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The Voice of Lightness, Vol. 2

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Editors’ Notes

Congolese singer-songwriter and bandleader Tabu Ley Rochereau is one of the giants of soukous, a style that fuses local folk elements and rumba to create mesmerizing dance music. This outstanding compilation collects tracks from 1977 to 1993, and its first half is stunning. Rochereau and other singers intone melodies over an ever-shifting web of lovely guitar patterns and lively drumming. One gem, “Monument,” rides along on waves of ecstatic guitars coupled with a sharp horn arrangement. The album’s second half features more recent tracks that are a bit more low-key. “Kabasele in Memorium,” honoring — singer/composer/ bandleader Kallé Kabasele — comes off as both melancholy and mellow. On “Loyenge,” the singing of Rochereau, Pompon Kuleta, and Mbilia Bel is set against guitars that are prickly or slippery. An updated sound marks both the fine flow of “Sacremento,” a track festooned with synth touches, and “Exil-Ley,” which has prominent keyboards. The comp’s last track, “La Glas a Sonne,” finds Rochereau still exploring as he combines percussion, church bell tones, and massed voices in striking ways.


Born: 1940 in Bundundu, Zaire

Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Tabu Ley Rochereau (born Tabu Ley) is one of Africa's most influential vocalists and one of its most prolific songwriters. Since making his professional debut, in 1954, as a member of Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabasele's band, African Jazz, Rochereau has written more than two thousand songs. Together with his band, Orchestre Afrisa International, which he formed in 1970, Rochereau has continued to play a major role in the shift from Congolese, Cuban, and Caribbean rumba to faster-paced soukous. Describing...
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The Voice of Lightness, Vol. 2, Tabu Ley Rochereau
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