very well-known vocalist, dancer and composer, Kanda was born
in Democratic Republic of Congo. He grew up listening to the
sounds of Grand Kalle, Franco and other great stars of that
time and also enjoyed singing with his friends. When he was
18 years old he got the chance to sing in the Bella Mambo band
alongside Soki Dianzenza. At one point Kanda and some other
members left that band and formed Orchestre Bana Mambo in 1976.
That band played for 2 years then Kanda decided to leave and
live in Paris. While doing casual work to support himself he
met a record producer and this resulted in his first album,
Iyole. His next albums came in 1982 and 1985 entitled
Djessy and Malinga respectively. Key musicians
who played in Kanda's band include Diblo Dibala, Rigo Star and
Miguel Yamba. Kanda and Diblo worked as a team together on many
compositions but they have now gone separate ways. Some of Kanda's
most popular songs being the now classics 'Sai', 'Muchana' and
Internationally Kanda Bongo Man is the king of the highly infectious
guitar-led Congolese soukous music. He is also responsible for
his own special dance brand, known as kwassa kwassa.
He first performed in Britain at WOMAD in 1983 and has been
on numerous prestigious stages in United States such as Central
Park and the
on the River festival in California.
Other countries to which Kanda has taken his dance formula are
Australia, Canada and South Africa. His songs are popular all
over Africa as well.
Now based in Britain, Kanda has entertained audiences at the
Royal Festival Hall, the Forum, Glastonbury, Liverpool, another
appearance at WOMAD Reading in 2002, and on Jool's Hollands'
Later ... on BBC2 TV. Most recently he was part of
the 'Live 8 Africa Calling' event at the Eden Project in Cornwall
in 2005 (see photo above).
Listen out for that melodious, lilting
shimmering sound together with brilliant dancers, fashionable
outfits and see trademark round-brimmed hat
the one and only Kanda Bongo Man! Also visit the web site Kanda