Democratic Republic of the Congo: March 2011 recordings

In the spring of 2011 I had the blessed opportunity to spend some time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  I visited Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi, Mbanza-Ngungu, and Matadi, as well as spending a couple of weeks in Kinshasa.  Everywhere we went I kept a hand-held digital audio recorder with me, and everywhere we went we stumbled into interesting music.

This post compiles some of the recordings I made that spring.  None of these recordings were planned, some were spontaneous performances arranged for our listening pleasure, others were rehearsals.  I am not a terribly skilled field recorder and my recording technique can be best described as 'turn on the recorder and stand still'.

Download DRC recordings 2011

In Kananga we spent an entertaining Saturday evening with David Muamba wa Tatu his ensemble and a small group of revellers.  

The next morning we were up and it for mass at one of the largest Catholic churches in Kananga.  The choir was tremendous. (My recordings are terrible and I haven't included them.) 

After a long day of reporting in Mbuji Mayi my colleague Timothee Donangmaye and I were returning to our hotel when we crossed paths with a group of musicians walking down the street.  They were returning home from their weekly rehearsal.  We invited them to have a drink around the hotel pool.  They are the Couleurs Talentueux Musicaux.  They ran through one of their compositions for us.

In Mbuji-Mayi we also had the pleasure of spending time with Papa Ntita Albert Lubumbula.  I have included my recording of him on this compilation.  For more pictures and some information on Papa Albert you can go to this post I published in 2011 (my last post at the old blog). 

In Matadi the group Comet the Best were rehearsing under a gazebo on the grounds of our hotel.  They have been together for decades, rehearsing twice a week and performing every weekend in Matadi. They played a few songs for us. 

One of the highlights of the trip was the afternoon we spent with Reddy Amisi and la Casa do Canto at Reddy's house in Bandal.  Reddy was leading the group through their biweekly rehearsal when we stopped in.  My recordings aren't high fidelity but the music is so beautiful, his vocal frontline are one of the best in Kinshasa.   I haven't been able to find the pictures we took that afternoon. 

Before leaving Kinshasa we took a trip to the Cimetiere de la Gombe and paid our respects to many of my musical heroes.  Foremost among them, le Grand Maitre Luambo Makiadi Franco. 

Here is a link to the complete set of pictures of the resting places of Kinshasa's musical heroes.

If there is interest I can also post the interviews I did with Jossart Nyoko Longo of Zaiko Langa Langa and Reddy Amisi.

Thanks to my friend Timothee Donangmaye for taking all of the pictures.