Various Artists - Congo Funk! Sound Madness From The Shores Of The Mighty Congo River (Kinshasa/Brazzaville 1969-1982)
This is a pre-order item and is expected 5th April 2024.
The making of Congo Funk!, our long-awaited journey to the musical heart of the
African continent, took the Analog Africa Team on two journeys to Kinshasa and
one to Brazzaville. Selected meticulously from around 2000 songs and boiled down
to 14, this compilation aims to showcase the many facets of the funky, hypnotic
and schizophrenic tunes emanating from the two Congolese capitals nestled on
the banks of the Congo River.
On its south shore, the city of Kinshasa – capital of Democratic Republic of the
Congo, the country formerly known as Zaïre – is often seen as Africa’s musical Mecca,
the city that spawned such immortal bands as African Jazz, O.K. Jazz and African
Fiesta, and the place to which aspiring musicians from throughout the continent would
go to make a name for themselves.
But the city of Brazzaville on the north shore of the river – capital of the Congo
Republic – played an equally important role in spreading Congolese sounds
continentally. In addition to producing legendary bands such as Les Bantous de la
Capital, it was the powerful transmitters of Radio Brazzaville that allowed the
unmistakable groove of Congolese Rumba to be heard as far away as Nairobi,
Yaoundé, Luanda and Lusaka thus turning the electric guitar into the
continent’s most important instrument!
Although the musical landscape of these cities had been defined by a core group
of bands in the late 1950s, the modernisation of Congolese music has been
steadily evolving until the events surrounding the Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
boxing match marked a turning point. The promoter of that event known as “Rumble
In The Jungle” was none other than the notorious Don King who needed 10 millions
dollars to get Ali and Foreman into a boxing ring. The only candidate willing to put
this kind of cash on the table was Mobutu Sese Seko, President of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
Mobutu - the megalomaniac dictator who got to power with the support of the United
States and Belgium in exchange for unlimited and affordable access to the riches of
the country - had a soft spot for music and it doesn’t come as a surprise that he
agreed to a three-day live music festival being organised prior to the “Rumble”. Zaïre
74 - as the festival was dubbed - was meant to hype the boxing match and many
stars were invited.
Although a myriads of artists flocked in for the occasion, it was the performance of
James Brown on Zairian soil that caused havoc among the younger generation,
inspiring hundreds of would-be musicians to take up their electric guitars and reverbs
cranked to the max in search of a new sound in which hyperactive Rumba was
blended with elements of psych and funk. While the results were very different from
the popular music of the three Musketeers - as Tabu Ley, Franco and Verckys were
known - they weren’t a complete break with tradition.
These new sounds emerged at a time when the Congolese record industry –
previously dominated by European major labels – was experiencing a period of
decline due to rising production costs and needed a radical change. The void was
filled by dozens of entrepreneurs willing to take chances on smaller scale releases.
It was the beginning of a golden age for Congolese independent record labels, and
the best of them – Cover N°1, Mondenge, Editions Moninga, Super Contact – preserved
the work of some of the region’s finest artists, while launching a generation of younger
musicians into the spotlight.
Congo Funk! is the story of these sounds and labels, but most of all it is the story of
two cities, separated by water but united by an indestructible groove. The fourteen
songs on this double LP showcase the many facets of the Congolese capitals, and
highlight the bands and artists, famous and obscure, who pushed Rumba to new
heights and ultimately influenced the musical landscape of the entire continent
1. Sungu Lubuka
2. Mfuur Ma
3. M.B.T's Sound
4. Musique Tshiluba
7. Ngantsie Soul
9. Tembe Na Tembe Ya Nini
10. Lolo Soulfire
11. Femme Ne Pleure Pas
12. Kiwita Kumunani
13. Fiancee Laya
14. Ah! Congo
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Analog Africa
Genre: Latin, African & International
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: LPANAF098
Released: 20th October 2024