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7943: Re: 7925: Re: 7870: Meringue: Soukous derived from Konpa??? (fwd)

From: Pierre Jean <pierrejean01@yahoo.com>

Let me amplify on (and correct) Eddie Backer's point a

+ I agree with Eddie Backer that soukous did not
originate from Konpa (Compas? Kompa?) We Haitians need
to get off our high horse a little bit.

+ Soukous is a CENTRAL African music genre, not West
African. It originates from the two Congos
(Congo-Brazzaville and what used to be Zaire, now RDC)
It was heavily influenced by Afro-Cuban rhytms,
particularly RUMBA, which made its way back to Africa
around the 1950s. This is why many of the older bands
(T.P. OK Jazz, Seigneur Rochereau, etc.) used to play
Cuban stuff alongside local rhythms way back in the
60s and 70s.

+ About soukous: the first tunes tended to be short
and brisk, and they were based on a prominent clave
(the soul of Latin music, a measured 1-2-3/1-2) beat
... unlike Konpa. By the 70's, the tunes had spread
out to include a leisurely opening passage that "sped"
midway through into an extended upbeat (dance) section
called sebene. That's where the distinctive guitar
sound of soukous usually explodes. This song structure
has spilled over to makossa (Petit-Pays of Cameroon is
a good example) as well as some Western African sounds
like zoblazo (Meiway of Cote d'Ivoire is a good

+ The most recent soukous style, from the Paris-based
bands, is called "speed soukous" and skips the slow
intro. It is pure dance, and it is tons of fun, in my

+ Finally, in a strange return to roots, I understand
that Koudjay's (or at least I think that's them)
latest album is a soukous album. I have not heard it
yet, but I cannot wait to pick it up.

Sorry, but Konpa has very little to do with soukous.
On the other hand, the emergence of "African zouk" may
be credited in part to Konpa, as long as we recognize
that Martinique and Guadeloupe bands have had a much
more direct influence.

Pierre Jean

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