Sam Mangwana Sings Dinu Vangu

by: Sam Mangwana

Sam Mangwana and Dino Vangu are veterans of Congolese rumba. They started playing with each other in the late '60s. Here they reunite and bring to light the Golden Era of Congolese rumba. The album's style is a tribute to the great Franco Luambo Makiadi, father of modern African music. Also on the album are Miguel Yamba of Zaiko Langa Langa and Nana Akumu, formerly of T.P.OK Jazz. As many soukous artists are drawn into the formulaic and frenetic style of guitar exercises, these two artists have made an album of exquisite beauty with a very high groove quotient. Mangwana's smooth silky vocals and Vangu's sprightly guitar dexterity re-create the authentic ambience of a time when people danced close and swooned to the indomitable beat. The music here is some of the best that Mangwana has done in some time. "Femmes Africaines," "Maria Kembo," and "Kiyedi" are loaded with sway and shake. Congolese rumba is no faded relic of the past. It is alive and vital as ever. Without a doubt, the best African album of the year. Highly recommended. ~ Mark Romano

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