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Les Bantous de la Capitale

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:59 pm
by luke batarang
Congolese legends LES BANTOUS DE LA CAPITALE are playing in Antwerp this Friday. Has anyone seen this band recently? What to expect?

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 10:54 am
by Ronald
When I read that Les Bantous de la Capitale was coming to Holland I vowed to see them, no matter how long I had to travel. They were invited to play at the Music Meeting, a festival which has been held in Nijmegen in the East of Holland for several years now, fortunately for me they were on at 20.15, not to late and which meant I could take the last train back.

The journey to Nijmegen took me 3 hours by train and bus and 3 hours back and that for only 70 minutes of Les Bantous, but it was well worth it and I wasn't the only one who enjoyed their concert, which was held in a big tent, I think about 800 persons paid to get in which is not bad. It must be said of course that many who attended did so because of the festival but as far as I could judge no one left and the crowd just loved them.

Les Bantous are truly a monument of Congolese music, despite the age of some they turned out a very good performance, Celestin Kouka and Edo Nganga had visibly aged but Kosmos Moutouari somehow not, maybe he is't that old. Kosmos' voice is still sweet and a joy to listen to, it was the chance of a lifetime to see and hear one of my favourite singers.

Of the songs I did only recognise Comite Bantous, Philosofie and Even, which had a great sebene, the soloist repeated a riff several times and then changed to a more beautiful one and kept repeating it again and again before changing again to an even more beautifiul one and then the horns came in, excellent stuff. It was great to hear uninterupted sebenes for a change and to really enjoy the solo guitarist and the horns.

During one of the sebenes singer Edo Nganga started a solo dance during which he gyrated his hips like a young man, he showed to all that he could still do it. Another thing that made me laugh was when rhythm guitarist Passy Mermans asked someone of the Dutch crew at the back of the stage to take a picture of him, but not just a picture, he was not easily satisfied, Passy kept on giving instructions to him, finally when Passy was at the front of the stage with his back to the audience and the picture was taken was he satisfied.

The last thing that made me laugh was when near the end at the side of the stage a guy appeared with a notice which said "10 minutes" and held it up for the band to see, the festival had a tight schedule, which is good because that way people can rely on it and be sure to catch whatever public transport they need to catch, but also it was a pity because the crowd couldn't get enough of Les Bantous and when they started a sebene as an encore the female compare told them to stop, the band wanted to go on because they like the crowd had enjoyed themselves.

It is a pity for Les Bantous to come to Europe and have only 3 dates scheduled, one in France, one in Holland and one in Belgium. It is a shame that Les Bantous, a true monument of Congolese music, did not attract the attention of festivals which are usually besotted with Konono and Kekele.

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Sammy Malonga - ? - ? - Jean Serge Essous

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Kosmos Moutouari

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Robert Massengo

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Joseph Elanga

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Rhythm guitarist Passy Mermans

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Solo guitarist Dede Nsounga

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Francois Kouka - Edo Nganga - Kosmos

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Edo Nganga

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Jean Serge Essous

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The guy with the 10 Minutes notice

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Ricky Simeon

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:18 am
by luke batarang
Dammit! I missed their Belgian show but a friend of mine said it was excellent. I hope I'll get another chance to see this legendary band. Thanks for the review & the pics, Ronald!