18 August 2008

Monday's mp3: The Buena Vista Rumba Club Loses its Founder

I first heard Congolese crooner Wendo Kolosoy (born Antoine Kalosoyi) some eight or nine years ago, and immediately started spinning his tunes on the radio. I mean, what's not to like about a septuagenarian singer who has also worked as a boxer and a riverboat mechanic, and was having a resurgence thanks to a Buena Vista Social Club-like musical resurrection? Not to mention that the upbeat music was a joy to the ears. Wendo Kolosoy on SoundRoots.org

If you know anything about Kolosoy, you've probably heard the legend of his song "Marie-Louise." It's said that when he sang that song, the dead got up and danced. It became his first Pan-African hit in 1948, which illustrates the man's staying power.

His music isn't easy to find, with the exception of the album listed below, released in the last decade. If anyone has earlier Wendo, I'd love to hear it. But his sweet voice stayed with him right to the end at age 83. I haven't yet seen the recently released film On the Rumba River (movie trailer), but I understand it's a beautiful biography of both Wendo and the joyous, lyrical music of which he became the grandfather.

I was saddened to learn recently that Kolosoy passed on a couple weeks ago. The world will be a little less joyful without him singing new songs.

On this song, Wendo is joined by guitarist Vula Missy.

[mp3] Wendo Kolosoy: Soki Olingi Ngai
from the album Marie Louise

a partial Wendo Kolosoy Discography:
On the Rumba River (Marabi, 2008)
Amba (World Village, 2003)
Marie Louise (Indigo, 1999) (listen/download mp3s at Calabash)

The Rough Guide to Congo Gold (World Music Network, 2008)
The Very Best of Congolese Rumba (Marabi, 2008)
The Beginner's Guide to Africa (Nascente, 2006)

video tribute: Reared by the River Kongo (youtube)
2002 Afropop Worldwide interview with Wendo Kolosoy
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