Joseph Kabasele and the Creation of Surboum African Jazz (PI 09)

Interview Le Vif, 15/06: Rumba, le son de l’émancipation (FR):

Interview We Are Various, 16/06: A Talk with Bart Cattaert (Planet Ilunga label) (EN):



Piece in Vice Belgium (FR + NL)

Interview by Arthur Brouns:

Le label belge qui ressuscite la rumba congolaise des années 1950 à 1970:

Dit Belgische label brengt verloren Congolese muziek weer tot leven:

O.K. Jazz – La Rumba de Mi Vida (PI 08)

Review by Alastair Johnston (Muzikifan):

“This is a different approach to his catalogue and the fourth side showcases the strengths of the group with driving guitars, wonderful sax counterpoint and Franco’s commanding vocals. It is a masterful compilation, all round, plus the sound has been beautifully restored.

–> Full review on Muzikifan

“Admittedly this compilation is not trying to cover Franco’s carreer or his biggest hits. This set is a series of four snapshots of differents styles and moments in the middle years of the band. It’s still a treasure.”

–> Words and music in the Tropicology show on XRayFM, Portland

“This double-vinyl retrospective gathers lesserknow tracks mostly absent from previous anthologies grouped into four distinct phases.”

–> Review in March 2020 issue of Mojo Magazine

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry with Seskain Molenga & Kalo Kawongolo – Roots from the Congo (PI 06)

“The two cultures connect almost magically, with the reggae riddims firing up the moods of a more ancient setting on Kawongolo’s “Mengieb” (loosely translated as “Pity Me”). Sung in English, Lingala and Yanzi, the songs bring an irresistible exuberance to proceedings resulting in one of the most startling albums in Perry’s catalogue.”

–> Review in the April 2020 issue in The Wire:

“There have been previous reissues, but this is a beautifully produced reissue, with excellent sleeve notes, telling the whole story. Some story to read!”

–> Words and music in the Afrobase radioshow on Totally Radio, Brighton

Docteur Nico – Dieu de la Guitare (PI 04)

Review by Ken Braun on Afropop Worldwide:

“There is no doubt, though, of Nico’s importance to the modern genre that began to develop in Léopoldville and other cities of the Congo as early as the 1920s and continues to develop even now, call it maringa, call it rumba, call it soukous or by any other of its many appellations. Guitars are essential to its sound, and no Congolese guitarist has been more influential than Docteur Nico–not even Franco, who was one year older, more prolific and more famous.”

–> Full review on Afropop

Review by Alastair Johnston (Muzikifan):

“With help from Flemming Harrev and Stefan Werdekker, Bart has pulled some magical white rabbits out of the hat: great tracks unknown even to the discographer. The global reach of the internet has made possible a great network to pull Nico’s legacy together.”

–> Full review on Muzikifan

O.K. Jazz – The Loningisa Years 1956-1961 (PI 03)

Review by Alastair Johnston (Muzikifan):

“In contrast to Sonodisc who put out some early Franco material from unrestored records with no information other than title (often mis-spelled) and composer, Planet Ilunga has done an exceptional job of restoration, with the needed information. There is one slightly muddy track at the end “Bana OK Jazz”: one assumes it was impossible to find a copy that had not been worn out on the Victrola. I had heard 8 or 9 of these tracks before from traders who had thrashed 78s, so the clean sound is a joy and a revelation. You won’t find this exquisite music elsewhere, and it is a limited-edition pressing, so grab your copy a.s.a.p.”

–> Full review on Muzikifan

O.K. Jazz and African Jazz on the national radio + interview by Korneel De Clercq about the O.K. Jazz release in the show ‘Wonderland’ on Radio 1 (Dutch only). Congo part begins at 33:00.

Listen to Planet Ilunga in Wonderland – Radio 1

Rock-a-Mambo & l’African Jazz – Souvenirs from Esengo 1957-1961 (PI 02)

For his second vinyl reissue, Planet Ilunga has found some truly rare Rock-a-Mambo and African Jazz sides that were issued on 78 rpm shellac discs in the Congo in the years before Independence (and then reissued, some of them, on Pathé Marconi, like African Memories of 1976 or Columbia EPs, such as Congo Latino, in the 60s and 70s).”

<< Full review on >>

“Planet Ilunga opens a portal to Leopoldville’s (currently Kinshasa, DRC) nightlife of the late 1950s. A cosmopolitan array of enthused colonialists and their surprising influence provides the industrial back drop for the sound and story of the Rock-a-Mambo & l’African Jazz bands from the short lived profligacy of the Esengo label.”

<< Full review on Eclectic Society >>

“Carefully anotated and cleanly restored, the second release on the Belgian Planet Ilunga label is a labour of love. It offers a thorough presentation of a specific circle of musicians from Brazzaville and Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) recording for the Esengo label. For more than a decade Congolese urban music had been steeped in Afro-Caribbean forms – mambo, cha-cha, merengue, son, bolero and especially rumba. For this set, a rotating cast of a few dozen performers is corraled into two main groups playing light-hearted, charming party music.”

<< Review in the September issue of The Wire Magazine >>


Invited by DJeromebosch’s OK/KO radioshow, le roman de la musique Congolaise (Radio Rectangle) in 2014, see playlist below.


—————————-> PLAYLIST OK/KO#21

1. Celia Cruz & Sonora Matancera – “Madre Rumba” (Humberto Jauma)
2. African Rock – “Ya Biso Pembeni” (Charles Kibongue)
3. Rock-a-Mambo – “Pesa Ngai Falanga Na Masanga” (Tino Baroza)
4. Vedette Jazz – “La Muyera Antonio” (Baguette)
5. African Jazz – “Tujala Tshibemba” (Joseph Kabasele)
6. Conga Jazz – “Nalingi Na Ngai Kobala Te” (Dewayon)
7. Kongo Jazz – “La Belle Lucie Botayi” (Raymond Brainck)
8. Camille Feruzi & Mysterieux Jazz – “Na Motindeli Mokanda” (Camille Feruzi)
9. Orchestre La Palma – “Sebene La Palma” (André Menga)
10. Franco & Ok Jazz – “Bazuki Batunaki Ngai” (Franco)
11. African Jazz – “Bana Na Nwa” (Déchaud)
12. African Fiesta – “Ngonga Ebeti” (Depuissant)
13. Cercul Jazz – “Tobongisa Avenir” (Franklin Boukaka)
14. Franklin Boukaka – “Les Immortels” (extraits) – (Franklin Boukaka)
15. Franck Lassan – “Laissez Tomber”
16. Orchestre Mi Amor – “Lisana Ebandaki Na Kin” (Lutumba Simaro)
17. Malongansomi & Namatani – “Mputulu”
18. Super Star de Dakar – “Maria Helena” (Dexter Johnson & Laba Sosseh)
19. Kebendo Jazz – “Soumba” (Mamadi Traore)
20. Cuban Marimba Band – “Wanawake Tanzania” (Salum Abdallah)
21. Lucie Eyenga – “Baloji Mwana Ya African Jazz”
22. Tekele Mokango Na Bana Lomeka – “Pongo”
23. Big Maybelle – “Heaven Will Welcome You Dr. King” (Jack Taylor)

24. Charbon Justin – “Philips” – (78rpm Philips / circa 1955 / Christian Jazz DJ)* Little erata: Bill Alexandre didn’t record for the Opika label.

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