Various Artists

Congo Funk! Sound Madness From The Shores Of The Mighty Congo River (Kinshasa/Brazzaville 1969-1982)

Analog Africa • 2024

It is hard to believe that so much of this rich music comes from a country that today is best known for violence, poverty and a failed state. Congolese rumba was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a former Belgian colony known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997. It has long been the dominant musical style in much of Africa and is also popular in Europe and the Caribbean. Congo Funk is not only a collection of the most important recordings from the DR Congo and neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville, but also the story of an individual voyage of discovery. Samy Ben Redjeb, owner of Analog Africa, one day received a stack of records from a record dealer in Benin that sparked his interest in Congolese music. Redjeb ended up buying around two thousand singles, which he distilled into »Congo Funk«. Big names such as the Orchestre O.K. Jazz, Tabu Ley Rochereau and Les Bantous De La Capitale are just as much a part of it as lesser-known names. G.O. Malebo, M.B.T’s Sound or Groupe Minzoto Ya Zaire are probably more familiar to insiders. What is found alongside the classic rumba recordings is just as exciting and gives the compilation’s title its meaning: psychedelic vibes like Abetis’ »Musique Tshiluba«, but also funk and soul inspired tracks like »Lalia« by Trio Bydoli or »Lolo Soulfire« by Lolo et L’Orchestre O.K. Jazz. A cornucopia of great music.