The great return of Wenge Musica, a legendary soukous group from the DR Congo
A historic return for ”Wenge Musica”. A few months ago, photos of the Congolese musical group circulated on social networks when some of its leaders gathered in a room to speak with one voice.
JB Mpiana, Didier Masela, Werrason, Alain Makaba, Adolf Dominguez were among the founding members of the musical group created in 1980.
This group was very popular between 1986 and 1997 thanks to its Kino musical style which combined Congolese rumba, sung in Lingala with unique dance steps which would later become Soukous and Ndombolo in its evolution.
It all started in the Bandalungwa commune, one of Kinshasa’s 24 communes. Young men with a passion for music came together and created the group Wenge Musica.
To understand the beginnings of this orchestra, the Africanews journalist Serge Koffi spoke with the Congolese host Nathy Lokole who lived all the seasons of this mythical group.
“The identity of Wenge Musica is first of all that of being born in a given city. Their identity is above all of being born with people who are friends”.
Wenge Musica was very active between 1981 and 1997 and achieved success with the release of several albums. The group is best known for helping to popularize ‘ndombolo’, a dance derived from the rumba and the Congolese soukouss.
Despite its success and notoriety, the group broke up in 1997. The quarrels between the two leaders, JB Mpiana and Werrason, led to the group’s disappearance.
But the success didn’t stop for some members of the group as some went on to excellent solo careers. Some fans, however, have struggled to come to terms with their split to this day. Amadou Diaby a producer at Mansa music tells us more.
“The separation hurt a lot of people and for more than 25 years they didn’t speak to each other. There were a lot of stories and the wish of all Congolese people was to see this legendary group again one day. It’s like if the Beatles got back together, we tried to reconcile them all together and still please all the Congolese and African people around the world.”
After 25 years of quarrels, the leaders of the group have decided to break down the walls that separated them and to pick up their common history where it left off. This reconciliation was sealed by a concert at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa.
“We had our differences. We’ve been separated for 25 years, we’ve been friends and we’ve spent a lot of our lives together. It was starting to weigh on us. It was a good window of opportunity that we didn’t have. not had.” want to miss and so we hung there”. Alain Makaba one of the founders of the group confided in Koffi.
The group hopes to use the concert to promote unity in the country, especially at a time when the Central African nation is facing an economic crisis and a deteriorating security situation in its eastern part.
“Today the Congo must set an example. Thus the musicians of Wenge Musica gave a lesson to the world. After 25 years, coming together for the well-being of the Congolese people is extraordinary. We have a thought in the East Today if all the Congolese gather at the Stade des Martyrs to say that they are one and indivisible and to put an end to all the blunders, I think that tribalism will not take over in this country.” Diaby of Mansa Music pointed out.
June 30 concert
The message seems to have been well understood. On June 30, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC Independence Day, nearly 75,000 fans stormed the Stade des Martyrs to celebrate Wenge Musica’s reconciliation.
Some of them had to wait almost 6 hours before entering the stadium which vibrated non-stop in a swirling atmosphere…
“The Wenge spirit is about being together. Looking good, smelling good and being stylish. Wenge means a lot to me. You can tell their music is smart. A lot of their songs are educational. It’s not absurd, their music was very comforting for the young people,” confided to our correspondent a spectator of the concert who was waiting to enter.
The concert will continue to meet expectations: unifying, artistic and incredibly danceable.
An impressive debut from the band, surprising even fans and lighting up the arena when popular hit songs like Mulolo were performed.
41 years after its creation, Wenge Musica continues to write its history.
The group has decided to donate part of the profits from the concert to the wives of the armed forces of the DRC engaged in the conflicts in the country.