D.R. of Congo: Rhumba stars of today and yesterday

As Francois recently observed in Du Cabiau à Kinshasa [Fr], “Music and dance probably share the podium with Jesus among the top reasons for living for a majority of the Congolese people.” For a hint of the obsessive enthusiasm with which Congolese music fans trade gossip about the star musicians and debate their merits, you only have to visit forums such as AfroMix, AfricaAmbience and CongoPage [Fr]. However, despite the massive popularity of Congolese music all over Africa, the blogosphere remains relatively quiet on the subject.

One of the exceptions to that rule is Fally ‘diCaprio’ Ipupa, who began his own blog early last year to help promote his first solo album, Droit Chemin. The album has been hugely successful, but the blog (which is in French and English) sadly hasn't been updated since April’s announcement of a European summer tour. A look through the plentiful comments reveals that the singer is trying to sort out a problem of ‘information piracy’ – perhaps other sites cashing in on the RSS feed? In the meantime, you can see a clip of Fally dancing and singing with Ferre Gola (a singer originally with Werrason, briefly hired by Kofi Olomide, and now leading his own band) via Congo Music Connect [Fr].

Le Congo c’est là introduces readers to Joe Kizi, “a young talent of contemporary Congolese music who is from Lubumbashi. He steers between Soukous, rhumba and RnB”, and links to an interview with the singer on Radio Okapi [Fr] (the nationwide radio station sponsored by the UN and Fondation Hirondelle).

If you prefer the rhumba guitar classics of ‘la belle epoque’, top African mp3 blog Benn loxo du taccu has just featured a beautifully lilting track by African Orchestra Fiesta from an album called The Sound of Kinshasa. (Benn loxo author Matt describes it as “gentle, dreamy… and almost Hawaiian”. That’ll be Docteur Nico’s Hawaiian slide guitar, which adorns quite a few Orchestra Fiesta numbers, many of them originally released on the Ngoma label, as celebrated by Excavated Shellac, a music blog specialising in 78rpm nostalgia.)

Finally, bringing us back to the present and shifting to the visual arts, South African ‘blogazine’ Represent has the scoop on Kin-Be-Jozi, “a global intercultural art project” in which “5 artists from Jozi [Johannesberg, South Africa], Bern (Switzerland) and Kinshasa [DR Congo] have collaborated over the last year in exploring different facets of our urban environments.”

1 comment

  • Alex Tresker

    Hi 372 – the time has come to reveal to you something which was previously unavailable to your clearance level. More to follow by ISDN secure fax IL

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