Zaiko Langa Langa biography
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 cavacha, a dance craze that swept East and Central Africa during the seventies.
By the mid seventies, the band started to fall apart. First to leave was Papa Wemba along with Bozi, Evolocko and Mavuela who formed Isifi Lokole which later split into Yoka Lokole, and Viva La Musica. Lengi Lenga was recruited in a bid to plug the gap left by Papa Wemba.
By the late seventies, despite the departure of several stalwarts, the band was at its peak. Among its members were vocalists Nyoka Longo, Lengi Lenga, Bimi Ombale, Dindo Yogo, Evolocko and Bozi Boziana along with Instrumentalists Meridjo, and Bapius. Songs were now more polished, arranged and harmonious. Stage concerts were now better choreographed.
In the late eighties, disagreements occurred among the band members, as veterans, Meridjo, Nyoka Longo and Dindo Yogo lined up against newer band members such as Lengi Lenga, Ilo Pablo and Bimi Ombale. This led to a spectacular split, with Nyoka's group calling themselves Zaiko Langa Langa Nkolo Mboka, while Bimi's group called itself Zaiko Langa Langa Familia Dei. Both groups had a decent measure of success and commanded fanatical followings.