Rumba Congo

Rumba Congo

by Kekele


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Rumba Congo

Like a central African version of the Buena Vista Social Club, Kékélé brings together veterans of Congo's popular soukous music to pay tribute to an older, gentler art form: Congolese rumba. Where contemporary soukous is percussive and frank, rumba is rippling and coquettish, giving equal play to acoustic guitars, sighing accordion, and the crystalline voices of some of the country's finest singers. It's a style that has largely fallen from favor since the '70s, but these balmy acoustic sounds should feel just right to Afro-pop fans under a decades-long assault by drum machines and synthesizers. Kékélé hearken back to the '50s groups that birthed contemporary soukous, as much through sound as through personnel. Their careers have crisscrossed through Congo's most famous bands: singers Nyboma Mwan Dido, Loko Massengo, Bumba Massa, Wuta Mayi, and Jean Papy Ramazani were active in the '60s with O.K. Jazz, Lipwa Lipwa, Negro Succès, Orchestra Vévé, and others; guitarist Syran Mbenza played alongside Mose "Fan Fan" SeSengo and in Les Quatre Etoiles; and guitar legend Antoine "Papa Noël" Nedule is recognized along with Franco as a Congolese guitar demigod. Parisian session star Yves Ndjock is the young ace in charge of this storied bunch, and he does a fine job arranging and directing. As each elegantly structured song washes over, it's easy to pick out the signature antigravity guitar lines that would become the hallmark of soukous. But with Kékélé's masterful recording, it's even more rewarding to pick out the floating strains of Latin, European, and tribal rhythms, delivered in one elegant, addictive package. Rumba Congo comes as close as many will get to the high of drinking palm wine under a canopy of central African stars.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/24/2001
Label: Stern's Africa
UPC: 0740042109322
catalogNumber: 1093


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