6 Duos in Congolese Music


1) Franco Luambo Makiadi and Madilu System’s Non Libala

Madilu joined Ok Jazz in 1980. He was introduced to Franco by Ntesa Dalienst.
At the time when they recorded Non Libala, Madilu was newly recruited. His intention was to leave Franco & OK Jazz in Brussels, where the song was recorded, and go live in Switzerland. Franco offered him the opportunity to sing Non Libala mainly because nobody else wanted. All other members were afraid of the song because they were previously arrested due to some of the themes they recorded in the past. Franco first wanted Josky Kiambukuta to sing it. When Madilu recorded his demo of the song, Franco and his wife, Maman Kulutu, were amazed.

The song is about rejection. As celebrities, they are used to people agreeing with them. The woman in the story said no. She gave her clever reasons for saying it: she wanted to have a man of her own. These guys recorded long songs, about 8 min on average. This means that they had more rooms to say what they wanted to say; therefore, they often laid their songs in two or more context. In Non Libala, there is a context of rejection, a context of marriage and a context of divorce.

2) Jolie Detta feat Franco Luambo Makiadi’s Layile

Jolie Detta is one of the three females who integrated the band Ok Jazz.
The other two are Baniel and Nana. Jolie Detta was a fantastic singer and dancer.
She featured in the song Massu and Layile, the very song that we are reviewing now.

Luambo Makiadi, the band leader, was a master of guitar. The accompaniment that he played in Layile is among his greatest work.

Layile is about a man who forced his wife and kids to go on holiday so that he can have more freedom to enjoy himself. As always, Luambo added a lot of humor in this song.

3) Fally Ipupa feat Koffi Olomide’s Pharmacien

Pharmacien is Fally Ipupa’s last song released by the band Quartier Latin.
Fally had already left Quartier Latin when Danger de Mort, the album which contained this song, was released. The video was recorded before Fally’s departure. It was unclear whether Koffi, the bandleader, was going to release the track Pharmacien and its video clip but he did. Koffi even said that Fally’s album, Droit Chemin, was going to be competing with his own single, Pharmacien.

This song is about a woman who was ordered, by her husband, to move from Bandundu to Kinshasa. However, things didn’t work properly between them when she arrived in Kinshasa.

4) Madilu System feat Nyboma’s Voisin

The song Voisin by Madilu System feat Nyboma was released in an LP(Long Play), an album containing 5 songs or less. Magali is another song from this LP. Voisin is about a neighbor who pretended to be a christian, but in reality, he was a big hater who wanted to interfere in other people’s business. Enjoy the translation of the song.

5) Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide’s Wake Up

The album Wake Up was released at a time when people didn’t really expect a collaboration between Koffi Olomide and Papa Wemba. It was 1996.
These two names together, Koffi and Wemba, were enough to promote the album.
They all came with their songs and rewrote them together. This post is about the song Wake Up.
Other songs in the album were Mi Amor, Naomie, Dodo and 6 others.

Wake Up is the only song that has an audio and video clip because they got into a new conflict after the release of the album. Wake Up is about forgiveness.

Here are some extracts from the song:
“Ndeke pourquoi atikaka te, elembo na likolo oh?”
“Masuwa pourquoi etikaka pe te, elembo na kati ya ebale?”
“Pourquoi comment otiki elembo na motema na ngai ya mabe?”

Here are are the translation of those extracts:
“Why birds don’t leave marks in the sky?”
“Why boats don’t leave marks in the river?”
“Why you leave a bad mark in my heart?”

6) Josky Kiambukuta feat Madilu System’s Baby

Josky Kiambukuta has a unique style of creating catchy tunes. He greatly relies on repetition and most of his single word titles were a great success. The name Baby is repeated more than 40 times in this song. He is also the author of Chandra, Missile, Priere, and many more, including the infamous Chacun Pour Soi. The song Baby is about praising and admiration.
A man is praising a woman. Enjoy the translation.

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