Wendo Kolosy: return of the king of rumba

Wendo Kolosoy, the veteran World music star, has released an album of material recorded in 2004 on the IglooMondo label. Wolosoy is hailed as the father of the rumba, having helped shape the style already in the fifties and sixties. "Banaya Papa Wendo" features 10 tracks with old sparring partners such as Jean-Louis Kayala Bikunda on bass and Vula Diankatu Missy on guitar. Born in 1925 in the northeast of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Wendo was initially a mechanic on the riverboats that ply the River Congo.

The definitive crooner on African stages and singer-songwriter of hits that marked the history of African music, Wendo eternalised the characters of his songs on dozens of 78s, notably for the Ngoma label.

Precursor or inventor of the Congolese rumba, he was also at turns protected and then harassed by his country's politicians. "Marie Louise", one of the songs to which the Congolese at the time attributed the magic virtue of being able to awaken the dead, was considered a Satanic tune by the Catholic Church. The song was excommunicated and Wendo had to flee to Kisangani.

His story is mixed with that of a whole continent. It is far more complex that these few anecdotes. What is important is the music we offer you here: perhaps the last recording of a voice polished by life, by the years. A voice that is rough, wild and funny, that bears its own story and passes on the pain, madness and lust for life and singing that is Wendo Kolosoy.

"Banaya Papa Wendo" is the second release of Kolosy on the same label, following "Nani akolela Wendo?" in 1993.

write your comments about the article :: 2008 Jazz News :: home page