The African Rock 'n' Roll Years - Central Africa: Congo Jive

Battered by years of Belgian colonial rule and by dictatorship and civil war since independence, the Congo (or Zaire as it was known in the Mobutu era) has for decades been one of Africa's problem states. But from Kinshasa, on the Congo river, came some of the most joyful, infectious dance music in Africa as guitarists and bandleaders from the great Franco through to Papa Wemba mixed local and Cuban influences to create the rumba and soukous styles that shook up dance floors across Africa and beyond. Politics inevitably had its effect, as Mobutu introduced his campaign for 'authenticity' in music, and the chaos in Kinshasa forced musicians to move to Europe to find new audiences for a style of music that had already spread across East Africa. Featured artists include Franco, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Ray Lema, Pepe Kalle, newcomers Kokono No 1 and Rwandan-born Corneille.


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  • Producer Jenny Cathcart
  • Executive Producer Robin Denselow