October 31, 2012

More Bukasa

As an intermission in my countermeasures, I would like to share with you some songs by one of my - in my opinion immortal - heroes of Congolese music: Léon Bukasa (see my earlier posts here and here).

Translation of the notes on the inner sleeve (on the right):
"Léon Bukasa, originating from Kasaï, as a young boy was enticed by the sound of a phonograph in a neighbouring village. Entranced by what he had just heard, he built a guitar with only three chords and started practising.

A year later, in 1950, he buys a real guitar and joins Editions Ngoma, where he soon makes his mark as a musician and a talented composer.

Among his numerous hit compositions are the Ngoma 78 rpm records: 1552 - 1657 - 1716 and 1778. These compositions were a huge success, both in the former Belgian Congo and in bordering countries, and especially the song "Congo ya biso basi bayebi kolata", meaning "In our Congo the women know how to dress (well)", - with the composer praising the elegance and the beauty of the congolese women.

Léon Bukasa also was the first singer to introduce into congolese music the usage of the clarinet, and subsequently, on the advice of Editions Ngoma, that of the double bass.

While getting better every day, he remains one of the top stars of congolese music

The songs I am sharing with you are actually not from the EP of which I am adding prints of the sleeve. And to the four tracks mentioned on the sleeve I am adding two more, "Bakimi na mbongo" and "Sabine ndeko", to complete the series of three subsequent 78s from the Ngoma label.

My favourite, and an overall favourite in the whole of Congolese music (and that is a lot of fantastic music!), is "Mokengele Honoré", which from my biased (I admit it freely) point of view is one of the few songs that can compete on equal terms with those merveilles du passé of the O.K. Jazz on Loningisa. The other five songs follow closely behind, - but nevertheless behind.
All six tracks were composed by Bukasa himself and were originally released in 1961. As far as I know these were the last three 78s released by Bukasa on the Ngoma label (but I am still hoping I am horribly wrong...).

Ngoma 2160-2161-2162 (mp3) and (as long as it lasts) a flac-version.

PS 1:
Ngoma 1552 = "Na mokolo mwa lelo" / "Mwana mwasi Adolphine" by Bukasa and Albino Kalombo
Ngoma 1657 = "Congo ya biso basi bayebi kolata" / "Mantar mwasi kitoko" by Bukasa
Ngoma 1716 = "E! E! E! Se liwa" / "Nakumbuka kimanda wangu" by Bukasa and A. Luango"
Ngoma 1778 = "Clara Badimwene" / "Nalembi makango" by Bukasa and Papa Noel (Papa Noel's very first hit)

PS 2:
Note the two extracts from the Ngoma Super 45 catalogue which are on the back sleeve and on the back of the inner sleeve. Mouth watering!


jan duinkerken said...

thank you!!!
great info, great music.
thanks also for the flac!

jan duinkerken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reservatory said...

Wonderful! And thanks for introducing me to this new favorite some time back.

Rhythm Connection said...

What a treasure! Echoing reservatory, thanks for introducing, educating and inspiring me with you deep knowledge and understanding. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, these Leon Bukasa posts are a revelation! Those Congo cats could really play! So many thanks for sharing - these rare old discs need to be heard. Having heard Rumbanella Band's sweet re-recording of Papa Noel's 'Clara Badimwene' I would love to hear his & Bukasa's original, if it ever shows up. cheers - MamboPete

Jaime said...

I'm speechless... Thank you for sharing the music and knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear "Congo ya biso basi bayebi kolata". Have you posted it somewhere else?

I love your blog!!!

Merci beaucoup!

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous (the last one): "Congo ya biso basi bayebi kolata" is on the CD "Ngoma, the early years", released by the sympathetic Popular African Music label (pamap 01). This is a highly recommended collection of songs from the Ngoma label, as is its companion "Ngoma, souvenir ya l'indépendance"(pamap 02).
I gather these CD's are currently out of print, but I am sure they are still available through Spotify and similar services.
If not, get back to me.

BarryB said...

Thanks very much for these. You'd think the Ngoma collection would be made available by the nation online, as a repository of culture quality any people should be proud of--but, no.