Preview: Kanda Bongo Man

By Paul Fitzgerald
Thu 05 October, 2017

The King of Soukous comes to Liverpool this weekend. Paul Fitzgerald gets ready to dance.

The roof of the Philharmonic Music Room will undoubtedly be lifted this weekend as The King Of Soukous brings his show to town.

Kanda Bongo Man pretty much reinvented soukous music in the early 80s, bringing new life to this exciting Congolese form of songwriting, and in the process attracted the attention of people such as John Peel, Andy Kershaw and the WOMAD festival.

Born in the DRC in 1955, and known for his relentlessly upbeat and celebratory music, he brought about the change in the soukous sound by rearranging the previous approach of a collection of verses with a chiming cascading guitar solo at the end, and instead used extra guitarists, placing the solos in between the verses and throughout the song. The result is a thrillingly upbeat and electrifying sound; insistent, joyful and simply wonderful. This is undeniably good time music.

The famous Kanda Bongo Man saying goes that if you aren’t able to find yourself dancing to this music, an ambulance will be needed, or preferably a hearse, as the chances are you’re probably dead.

Let’s be clear, if you’re in the Music Room this Saturday, at some point you’ll be dancing the Kwassa Kwassa, a form of Congolese dance particular to the addictive music of this exciting performer. This true African legend brings his full band with him to the Music Room, this time featuring the great and honorary Scouser Felix Ngindu on drums.

Prepare to move.

Kanda Bongo Man plays the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room this Saturday (7th October). Tickets are on sale here.

Photo taken from artists Facebook page.