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Wednesday 11 July 2012

Congo Time

Today we bring you some tunes from the Congo, plus one that isn't (see if you can guess which).

Leading us off is J.B. Mpiana with his tribute to Kinshasa. I spent a night there once, nearly twenty years ago, although I probably did not see it at its best. My dear friend Shelley and I had gone out to South Africa for my sister's wedding and being young, impoverished, and frankly foolish had booked a very cheap flight between Brussels and Joburg with Air Zaire.

Going out was not too bad, going back was a different matter. We set off 24 hours late after the plane failed to turn up on the due date of departure. We then made an unscheduled stop at Lubumbashi where we were strongly encouraged to buy up all the stock in the airport bar and shop as a sort of tribute to the local warlord.

We finally reached Kinshasa for what was meant to be a short stopover. While waiting in the transit lounge we saw our luggage being taken off the plane and dumped on the runway, at which point a torrential downpour started. A gentleman came in and announced that we were not now flying on that night, and that the first 40 people who could find their luggage and clamber on the only available coach would have a hotel room for the night. The rest would be left to take their chances in the transit lounge.

Shelley and I were among the relatively lucky ones and made the coach. We were driven to a series of increasingly shabby hotels until they were able to find one that had room for all of us. It was in what appeared to be a shanty town and was essentially a brothel (judging by the number of gentleman callers knocking on our door during the night).

Somewhat to our surprise the coach came back for us all the next morning and we made it out of Kinshasa a mere 48 hours behind schedule. The rest of the journey was not straightforward either, but I will bore you with that some other time. Let's get back to the music.

"Kinshasa" - J.B. Mpiana

"Fongola Boule" - Abeba Lipordo

"Moto Na Tembe" - King Kester Emeneya

"Eswi Yo Wapi" - M'Bilia Bel

"Foshi" - Zaiko Langa-Langa

"Ami Gabim" - Modogo Gian Franco Ferre

"Congo Man" - Mighty Sparrow

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