Congolese soukous musician Bongo Kanda popularly known as Kanda Bongo Man is expected to perform in Kampala next month.
The 64-year-old Monie singer will be at Ugmix dance party slated for December 31, 2019, at Sheraton Gardens Kampala and Resort beach hotel Entebbe on January 1, 2020, according to events promoter Balaam Balaam Barugahara.
To many of elderly fans, the performance will be reminiscent of the early sixties’ Congolese invasion that saw them dominate the Kampala’s night space as instrumentalists playing both Lingala and also backing the nascent Ugandan local pop industry.
Kanda became the singer for Orchestra Belle Mambo in 1973, developing a sound influenced by Tabu Ley. His solo career only started to take off after moving to Paris in 1979, where his music started to incorporate elements of then-vibrant zouk music popularized by Kassav (originating in the French West Indies). His first solo albums, Iyole in 1981 and Djessy in 1982, were hits and he’s expected to perform several songs on these albums when he visits Uganda.
Kanda is known for the structural changes he implemented to soukous music.
The previous approach was to sing several verses and have one guitar solo at the end of the song. Kanda Bongo Man revolutionized soukous by encouraging guitar solos after every verse and even sometimes at the beginning of the song. His form of soukous gave birth to the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips.
Like many African rumba and soukous musicians before him, Kanda Bongo Man also had an entourage of musicians. Many of Kanda’s musicians later moved on to start their own solo careers. Most notable of these was Diblo Dibala. Known as “Machine Gun”, Diblo Dibala was a vital part of Kanda Bongo Man’s lineup on several albums, playing the guitar on both Kwasa Kwasa and Amour Fou.
Kanda Bongo Man still tours in Europe and the United States. On July, 2005, he performed at the LIVE 8: Africa Calling concert in Cornwall.