Kanda Bongo Man

1955 – CONGO, DEM. REP.


Kanda Bongo Man is one of the foremost figures in modern African popular music. He formed his first band as a 15-year-old in 1973, together with his two brothers, Soki Vangu and Soki Dianzenza. But the band, Orchestre Bella Mambo (later Bella Bella), toured in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Zaire with their newly created Soukous, a music style that is a cross between Caribbean rumba rhythms and traditional African music. 1979 Kanda Bongo Man went to Paris and had various jobs for a couple of years, including a stint at a glass factory, before getting a recording contract in 1981. Together with guitarist Diblo Dibala and Rigo Starr (!) he developed his own melodious and catchy Soukous. Already on his first discs, “Iyole” and “Djessy”, he shows his ability to unite African dance rhythms with good melodies – a mix he later has sticked to and developed. In 1985 he appeared for the first time in England, at the WOMAD festival. Kanda Bongo Man has released a rack of albums and his swinging guitar-based dance music is popular all over the world today.

NON STOP NON STOP  Globestyle/1990

The first two albums, “Iyole” and “Djessy” on one CD. You’ll notice that, both in sound quality and the music’s tempo, much has happened since the beginning of the 1980s. The songs are longer and slower than with the more dynamic Bongoman. Guitarist Diblo Dibala does his job well on this historically important album.

(Released in France under the title of “Kanda Bongo Man”)