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Urban Twist to Congolese Music

Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo dominated the African continent for countless years. There are many opinions about the decline of its popularity outside of the DR Congo, but one could possibly say that decline is due to an inability “keep up with the times” and not to the quality of DR Congo music itself. Trying to go outside of the normal Congolese music track is often judged as not being authentic or watering down. This is similar to what many argue about when they speak of “real hip-hop” versus “mainstream hip-hop.” But with a growing influence of young, urban Africans, specifically in this case Congolese musicians, the arena for music is expanding. Persons such as DJ Meji, Lil Sam, Pathy Pacheko, Lexxus Legal are just a few of the artists who are crossing beyond the traditional Congolese music and entering a world of different genres of music including hip-hop and urban rumba.

Bana C4 is a French based African group that came together in 2007 as a dance group with vocal talents also. They started off by performing their dance moves in public places to showcase their entertaining abilities. Their music is influenced by Congolese musicians/groups such as Koffi Olomidé, Pepe Kalle, Wenge Musica, Magic System, Bisso na Bisso and several local Afro-French artists. Their music is a combination of Zouk, Dancehall and techno just to name a few. Their music is up-beat, energetic, full of rhythm and more than dance ready. One cannot help but tap their feet or get up and sway their hips from side to side when listening to Bana C4 music. The group modernizes the popular dance from the Ivory Coast, coupé décalé, which was enthusiastically embraced by the DR Congo. They put their own spin on it and introduce many other dances such as the dance craze Shakalewa. The group is a representation of the growth of urban Congolese music as the emergence of such artists continues. Check out their music video below to see if you’re a fan.

-Deana Bolumbu


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