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Made in Congo

Rumba Lingala and the Revolution in Nationhood


Jesse Samba Samuel Wheeler

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Music


at the

University of Wisconsin-Madison


To Lillian Estelle Fishman Chasnoff and Jack Aaron Chasnoff

To my family and my friends, who help me compose my everyday life


List of Maps, Chart, Figures and Excerpts v

List of Audio Examples vi

Preface vii

Acknowledgments viii

Maps x-xi

1 Introduction 1

Review of Literature 9

2 Approaches 19

3 "Ah, Mokili!"-- a brief history 32

Life in the Cities 39

4 Urban Inventions -- a new old sound emerges 44

Maringa 49

Rumba Lingala 52

5 "Made in Congo" -- conceiving the nation 86

Performance Sites and Performance Rites 87

Technology 101

Language 117

6 Conclusions and Further Questions 132

Bibliography 142

Discography 151

Maps, Chart, Figures and Excerpts

Map 1: Democratic Republic of the Congo x

Map 2: Republic of the Congo xi

Chart 1: Growth of Major Congolese Cities 38

Figure 1: Maringa Rhythms 50

Figure 2: Clavé Beat in Rumba Lingala 59

Figure 3: Typical African Timeline 59

Figure 4: Cuban Clavé Beat 59

Figure 5: Fast Clavé Beat in Rumba Lingala 59

Figure 6: Variation on the Clavé Beat in Rumba Lingala 59

Figure 7: Medium Clavé Beat in Rumba Lingala 59

Figure 8: Bass Guitar Motif 60

Figure 9: Maracas Rhythm 60

Figure 10: Drum Rhythms 60

Excerpt 1: "Noko Akomi Mobali" 76

Excerpt 2: "Margarine Fina" 78

Excerpt 3: "Marie-Louise" 80

Figure 11: "Émissions Africaines" of RCBI 109

Figure 12: Indoubil Examples 125

Excerpt 4: "Cha Cha Cha Bay" 126

Excerpt 5: "They say that the town [sic]" 137

Audio Examples

A1: "Tout le monde samedi soir" -- Adou Elenga

A2: "El Manisero" -- Abelardo Barroso & La Orquesta Sensacion

A3: "Mazole Vanga Sanga" -- Bokolanga

A4: "Maria Antonia" -- Pholidor & Bana Loningisa

A5: "Indépendance Cha-Cha" -- Kabasele & African Jazz

A6: "Ménagère" -- Lisanga Pauline

A7: "On entre O.K., On sort K.O." -- Franco & O.K. Jazz

A8: "Noko Akomi Mobali" -- Adikwa

A9: "Prince Baudouin" -- Lufungola Alphonse

A10: "Na Mokili Moko Te" -- Kalima Pierre & His Fanfare

B1: "Njila ya Ndolo" -- Antoine Mundanda & Ses Likembes Geantes

B2: "Nalekaki na Nzela" -- Dewayon

B3: "La Rumba O.K." -- Franco & Bana Loningisa

B4: "Margarine Fina" -- Tino Mab

B5: "Marie-Louise" (1948) -- Wendo

B6: "Marie-Loiuse" (1958) -- Wendo & Beguen Band

B7: "Afrika Mokili Mobimba" -- Dechaud & African Jazz

B8: "Cha Cha Cha Bay" -- Camille Feruzi & L'Orchestre Mysterieux Jazz

B9: "Banzanza" -- Roitelet & Bana Loningisa


This thesis is the result of almost four years of research, the self-motivated learning of two languages, two months of lessons with a Congolese guitar teacher, and nearly ten years of uninterrupted listening to music. I first encountered Congolese music in 1990, when I spent six months in Kenya. Dancing in the discotheques at night to Pepé Kallé and Empire Bakuba, Kanda Bongo Man, Zittany Neil, Loketo, and Samba Mapangala's Orchestre Virunga, as well as Congolese influenced Kenyan artists, like Aziz Abdi, made me search out recordings of this music during the day. When I returned to the U.S. I brought back nine tapes and continued the search at home.

Congolese music, like much Afro-pop, has become increasingly available in this country, including re-releases of older recordings. Listening to and reading about Congolese music inspired me decide to study it and theorize about its role in society. In particular I was drawn to understand the incorporation of Latin musics by Congolese artists. I found that little had been written about the influence of Cuban music on African music, whereas the reverse was well researched. The pursuit of a graduate degree in Ethnomusicology has given me the opportunity to contribute to scholarship on this topic.


This thesis was completed in what I hope are unusual circumstances. I thank Andy Sutton, for assuming the position of my advisor in the final month and enabling the timely completion of my degree. The support he offered me, along with his respected scholarship and community involvement, makes him a credit to our department. I thank Lois Anderson for her high research standards and thorough bibliographic assistance. I give a hug of gratitude and deep respect to José Jorge de Carvalho of the University of Brasília, whose commitment to life has renewed my faith in academe.

Along the scholar's path I have met several people who have got me thinking: Of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I thank Florence Bernault, who taught the finest history course I have ever taken; Kirin Narayan, anthropologist and fiction writer, who confirmed that scholarly writing can be poetic and beautiful; Ron Radano, who introduced me to many of the thinkers whose works informed this thesis; and Brian Hyer, whose humanistic approach to music theory has changed how I hear. Of the University of Brasília, I thank Rita Segato, and, again, her husband Jorge Carvalho, whose fascinating, enthusiastic, energetic and ever reticulating discussions brought innumerable issues to my conscience. And I thank Northwestern University's Department of Performance Studies, especially Leland Roloff, Dwight Conquergood and Frank Galati, whose inspired teaching established a permanent link between body and mind in my scholarship.

I reserve my strongest sentiments for my family and friends. They are numerous, and I share the success of my work with each one of them. From the crowd I would like to single out for special recognition my father William Wheeler, my mother Salome Chasnoff, my step-mother Trudy Wheeler, my step-father "Little" Bobby Kahan, my sistren Molly, Alexis, Valerie, Courtnay and Micaela, and my one brer Sean: their direct and indirect support is in every word; my brother-in-soul Youssouf Komara, for his undying laughter and palpable appreciation of who I am; my "very friend" Yvette Orieji Hunwick, who kept her eye on me through every hour of every day in the first three years of this project; my fellow cast and crew of Wole Soyinka's The Bacchae of Euripides, whose communal energy crackled through the last months of this rite of passage; and the whole African community of Madison, whose very existence has enriched my life, and whose support of the Black Star Liner has enabled me to share my love of African music with the wider world.

Lastly, I thank "Franco" L'Okanga La Ndju Pene Luambo Makiadi and T.P.O.K. Jazz for giving me years of dancing pleasure. Some people say that the more they study music the less they listen to it. The reverse has been true for me. I turned to Franco every day for support -- his music powered this thesis forward.

Source: www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/drcongo.pdf

Source: www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/congo.pdf

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