More than a group, Les Bantous de la Capitale represents a veritable institution within the African musical heritage in general and the Congolese in particular. Edouard Nganga dit Ganga Édo, was the last living representative of this orchestra involved in the golden age of rumba – which he co-founded in 1959. He bowed out at the age of 87 in Brazzaville, we learned from the Congolese news agency Adiac.
The best known orchestra of Congo Brazzaville
Founded in 1959, a year before the great wave of African independence, the group has stood the test of time by renewing itself with each era. Last summer, the Bantu considered the oldest African orchestra celebrated their sixty years of existence. On the occasion an exciting documentary directed by Paul Soni Benga was devoted to them. “I regret to announce the death of our old Nganga Édo, the last patriarch of Congolese rumba on both sides. The artist, our old man, is gone. Farewell, old man, peace to your soul, eternal regret, ”cried a surfer. “He is gone #Edo Nganga, a legend of African, Congolese music and one of the creators of the legendary Les Bantous orchestra of the capital … Until his last moments of life, the artist was always on stage … a true soldier of music », Testifies another. “At the height of his 87th birthday, the last Bantu dynausore of the capital, the dean Nganga Édo has just bowed out. With his death, the curtains fell on one of the most prestigious pages of Congolese music, “comments Colonel Jean Aive Allakoua in the Congolese press.
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An extraordinary artist
Born October 27, 1933 in Léopoldville, now Kinshasa, Édo Nganga was a carpenter by trade. Passionate about music, he chose in the early 1950s to devote himself entirely to it. First in a group called Negro Jazz, in Brazzaville, then on the other side of the river, in Léopoldville, in the mythical Tout Puissant OK Jazz, with Franco, the other pillar of rumba with Tabu Ley Rochereau. It was during these 1950s that the cultural attractiveness of Kinshasa imposed itself on all African capitals while the Congolese rumba dictated its law. With a first circle, he continues the adventure by creating the very first Brazzaville orchestra during a concert organized at the bar-dancing “Chez Faignond” in Poto-Poto, one of the liveliest districts of the Congolese capital. Very quickly, the orchestra will be the pride and the standard bearer, for several years, of Congolese music across Africa by being invited during numerous celebrations such as the first World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar in 1966 or again the first pan-African cultural festival in Algiers, in 1969. They also stood out beyond the continent’s borders during a tour of Cuba in 1978.
“Osala ngaï nini”, “Rosalie Diop”, “Comité Bantou”, “Masuwa”: so many hits that have marked several generations of music lovers on the continent. Melodies and texts faithful to the romanticism of rumba, but it should be noted that The Bantus of the capital have endeavored to root their compositions in Congolese realities. At the heart of their concerns: Congolese youth. Throughout their career and their multiple albums, they have been able to challenge this youth on subjects as important as social values, progress, permanent creation, etc. In addition to Congolese music, Les Bantous quickly mastered world music in all its contours, salsa, cha-cha-cha, charangas and rumbas.
The day after the patriarch’s death, all of Africa paid tribute to him.