Luba Roots music from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 2011 I had the good fortune to travel to the Kasai Occidental (to what is today the Kasai Central), one of the most musical regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  I have elsewhere expressed my conviction that the DRC is the most intensely musical country on our planet.  My short stay in Kananga, the provincial capital of the province, was filled with musical discoveries.

Here is a 1999 recording by Kazadi, a singer and guitar player from Tshikapa, a mining town close to the Angolan border.  The sound quality isn't the best, this one was recorded live straight to boombox, but the music is fantastic.  As the cassette jacket helpfully notes, Kazadi was still alive when I purchased this cassette (Cristian and Anderson are the two friends who sold me a batch of cassettes).


Kazadi punctuates his bluesy singing with some soulful whistling and voice percussion.   

Kasai Occidental Recordings

The second recording features a younger artist from the Kasai.  Kadiata wa Mukala drew his inspiration from the great Daniel Nkulusutu, a legend of Luba music (I'll share some of Nkulusutu's recordings in a future post).  These are more recent tracks. I can't get enough of the melodies. 

And to round out the post I thought i'd share a few pictures from one of the highlights of the trip to Kananga, a Congolese wrestling championship in the local stadium. 

 The Buffle Mystique (the mystic bison), the most feared wrestler in the Kananga, the champion of the Kasai Occidental

A few nice shots of takedowns

These guys rocked the crowd for over two hours (These pictures were taken by my friend Timothee Donangmaye)


  1. Hi Matthew, if i click the link i arrive at a mediafire-site with lots of goodies, but when downloaded, it is impossible to unzipp them. What went wrong!! Amazing music you have here. And (semi-) traditional music from the Kongo is always so hot! (You know the Mundengue CD ?)

    1. Hi G. Yes. I know the Mundengue CD. Great Stuff. I have a lot more of this kind of stuff from the DRC to post. I have in particular a large collection of cassettes from the Bas Congo still to digitize. More stuff coming soon. I don't know what is wrong with the files. I will reupload them. thanks for letting me know.

    2. I have reuploaded both files. Let me know if there are any problems.

  2. This was posted on my birthday, that must be an omen!


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