Zaiko Langa Langa

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Zaiko Langa Langa
Also known asZaïko Langa Langa
OriginDR Congo
Years active1969 (1969)–present

Zaiko Langa Langa (also spelled Zaïko Langa Langa and in other variants)[1] is a popular Contemporary band from DR Congo. Their music and creativity has greatly influenced Congolese and African popular culture like no other band has done. Voted and crowned band of the century in DR Congo " Zaiko remain the most influential band ever in the history of African music. The word "Zaiko" is a portmanteau for the lingala phrase Zaire ya bankoko, meaning "Zaire of our ancestors", where "Zaire" must be read as a reference to the river by that name, now called Congo. The meaning of the phrase "Langa Langa" is controversial; according to the band's website, it means "marvelous" or "almighty".[2]

Founded in the early 1969 by D.V. Moanda, Marcelin Delo, Henry Mongombe, Olemi Eshar-Eshar dem'belina and Andre Bita, Zaiko Langa Langa survived into the 2000s (decade), and have been largely popular through the decades. Because of their "rebel" and "hippie" attitude, and their innovative approach to soukous, they became a symbol of the new generations of post-independence Zaire,[3] and are sometimes compared to the Rolling Stones for their appeal on the Congolese youth.[4]

The band has experienced several personnel changes, and a number of prominent soukous musicians have been in their lineup; examples are Bozi Boziana, Dindo Yogo, Evoloko Jocker, N'Yoka Longo and Bimi Ombale.[5] Several soukous band formed as spin-offs of Zaiko Langa Langa; these include Isifi Lokole, Yoka Lokole, Viva La Musica, Grand Zaiko Wa Wa, Langa Langa Stars, Zaiko Familia Dei, Basilique Loningisa, Choc Stars, Anti Choc, and Zaiko Nkolo Mboka. This large group of related bands is sometimes referred to as "Clan Langa Langa" (i.e., "the Langa Langa family").

In 2000, Zaiko Langa Langa were awarded by the Congolese Media Association as the best Congolese musical group of the 20th century.[6]


The band was formed in 1969 with the provisional name "Orchestra Zaiko". The original lineup was composed of Papa Wemba, Mavuela Somo, Evoloko Lay Lay, Teddy Sukami, Oncle Bapius, Zamuangana le meneur and Manuaku Waku (also known as Pépé Fely) and N'Yoka Longo.[7] The band also had a pop section, which was playing before the soukous section, with Bimi Ombale, Mbuta Matima and Mashakado Mbuta. Moanda, Mongombe, Marcelin, Waku, Longo and Bita were all from a former band called Bel Guide National.[8] They were mostly students of Angolans refugees descent coming from upper-class families of Kinshasa.

The sound of Zaiko Langa Langa was revolutionary with respect to the soukous tradition. They adopted a more up-tempo beat, abandoned wind instruments and emphasized snare drums and lead electric guitars (and eventually also synthesizers). The percussion rhythms were adapted from traditional Congolese music and the sebene became more prominent.[9] Their vocal lines made a large use of the call and response schemes. Their frenetic stage shows featured a frontline of four singers.

Because of these innovations, they are sometimes referred to as the founders of the "third school" of Congolese soukous.[7] The "first school" is probably that of soukous bands of the 1940s, such as Wendo Kolosoy ans Adou Elenga while the "second school" could be that of Le Grand Kallé et l'African Jazz and Franco Luambo's OK Jazz. While their "rebel" attitude, which resembled that of the hippie movement, earned them the sobriquet of "Zaire's Rolling Stones".[4]

Zaiko quickly became one of the most popular groups of Zaire and had a large fan base among Kinshasa's juveniles. In the 1970s, Zaiko's singers Evoloko "Lay Lay" Joker, Papa Wemba, Gina Efonge, Mavuela Somo, Nyoka Longo and Bimi Ombale popularized a rhythm known as cavacha which was dominated by faster drum and melodic faster lead guitar also called sebene. Also spelled "kavasha, that was a decade-lasting craze in most of East Africa. Inspired by the Woodstock movement, Zaiko will introduced the rhythm Wondostoke in mid seventies, which was a even faster drums and lead guitar and pop dancing inspired by James Brown. In 1974, Zaiko Langa Langa were amongst the Zairean bands to be invited to play in Zaire '74, a huge musical event celebrating the Rumble in the Jungle.[7]

In 1975 because of a conflict of leadership between Anto Evoloko and Pepe Manuaku the band lost some of its most important members. Papa Wemba, Bozi Boziana, Mavuela Somo and Evoloko left in 1975 to create Isifi Lokole; the same year, Papa Wemba, Bozi Boziana and Mavuela abandoned Evoloko after a conflict of leadership in the groupe between Evoloko and Papa Wemba to form Yoka Lokole in 1976. After a brief period of inactivity, the band returned in action with a new line up of singers consisting of Nyoka Longo, Bimi Ombale, Lengi Lenga, Redo Likinga and Mbua Mashakado and released beautiful songs such as Beli Mashakado, Lisapo, Ma coco, Toli Kulumpe, Toli ya Liyanza, Eboza, Yudasi and 1975 song of the year Elo, and in the following years maintained a prominent position in the soukous scenes, while competing with its own spin-offs such as Isifi Melodia of Anto Evoloko, Yoka Lokole of Mavuela Solo, Libanko of Gina Efonge whose return into Zaiko will be short and later on in 1977 Viva La Musica of Papa Wemba. The outcome of the personnel changes in the band was the establishment of Pepe Manuaku as the new leader and the band production of the latter 1970s are particularly sophisticated both in terms of melody and orchestration, and the choreography of the live performance was also richer than it was in the early years. In 1975 too saw the establishment of the longest serving front singers of Zaiko in Nyoka Longo, Bimi Ombale, Lengi Lenga and Likinga Redo who will become for fourteen years the face of Zaiko and impose Zaiko as the ultimate heavy weight of youth music in Zaire. The success of the band was so huge and unprecedented in Zairian music history especially in releasing outstanding songs like Nalali pongi, Zaiko wa wa, Kin Kiesse, Ma, IMA, fololo ya nzembo, omibongisa, Cité d'ambiance, Pacha labaran, Sangela, Nadi, Likamuisi, Diana ya mama, Didina, Vera, Esikebene, Souvenir Djeni, Mangobo, Misolina and many more that all the personnel that have left the band were queuing to return. In 1977, Bozi Boziana rejoined the group, followed by Mashakado Mbuta and Evoloko in 1979.

In 1979 with a line up of 10 singers namely Nyoka Longo, Bimi Ombale, Lengi Lenga, Redo Likings, Mbuta Mashakado, Bozi Boziana, Anto Evoloko, Yenga Yenga, Sheikedan and Otis Mbuta Zaiko will be revisited by the demons of division. The band will be divided in two groups hostile to each other and pursuing different music philosophy. Anto Evoloko will lead his group of Bozi Boziana, Lengi Lenga and the newcomer Yenga Yenga. Nyoka Longo too will lead his group of Bimi Ombale, Likinga, Shekedan. The two group will release songs that were artistically different of each other, the Anto Evoloko group will release 7 sacrament, Kemoussa, Belinda, esengo na bango, Betula and others while Nyoka Kongo group will release Pa oki, Cherie nzembo, Moni Amina, Cherie B Wabi and many more including best song of the year 1979 Sentiment Away. The band leader and guitarist Pepe Manuaku who was more focus into his innovative sounds and collaboration in the Ya Toupa group where he was experimenting sounds with the pianist Ray Lema with songs like Ange Bokumba, Revelation, Zaiko Wa wa however he will try to unite the two groups with songs like Obi, Kwiti Kwiti and Femme ne pleure pas but will fail as many band members considered him partisan and favouring the Anto Evoloko group. On the other hand Teddy Sukami another veteran of the band will focus his attention more in releasing songs with the recording studio group Les Casques Bleus than with Zaiko even scoring 1978 song of the year Bongo bougé with Les Casques bleus. The conflict will result in 1980 departure of engine of the band, the magician of guitar and the pride of Zaiko who was Pepe Manuaku and taking with him Shekedan and Yenga Yenga. It will remain one of the saddest day in Zaiko history. pepe Manuaku left after ten years in the band that he co created to start his own band Grand Zaiko Wa Wa.

Pepe Manuaku will[when?] be replaced by Roxy Tshimpaka. Although not as innovative, creative and research inclined like Pepe Manuaku the new lead guitarist Roxy Tshimpaka also called Grand Niawu will return Zaiko into the era of smooth beautiful dancing beat and under now the artistic direction of Mbuta Matima will release many unforgettable songs including Crois moi, Amitié, Viya, Essesse, LA Blonde, Kamanzi, Cherie Massa, Lolita, Kinshasa makambo and 1981 song of the year Fievre mondo.

Despite new internal quarrels and personnel changes with the departure of Evoloko, Bozi and Djo Mali in 1981 to form Langa Langa Stars and joined a year later by Roxy Tshimpaka, Zaiko Langa Langa were very successful throughout the early 1980s.

After the departure of the three above mentioned Zaiko will[when?] regroup and come up with new innovations that will forever change Congolese Pop and music culture. Just like they did in 1973 with Cavasha.

In 1982 Zaiko will introduced maracas and Atalaku (musicians that only did animations) in the band. The Atalaku firstly performed solo by Sonnerie[disambiguation needed] in the critically acclaimed album tokangi robinet brought in the traditional elements into Zaiko and Congolese pop music. The mixture of maracas, African drum play by Djerba[disambiguation needed] and Atalaku (traditional animation) now led by Bebe[disambiguation needed] and Nono[disambiguation needed] will bring huge success to the band as well as revolutionized Congolese popular music.

That new era will also be marked by the arrival of Dindo Yogo as a singer in the band. Dindo Yogo a very experienced singer will have a huge impact in the singing section of the band. Dindo Yogo influence will be so great that he will do 80% of all solo vocals in all the songs that were released after his arrival. Zaiko was at the pinnacle of it success and released albums that one after another will have big success.The band was touring Europe and Africa and was the first Zairian band to visit Japan. At the end of the decade at the height of their glory and having establish themselves as legends in Zaire, the band experienced another major split, between the two leaders of the group Nyoka Longo and Bimi Ombale. The band was divided in two with every musician choosing his camp between the two leaders who were part of Zaiko since its creation. With Meridjo, Bapius, Matima, Zamuangana who were part of Zaiko from its creation staying with Nyoka Longo followed by Dindo Yogo and the band was called then Zaiko Langa Langa Nkolo Mboka, and was considered as the original Zaiko, to differentiate it from the band of Bimi Ombale which was called Zaiko Langa Langa Familia Dei and had Lengi Lenga, Ilo Pablo, JP Buse and the rest of the musicians that came in the 1980s. Later on, N'Yoka Longo's group reacquired the original name "Zaiko Langa Langa", which has maintained until today. N'Yoka Longo is[when?] still the leader of the group.


In 2002, Zaiko performed in the mythic arena Zenith of Paris, France. More than 6.000 fans attended. This was considered by many as the renaissance or rebirth of Zaiko. In fact, as earlier as 1988, Zaiko, being very popular at that time, made plan to perform in Zenith but the great split that occurred in the band stopped it for doing so.

Zaiko spent 6 and half years in Europe (2002–09). Its headquarters ware in Bruxelles, Belgium. But the band gave more concerts in France and other countries around Europe. During that time in Europe, Zaiko released three albums: Eureka (2002), Empreintes (2004), Recontres (2006). In the last album, Nyoka Longo invited many former Zaiko musicians like Malage, Beniko Popolipo; and a retired Congolese musician Tony Dee Bokito. He also recruited from Kinshasa, the son of late Dindo yogo, Lola Muana.

During the time the Band was in Europe, Nyoka Longo, in 2006, charged Lola Muana, who was then in Kinshasa, to form a group that would promote Zaiko music in D.R.Congo. Lola recruited and formed a subsidiary group of Zaiko called Les Ganers de Zaiko. Bapius Muaka, a longtime guitarist bass player who left the group during a minor split of 1999, joined the Ganers too.

The group returned in D.R.Congo in January 2009 with only five musicians: Nyoka Longo, Doudou Adoula, Chou Lay Evoloko, Malage de Lugendo, Gege Mangaya, Shango Landu and Lola Muana. Other members of the group defected and stayed in Europe where they formed a new band named Les Stars de Zaiko under the leadership of Adamo Ekula. Couple years later, they renamed their new band Zaikas Kolo Mboka.

Since his recruitment in Zaiko, Lola Muana was regarded by many as the principal heir of Zaiko. But in 2009, he was forced to quit the group because of his proposal to have a valid work contract with the group. His request was denied by the President of Zaiko, N'Yoka Longo Mvula Jossart. The son of Evoloko, Shou Lay, who backed Lola's request left the group too. In November 2011, Lola Muana was reinstated in the group.

Clan Langa Langa[edit]

Zaiko Langa Langa were both influential in their own right and through their many spin-offs. Most of these maintained a strong link to the original formation, and this is often reflected by the names they adopted. The groups that somehow belong to the Zaiko Langa Langa "franchise" are collectively known as the "Clan Langa Langa". This includes:

Partial discography[edit]

  • 1970 : Pauline
  • 1972 : L'amoureux decu
  • 1973 : Mete la vérité, chouchouna, Mbeya Mbeya, Zena
  • 1974 : Liwa ya somo, Mwana Wabi, Mizou, Eluzam, Belinda ya mbongo/Onassis
  • 1981 : Sarah Djenni
  • 1983 : La Tout Neige
  • 1984 : Bizita, Patchely
  • 1985 : Zaiko Eyi Nkisi
  • 1985 : Eh Ngoss! Eh Ngoss! Eh Ngoss!
  • 1986 : Bongoville
  • 1986 : Pusa Kuna... Serrez! Serrez!
  • 1997 : Papa Omar
  • 1987 : Bongama Kamata Position
  • 1987 : Subissez les conséquences
  • 1988 : Nippon Banzai au Japon
  • 1989 : Jetez l'Eponge
  • 1990 : Zaiko Langa-Langa F. D.
  • 1990 : Ici ca va "Fungola Motema"
  • 1992 : L'Autentique Zaiko Langa Langa
  • 1992 : Jamais sans nous
  • 1993 : Zaire-Ghana (recorded in Accra in 1976, produced by Henri Bowane)
  • 1994 : Ambiance a Kin" (Featuring Adamo Ekula, Baroza, Malage de Lugendo
  • 1995 : Avis de recherche
  • 1995 : Zekete Zekete
  • 1996 : Pacha labaran
  • 1996 : Saisie en Douane... 20 Ans Déjà
  • 1997 : Papa Omar
  • 1997 : Onassis
  • 1997 : Muvaro
  • 1997 : Le beau temps
  • 1997 : Bongo bouger
  • 1997 : Backline Lesson One
  • 1998 : Sans Issue
  • 1999 : Poison
  • 2000 : Etumba ya la vie ( An album by a dissident group of Meridjo: Zaiko Universel)
  • 2001 : Legend
  • 2001 : Feeling
  • 2002 : Anthologie
  • 2003 : Sentiment Awa / Essesse
  • 2003 : Eureka!
  • 2004 : Empreinte
  • 2006 : Rencontres
  • 2011 : Bande Annonce
Contributing artist


External links[edit]


  1. ^ The name is not reported and spelled consistently. Some album covers (including those of Les merveilles du passé and Zekete Zekete) report the first word as Zaiko, while others use a diaeresis (i.e., "Zaïko"). The official web site of the band has both variants. "Langa Langa" is sometimes written "Langa-Langa" (for example on the cover of Le beau temps, Zaire-Ghana, Pacha Labaran and the Le meilleurs souvenirs series). As was common with soukous recordings, many album covers report modified versions of the band name with leading epithets such as "Tout-Choc" or "Anti-Choc" (or both: "Tout-Choc Anti-Choc Zaiko Langa Langa").
  2. ^ Stewart, in Rumba on the River (p. 158), claims that "Langa Langa" means "to get drunk" in lingala (see [1]). Broughton, op cit, says Langa Langa is the name of an ethnic group.
  3. ^ Broughton, World Music, p.463
  4. ^ a b Biography of Zaiko Langa Langa
  5. ^ Broughton, op. cit., p. 463
  6. ^ See the "Palma Res" section of Zaiko Langa Langa's official site.
  7. ^ a b c See N'Yoka Longo: The Charismatic Leader of Zaiko Langa Langa
  8. ^ See Origines of Zaiko, on the band's official site
  9. ^ Nuttall, Beautiful Ugly, p.70