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Father of Congolese Rumba Wendo Kolosoy Dies at 83

By Radio Okapi/L'Avenir/Congo Planet | Published on July 29, 2008

Wendo Kolosoy
Revered Congolese musician Wendo Kolosoy died on Monday at 05:40 PM at the Ngaliema clinics in Kinshasa. He is regarded by many experts in Congolese music as the father of Congolese Rumba.

He was born in Mushie, in the province of Bandundu. His birthname was Antoine Kolosoy. His musical career began in the 1940s with the Victoria Kin band. He soon got the nickname of "Windosor" in reference to the Duke of Windsor. The nickname soon evolved to "Wendo Sor" before the "Sor" simply vanished. His first hit was Marie-Louise in 1948. It soon became an international hit.

Wendo Kolosoy's music is a mix of African sounds, rumba, guitars and a very special voice.

He is considered to be one of the greatest Congolese musicians of all time. At 83 years old he had seen more than five generations of musicians follow his steps. In his old age, he was revered by his peers and remained an elder statesman of Congolese Rumba.

The song Marie-Louise was once said to have magical powers and "able to raise the dead". It was "banned" by the Catholic Church and Wendo had to move to Kisangani for a while. Recently he had sung in patriotic songs such as "Mwana Mpwo" for the Congolese franc and "Juu ya M'zee" for the war effort. He was the subject of the 2007 documentary "On the Rumba River" by Jacques Sarasin.

Some excerpts translated by from articles by Radio Okapi and L'Avenir

Wendo Kolosoy Title: Marie Louise
Label: Indigo

Songs and audio samples

01 Pepe Kalle 02:45
02 Youyou Aleli Veka 05:53
03 Marie-Louise 05:30
04 Namoni Pasi Mingi 03:43
05 Soki Olingi Ngai 05:06
06 Paul Kamba 05:27
07 Mobembo 05:48
08 Anse Duye 04:08
09 Tokutani 05:34
10 Soki Oyoki Victoria 04:17

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