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Kanda Bongo Man

A 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 'Jesu Christo'.
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