Soukous, Rumba Lingala also; is an original musical style of traditional African music from the Congo region. The soukous influenced mainly the merengue in the Dominican Republic. Its origins lie in the 1930s and 1940s. After 1960, the term soukous was also used for a very popular across Africa African dance that was danced to a specific version of the Rumba for Africa.

In the English-speaking West Africa Soukous is called Congo music. In Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the term Lingala is used as an indication of the widespread trade in the Congo language Lingala. As Kwassa Kwassa and N'dombolo different styles of Soukous be called, which carry their own, typical for the respective time dances. The term Soukous is used particularly in Africa, the Caribbean and Europe for music Congolese origin, however, is not common in the Congo itself. As a collective term for the style described below, the term rumba congolaise is used there. The division into a vocal part and a dance instrumental part ( Sebene ) is particularly pronounced in the music included in the Congo. The Sebene is typically accompanied by animators by shouts and cries, which are called Atalaku.

Emergence of Soukous

The Soukous was developed around 1940 in the Congo region and was first popular only in this region. The origins lie in traditional Congolese music and Highlife from the region of Ghana and Sierra Leone. As secured influences of Cuban music and other, Caribbean and South American music styles apply. Pioneers of soukous occurred in the early 1940s on in the cities of Boma, Matadi, Kinshasa and Brazzaville. In general, the Soukous is sung in Lingala, often mixed with the National Language French, rare in Tshiluba or Kikongo. The East African Swahili Rumba version is sung in Kenya and Tanzania in Swahili.

The era of the big bands

In the 1950s, became popular in the Congo region big bands whose music was strongly influenced in the region by Soukous. The usual format consisted of an acoustic bass guitar, multiple electric guitars, congas, maracas, a flute or clarinet, several saxophones and a trumpet. The most famous big bands in Congo were Franco et le TP OK Jazz, which shaped the OK Jazz style, and Le Grand Kallé et l' African Jazz, which inspired the African Jazz style.

Around 1960, a number of musicians parted from these bands and formed their own bands. Tabu Ley Rochereau and Dr. Nico founded African Fiesta and developed their music further by mixed elements of Congolese folk music with soul; Influences of Caribbean music and a Latin American instrumentation were added. Other members of African Fiesta were Papa Wemba and Sam Mangwana. Especially their song Africa Mokili Mobimba made ​​them popular on the continent. Besides Franco ( Luambo ) Tabu Ley Rochereau and Nico Kasanda are considered the fathers of modern Soukous.

The Zaiko era

While in the great soukous bands like Lipua - Lipua, Veve, TP OK Jazz and Bella Bella, the influence of the Rumba to the music grew stronger, studied young Congolese musicians for ways to break free from the rumba to a faster, to play inspired by the rock ' n ' roll Soukous. In 1969, founded a student band that Zaiko Langa Langa called himself. Their first gig, the band had to Jossart Nyoka Longo in the Nganda (Bar) " Hawaii " in Kinshasa. The band quickly became very popular, as reflected in the energy of their music and the fashion sense of the dancers and singers, especially inspired by one of the singers, Papa Wemba, justified. Papa Wemba was one of the founders of the so-called Sapeur Movement - Fashion, gait, hairstyle, everything was " fixed ". It was important to the elegance, even if no bread in the house is the " fever of fashion " was more important. Pepe Kalle, a pupil of Grand Kalle along with Papy Tex, founded the band Empire Baquba, which quickly became Kinshasa's most popular band.

Other sizes of Zaiko era were Koffi Olomide, Tshala Muana and Wenge Musica. Koffi Olomide learned to sing and play guitar yet Papa Wemba, with whom he later enmity used, which can be heard in constant allusions in many songs. Even with Jossart Nyoka Longo put Koffi per se, he harnessed him from the woman. The result was, it is said that Jossart anbändelte with mum Koffi. So it is, then in a song: " Koffi abenga Nyoka Longo Papa " ( Koffi called Nyoka Longo "Papa" ).

The Soukous now spread rapidly across the continent and influenced almost all modern African music styles, especially the High Life, the palm -wine music, Tarabu and Makossa.

As the political conditions in the 1970s changed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, some groups migrated to Nairobi from Kenya. Mid-1970s there were several popular Congolese bands playing rumba in the nightclubs of Nairobi. From their influence on the Kenyan music, especially by the fast music of Zaiko, the fast dance Cavacha, which then spread all over East and Central Africa developed - it was danced mainly to the music of Zaiko Langa Langa and Orchestra Shama Shama. Trend-setting instruments were snare drums and hi-hats. Kenyans and Tanzanians founded, inspired by this music, including the groups Simba Wanyika, Les Wanyika and Wanyika Super Stars.

End of this decade, Virgin Records began to get involved in the Kenyan music, and LPs of the Tanzanian- Congolese Band Orchestra Makassy and the Kenyan band Super Mazembe were produced. At the same time, the French record label Afro Rythmes released an LP of the Orchestra Virunga called " Malako ". On this record, the song Shauri Yako found ( in German: " That's your problem " ), which was in East Africa to be a hit.

The Paris scene

In the 1980s soukous became popular in Paris and London. Other musicians left Kinshasa to work in East and Central Africa, many of which then moved to the UK or France. The average Soukous band now contained three or four guitars, a bass, drums, various brass instruments and singers - some soukous groups consisted of more than 20 musicians. The texts were sung in Lingala or rare in French. In the late 80s and 1990s, the bands, synthesizers and other electronic instruments began to incorporate it into their music. Few musicians still produced for the Congolese market, and many more played on European -tailored music. Some musicians, such as Papa Wemba, talked even two bands: Viva la Musica for soukous and another group, along with French musicians, which has produced international pop music.

Kanda Bongo Man was born in 1955 in present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1979 he went to Paris and became a head of the local scene. He created a very fast soukous, which was popular on the dance floors in nightclubs under the name Kwassa Kwassa, after another African Dance ( Mbaqanga, (after a South African music direction) was known. This music spread throughout Africa and Europe alike, and many new groups as Diblo Dibala, Mbilia Bel, Yondo Sister, Loketo, Rigo Star, Madilu system and Soukous Stars, but also veterans like Pepe Kalle and Koffi Olomide, began to play such music. Paris quickly became the center of this movement.


Long after the spread of Kwassa Kwassa in European nightclubs, a very fast soukous variant spread under the name N'dombolo in the nightclubs of East and Central Africa. Artist of the movement are, for example, Koffi Olomide, Werrason Wenge Musica and. Invented, it is said, was the N'dombolo because the dictator Laurent- Désiré Kabila had a Gehfehler - he limped. N'dombolo reminds a little of it.

The figure-hugging movements when N'dombolo dance, especially the swing of the hips and shaking of the buttocks, led to the criticism that this music is obscene. There have been attempts to ban such music from Mali, Cameroon and Kenya. Attempts to distribute N'dombolo of radio and television in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the music made ​​only more popular. On 11 February 2005, finally, several music videos, including by Koffi Olomide, JB and Werrason M'Piana, indexed in the Congolese Broadcasting for indecency.