Nico Kasanda

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Not to be confused with Prince Nico.
Nico Kasanda
Birth name Nicolas Kasanda wa Mikalay
Also known as Docteur Nico
Born (1939-07-07)7 July 1939
Mikalayi, Belgian Congo
Died 22 September 1985(1985-09-22) (aged 46)
Brussels, Belgium
Genres Soukous
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1957 – c. 1975

Nicolas Kasanda wa Mikalay (July 7, 1939 – September 22, 1985), popularly known as Docteur Nico, was a guitarist, composer and one of the pioneers of soukous music. He was born in Mikalayi, Kasai province in the Belgian Congo. He graduated in 1957 as a technical teacher, but inspired by his musical family, he took up the guitar and in time became a virtuoso soloist.

At the age of 14, Kasanda started playing with the seminal group Grand Kalle et l'African Jazz, led by Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabaselle. He became an influential guitarist (Jimi Hendrix visited him while on tour in Paris), and the originator of the ubiquitous Congolese finger-picked guitar style, acquiring the nickname "Dr. Nico". African Jazz split up in 1963 when he and singer Tabu Ley Rochereau left to form L'Orchestra African Fiesta, which became one of the most popular bands in Africa.

He withdrew from the music scene in the mid 1970s following the collapse of his Belgian record label, and made a few final recordings in Togo, not long before he died in a hospital in Brussels, Belgium in 1985.

Discography[edit]

Contributing artist

Further reading[edit]

  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos (1999). Gary Stewart – ISBN 1-85984-368-9

External links[edit]