One of the Congo’s most famous and most fabulous forms of music is soukous, which is infinitely danceable. Try not to dance when you hear soukous…impossible! Soukous emerged in the years after World War II, starting in the ’50s when big Cuban rumba orchestras became all the rage in the Congo. By the ’60’s musicians like Joseph “Grand Kalle” Kabasele readily blended rumba with African jazz, and formed a genre sometimes known as Congolese Rumba. Soukous emerged when innovators such as Sam Mangwana layered funky African rhythms and racing, jangling guitars on top of that, laying the foundation for the musical birth of Congolese artists like the long-lived Zaiko Langa Langa and its impeccably-dressed co-founder, “Pope of the Sapeurs: Society of Ambianceurs and Persons of Elegance” himself, Papa Wemba.
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