition, and as a result, snatched up talent where he could, creating his own empire of sorts.

Surely, if I had been the leader of one of those other bands, such as Trio Madjesi or Les Maquisards, I too might despise Franco. But, being far removed from the drama in so many ways, when I listen to OK Jazz, I only hear good music. I hear Lutumba Simaro’s poetry in the lyrics, even if I can’t always understand the words. I hear the infectious call-and-response between the horns, guitars, and voices. And oh, those voices—blending in such smooth harmony! Franco was genius in the lead singers he showcased: Ntesa Dalienst, Youlou Mabiala, Madilu, and Josky, to name a few.

This album is to die for!!!! Okundji nandimi te lisolo bayebisi soki ya solo, mama!

This OK Jazz album is to DIE for!!!! In Kimi’s humble opinion, at least

And it’s not just me who thinks so. I once heard that OK Jazz had a performance in Kenya, and Josky and my other favorite, Ntesa, were absent. The crowd demanded their presence, and I would have been right there with them. It just goes to show you—we can come from different cultures, with different languages and tastes and aesthetics, and yet, we can recognize something incredibly special in a voice like Josky’s, with its incredible range.

Speaking of, it was difficult to pick songs for tonight’s show, since I love so many by him, so if you enjoy what you hear tonight, there’ll be more to come!

And, unlike most my favorite Congolese singers from this period, Josky is still living!! That means there’s a chance I can hear this great man sing LIVE, for real…o Nzambe, oza yoka??

Josky in more recent years

Josky in more recent years

First up is a song that first led me to the wonders of Josky’s voice, ten years ago now, called “Serment” (oath).

Nakopesa yo motema na ngai (I’ll give my heart to you)…ah, a song about good love, and one of the few that I have by OK Jazz. I started us off on that note because it goes downhill from here, folks! But if you don’t understand Lingala, hopefully Josky’s voice will carry you away and give you good feelings, like in this next one, “Vaccination”…a prevention not against the flu but rather, worries.

Next we have the song, “Tokabola Ba Sentiments.” If you don’t know what that means, it’s a good thing if you’re trying to feel uplifted tonight, because this is also a sad song. But you wouldn’t know that from the beat.

Next up is “Mbanzi Ya Kamundele,” which I believe is a composition by Lutumba Simaro, who was known as “the poet.” And you can definitely hear the alliteration and rhyme scheme in the lyrics. For example, “Mwasi akendeke pe akoki kozonga…nyonso se na Nzambe” (my woman’s gone away, but she might come back…it’s all up to God).

Simaro, The Poet, with Franco

The Poet, Simaro, with Franco of OK Jazz

This next song is called “Alita.” Oh, ngai naleli, nabemisa nzoto, o lisuma! Kasi, tango sebene ekoya, nakosepela pe nakobina mingi, oy!

For notes about the other songs in this episode (and to hear more of Kimi’s attempts at Lingala!!), listen here online.

Episode 4 Tracks:

Serment (Kikam) – OK Jazz
Vaccination – OK Jazz
Tokabola ba Sentiments – OK Jazz
Proprietaire – OK Jazz
Mbanzi ya Kamundele – OK Jazz
Alita – OK Jazz
Momi – OK Jazz
Decision Echangé Maloba (Mbawu Nakorecuperer Yo) – OK Jazz

Liner Notes: Episode 3, All about Sam Mangwana

Aired live Feb. 18, 2015 and available here online

I promised to share songs from one of my absolute all-time favorite singers in Congolese music, and this time, I didn’t lie. The man’s name is Sam Mangwana, and I think he’s remarkable for so many reasons. First, his voice is amazing, if you didn’t know already. Second, he sings in not only my beloved Lingala, but French, Portuguese, Kikongo, Swahili, Spanish, and English—and maybe more. Third and most important, especially for all of you out there (you know who you are!) who refuse to be converted to the wonders of Congolese music:

Sam is the man who made me do it!

the man and the album that changed Kimi's life

the man and the album that changed Kimi’s life

When I meet Congolese people, or basically ANYone for that matter, they always ask me how I—an African American with no immediate ancestry from the Congo—fell in love with this music, so much so that I decided to teach myself Lingala.

Let me tell you: it was 15 years ago. I was in Washington, DC, and walked into a shop selling novelties from around the world. The music floating above my head had a tropical melody that made me start dancing, and then the singer’s voice blew me away. I never forgot his name.

A few years later, I came across one of those Rough Guide music CDs. The only thing I cared about was Sam Mangwana’s name on the first track. I didn’t know anything about this Franco dude, or this Pepe Kalle character, or Zaïko Langa Langa. And from track one, I was hooked.

Sam with Franco of OK Jazz, demonstrating cooperation!

Sam with Franco of OK Jazz, demonstrating cooperation!

That song, dear friends, was “Coopération,” a collaboration between Sam Mangwana and my now beloved Franco. And I’m giving you a special treat. That Rough Guide CD cut off two minutes of the song. In my previous episodes, I mentioned how Congolese songs from the late 60s through the early 80s were really long, so it’s understandable that the full version wouldn’t fit onto a compilation CD. But what a difference two minutes makes when you already can’t get enough.

Warning!! If you’re any bit hesitant about going all the way with Congolese music, there might be no turning back from here.

Sam with African All Stars

Sam with African All Stars

There’s a video of the band performing this song [“Toyeba Yo,” by OK Jazz] on YouTube, where you can see their very tight and very Cuban-inspired outfits. Speaking of Cuban, you can hear a strong influence in this next song, created when Sam was a member of the band, Festival des Maquisards, in his earlier years. Sam sang with so many groups, in addition to making several solo albums, that he became known as the voyager pigeon of Congolese music. This next song is called “Charanga Adaptation.”

Sam with Festival des Maquisards

Sam with Festival des Maquisards

And now we’re switching back to the Putumayo album and to the language of Lingala. This was I believe Sam’s third to last album. Sam is still living, unlike most of my favorite musicians from the Congo, but I’ve never had the chance to see him perform live. I’m waiting for a new album, or a performance—please, Sam, if you’re listening…

For more tidbits about Sam Mangwana and the other songs in this episode, listen here online.

Episode 3 Tracks:

Coopération – OK Jazz
Toyeba Yo – OK Jazz
Charanga Adaptation – Orchestre Festival des Maquisards (Sam & Guvano)
Mabele – OK Jazz
Galo Negro – Sam Mangwana
Ata Bassali Nakozonga – African All Stars
Adama Coly – Les Quatre Étoiles
Ya Mbemba – Sam Mangwana
Vamos Para o Campo – Sam Mangwana
Manjani – Sam Mangwana
Maria Tebbo – Sam Mangwana

Liner Notes: Episode 2, Yaka Tobina – Let’s Dance!

Aired live Feb. 4, 2015, and available here online

The theme of today’s show is “Yaka Tobina,” which means “let’s dance” in Lingala. I originally wanted to showcase some historic dances from the Congo, but I lied a bit. Limbisa ngai, bandeko! Forgive me, friends. That show will need much more research on my part.

On my last show, I mentioned how Congolese popular music has been recorded for 70 years, which means that there were a plethora of popular dances. I have over a thousand songs from the Congo, but I’m not sure if any of them were made for dances like the mambenga or the Apollo 11 of the 60s, or la griffe or the roboti robota of the 80s, to name just a few.

Minzoto Wella Wella doing the caneton à l'aisement dance!

Minzoto Wella Wella doing the caneton à l’aisement dance!

But I do have a treat for you today, because I’ll be sharing songs from my workout list. You see, dancing is not only my joie de vivre but my exercise, and some of these tracks have made me dance my natural hips off. And speaking of hips—loketo in Lingala—many Congolese dances involve a lot of action in that area. It’s no wonder that soukous, the name given to Congolese pop music from the 80s on, derives from the French word for “to shake.” If you didn’t know, folks, twerking is nothing new.

Some people might think it’s vulgar to move their nether regions. And some might think dancing like that is an invitation for something far beyond dancing. But let me tell you, sometimes dancing is really just dancing!

Emoro, Empire Bakuba's dancer, working it out as usual

Empire Bakuba dancer Emoro working his stuff as usual

I invite you to try it sometime if you haven’t already…NOW would be a good time to start. I hope these songs in my workout collection will make you get up and at least give your waist a little jiggle.

Just don’t hurt nobody! And if you grab a partner, behave! OK Jazz, my absolute favorite band, reminds us of that in their big hit, “Bina na ngai na Respect” (dance with me respectfully).

Next up is a song that I know for sure was based on a dance [Kiri Kiri by Docteur Nico Kassanda]. If anyone out there knows how to do this dance, or any of the old Congolese dances (besides the kwassa kwassa and ndombolo, which are easy to find online), please contact me, because I’d love to revive them!!

Mabina ya sika…the new dance, he says, yes, of 1968! Nico also had a dance called the merengue. This is inspired by the one and only merengue of the Dominican Republic. This trans-Atlantic musical dialogue fascinates me. Due to the slave trade, African people made a huge mark on the music of the Americas, and their legacy is present today in rumba, salsa, merengue, funk, hip-hop, calypso, reggae, zouk, and the list goes on. And it’s incredible to think that this music in turn made its way back to Africa to impact popular music there!

Zaïko Langa Langa showing off some hip action

Zaïko Langa Langa showing off some hip action. Pesa position!! Zinga loketo!!

Now let’s switch it up a bit and turn to a song I love by Lipua Lipua, called “Youyou.” I believe there was a dance associated with this song because during the sebene at the end, the singer talks about how everybody loves it when their legs go like scissors—sizo, in French. Or at least, that’s MY translation!

If there was truly a dance called sizo, I’m dying to learn it. Anyone out there??

For more fun facts about other songs in this episode, listen here online.

Episode 2 Tracks:

Bina na Ngai na Respect – OK Jazz
Kiri Kiri Mabina ya Mboka – Docteur Nico & African Fiesta Sukisa
Merengue – OK Jazz
Youyou – Orchestre Lipua Lipua
Ba Soucis – Orchestre Minzoto Wella Wella
Mopaya Zoba – Orchestre Shama Shama
Loni – Papa Wemba & Viva la Musica
Solomo – Zaïko Langa Langa
Botika Ngai – L’Empire Bakuba

Congolese Divas LIVE this Wednesday, April 8

I have very few songs by women in my Congolese collection, but Episode 6 will feature some of my favorites, including the Congo’s superstar diva, M’Bilia Bel!

M'Bilia Bel, Congolese music diva!

M’Bilia Bel, Congolese music diva!

Create a FREE account here to listen LIVE on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EST (New York City time zone).

Missed a previous episode? Listen HERE on YouTube.


Kimi K.