Indépendance Cha Cha

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"Indépendance Cha Cha"
African Rumba by Le Grand Kallé
Le Grand Kallé et l'African Jazz
Released January 27, 1960 (1960-01-27)[1]
Genre Congolese rumba
Language Lingala and French
Length 03:05
Writer Joseph "Grand Kallé" Kabasele[2]

"Indépendance Cha Cha" was a song performed by Joseph Kabasele (best known by his stage name, Le Grand Kallé) from the group L'African Jazz in the popular African Rumba style. It was composed and performed in 1960, the so-called Year of Africa, to celebrate the imminent independence of the Belgian Congo (the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo). The song achieved considerable successes and remains the most internationally best-known examples of Congolese Rumba.

Song and composition[edit]

Hotel Plaza in Brussels where the song was first performed

As a prominent Congolese cultural figure, Le Grand Kallé and his band, African Jazz, were chosen to accompany the Congolese delegation to Brussels, Belgium for the Congolese Round Table Conference on Congolese independence in early 1960.[2]

The song was written on the 20 January 1960[3] and first played at the Hotel Plaza in Brussels on 27 January 1960.

It was sung by Vicky Longomba and Nico Kasanda played the guitar.[2] For the first performance of the song at the conference, Le Grand Kallé brought together four musicians from his own band, L'African Jazz (Kasanda, Roger Izeidi, Pierre Yatula and Déchaud Mwamba) along with two members of the rival band, OK Jazz (Longomba and Armando Brazzos).[4]

The song's lyrics called for unity in the post-independence Congo between the different factions and prominent figures of the nationalist movement in the Congo.[2]

Content and references[edit]

The principle verses of the song include the acronyms for the major political factions within the Congolese pro-independence movement. The Association des Ressortisants du Haut-Congo (ASSORECO), Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO), Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga (CONAKAT), Cartel Katangais (Cartel), Front Commun, Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), PDC, Union Generale Des Congolais (UGECO), Alliance des Bayanzi (ABAZI) and Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA) are all mentioned.

A number of politicians (some of them party leaders) are mentioned by surname. In order, these are: Jean Bolikango, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, Patrice Lumumba, Albert Kalonji, Paul Bolya, Moise Tshombe, Cléophas Kamitatu, Fernand Essendja and Thomas Kanza.

Reception[edit]

From its first diffusion, the song proved extremely popular and has been described as the "first Pan-African hit".[4]

The choice of language in Indépendance Cha Cha, Lingala, supplemented by French loanwords, meant that the song also became a hit in the neighbouring French Congo where the language was also widely spoken.[2] It was widely broadcast across Africa by Radio Congo Belge. The song's tune and optimistic lyrics chimed with the popular mood in Africa, particularly in Francophone countries, many of them made independent in 1960 or soon after. Indépendance Cha Cha was adopted as the "song of the emancipation of the dark continent" and became extremely popular across Africa, although it achieved longest-lasting success in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Indépendance Cha Cha is performed in one of the scenes of the 2000 film Lumumba, directed by Raoul Peck. An adaptation was made by Belgian-Congolese musician Baloji, entitled Le Jour d'Après / Siku Ya Baadaye in the album Kinshasa Succursale. Another adaptation has been made by Gérard Addat, entitled La Liberté Cha Cha.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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