O.K. Jazz The Loningisa Years 1956-1961

cover-ok-jazz-planet-ilungamade with love…lots of research and discovering great long lost Congolese music. That is the first impression of this new release by the Belgian label Planet Ilunga. This exciting young label wants to contribute to restore the rich Congolese music archive, firstly through high quality vinyl issues and extensive booklets.

 O.K. Jazz The Loningisa Years 1956-1961

 ∞∞∞ Release date: 1 February 2017 ∞∞∞


After the two earlier releases on Planet Ilunga, focusing on the orchestras African Jazz and Rock-a-Mambo, it makes perfect sense that a third album should explore the treasures of that other major school of popular Congolese music. With this new compilation Planet Ilunga goes back to the very early days of O.K. Jazz, founded in 1956 in Léopoldville and disbanded in 1993. During the late fifties O.K. Jazz was the home of outstanding musicians such as Franco, Vicky, De La Lune, Edo Nganga, Dessoin, Kouka Celestin, Isaac, Brazzos, Mujos and many others. Together they created an unique and hair-raising take on rumba, cha-cha-cha, calypso, merengue and the band’s favourite rhythm: the bolero

Tscha-Tscha Del Zombo

From June 1956 to August 1961 the band recorded 320 tracks for the 78 rpm music label Loningisa. Despite earlier efforts from labels such as Crammed Disc, RetroAfric and African (thank you!), there is still a large part of the Loningisa back catalogue that remains hidden from the public. That’s why Planet Ilunga associated with Yves Luambo Emongo (son of Franco) and Julien Rocky Longomba (son of Vicky) and compiled 32 O.K. Jazz songs that were recorded between 1956 and 1961.

Na Kobala Mimi

All songs on this compilation were originally released on 78 rpm records on the Loningisa label and most of the selected tracks were never reproduced after their original release. I tried to construct a tracklist consisting of different composers and different genres to show the diversity of this great band. Planet Ilunga collaborated for this release with a few 78 rpm collectors. I would once again like to thank them for sharing their rare records.

Mousica Tellama

Vinyl-only release
* 2LP vinyl: 32 tracks (total running time: 93:25): tracklist, see Discogs
* Comes with a 40-page booklet (in English) with lyrics in Lingala, lots of pictures and a closer look to this terrific band
* Full artwork gatefold album cover by Miadana Aurélia
* 180 gram vinyl
* Restored and remastered tracks
* Limited and numbered to 500 copies
* Worldwide distribution through carefully selected vinyl shops
* First orders receive a limited O.K. Jazz concert poster, made by Muzikifan, only 75 made

Mbongo Na Ngai Judas


Compiled with the precious help of Stefan Werdekker from the music plaform Worldservice and Flemmming Harrev from afrodisc.com.

Special thanks to Julien Rocky Longomba and Yves Luambo Emongo, respectively sons of Victor Longomba (aka Vicky, tenor voice in O.K. Jazz) and François Luambo Makiadi (aka Franco, guitarist in O.K. Jazz).Thanks to the 78 rpm collectors Christian Van den Broeck and David Manet. Thanks to Alastair Johnston from the Muzikifan website who made the poster and revised the booklet. Melesi mingi Christian Ongoba & Henriette Alipaye for the transciption of the songs in in Lingala.

Order info

Shops and distributors that would like to distribute this release, please contact Planet Ilunga for wholesale details.  Readers can already pre-order a copy of this release by sending  an email at planetilunga@gmail.com or going to the shop page on the Planet Ilunga blog. For those who don’t have the second Planet Ilunga release (Rock-A-Mambo/African Jazz – Souvenirs From Esengo 1957-1961) yet, feel free to ask for a copy. A few copies are still available. The first release (Souvenirs from the Congo) is completely sold out.

Links to order:




More info on the label

Planet Ilunga specializes in archiving, documenting and sharing the “Rumba Lingala” sound from the fifties and sixties from both the Congos. In the following years, Planet Ilunga wants to contribute to restore the rich Congolese music archive, in the first place through high quality vinyl issues and extensive booklets. Your sharing of this mailing, video or info to fellow (Congolese) music lovers would be very welcome.

Papa Wemba R.I.P. (1949 – 2016)

Last Sunday Papa Wemba collapsed at a concert in Ivory Coast and died shortly afterwards. To die in the armor is probably just the way he had always wanted it, how shocking this news may seem. Papa Wemba (born Lubefu in 1949) became famous as a young singer when he joined the band Zaiko Langa Langa in 1969.

Congolese rumba (or soukous) was big in the fifties and sixties, when African artists were mixing traditional Congolese music with soul and Latin American and Caribbean rhythms.

The band played a  modern and bold version of rumba, full of tight drums and electric guitars, and therefore Zaiko Langa Langa was very popular with mainly Congolese youth. Not least because of the appearance of the band, always well dressed in the latest imported fashions. But Zaiko Langa Langa was also popular because the band created a true dance craze in the seventies with the very exciting cavacha rhythm.
From 1974 onwards Papa Wemba founded a few own bands. First Isifi Lokole, later Yoka Lokole and eventually the band Viva la Musica.  As a bandleader with this group Wemba wanted to give young Congolese talent an opportunity and the composition of the group therefore changed constantly. Viva la Musica had big hits with songs like ‘African Bokulaka’ and ‘Mere Superior. And Papa Wemba was a star in his home country, especially as one of the leaders of the Congolese La SAPE, a movement which wanted to show with striking and fashionable clothes that Africans could survive very well without colonial rulers.

See also les Sapeurs; battle of the dandies

Too numerous to mention but one of my own favourites must be this collaboration with Hector Zazou from 1983 on the excellent Crammed Discs from Brussels, Belgium. A quite rare and hard to find wave-afro funker.

Zazou/Wemba -Malimba

(Crammed Discs 023 -Belgium 1983)

See also this documentary of Papa Wemba – The King Of Sape/ Papa Wemba Le Roi De La Sape. Not for the fainthearted….

source; de Volkskrant April 25 2016 -Robert Gijssel


Soul Safari ebay auction

Greetings fellow music lovers, Soul Safari’s eBay auction starts today with new additions weekly.

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Throughout the entire month of May Soul Safari will be listing field recordings, folk, private pressings, township jive & kwela jazz, African jazz, soul & boogie, mbanqaga,and much much more with absolutely no reserves.

Records that have been presented on these pages over the last five years are now on auction. So here  is your change to grab some rare African vinyl  as I am cleaning out my shelves to make room for new music.


Soul Safari's ebay auction
Soul Safari’s ebay auction


Soul Safari's eBay auction
Soul Safari’s eBay auction

Some highlights; a collection of ultra rare and seldom heard field recordings from ILAM, recorded by Hugh Tracey. These records were purchased many years ago directly from ILAM in South Africa from what was left of their unsold stock. All records come in their original cover with the labels attached to the back cover and are unplayed, in brand new mint condition.

More  Soul Safari favs like great 45’s by jive kings The Soweto Boys, mbanqaga queens The Manzini Girls  are now on auction.

Soul Safari's eBay auction
Soul Safari’s eBay auction

See Soul Safari’s eBay auction starting today.

Thanks  for your support and best of luck, happy bidding!

Le Grand Kallé & l’Orchestre Jazz -Souvenirs from the Congo

Made in Belgium always stand for quality; chocolates, tapestry, Belgian cuisine…just to name a few of the most famous Belgian exports. I would like to add music as another element of high quality to this list!

Souvenirs from the Congo is a beautiful double album by Le Grand Kallé and certainly a product of quality. Made with love.

I had the change to interview BART, the founder of Planet Ilunga who is responsible for releasing this excellent compilation. Pressed as a gatefold deluxe limited edition of 500 copies only. So don’t sleep….

Please note that there are 2 pages to this post, see the pagination at the bottom of this page…

See also Congo – a history by David van Reybrouck

See also Le Ry-Co Jazz – afro jazz in tumbélé style 1960’s



Le Grand Kallé –Parafifi

Le Grand Kallé – Mokonzi Ya Mboka

Please tell us more about yourself; your age, your interest in music, your label Planet Ilunga?

I’m a 28 year old who likes to collect different kinds of music on vinyl. One year ago I lost my job due to the economic crisis. This was a huge setback, but it gave me the opportunity and the time to fulfill the project that kept me dreaming the whole time: creating a music label and kick it off with an anthology on Joseph Kabasele (Le Grand Kallé).

I discovered him five years ago through a cd-compilation called Rumba on the River, compiled by Florent Mazzoleni. I was already collecting records for several years, but mainly electronic music from Chicago, Detroit and Belgium, some old jazz and blues and the occasional exotic compilation on labels like Soundway. After buying this cd I immediately became enchanted by this rumba-music from the likes of Franco, Joseph Kabasele, Docteur Nico, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Bantous de la Capitale, ergo the very best in the 50s and 60s in the two Congos.

From then on, my passion for Congolese and African music began to take form and I started to search frenetically for those rumba-sounds on legendary Congolese labels like Ngoma, Vita or Kabasele’s own label Surboum African Jazz. I soon became very frustrated because most of these records are not easy to find. What was a little bit easier was finding the releases on Sonodisc’s African label. Frustration took over again though when I saw how very disorderly their catalog was compiled adding very little or no documentation to any of the music. I found this a disgrace for music history. That’s why I decided to compile my own Joseph Kabasele-compilation. It was released on June 30, Congolese independence day.


What are your plans with Planet Ilunga?

The main intention with this first anthology is to give some background on Kallé and l’African Jazz – since Sonodisc failed to do so on their releases – and release it in a valuable package with a good remastering and nice label artwork. I’m aware there are already a lot of reissue labels for African music among whom some great ones, but a lot of them are reissuing African music, because it has a certain appeal to western dj’s or because it sounds funky or because it’s afrobeat. That’s not what this label stands for. I would like to reissue the artists who were at the forefront when modern music started in different African countries. If all goes well, I will release a series of Congolese artists first on Planet Ilunga and then move to artists from Guinea, Tanzania, Cameroon, etc. There’s still a lot to discover and so much important music is not available on vinyl or cd.



Tell us more about the compilation; quality wise; pressing, mastering, where is it for sale etc?

For this compilation I could choose from the Grand Kallé’s tracks which were released on different albums, singles and compilations on Sonodisc’s labels. I selected 26 tracks and divided them in four stories: ‘The Belle Epoque’ (mostly tracks from the fifties); ‘Vive The Independence’ (politics-related songs like Table Ronde and Africa Mokili Mobimba), ‘Pièce de Résistance’ (for the most part post-colonial songs from the early sixties when the band got more mature) and finally ‘The Cuban Connection’ (where the influence that the Cuban Son, Cha-Cha and other Latin-American styles had on Kabasele and his peers can be heard even more than in the other ‘stories’). I remastered all the tracks and pressed them on two 180 gram vinyls and packaged them into a gatefold format. Each copy (500 in total) is numbered and accompanied by a 24-pages booklet. I included a short biography, lyrics in Lingala, pictures and a list of the musicians. In short, it gives some background on Congo’s most beautiful export product.

There is no cd or digital version, maybe I will do this for a next compilation. I don’t have a distributor yet, but people can buy this first compilation from different record stores across Europe, like Rush Hour in Holland or Oye Record Store or HHV in Germany. In Belgium you can dig for it in all the good record stores. You can also buy directly from the label by sending me an email.

Why compile music from Congo –now République Démocratique du Congo (DR Congo)?

Do you know the stamp that Polydor pressed on their African music 45 sleeves? It says ‘The music that makes you happy’. For me this is the most spot-on baseline I ever encountered and it reflects why I plundered my bank account to finance this release. These Congolese recordings are giving me lots of ‘joie de vivre’ and I just want to share this on my favorite medium -vinyl.

Furthermore, there is the political and social side in this music which I find interesting. In the two Congos music and politics have often gone hand in hand. Even the most fanatic propaganda song can be music-wise utterly brilliant. For example listen to this Franco song where he ‘s praising Mobotu and his MPR.

Despite of the sheer beauty it brings, I think the fifties and sixties music from both of the Congos is mostly neglected by the small or bigger reissue labels lately. This is very strange, considering the major influence the Congolese rumba has had on other regions in Central, Eastern and even West Africa. The labels Crammed Disc and Sterns Music are the exceptions though. One month ago Sterns put out their Grand Kalle anthology with different tracks than on the Planet Ilunga 2LP. They only released it as a 2CD. I couldn’t recommend this enough, there are some wonderful tracks on it.


Are you working as a musician, collector or cultural anthropologist?

No, I currently work as a journalist in other fields, but in the long run my ambition is to help preserving the African music archives as a full time job. There are many examples of Western institutions or even individuals who are doing a great job in preserving historic music archives, and not only in Africa. I find this wonderful, certainly if they share their knowledge. Regarding African music archives I must say Graeme Counsel did an amazing job in archiving Guinea’s music heritage. Even more interesting is the Tanzania heritage project. I hope it takes off well, so it can serve as an example for other African countries. It’s time some ministries of Culture in African countries begin to care about preserving their own music patrimony. Why are there few  projects in Africa that even try to preserve part of their (music) culture? It’s sad, this indifference. If only they knew how much export value this could have…


Masks -Haitian Vodou and Togo deities

haiti voodoo 9 gecomp

Maske is a Haitian kreyol word, meaning to wear a mask. Todays selection of text and some of the most stunning pictures of Haitian Vodou comes from the book ‘Maske’ by Phyllis Galembo.

This acclaimed book with thrilling photographs, showing masquerade performers in Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Haiti is a celebration of African art, and a work of vivid artistic imagination. Photographs of carnival characters, mostly rooted in African religion and spirituality, are presented in chapters organised by tribal or carnival tradition each introduced by a short text by Galembo about the characters and costumes portrayed. The art of masquerade is introduced by art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu, (himself a participant in masquerade events during his childhood in Nigeria).

See also previous post Maske by Phyllis Galembo -Makishi & Lakishi masquerades & more

haiti voodoo 10 gecomp haiti voodoo 1 gecomp

Within the African Diaspora, Haitian culture is known for its strong connection to Yoruba, Congo, and other Cross river cultures which, over centuries, slaves combined with influences from local Taino Indians and Europeans, and from Vodou.

For these photographs of traditional religious rituals Galembo went to Haiti, where she documented the traditional priests and priestesses of Vodou during Jacmel Kanaval, when troupes of musicians and dancers fill the streets. A wonderful yet dangerous event, the mood can swing wildy from exuberant joy to defiant aggression. Today, after the catastrophic earthquake of 12 January 2010, Jacmel Kanaval was cancelled and, as I write this, much of Haity including Jacmel, remains in ruins.

haiti voodoo 6
haiti voodoo 3

haiti voodoo 4 haiti voodoo 5

ISBN 978-1-905712-17-5

First published 2010 by Chris Boot www.chrisboot.com

see also Vodou, Visions and Voices of Haiti

Published by Ten Speed Press; ISBN: 1580086764; 2005


and just one more Voodoo photograph, from Togo…from the book ‘Faces Of Africa’ by Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher -National Geographic Society USA 

haiti voodoo 2

A Voodoo devotee from Togo surrenders himself to the spirit of his personal deity. His eyes roll upward and his pupils disappear, leaving only the whites. Depending on which direction they eyes roll, observers can tell what spirit has possessed him. This man, with his eyes rolled toward the sky, is possessed by Hebioso, the thunder god.

This seminal volume first published in 2009 is a landmark. The award-winning team of photographers Carol Beckwith / Angela Fisher and authors of African Ark present a stunning selection of 250 full-color portrait photographs from across Africa, spanning every region of the continent, from the Islamic Africans of the North, to the tribal cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, to the people of the South, in a compact edition of their acclaimed book.

Faces of Africa: Thirty Years of Photography
Beckwith, Carol / Fisher, Angela

Published by Natl Geographic Society 2009-01-06, 2009
ISBN 10: 1426204248 / ISBN 13: 9781426204241

Dieudonné Niangouna’s Shéda at the Holland Festival -Les Bruits de la Rue

due to the ongoing civil unrest in Congo, Les Bruits de la Rue, a group of theatremakers are forced to perform in the streets of Brazzaville, next to the ravaged theaters that they once used to present their art.

The international premiere of Shéda, directed by Congolese theatre maker Dieudonné Niangouna and performed by Les Bruits de la Rue, will take place on 6 and 7 June 2013 as part of the Holland Festival. After the 7 June performance, Niangouna will participate in a Q&A with writer and director Maarten van Hinte. Dieudonné Niangouna is one of today’s most prominent innovators of African theatre and a Prince Claus Fund project partner. The production and performance of Shéda is supported by the Prince Claus Fund and the Institut Français.


“I will make the audience howl with laughter, while it’s all very serious and really nothing to laugh about.”

– Dieudonné Niangouna

Dieudonné Niangouna is a writer, director and one of the most prominent innovators of African theatre. Through his dynamic performances, he reflects the violence and anger in Congo today. By combining French, the popular poetry of Congolese writer Sony Labou Tansi and the traditional mythical stories of his people, the Lari, Niangouna has created a vibrant ‘living language for the living’ that serves as a weapon in the fight against injustice.

Les Bruits de la Rue’s performance of Shéda is a ‘choral odyssey’ with twelve African and European actors, including Niangouna himself, and two musicians. Part theatre, part musical performance, Shéda is an orchestrated stream of words, thoughts and images fused together to form a layered theatrical fresco. Niangouna employs his ‘living language’ onstage to create a refuge in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event. The characters that gather there embody fallen gods. They are heroes from a bygone era who have returned as ghosts or dreamlike apparitions. In Shéda, these spectres try to redeem their humanity while sharing their stories and memories of the end of the world.

Shéda by Les Bruits de la Rue, directed by Dieudonné Niangouna 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

20:00 – 23:00


Leidseplein 26, Amsterdam

Friday, 7 June 2013

19:45 Introduction by Maarten van Hinte

20:00 Performance

23:00 Q&A with Dieudonné Niangouna and Maarten van Hinte


Leidseplein 26, Amsterdam

Language: French with Dutch surtitles

Orchestre Les Rebelles -Manicero

Hit Parade Africain -Spring 2013 Mix -rumba, soukous, afrobeat , one of my previous posts attracted enough comments and a few requests to single out one particular track; Orchestre Les Rebelles -ManiceroI agree that this is a standout track.  Enjoy the download

hit parade africain cover voor

Hit Parade Africain Vol 4 -Orchestre Les Noirs, Orchestre Sinza, Franco & Orchestre TP Ok Jazz, Orchestre Les Rebelles, Les Bantous, Orchestre Mando Negro, Orchestre Hi-Fives MLP 12-198 UK

Konono Nr. 1 live in Amsterdam @Minimal Africa Festival

in the sixties musician Mingledi Mawangu erects Konono Nr. 1. in southern Congo, near the border of Angola.  Later the band settles in the capital Kinshasa.


There they are noticed in 1978 by a Frenchman who records them for the renowned label Ocora. When Tony Van der Eecken, music programmer of the Brussels Bozar, encounters Konono on one of his journeys in the Congo, he decides to bring the group to the Low Countries for a tour.  Dutch punk band The Ex  released recordings of their first performances in Holland on Terp Records. Today they are connected to the Belgian label Crammed Discs, that releases their music  in the series ‘Congotronics’.

konono nr. 1 podium 2

Last weekend Konono Nr. 1 performed during the World Music Festival 2013 at the new centre for modern and experimental music; Muziekgebouw aan het IJ/Bim Huis in Amsterdam. Normally  this center operates as a platform for ‘serious’ music with the spectators seated on chairs. Not so when Konono Nr. 1 was on stage. It took just a few minutes before people got up from their seats and started dancing in the aisles.

It was therefore impossible to sit still during the swinging performance. The band played a tight set on instruments made ​​from discarded household and amplified likembe. The music of Konono No 1 connects city and jungle, they play ritual trance music for special occasions. When they started in Kinshasha they had to drown out the noise of the city, so they  amplified their likembe, also known as a thumb piano, a series of metal blades mounted on a sound box. The trance repertoire receives through the additional distortion an extra dimension.

The name Konono Nr. 1 means as much as to move the dead. Whether they pull that off is debatable but their long spun performance last Friday transformed the hall into a swirling dance club.

konono nr. 1 podium 1

Later the same night the American DJ/blogger/anthropologist Brian Shimkovitz aka Awesome Tapes From Africa did the same thing upstairs in the lounge during a magical set of obscure, fascinating African music, mainly from cassettes.

Hit Parade Africain -Spring 2013 Mix -rumba, soukous, afrobeat

hit parade africain cover voor

to kick off the new month here is a groovy mix of great rumba, soukous, afrobeat…all tracks taken from ‘Hit Parade Africain Vol 4’, released by the wonderful label Melodisc Records Ltd that was based in London.  No year of publication is indicated, so I estimate that  this release is from mid 70s.  Melodisc Records Ltd released a remarkable selection of early ska, rocksteady and African music and the records are quite rare these days….so enjoy this mix!

Hit Parade Africain Vol 4 -Orchestre Les Noirs, Orchestre Sinza, Franco & Orchestre TP Ok Jazz, Orchestre Les Rebelles, Les Bantous, Orchestre Mando Negro, Orchestre Hi-Fives MLP 12-198 UK

hit parade africain cover achter

hit parade africain label side 1

Hit Parade Africain Mix 1 April 2013

 Orchestre Sinza -Mahoungou

Franco et l’Orchestre TP OK Jazz -Ye Nr. 1

Orchestre Les Rebelles -Manicero

Les Bantous -Macaro

Orchestre Les Noirs -Sikiya Sauce Nr. 1

Orchestre Les Noirs -Amin Nr. 1

Orchestre Hi-Fives -Belina Mon Amour

hit parade africain label side 2

Le Ry-Co Jazz – afro jazz in tumbélé style 1960’s

le ry-co jazz -dansons avec vol 12 afbeelding

The Ry-Co Jazz band from Congo are Jean-Serge Essous (saxophone), M’Bilia Casino (congas & chant), JerryMalekani (guitar) & others who offer us a rare slice of Caribbean music during the 60’s.

Their productions are most in demand since the band is the creator of  “Tumbélé”, an original explosive cross pollination between african rumba from Congo & creoles kompa -modern mérengue- from Martinique/Guadeloupe where the band was based during 60’s. The recording sessions on this EP was realised by “Debs music: the guardians of creolemusic”, a production and  recording company founded by Henri Debs, known for his quality recordings & team of musicians.

On this 7″ EP ‘Dansons…avec le Ry-Co Jazz Vol. 12’ you will find swinging afro jazz in tumbélé style with latin overtones, excellent for the dance floor. Recorded from the actual EP

Le Ry-Co Jazz Vol 12 -Habiba Moussa

Le Ry-Co Jazz Vol 12 -Bo Lata Bo Robe

Le Ry-Co Jazz Vol 12 -Give Me Bombolo

Le Ry-Co Jazz Vol 12 -Mi Baila La Pachanga

see also TUMBÉLÉ! Biguine, afro & latin sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74