Zaiko Langa Langa and dj.henri at (le) poisson rouge, in partnership with Radio Africa Online
Zaiko Langa Langa
At long last, Zaiko Langa Langa has arrived in the United States!
This great Congolese band has often been rumored to be coming, but this time it really is happening. Zaiko is already in this country and has performed to thrilled audiences in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Washington. It will appear at the popular New York City club Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, November 27th.
And it’s the real Zaiko Langa Langa, not an offshoot of an offshoot or a bunch of pretenders. This is the band led by Jossart N’Yoka Longo, a key member, singer and songwriter since the late 1960s and its leader for more than 30 years.
Originally formed by students in Kinshasa, this group soon distinguished itself from the famous Congolese bands of the time – Franco and his OK Jazz, Rochereau and his Afrisa International, and Docteur Nico and his African Fiesta Sukisa. Those musicians had been prominent for a decade or two, and although the Zaiko kids had grown up listening to their many hits and admiring their gifts, these teenagers and young adults (who included Papa Wemba, Bimi Ombale, Evoloko Jocker and Manuaku Waku as well as N’Yoka Longo and others) were in the vanguard of a new generation, determined to reinvigorate the popular music of their country with their youthful sound and energy.
They replaced conga drums and maracas with trap sets and drove their beats hard and tirelessly on snare drums. They dispensed with the saxophones and trumpets of the older bands and turned up the volume on their electric guitars. In front they featured four singers who took turns with leads and harmonies and calls and responses, plus animateurs who shouted greetings and slogans from the stage. When the song shifted into the instrumental section called soukous the singers and animateurs danced. Of course Congolese pop singers had moved their feet and swayed their hips before Zaiko Langa Langa appeared, but not with the fresh style and choreography of these talented showmen. The dances they invented, such as cavacha and zékété-zékété, quickly became popular in Kinshasa and then throughout Central Africa.
Zaiko Langa Langa traveled too, and beyond Central Africa to East Africa, West Africa, and eventually Europe. The band’s most successful album of the 1980s was Live in Japan. By that time several of the original members had left to form new bands while newcomers such as Bozi Boziana, Malage de Lugendo and Dindo Yogo joined. Over the years Zaiko Langa Langa parented so many bands – Isifi Lokole, Grand Zaiko Wawa, Langa Langa Stars, Choc Stars, Anti-Choc, Viva la Musica, Familia Dei and Nkolo Mboka (to name only the most famous) – that fans referred to them collectively as Clan Langa Langa.
But it is the patriarch that has finally come to the U.S. It’s taken a long time to get this far. Don’t miss it! Who knows when the next time will be?
Eto’o Tsana and Mabina Danseuses
Eto’o Tsana is a New York City Harlem native Afro-Puerto Rican choreographer, dancer, singer, and dance educator. She graduated from Queens College Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Drama, Theater, and Dance, and attended New York University for her Master of Arts in Dance History.
Since 2008, Eto’o Tsana has traveled extensively throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, France, the Republic of Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, collaborating, teaching, and performing professionally with renowned African artists. After spending several years traveling to the Congo she was inspired to take her performance arts career to different heights. With the collaboration of Ngouma Lokito (internationally renowned Congolese recording artist) she debuts her first single “Tobina.”
Mabina Danseuses is a New York City-based dance orchestra cultivated by founder and Artistic Director Eto’o Tsana. Founded in 2011 on the principles of Cultural Performance, Humanitarianism, and Anthropology, Eto’o Tsana & Mabina Danseuses is a direct reflection of Ms. Tsana’s deep-rooted Africana studies, travel experiences, diverse dance training, and her multicultural origins.
Eto’o Tsana & Mabina Danseuses have also traveled internationally performing with renowned artistes, in addition to creating and presenting original works that challenge the complexities of ‘Our Being’ as displaced children of the Motherland. It is through their individual and collective histories, self-explorations, studies, intellectual and cultural exchanges that makes Eto’o Tsana & Mabina Danseuses a premier act.
Sekouba Diakite is an Ivorian reggae musician. In the tradition of rootsy reggae from the 70s, Sekouba combines an eclectic mix of traditional West African rhythms known as Bolomba, using djembe drums and balafons. His potent lyrics, heavy ideas, and delicate voice are laced in his music in six different languages: Mandingo, French, English, Malinke, Bambara, and Dioula. He humbly has graced stages around the globe with generous performances, including Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire.
After being enriched into the roots of the Bolomba style in The Gambia, the young Sekouba came alive with the West African sounds of the Mandinka. Sekouba’s desire to sing came naturally but it was never a reality without the musical influence of his brother, Ismael Isaac. Sekouba’s other musical influences include, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, and Bob Marley.
Sekouba’s uplifting and heartening lyrics enliven audiences with spiritual liberation and African consciousness. His debut album “I’m So Glad” was self-produced in New York and arranged by Oscar Ankou. Sekouba’s sophomore album in 2010 “Sejo” was co-produced by Sidney Mills, Grammy award-winning reggae artist and keyboard player for the legendary band Steel Pulse. The album includes outstanding, liberal tracks like “Mandela,” featuring Bob Marley’s guitarist Junior Marvin from The Wailers. “Mandela” is a sharp and arousing tribute to former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and has been well-received by international fans.
Sekouba and his band Bolumba Stylee have decorated the nation with groovy, soulful performances at venues and festivals such as Fête de la Musique in Mali; SummerStage in New York City, alongside Israeli artist Idan Raichel; NJPAC SummerStage; New Haven Music Festival; Brooklyn’s International African Arts Festival; S.O.B.’s; Shrine World Music Venue; and many more. Sekouba’s music is inspired by a conglomerate of modern-day music, and the ancestral dialogue passed down to him as a descendant of a long line of griots. In one show, Sekouba’s listeners share in a universal experience.
Sekouba is the youngest brother of Isaac Ismael, the lead singer in Ivory Coast’s best-known musical group. He currently lives in New York City and is the Senior Artistic Director for the Go Africa Network.
Bolia Matundu (born July 12, 1992), professionally known as BM, is a Congolese singer-songwriter-producer. Born in Kinshasa, Congo, at age seven he left Kinshasa for the UK. Growing up in South London, 14-years-old BM joined his church choir at the behest of his father; there, he discovered his passion for music.
Heavily influenced other noteworthy African musicians Werrson, Koffi Olomide, Papa Wemba. it was his then choir director, an extraordinary keyboardist according to BM that left him more fuel than ever to hone in on his craft.
In 2012 BM formed a band with two of his friends, DRT and in 2014 they released their breakthrough self-titled studio single ‘Get Mad Now’ which featured in a Specsavers advert.], nationwide.
Having evolved as a musician, BM branched off and became a solo artist in 2016, releasing the album titled song ‘Ebebi’, including top singles like Baloba, Makolongu, My Wife, and Mamacita hitting over 10M streams worldwide. This lead to collaborating and performing with other wellknown African artists like Eddie Kenzo, Diamond Platnumz, and Davido. Leading BM to tour major cities in America, Australia, Belgium, Canada Germany, Holland, and France.
Elie Kihonia (Emcee)
ELIE KIHONIA is the founder of Afrika Yetu and co-founder of UMOJA African Arts Company. He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He began performing at age nine with various youth choirs and in 1980 joined the international GEVAKIN Choir/The Musical Bridge. As a multi-instrumentalist who plays both African percussion and contemporary instruments, his expertise includes the xylophone, mbira, hand and set drums, keyboard, accordion and guitars.
Seeing the need to introduce and promote Africa’s rich and diverse history, culture, and traditions through song and dance, Elie co-founded UMOJA African Arts Company.
Elie has been associated with the DRC’s Ministry of Culture and Arts, as its international Director of Production. He served as an artist consultant for the Museum of African Art in New York, The Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, The Smithsonian Institution, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, La Roche College and Natal University of Durban, South Africa.
Elie is currently conducting healing drum workshops with various health and AIDS-related organizations such as the Mercy Behavioral Health Center, Persad, Pittsburgh AIDS Task force, Citiparks/Senior Citizens, and the Marimba House in South Africa.
In 2002, Mr. Kihonia made history in Salvador/Bahia, Brazil leading and participating with his group of 10 percussionists from various African countries, who led a parade of 600 Brazilian percussionists in the first African Carnival ever done in Brazil.
DJ.HENRI FROM RADIOAFRICAONLINE.COM
dj.henri has long specialized in the music of Mali and Guinea, as well as Desert Music. He has opened for Salif Keita three times, Vieux Farka Toure twice, Habib Koite, Tinariwen, and Rokia Traore. He’s been booked at the Apollo Theater, B.B. King’s, the Mercury Lounge, Symphony Space, the Brooklyn Bowl, Joe’s Pub, and many other venues. dj.henri has opened many “Desert Blues” shows for the prestigious World Music Institute. His station Radio Africa Online is the longest-running Africa all-music station online, and his podcast, Radio Africa Online Mixes, is featured in the iTunes Store and elsewhere, enjoying 50 terabytes of traffic annually.