Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)
(O. Redding/Cropper)
( 3'12, 1.46 Mo)

Sala Keba
(P. Wemba/L. Kanza)
( 3'39, 1.67 Mo)

Extrait de EMOTION (1995), avec: Vocals: Papa Wemba, Juliet Roberts (voc); Guitar: Maika Munn, Maurice Poto (keyb, guit, chorus); Lokua Kanza (guit, bass, percu, chorus); Stephen Hague (Accordion); The Kick Horns (Horns); Christian Polloni (keyb, chorus); Jean-Philippe Rykiel (keyb); Noel Ekwabi (bass); Andy Duncan (drums, percu); Paco Sery (drums); Xavier Jouvelet, Udoh Essieh (percu); Anne Papiri, Julia Sarr (chorus).


" b. Shungu Wembiado, 1952, Kasai, Zaire. Wemba's musical roots can be traced to 1969 when he formed Zaiko Langa Langa. The idea was to update traditional African sounds with the imported rhythms and melodies of the West, including rock and R&B. Zaiko Langa Langa was an experimental concern, using multitudinous singers to produce harmonies and chants, with electric instruments and drum kits brought home by Zairean students living in Belgium. He left in 1970 to form Isifi Lokole, then Yoka Lokole and, in 1977, Viva La Musica. On leaving Zaiko Langa Langa, he kept up the ragged, streetwise sound, the 'beau desordre', associated with the group, his voice adding a high wailing tone that cut through two decades of sweet Kinshasa harmonies. Kinshasa's Radio Trottoir first fastened on to Wemba during his Isifi Lokole days, when he was accused of an illicit affair with a young girl and spent a few days in jail. Viva La Musica took its name from a 'charanga' song by Johnny Pacheco. He also re-introduced a traditional instrument to the music, the lokole, a hollow tree trunk played with two sticks like a drum, which was conventionally used to pass messages between neighbouring villages. In Zaire, Brussels and Paris, Wemba's followers, and those of other great fashion leaders, are known as 'Sapeurs', members of the Societe Des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes. The hallmarks are the same: expensive clothes, bearing the most prestigious of designer labels from Giorgio Armani to Cardin and Jimmy Weston. One particular song, 'Matebu', has become the Sapeurs' hymn. During the course of such songs, Wemba has been known to balance his shoes, doubtless Westons, on his head and turn round his vest to show off the labels. Overseas, Wemba has also made an impact - with 'La Firenze', which praises Florence, Paris, Tokyo and other style centres, introducing electro handclaps and a beat-box into a straight, sharper soukous style. For the true, exuberant Wemba, though, it is necessary to listen to albums like La Vie Comme Elle Va Bola (1984), with its electric-saw vocals rising above echoing guitars and a wall of ragged harmonies that seem to have come straight off a night-time Kinshasa street. His debut solo album, recorded in collaboration with producer Martin Messonier, was released in 1988. Genuine acclaim, though, arrived with Le Voyageur, which saw him make his debut on Real World Records. Here he risked alienating African purists by forging an international style which was both distinct and innovative. Even more cosmopolitan was 1995's Emotion, overseen in the studio by Pet Shop Boys / Erasure producer Stephen Hague. Just as important was the contribution of keyboard player Jean-Philippe Rykiel (a collaborator with Salif Keita and Youssou N'Dour ), Papa Noel (bass) and Christian Polloni (guitar), though regular backing vocalists Reddy Amisi and Stino had been replaced by female accompanists. Of many notable tracks perhaps the most interesting was a cover version of Otis Redding 's 'Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)', Wemba's favourite singer. Despite his obvious desire to seek international success, elsewhere his impressive vocals remained rooted in his own native Lingala language, helping to offset accusations that he had turned his back on the continent of his birth. He also maintains a separate, 20-piece soukous orchestra for 'real African music fans', as further evidence of this commitment. His third album for Real World was co-produced by noted English producer, John Leckie ( Fall, Radiohead ), and proved to be a more vibrant collection than previous albums. "



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