Kanda Bongo Man
|Tags:||soukous african congo africa world world music congolese|
|Decades:||1980s 1990s 2000s|
Kanda Bongo, 1955, Inongo, the Belgian Congo. Soukous vocalist and band leader Bongo Man is the nephew of the celebrated Zairean singer-songwriter Jean Bokelo, who was instrumental in encouraging his musical talent as a child and later helped him to gain his first foothold in the local music scene. In 1973, with the brothers Soki Vangu and Soki Dianzenza, Bongo Man formed his first band, Orchestre Bella Mambo (later known as Orchestre Bella Bella). Stylistically, Bella Mambo struck a balance between the older big bands and younger dance groups such as Zaiko Langa Langa. The outfit toured widely in Zaire, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya before Bongo Man left in 1979, to settle in Paris, then a powerful European magnet for Francophone African musicians. He spent his first two years in the city working as a labourer, before signing to the Afro Rythmes label in 1981 and releasing two superb albums, Iyole and Djessy, which mixed soukous with internationally appealing pop...