Petela Vicka Et Son Nzazi – Sungu Lubuka

21st April 2024 · 2020s, 2024, Funk

The sun is out, the sky is blue and you’ll forget the mercury is hovering just above freezing as soon as you hear this tasty slice of funked-up Congolese rumba.

It comes from a new compilation called Congo Funk! that demonstrates the revolution that occurred in Congolese music thanks to Don King… Yes, that’s Don King the frizzy-haired boxing promoter.

When he brought Ali and Foreman to the country – then called Zaire – for the Rumble in the Jungle, he also brought James Brown (and Bill Withers) to headline a three-day music festival in Kinshasa for funk fan and magalomaniac dictator Mobutu.

I don’t know if these guys, Petelo Vicka et Son Nzazi, were on the bill but I do know that from that point on, American funk infected the mellower strains of Congolese rumba to create a lively new fusion sound.

And I know the impact of Zaire 1974 encouraged a whole new younger generation to take up electric guitars with the reverb cranked up to the max and create a new fusion of rumba – the sound that began in the Congo in the 1950s – with elements of psych and funk.

You can hear that influence on the new compilation “Congo Funk! – Sound Madness From The Shores Of The Mighty Congo River (Kinshasa/Brazzaville 1969-1982).

It highlights the country’s buzzing scene from the 1970s in Kinshasa (now in DRC) and Brazzaville (Congo Republic) – two capital cities separated by a river but united by an indestructable groove.

This is the opening number. And if your feet aren’t moving, they’ve probably frozen solid.