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Ya Kil "Beautiful music goes beyond language" (Nottingham, UK)

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Queen Lina
Queen Lina
Price: £6.32

4.0 out of 5 stars The one with BOMENGO ATA KALA, 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Queen Lina (MP3 Download)
Queen Lina is Reddy Amisi of Viva La Musica first solo album. After the success of Stino Mubi with MJ NGOI, Papa Wemba felt that it was safe to let his best songwriter and vocalist to have a go. How thankful are we! Reddy Amisi doesn't focus on the perennial theme of love and rather sings about life, human nature and road to riches stories. This strategy has led them to be hailed as a champion of the underdogs and one of my favourite singer/songwriter. Queen Lina is Molokai style, Viva la Musica version of Rumba with BOMENGO ATA KALA my favourite of the lot. ZAKINA is perfect for weddings and even though the sebene are dated, the parts before (verses & choruses) take you at a time when the country (Zaire) was going through changes with democracy entering the foray. A work of genius nicely crafted that he improved with the second album INJUSTICE and mastered with PRUDENCE (a classic!) Reddy Amisi is a rare breed who shone throughout the 90s and faded at the turn of the 21st century. Nonetheless, QUEEN LINA is where it all started.


Pole Position
Pole Position
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Je suis Made in Kin, tu es Made in Kin, etc..., 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Pole Position (MP3 Download)
One of my favourite song of all time is SOUL GBEMANI. Why? Listen to the production (strings, intricate guitar play and soothing vocals). The whole album is not as great, but the re-working of ENDENA modernised that traditional song and is perfect. The hymn of "sapeurs", KAOKOKOKOROBO, is worth checking out so are OVERDOSE and its intro (known as JINGLE AMINA). This was billed as a Viva La Musica album, released after EMOTION and Reddy Amisi highly successful PRUDENCE, and could have somehow suffered from the success of these releases. Nevertheless, Papa Wemba doesn't disappoint and the entire LP is vintage Molokai music.


Grand Maître Franco & Seigneur Rochereau : Lisanga Ya Banganga
Grand Maître Franco & Seigneur Rochereau : Lisanga Ya Banganga
Price: £14.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 12 Oct 2014
Never before have two of Rumba music legends record together. Hailing from the second generation of Zaire (Congo) music, Franco Luambo Makiadi of TP OK Jazz and Tabu Ley Rochereau of Afrisa (a band formed on the ashes of African Jazz) recorded an album that combined the social commentary of the former to the silky vocals of the latter. This edit comprises tracks of their recordings plus TP OK Jazz songs released around the same time. Every track is a winner and a reminder of the potential of musician's unity and harmony. Production-wise, it is a very much Luambo's record with Tabu Ley lending his voice to the songs. NGUNGI (mosquito in Lingala), KABASELE IN MEMORIAM (dedicated to Grand Kalle Jeff) and LETTRE A DG (Letter to the General Director) are the most relevant whilst LA VIE DES HOMMES and MAKAMBO EZALI BOURREAU (Madilu System singing the lead) are also classics but were not part of the initial collaboration between the two bands. A definite masterpiece!


Roméo Et Juliette
Roméo Et Juliette
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Afro-Shakespearian music, 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Roméo Et Juliette (MP3 Download)
"L'As de la chorunta" aka Stino Mubi is a Viva La Musica alumni. Him and Reddy Amisi were at one time Papa Wemba's protégé and have provided background vocals for the legendary singer for most parts of the mid 80s to early 90s. On his second album, he likened himself to the KING OF POP, make-up and attire included. Whether this was an astuce to lure the public, he need not to do it because the music spoke for itself. The title track is a classic Rumba number with Paris-style production (understand synth) whereas NDOSI is a traditional song from the Bandundu revamped for a wider audience. MISTA lifts off Michael Jackson's "Bad", complete with hollerings and "Jackson-esque" vocal techniques. This is an improvement to his solo-debut, a rare feat for Rumba musicians. Usually, for fear of defecting, they never release solo albums. Stino Mubi was the first to do so and Reddy Amisi followed suit. They both managed to combine their own careers alongside their duties to Papa Wemba's Viva la Musica.


Golden Star dans "Stephie"
Golden Star dans "Stephie"
Price: £5.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Soukouss Love, 12 Oct 2014
The most daring album cover in Rumba music and if it wasn't for the music, the album and arguably Koffi's career would have suffered. STEPHIE is best remembered for an ode to MYRIAM MOLEKA, the newly departed daughter of an affluent politician in Zaire (DR Congo). The album is part of his TSHA TSHO series (From TSHA TSHO to LES PRISONNIERS DORMENT) recorded some time after "Ngobila" and "Dieu Voit Tout". PETIT FRERE YA YESU is as personal as it gets, where Koffi feels like he has become the scapegoat of people's scapegoat. A coming of age opus in a Kwasa-Kwasa era sees him slowing down the tempo and focus on his lyrical abilities as well as guitar skills. RUE D'AMOUR is a stunning piece of poetry and DROITS DE L'HOMME is a nice reflection on the duplicity of human nature. Understanding the language is an advantage, but feeling the music is a plus and requires no brain cells, but rather heart strings.


Les Deux Grands Numeros
Les Deux Grands Numeros
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Patched-up recordings, still worth listening to, 12 Oct 2014
This is the first of their collaborations, but it doesn't feel as such. Each artist sings the lead with the other one providing the background vocals. It works, but the whole project is more of patched up recordings put together to entice a buying audience who argued whether these two could work together in the absence of their mentor, Luambo Makiadi. The first four tracks are the only ones I listened to and are worth buying.


Pouvoir
Pouvoir
Price: £7.90

5.0 out of 5 stars The end justifies the means. The end is power..., 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Pouvoir (MP3 Download)
Franco Luambo Makiadi has passed away a decade ago and his protégé has produced a few hits, here and there, but this album will reset the clock. SI JE SAVAIS CA is the gem on the album, a beautifully crafted Rumba song with infectious guitar arrangement and hypnotic vocals from Madilu. Carrying on Franco's legacy, MANUELLE SAMUELLE deals with an unrepentant lover and nasty person while DOUBLE ZERO is another palm-wine music revisited for modern times. He may no longer benefiting from Lutumba Simaro's pen, but the songwriting is still good as evidenced in FAUTE YA VISA and to satisfy a younger audience, POUVOIR is the obligatory "sebene" song that does its job without underwhelming the whole album. So Madilu has to do with his means (voice and fame) to release a brilliant album at the tail end of 1999, the result is POUVOIR (Power in French) and it feels so sweet to be in charge. Highly rated and highly recommended...


Solola Bien!
Solola Bien!
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Say what you say..., 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Solola Bien! (MP3 Download)
Wenge Musica has split with the best of the original members going to JB MPIANA and calling themselves WENGE MUSICA BCBG and the other one, MAISON MERE. After assembling a refreshed line up (Ferre Gola, Serge Mubiala, Baby Ndombe, Adjani, Bill Clinton Kalonji, Celeo, Jus d'été amongst others), Werrason, Alfred Dominguez and Didier Masela (the original founder) released a first album that created a buzz with the new talent. But it is the recording of the second album in Europe that cemented their credentials as WENGE MUSICA MAISON MERE as a force to be reckoned with in Congolese Rumba. The result is an extraordinary tour de force that carries on the legacy of Wenge (sebene-wise and African swagger). The excellent VITA IMANA, which announced the aforementioned Ferre, as the new Madilu System, proved to be a winner and one of the best song in the year 2000. AUGUSTINE, CRESOIS and KOFFI AYINA are beautiful numbers, nicely crafted and pure genius. They will go on to make two more albums before internal rifts led to off-shoots and re-organisations. However, SOLOLA BIEN was the album that showcased these fresh-faced musicians and made sure that Wenge Musica was the new Zaiko.


Kin é Bougé
Kin é Bougé
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sophomore: Make or break, 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Kin é Bougé (MP3 Download)
The always feared second album that can make or break an artist, KIN E BOUGE, has 5 tracks that have all confirmed that this new band is the voice of a new generation (fourth generation as they like to remind people even though they have not improved on Zaiko Langa Langa legacy). This is better than their debut, MULOLO, with fewer songs but longer spinning time. The intro NGOMA MAGUY is a faux-track and it really kicks off with KIN E BOUGE that deals with their woes when they first travelled to Europe and were arrested (still unclear why). It was a big success and a career defining song. PATY PRINCESS is a beautiful song, mainly performed by JB MPIANA, that borrows to Zouk and the Paris Soukouss scene. KAS KASKITO and EVE SUKALI are decent tracks, with the latter my favourite because attending a concert in the early 90s when the song was premiered.


Kala Yi Boeing
Kala Yi Boeing
Price: £5.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Avion de terre aka Mercedes Benz, 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Kala Yi Boeing (MP3 Download)
A perfect introduction to Wenge Musica, KALAY BOEING is their third album and one that sees the group mature in terms of production and songwriting. Each song are beautiful and well thought of (VOYAGE especially, which deals with missing a lover gone to Europe). As trivial as it seems, KALAYI BOEING refers to Mercedes Benz, a plane travelling on earth. The theme in the album is always love and a bit of showing, inherited by Papa Wemba's sapeur movement. Alain Makaba brings a polished production to the songs that give them a wider appeal to the average Congolese listener. The sebene (where "atalaku" chants and invites people to dance) defines the era as always, but years on, it always make people dance. KALAYI BOEING is arguably the best album of the ensemble and follow-up projects have copied this formula for further success.


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