Ah, ngai nzambe
by Luyeye Gaston
Played 25 Times
Rumba in the Jungle
Aaand we’re back!
Keen followers may notice that I tend to be more interested in music from the African diaspora than music from Africa itself. Part of it has to do with how huge and diverse the styles of African music are, and it’s not something I’ve really delved into much.
A while back I picked up a compilation of Congolese pop from the early-to-mid 50s called “The Roots of Rumba Rock.” What’s really striking about the music is how much obvious Afro-Cuban influence there is to it.
If I listened to this without focusing on the lyrics, they could pass for Spanish, and I would not for a second guess that this came from Central Africa, and would think it was an old Cuban rumba group.
It’s interesting to me that African rhythms had such a big influence on Cuban music, but then the tables got turned. Musicians in the Belgian Congo (later Zaire, currently DRC) used their own musical heritage while using the newer Cuban sounds to complement them. Sez Crammed Discs:
“In the early Fifties, Kinshasa (then called Léopoldville) became a musical beehive. Being the capital of a country the size of a continent, it was a meeting point for a wide variety of ethnic groups which soon merged their traditions to create new musical styles. But the main reason why the music of Kinshasa grew so strong and conquered all Africa lies in its spectacularly successful reappropriation of Afro-Cuban music, which was instantly recognized and adopted as a prodigal son coming back home. Which of course it really was: only two generations had passed since the end of the slave trade from Congo to Cuba, and most elements in Cuban music sounded very familiar to Congolese ears.”
Unfortunately, I can’t find any information about Luyeye Gaston, the group or individual who does this tune. But I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!