Thursday, August 16, 2012

Proof: There is a bigger Pepe Kalle fan than me

I have always said that I am not a diehard Pepe Kalle fan as some people seemed to believe. I always said that I am a fanatic of Franco and Pepe Kalle. I like Franco and Pepe Kalle very equally. Both of them are great musicians that I have ever heard in my life. I call Franco and Pepe Kalle the kings of Congolese Music.

I am so happy that someone has finally come and say something about Pepe Kalle and how they are a bigger fan of Pepe Kalle.

I was so touched by the man's story that I had to share it on a post. His name is Nounou.

Here is the person who is a bigger Pepe Kalle fan than me.

Up until now, I was convinced that I was the only true and biggest Pepe Kalle and his Empire's fan on the planet, but when I found your blog, my belief was shaken to it's very foundations!!! I like Franco too, and have tens of his songs, but for me Pepe Kalle is Numero Uno!!!

I am very impressed at your dedication and the amount of time and resources you put in making Pepe Kalle's name be known and not just fade away. You have also a lot of interesting knowledge about Congolese music in general (although some of your ideas about church and faith are rather... "interesting" :-)

Well, I also have a story I want to share about Pepe Kalle.
I am very sad that I never had the opportunity to see him when he was alive, but he sure was a great musician, and he had a very deep impact on me in my younger days. I'll get back to that soon enough.
In today's Congo music, you can't almost tell who is who. The songs are so alike, maybe because of lack of creativity, but in my younger days, when you heard a song, you could instantly tell what band it was, and Pepe Kalle was so creative, so original that his songs never sounded like any other!

It was around 1990 in Goma, eastern Congo (Zaire at that time). I was around 12, and my mom sent me to the market to buy tomatoes to put in some chicken she was roasting. The market was not so far, just 10-15 minutes I guess.
Before I got to the market, I passed by a music shop in a corner, and they had these huge loud speakers outside by the door, and there was a song playing. The song was very rhythmic and up-tempo, the bass was groovy, and the solo guitar was like nothing I had heard before.
Then the song ended in the most strange way! Usually when a song ends, it just fades out, but this song didn't. Rather, all the instruments stopped playing, and only the lead singer went on calling up, and the choir would answer Ekoki... Ekoki...Ekoki (that's enough, that's it)!
This song made such an on me in a way I can't describe. It was just like falling in love at first sight, if you've ever experienced that.
I completely forgot what I was doing there, and what my mom had sent me to buy. I spent quite a time there, trying to remember, but the only thing that would come to my mind was this song. Eventually I went back home empy handed, and mom got so angry...
I was just a kid, so I didn't even think of getting in the shop to ask what song that was. I just walked back home, but the solo (or sebene) of that song and its ending never left my head, and from that day on, I started making toy guitars just so I could play that solo.

Only in 1996 did I hear that song again. By this time I was in Uvira, south Kivu region, if you know, and I was walking on the street, and I heard it coming from a plot nearby. The melody was so deep in my brain that I recognized it at once! I stopped, and went to the house, knocked politely, and said, sorry, but can you please tell me what cassette you are playing?
That day I learned that the song was a Pepe Kalle composition called "Ndako Ya Zeke", the last song on the Pon Moun Paka Bouge album (Actually, the album's real title is "Giant Afrique The Bombe Atomique").
I was so happy to discover the song, and from that day on I became a hardcore Pepe Kalle fan, and started collecting his albums. Today I have over 21 of them, that is around 150 songs, and I never get tired of listening to any one of them! I have introduced my 3yrs daughter to this music also, so she can take good care of those albums, once I'm not here anymore.

Also the love of that music made me pick up the guitar. Today I can play most of Kinanga Boeing 737 solos, and although I rather embraced rock and blues guitar style in a band setting, I still play Empire Bakuba in my spare time, and every single day I thank Pepe Kalle and his Empire Bakuba for inspiring me to pick up guitar, and having such a deep impact on me.

I wish I could find some other people who are interested in this music, so we can start a tribute band or something, but that seems unlikely.


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