Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ambiance Congo for Sunday March 30, 2008

Listen live from 3:00-5:00 PM eastern time USA

This program is the first of a series in which I'll trace the history of Les Bantous de la Capitale.
One of the longest standing bands in Congolese music history, Les Bantous de la Capitale made their first public appearance in August of 1959 and released their latest CD in September of 2007.

Here is the sleeve of one of their earliest 45 RPM records on the Colombia label, with the band recording as Essous et Orchestre Bantou.
Thanks to Pieter at for this image and to Cheeku for helping me to get in touch with him.

Here is the cover of the 2007 CD released on the Cyriaque Bassoka Productions label.

To see more album covers, please visit the excellent Bantous de la Capitale discography page compiled by Ronald at

I'll be playing some of the early 50s and 60s music of the band in the first hour or so of the program. These songs were recorded under the names Orchestre Bantou and Bantous Jazz as well as Les Bantous de la Capitale.

Following independance, the new spirit of "Ata Ndele" (sooner or later) and "Congo ya Sika" (The New Congo), accomplished musicians working across the river in reknowned groups such as African Jazz, OK Jazz and Rock A Mambo returned home and formed Orchestre Bantou. The group shortly became so completely popular that they became Congo's cultural ambassadors and performed all over Africa in the 1960s. The group included Nino Malapet, Jean-Serge Essous, Pandi, Edo Ganga, Celestin Kouka, Daniel "De La Lune" Lubelo and, in 1960, the famed guitarist Papa Noel.

Edo Ganga and De La Lune returned to OK Jazz in 1962 and were replaced by Francis Bitshoumanou (who also later went to OK Jazz) and Joseph Bukasa. In 1963, they were joined by the great singer "Pablito" Pamelo Mounk'a. Pablito was already an accomplished musician in the widely popular style of Cuban son and had an admirable command of Spanish. At this time, the band changed its official name to Bantous-Jazz and soon after to Les Bantous de la Capitale.

Please listen in as we play some of their early songs and set the scene with cuts from African Jazz, OK Jazz, Rock A Mambo and also from Camille Feruzi who has been cited as one of the great contributors to the fusion of early Congolese recorded music and Cuban son.

Your requests and comments are always welcome!

Did you miss the program? For a limited time, you may download a copy here:

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