Awilo Longomba was born in Kinshasa (formally, Léopoldville). His father was from the Mongo region of the Ecuador and his mother was also from the Ecuador region of Ngombe and Congo Brazzaville. His father, Vicky Longomba, was the famous lead singer and founder of “Tout puissant OK Jazz” during the golden age of Congolese rumba, had a big influence on our artist. Since childhood, Awilo spent every waking moment in the music scenes attending his father rehearses. Very quickly his passion for music took, and he started cutting classes and started drumming for various groups of Kinshasa, including “l’orchestre de Lita Bembo. He joined the orchestra “Viva La Musica” led by the great Papa Wemba as a drummer, and Awilo had his real first taste of live performance on his first international tour in Europe and to Japan in 1985 and 1986.
As the fever he caught during his tour grew stronger, he decided to pursue his artistic carrier and moved to France. His reputation as one of the best drummers in France spread very quickly. This allowed him to collaborate on numerous records and tour worldwide with several African artists such as Tshala Muana, Oliver Ngoma, Kanda Bongo Man just to name a few. But Awilo’s ambition doesn’t stop there; therefore, in 1992 he decided to leave “Viva La Musica” and formed his own group “La Nouvelle Génération” which he became the group leader. This new band became very popular in Europe and produced several albums.
In 1995, the career of Awilo, the singer, took off and he left “La Nouvelle Génération”. He released his first solo album “Moto Pamba” in which, he was the composer, the lead singer and of course the drummer. The Techno-Soukous star was born. His success couldn’t be ignored! He finally put the drums down and decided to concentrate on his singing and started touring in East Africa and in Europe. This first CD land him the “Best Central Africa Artist Awards” at the KORA AWARDS 1996 and 1997 (All Africa Music Awards, held in Sun City, South Africa) Since then, it has been non-stop for Awilo. His second tour in the studio validated his popularity. He released “Coupe Bibamba”, in 1998 with the collaboration of Jocelyne Beroard. The controversial title cut “Coupe Bibamba” that denounces poverty in Africa, hit the number 1 spot on the African and European charts very quick and stayed for several weeks. Several titles from the same CD followed.
In July 2000, Awilo released his third CD “Kafou Kafou” this CD sent him back to the KORA 2001 where Awilo was recognized for his outstanding contribution to African music and received “Judges Special Awards” during the KORA 2001. Awilo is not just a regular artist doing regular music, his live outstanding performances and popularity makes him the MOST WANTED Congolese artists on the African continent and Europe. He has toured in African counties such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo Zambia, Gabon, Mali etc…). Awilo also has toured in Europe (Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain etc…) as well as to the United States.
Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.Read More
Bidew Bou Bess
BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.Read More
MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).Read More
Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates. In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide. During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.Read More