Kwassa kwassa

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Kwassa kwassa (or kwasa kwasa) is a dance created by Jeannora, a mechanic in Kinshasa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that started in the 1980s, where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips. It was very popular in Africa.

The dance was popularized by soukous music videos, as well as the videos of Kanda Bongo Man, Pepe Kalle, Viva La Musica, and other Congolese musicians. For the first time in Congo, all the groups adopted these dance steps. This had not happened before because bands preferred to have their own specific dance.


The words kwassa kwassa may have come from the French quoi ça? ("what [is] that?").


In the 1980s, Kanda Bongo Man, a Paris-based artist, pioneered fast, short soukous tracks suitable for play on dancefloors everywhere, and popularly known as kwassa kwassa after the dance moves popularized by his and other artists' music videos. This music appealed to Africans and to new audiences as well. Artists such as Diblo Dibala, Jeannot Bel Musumbu, Mbilia Bel, Yondo Sister, Tinderwet, Loketo, Rigo Star, Madilu System, Soukous Stars and veterans including Pepe Kalle and Koffi Olomide followed suit. Soon, Paris became home to talented studio musicians who recorded for the African and Caribbean markets and filled out bands for occasional tours.

A slower version of this genre has been created and popularized by Koffi Olomide and his band Quartier Latin. Their songs have enjoyed massive airplay throughout Africa in countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Senegal and others. Metavo is also very popular in South Africa.

This kind of beat is referenced in the 2008 song "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" by American indie rock band Vampire Weekend.[1]


  1. ^ "iTunes - Music - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Single by Vampire Weekend". iTunes. Retrieved 11 November 2014.