January 13, 2009

Mbonda Africa

Again I am surprised. This time about the lack of information about Johnny (Jean) Bokelo on the internet. From Gary Stewart's "Rumba On The River" one might get the impression that he was constantly fighting with record companies. But, luckily for us, he has also found time to produce some great records.

Bokelo started (as far as I can ascertain) his musical career at the Loningisa label, where he recorded his first compositions in February 1959 (I'll post those tracks later, in the Loningisa series of posts).
Via Conga Jazz, Conga Succes, Conga De La Capitale, Conga 68 and Conga International (and there may be other variations) he ended up in the 1980s with his orchestre Mbonda Africa. A start of a discography can be found at this forum. If there is any call for it, I will post some of his Editions Mbonda singles later.

Here, however, is the album from 1983 which Bokelo released on one of his own labels. It is a great example of Bokelo's heavyweight soukous, with solid male vocals, multi-dimensional horns and classic Bokelo guitars.
Very danceable.

JBI 001


dinko said...

many thanks for all these treasures you share!
And please do not hesitate posting Bokelo's singles, can't wait to hear them!

Anonymous said...


Like dinko I want to thank you for sharing all this wonderful music, together with all your knowledge about all the different styles, the musicians and the social context in which the music was produced. Watching your blog is a real pleasure!


zim said...

I'm also a little puzzled by the lack of info on him, he seems a rather underappreciated figure.

I've heard a number of the editions mbonda singles from cassettes/CD-Rs put out by melodica or from compilations friends have made me and there are some really great songs there.

i'd love to hear some of the earlier loningisa tracks

Anonymous said...

the link doesnt work unfortunately. i'm a bokelo fan and i don't understand why there are no reissues of his great music.

WrldServ said...

There seems to be a temporary problem with the server. Normally this is very reliable service, so I suggest you try it again later.

jan duinkerken said...

Thank you very much, For Bokelo ans also for the other beautiful music you share. Great!
This time the downloading went perfect..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your tireless effort to educate and entertain.
I love Bokelo!
Wuod k

Timothy said...

Hello Stefan,

I've been tried to download the file and this is the message I get: "Invalid File. This error has been forwarded to MediaFire's development team."
I hope this problem can be sorted out. I consider "Tambola Na Mokili" to be Jean Bokelo's hallmark piece.
I really appreciate the rare tracks you've shared with music lovers here.

kreismyr said...

Very dancable indeed!! Maybe the best thing i have heard from worldservice. The competition is harsh! There is another Bokelo album at