Monday, May 30, 2011

Congo Memories with Bumba Massa

Best-known for his work with the super-group Kékélé and last year's release Apostolo, the honey-voiced Bumba Massa is one of the great unsung heroes of '80s Congo/Zaïre music. Born in Kinshasa in 1945, in 1963 he founded Orchestre Cubana Jazz with Empopo Loway and Siongo Bavon Marie-Marie, the younger brother of Luambo Makiadi Franco. He then progressed to work alongside Johnny Bokelo in Conga '68 and with Vicky Longomba in Lovy du Zaïre, before joining Franco's TPOK Jazz in 1976.

Bumba Massa launched his career as a solo artist in 1978 with a tour of West Africa, ending with the release in 1981 of Gare à Toi Mon Ami in Ivory Coast. Despite a number of outstanding releases like l'Argent et la Femme and Dovi in subequent years, Massa was unable to really "break through" on the international scene (l'Argent et la Femme did receive some limited distribution by Brooklyn's African Record Centre) until 2001, when Kékélé's first recording Rumba Congo (Sterns STCD 1093) brought the sounds of classic Congo music to a new generation.

Listen to Bumba Massa's brilliant 1983 outing Dovi (Syllart SYL 8306) and understand why I consider the 1980s the last "Golden Age" of Congolese music. Recorded in Paris under the direction of the great producer Ibrahima Sylla, and with the participation of outstanding sidemen like Pablo Lubadika Porthos and Syran Mbenza, it stands as a pinnacle of the sound: smooth, seemingly effortless and sublime. If you like this one, in the future I will post 1982's l'Argent et la Femme, which is almost as good.

Download Dovi as a zipped file here.


ken_yatta said...

Hi John,

I've always preferred "l'Argent et la Femme" to "Dovi" primarily because of the cut "Africa Music." Maria Theresa on Afro Rythmes is also a great listen.



Apurva Bahadur said...

Many thanks for this album. More Congolese music please! Apurva from Pune, India.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you knew anything about Show Promoter(Nelson Ejinduaka)?-Ebere

John B. said...

I will be posting some Show Promoter in the future.

dial africa said...

Hello John, I found in my blog roll a new post "Azu Alala". When I try to open, my browser tells me that the page does not exist???
What happened?

John B. said...

Hi Dial: That is a future post that I accidentally hit "publish" on rather than "save as draft." I caught it after about 2 seconds but unfortunately it went out on everybody's RSS feed. Sorry about that!

Chris said...

really nice music, thanks, John, such tight fabric and so mellifluous

D. Jentle said...

OMG. I have being searching for this.... Thanks John.