Congolese music star Bozi Boziana arrives in Kenya for grand concert

Congolese Rhumba Artist Bozi Boziana during his previous show in Nairobi. [PHOTO:BONIFACE OKENDO]
Celebrated Congolese artist Bozi Boziana (pictured) is in Kenya. Accompanied by his Anti Choc band amid tight security, the celebrated France-based Congolese artiste arrived in the country yesterday evening aboard Kenya Airways plane.

The rumba/soukouss star will stage a grand concert tomorrow evening at Meladen Lounge, situated along Nairobi’s Upper hill, near Nairobi Club.

The post Valentine event courtesy of Jules Nsana Promotions is aimed at celebrating Congolese Diaspora in Kenya and their newly elected ‘President’ Ibrahim Lingo.  

Locally based music troupe Rumba Japan, famed for 6,600 dance styles, will curtain-raise for Boziana.

With gate charges pegged at Sh1,000, the invite-only event is expected to attract revellers from all walks of life.

Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon arrival, in the company of locally-based Congolese music promoter Jules Nsana of Nsana Promotions, Bozi assured fans that Saturday will be an explosive evening.

 “My fans will be treated to scintillating music and sensational new dance styles that I have lined up for them,” he said.

He reveals that Kenyans will be the first to enjoy music from his latest album Fiko Fikofio. 

He expects the fans to ‘eat’ his music, which he believes is unique and different from what other musicians of Congolese origin have delivered in Kenya before.

“Unlike my counterparts I have mastered the art of good music having been in the industry long enough,” he said.

Arguably one of the best and consistent ballad singer among Congolese musicians, Bozi has been, and still remains one of the most sought-after vocalists on the Lingala music scene.

The musician who has visited Nairobi several times, to underline the fact that the DR Congo remains the sanctuary of African music.  And that Kinshasa still has plenty of talent ready to replace such fallen greats among them Franco, Tabu Ley, Ndombe Opetum and Madilu System.

 “I am always delighted to be in Kenya. It has become my ‘second home’ owing to its immense love for Congolese music and the friendly nature of its people,” he said.

So what should Kenyan fans expect during his much anticipated concert? Credited for his strong vocals, sweet voice and scintillating beats, Bozi says he will use the opportunity to explore Rumba and Soukous at its best.

About his concert

“Our fans should expect nothing short of our internationally acclaimed evergreen hit songs among them Double Double and Selemani  that will take them down memory lane,” says Bozi.

Unlike most Congolese musicians who find it difficult to express themselves in Kiswahili or English, Bozi speaks almost fluent Kiswahili and a tinge of English without the services of the notoriously error-prone translators.

He recalls: “When I first came to Kenya in 1991, I did not know English nor  ‘Kenyan Kiswahili’ well. But with the help of friends I can now speak both languages,” he says, probably failing to mention the occasional lapse into French phonetic patterns when pronouncing some words.

The multi-award winner for Best Congolese Artiste with more than 10 albums under his cap says his songs are aimed at entertaining, educating and passing on messages to the community. Considered one of the smoothest tenors among Congolese Bozi says his mission is to recast original soukous and rumba music to come up with what he describes as “universal Congo music.”

Regarded one of the most successful guitarist, singer, and bandleader in the DRC, his fifth album, Bana Saint-Gabriel, received a KORA award for All-African award in 1998 in the Central African category.

Hailing from a polygamous family, the first born in a family of 22, born to Mr Mbenzo Loui and Mayenga Josephine (both deceased). Bozi says music has always been a big part of him ever since he was at Bosanga Schools in Congo.

Career well spelt

“At 16, I joined Air Marine, an Afro-pop band in Congo,”  he said.

Since then Bozi worked with several major soukous bands, including  Minzoto Wela Wela, Zaiko Langa Langa, Bamboula de Papa Noel, Minzoto Sangela, Isifi Lokole, Yoka Lokole, Langa Langa Stars and Choc Stars, before he founded his own 18 member band, Orchestre Anti-Choc in 1985. Some of the artistes he has also worked with include Papa Wemba, Evoloko Jocker, Mavuela Somo and Efonge Gina.

With a career spanning 48 years Bozi joined Zaiko Langa Langa, one of the most influential congolese bands ever where he alongside soukous stars Papa Wemba and Evoloko Jocker before quitting to form Isifi Lokole and later Yoka Lokole.

Despite its success, he quit in 1977, but teamed up with Efonge Gina, (another member of Zaiko Langa Langa), to record hits such as Selemani (credited to Bozi) and Libanko Ya Ngai (Gina).

In 1981 he joined Langa Langa Stars, before moving to Choc Stars, in 1985 and recorded some of his most famous songs like Sandu Kotti, Alena, Mbuta-Mutu, and Retrouvailles a Paris. He later quit to form his own band Orchestre Anti-Choc.

Bozi BozianaCongolese music