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Zaiko Langa Langa

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (1970 – present)

Zaiko Langa Langa has been one of the hottest and most popular bands in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since its formation in the early seventies (when Congo was still called Zaire), through the eighties and the nineties and into the new millennium. Such famous names as Papa Wemba, Bozi Boziana, Dindo Yogo, Evolocko Jocker and Nyoka Longo started with Zaiko and went on to establish successful careers. It has spun off several groups consisting of groups or factions of former members which achieved a decent measure of success. These include Isifi Lokole, Viva La Musica, Langa Langa Stars, Zaiko Familia Dei, Anti Choc, Choc Stars, and Zaiko Nkolo Mboka.

The band was formed in 1970 as Orchestra Zaiko. Original members included Papa Wemba, Evolocko Lay Lay, Zamungana and Nyoka Longo. The group revolutionized Congolese music, adopting a more up tempo beat, abandoning wind instruments and emphasizing the snare drum and the solo guitar. They made great use of the call and response system and introduced chants of animation, a system that is now used extensively by most Congolese groups. Their stage shows were more frenetic and featured a frontline of almost a dozen singers.

By 1973 the band had established itself as one of DRC’s most popular groups. Evolocko Jocker emerged as arguably the band’s most popular member, credited with inventing the , a dance craze that swept East and Central Africa during the seventies.

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