Opika

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Opika
Founded1949
FounderGabriel Moussa Benetar and Joseph Benetar
StatusDefunct
GenreAfrican music
Country of originBelgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo)
LocationLéopoldville (now Kinshasa)

Opika was an early record label in the Congo, which recorded and promoted African pop, guitar, and rumba - not only from the Congo, but from Cameroon and Ghana as well. The label also recognized the value of ethnographic recordings, which were featured on a number of their releases. Started by brothers Gabriel Moussa Benetar and Joseph Benetar, from the Greek island of Rhodes, Opika was a prodigious producer of 78 rpm shellac recordings through the late 1950s.[1] The company was initially called "Kina," but the name was subsequently changed to “Opika” from a phrase in Lingala, “opika pende” meaning “stand firm”.[2] The name Opika was chosen in some sense as a challenge to the reiging and monolithic recording house Ngoma that this new recording company was a force to be reckoned with.[3] The label was the first to sign Joseph Kabaselle who, along with other Opika session players Nico and Déchaud formed the band African Jazz, which contributed heavily to the evolving Latin-style Congolese rumba. The label also gave rise to the careers of many early rumba stars in the Congo such as Jhimmy and Paul Mwanga.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A brief history of Opika on ExcavatedShellac".
  2. ^ "A brief history of Opika on ExcavatedShellac".
  3. ^ Nzonga, Jean-Pierre François Nimy. Dictionnaire des immortels de la musique congolaise modern. ACADEMIA. p. 99. ISBN 2872099778.
  4. ^ "Early history at Opika by WorldService blog".

See also[edit]