Antoine Wendo Kolosoy (April 25, 1925 – July 28, 2008), known as Papa Wendo, was a Congolese musician. He was considered the “Father” of Congolese rumba music, a musical style blending rumba, beguine, waltz, tango and cha-cha.
Wendo was born in 1925 in Mushie territory, Mai-Ndombe District of western Congo, then under Belgian colonial rule. His father died when he was seven, and his mother, a singer herself, died shortly thereafter. He was taken to live in an orphanage run by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, and remained there until he was 12 or 13, expelled when the fathers disapproved of the lyrics of his songs. Wendo began playing guitar and performing at age 11.
Kolosoy became a professional singer almost by chance after having worked also as a boxer, sailor and longshoreman in Congo, Cameroon and Senegal. From 13 Wendo traveled as a worker on the Congo River ferries, and entertained passengers on the long trips. Between 1941 and 1946 he traveled as a sometime professional boxer, as far from home as Dakar, Senegal. Here´s his song “Camille “
Bonga Kuenda, Icon of Angolan music Bonga is on first-name terms with the stars and has given true meaning to the concept (albeit multifaceted) of ‘Africanness’. From Luanda to Rotterdam, Paris to Lisbon, and everywhere else, Bonga belongs to that caste of African singers who have sublimated their roots. His rasping, powerful voice is immediately identifiable and anyone listening to his albums remains entranced from start to finish. With its eighteen tracks, this “Best of” illustrates a fascinating career that spans different periods and continents with the Atlantic Ocean as its connecting thread.
He was born José Adelino Barcelo de Carvalho in Kipri in 1943, but changed his name to Bonga Kuenda when he reached his teens, already showing a keen awareness of the realities of Portuguese colonialism. He learned about music from his father, a fisherman and accordionist, and rapidly grasped its potential impact when linked to the political aspirations of his generation and an inexhaustible melancholic vein. Here is the song “Kambua”
The song “Boas Festas” – an end-of-year soundtrack heard everywhere on the radio and in the bars and taverns of Cape Verde – was written by the famous clarinettist Luis Morais, master of an entire generation of Cape Verdean musicians. Wherever you go, whatever you do, either the original or one of the more modern versions of “Boas Festas” will be playing, its joyful yet nostalgic beat plunging listeners into contagious, euphoric sadness. The imminence of the New Year celebrations when all cares are forgotten irresistibly conjures up the image of a friend, brother or loved one, lost forever or gone to seek a better life elsewhere… In Cape Verde, there is always time for tears and memories before laughter and song…
Luis Morais died suddenly at the age of 67 on Wednesday the 25th September 2002 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Luis Morais is a legend in the land of Cesaria Evora. Born on the 10th February 1935 in Mindelo (São Vicente Island, Cape Verde), he spent his youth in Dakar, where he first studied and learnt the rudiments and theory of music, then composition. He began to play his favourite instruments, the clarinet and saxophone (alto and tenor), at Cape Verdean dances, very fashionable in Dakar at the time. Here is the song “Boas Festas”
Jey – Liba is a duet of artists from Togo (BEN and BILL), two young modern griots who inspire from various traditions. They make us discover « Cool Catché », the new tendency making the Togolese people proud. To move forward and gain their place among African music leaders, the group has worked to become the best in their genre. « Cool Catché » simply means « cool » in the hood. Just like Coupé-Décalé, « Cool Catché » is a dance from Togo which is becoming as famous and as entertaining. Here is their song “Coloniser”
Boubacar Traoré (born 1942 in Kayes, Mali) is a renowned singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Traoré also goes by the nickname Kar Kar, “the one who dribbles too much” in Bambara, a reference to his soccer playing: “a nickname I got from playing soccer when I was young. People would yell ‘Kari, Kari’ – dribble, dribble – the name stuck with me”.
Considered as a bluesman in the western countries, Boubacar Traore, is above all someone passionate whose music distils emotions and dreams with simplicity and precision. His powerful and warm voice sings his country’s history, the hope and despair of the Malian people, their love and expectations, the world surrounding them – striking melodies, all inspired from the Kassonke Malian tradition in which he has always bathed in.
His inimitable style warmhearted as well as wistful can be heard on his latest album, “Kongo Magni” released in 2005 by the label Marabi. Boubacar’s fame takes roots in the 1950s. He entertains the Malian post-independence days, when Bamako dances to “Mali Twist” or “Kabeya”. Here is the song “Mariama”
Meiway, aka Fréderic-Désiré Ehui, leaves Abidjan for Paris in 1985 to improve his music skills. He records his first album “Ayibebou” in 1989 including the premises of Zoblazo, a style Meiway invented inspired from traditional rhythms from Grand-Bassam, his native city. Meiway receives the award for Best Male Singer of Ivory Coast for this album but it is with the following album “200% Zoblazo”, released in 1992, that Meiway gets his first hit in the African diaspora.
Throughout the years, his success increases following inflation to reach 900% Zoblazo with the eponymous album released in 2006. Meiway has become a superstar in Ivory Coast, Western Africa and in the African diaspora in Europe. Here is song “Golgotha”
Pierre-Claver Akendengué (born April 25, 1943) is a musician and composer of Gabon. He also serves as a cultural advisor for the government of Gabon.
Born on the island of Awuta, which is located just off the coast from Port-Gentil, Akendengué went to school in Port-Gentil, then studied psychology at the University of Caen in France during the 1960s. While in France, he met singer Mireille, who encouraged his musical interests.
In 1974, Akendengué recorded his first album, Nandipo, consisted of songs of his own composition, sung in French and Nkomi, accompanied by guitar, women choir, bass and the percussion of Nana Vasconcelos. He later set to music poems by P. E. Mondjegou, such as “Le Chant du Coupeur d’Okoumé” (“The Song of the Okoumé Cutter”). Returning to Gabon, he studied solfeggio and plainchant at a Catholic college, and presented spectacles showcasing traditional Gabonese forms in a concert setting.
In 1986, he received a doctorate from the University of Paris for his study of religion and education among the Nkomi. Here is the song “Piroguier – Ogoouée”
Mounira Mitchala is singer and song-writer from Chad. Mounira Mitchala ’s watchwords were now determination and pleasure. In spring 2011, she recorded her second album in Paris: Chili Houritki (Take Your Independence).
Backed by the musicians who usually appear with her on stage and bassist Guy N’Sangué, the young woman’s powerful voice and rough, sensual timbre weave their spell around songs based on everyday life in Chad. In that part of the Sahel, which straddles sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world, issues of drought, desertification, access to water and malnutrition are compounded by poor governance and endemic corruption. Although she is not a protest singer as such, Mounira observes and condemns. The injustices women are subjected to are among her main concerns. Outraged and determined to fight on, she brings the same talent and conviction to her struggle for dignity as her Malian sister Oumou Sangaré.
Although based on the beats and colours of traditional genres, her melodies are firmly contemporary. In ballads brimming with emotion, Mounira’s voice grows gentler and smoother. Camel Zekri’s arrangements, which focus on acoustic sounds, perfectly showcase this remarkable timbre, this desert folk blues so beautifully expressed by Mounira Mitchala. Here is the song “Choukrane”