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Soukous Archives - Online education for kids

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Tag Archives | Soukous

It Started With Congolese Rumba

More Congolese music, this time with Le Grand Kalle….

Earlier this week we met the dynamic Congolese music called soukous. It 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 “Le Grand Kalle” Kabasele who we see in this video, 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.

Soukous Makes the World Go ‘Round

Let’s dance dance dance with Congo’s soukous icons Zaiko Langa Langa….

We’ll spend much of this week immersing ourselves in the Congo‘s gorgeous music. Central African music’s soul comes from its dense natural landscape and from the ancient earth-inspired rhythms of the people who live on that land. Even so, music in the region is far from insular. In fact, the most famous (and most fabulous?) music of Central Africa may be soukous. Originating mainly in the urban centers of Congo, but now present in most every small city and sleepy tribal town, soukous is infinitely danceable. For a taste, enjoy this video of soukous legends Zaiko Langa Langa.

Kwassa Kwassa What What?

Very clearly our favorite Congolese dance is the kwassa kwassa:
Kwassa kwassa is the primary dance of Congolese Soukous, in which the legs shake, the hips roll around and the hands follow the hips’ motion. This Congolese dance originated in the 1970s and became popular all over Africa in the ’80s. The name for the dance may have come from the French “Quoi ça”? (what’s that?). The kwassa kwassa appeared almost two decades after the Congos became independent, but, as we see in this video, its relationship to soukous makes it feel like it celebrates freedom.