The Congolese music icon Bantous de la Capitale turned 60

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Congolese music band - Bantous de la Capitale
Congolese music band – Bantous de la Capitale

The famous Congolese Rumba orchestra Les Bantous de la Capitale is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. This group is a monument of Congolese, African music and an inspiration for many artists.

August 1959 – a Congolese music icon is born

1959 – The wind of independence is already blowing in Africa, especially in the territories still under French domination.
A group of young men based in Kinshasa (at the time of Leopoldville) create music. In this city, they could record and collaborate with other musicians.
Artists from Brazaville come together and found the Bantous de la Capitale. Edouard Ganga, known as Edo, is currently the only founder of the group still present.

In the 1960s, many music groups were inspired by Cuban music; el son cubano and rumba in particular. It can also be said that they recognized African sounds in these musical genres.
Rumba, in particular, has its origins in traditional music from the Congo Basin. Cumba, practised during fertility ceremonies.
It can undoubtedly be said that Rumba comes from Africa and has evolved with the well-known Cuban and Congolese versions.

When artists sing in Spanish, the distinction is almost imperceptible. Groups such as Africando or Las Maravillas de Mali have shown this.
Even without singing in Spanish, the similarities are more than striking. Just listen to Comité Bantou!

Comité Bantou by Bantous de la Capitale

Bantous de la Capitale, Congolese music and beyond

From the very beginning of its existence, the orchestra began to travel all over Africa. They play in Dakar (Senegal), Algeria and many other countries.
On the other hand, many artists have been through this group. In addition, this orchestra has inspired many more recent musical genres, such as the Coupé-Décalé.
The Bantous de la Capitale have largely contributed to the spread of Rumba and the influence of Congolese music.
Edo was also one of the founding members of the Négro Jazz or the very famous OK Jazz.
There is no doubt that the Bantous de la Capitale are part of Africa’s musical, cultural and historical heritage; if not beyond. For Rumba fans, a best-of of their 40 emblematic titles marks this anniversary.

Younger artists, such as Héritier Watanabé, do not hide their love for the Bantu of the Capital. From then on, the bridge was built between the younger and older generation of music lovers. This is the magic of music: universal and transgenerational language. It is also through it that Africans, through time and space, have remained connected and attached to their motherland.