There are two mighty cities on the North and South of the Congo River – Kinshasa to the south and Brazzaville on the north. The researchers from Analog Africa pulled together a long list of around 2000 tracks for this album – all from the period 1969 – 1982 – and distilled them down to 14 tracks that represent the music of the area. Magnificent is an understatement.

As with all Analog Africa releases, the music is varied and multi-faceted. Heavy funk and psychedelic sits over traditional Congolese Rumba rhythms. The album highlights the bands and artists, famous and obscure, who pushed Rumba to new heights and ultimately influenced the musical landscape of the entire continent and beyond.
One of the greatest influences on the Congo scene was the concert James Brown put on in Kinshasa in the lead up to the Muhammed Ali vs Joe Frazier fight in ’74. Broadcast over the entire area, it suddenly introduced the Western guitar and bass sounds, and the continent of Africa suddenly went wild for guitars, horns and bass. Coupled with the traditional instruments and Rumba beats, the music exploded into forms that had never been heard before.

There is a fantastic variety of music between the heavy funk and imagery of Petelo Vicka Et Son Nzazi ‘Sungu Lubuka’ and the much lighter and more traditional Tabu Ley Et L'Orchestre Afrisa ‘Adeito’, the Afro-Beat of Les Bantous De La Capitale ‘Ngantsie Soul’ or the powerful groove of Lolo Et L'Orchestre O.K. Jazz ‘Lolo Soulfire’. There is something rather lovely about Zaiko Langa Langa ‘Femme Ne Pleure Pas’ light and sweet sounds but it still has that ever-pervading groove and danceability.

And it is that Danceability that really sets this collection up. Well over an hour of music that just makes you want to get up and move, throw some shapes and just be happy.