I am so happy to back. Last month was so complicated with so much going on. I had issues going on with my family. In addition, many issues surrounding with me as well as I am entering a awkward phases of becoming an adult. I am entering my second year as a college student. I am confident that I will do. I had a lot of things to get done to get college started soon.
Anyway enough of my rambling shits, let's get started on what I have been enjoying a lot. The music of the Congolese born and Tanzania musical legend REMMY ONGALA. Yes this Remmy Ongala. Remmy Ongala a great musician who spoke for the most unpriviligized people in the world.
I don't have a great biography on him and I don't know everything but I know enough to know he was a person with a great heart.
He was born in 1947 from Kivu, DRC Congo. He grew up with any parental guidance. He was 7 years old when his parents had passed away. Remmy struggled to be able to maintain his own living. So he ended up playing for local bands around the area Kisangani. That is also where he started learning guitar as well. He was so inspired by the music of Franco. That is the main reason he wanted to play guitar (or that what he likely stated in a 1989 interview). Then he joined the band led by Asso Tshimanga named Orchestre Makassy which was a East African Rumba band that mostly sang in Lingala. They were located in Tanzania. He started to learn how to deal with music and things of that nature. He was also was alongside with great genius Mose Sengo alias Mose Fan Fan. But when the band decided to relocate to Kenya, Remmy remained in Tanzania to make a new band. That band would called Orchestre Super Matmilia. This band would the band Remmy Ongala would use for his upcoming stardom.
That all started in 1983 when he released some songs which included Mnyonge Hana Haki, Pesa, and Kipenda Roho. These songs gave important boost towards the career of Remmy Ongala. He was going in the right direction with his ability to relate the not so privileged people and poor people. As result of this, some people called "DOCTOR" because he was able to help heal poor and not so privileged people.
Remmy Ongala would begin to grow his base and he began to make love songs but make very conscious songs. The later songs were part of Remmy's movement in which he nicknamed BONGO BEAT. He started this movement on his 1988 acclaimed LP "On Stage with Remmy Ongala". This Lp has been considered by some as Remmy's best music ever his whole life. For good reason, there are some songs including one I really like. They include Sauti ya Mnyonge, Kifo, Asili ya Muziki, and Narudi ya Nyumbani. Those songs sent Remmy on another level with his star. Really some people would began to enjoy the music of Remmy. I think around this time, he had officially became a Tanzania citizen. But thanks to the success of Remmy, some people were knocking doors (well Western companies). As result in 1990, Remmy released his remixed songs which had Sauti ya Mnyonge, Kifo, Carola, and others which had some even more popularity and this time Womad label got Remmy in their label.
Now we enter the 1992 up to the 1996 period. He released Mambo in 1992 which helps create the global star of Remmy Ongala. However some Tanzanians start not to like him because he was now getting liked by some westerners. However, Remmy had liked of songs like Niseme Nini, rendition of Narudi Nyumbani, and No Money No Life. People enjoyed those songs a lot. Remmy Ongala now was creating a bigger legend and more people wanted a piece of Remmy Ongala. Then in 1995, Remmy Ongala released the popular work "THE KERSHAW SESSIONS" which it contains songs like Bongo Beat, Libala, Penzi Lauwa, and Kilio Cha Samaki. In this work, he actually a little more Lingala than he would do in general.
Now that Remmy Ongala had become a great legend, Remmy decided to do a film called BONGO BEAT. This was done in 1996. It was a huge success in which got into the mind and the life of Remmy Ongala and how it was like for him to go from a common poor man to a successful musical legend.
After that, Remmy Ongala had finally been able to enjoy his success and he was able to now know that he became a big legend. His legend even led Tanzania to be able to have county named after him.
But Remmy's life took a bad turn in 2001 when he got partially paralyzed which led to him becoming somewhat sick. By 2006, he officially became a Christian and even became a preacher. But when he got sicker, he fully sang for God. He got honored around 2009 with a reward for having the desire to help the poor. It was said that Remmy said that he is a Christian but he wants to really help the poor and don't care about money that but seeing others get well. He died in December 13, 2010 in Tanzania.
Now some people why Remmy Ongala died. I could be wrong but I do not think I will be. Here is my theory on Remmy's later life.
One thing from Bongo Beat, it was known that Remmy Ongala was a lover of Beer mainly and clearly some people disliked. It is also has something to do with Remmy's disdain for westerners. Though Remmy had worked with the British led label (western label) WOMAD and married a white woman named Toni, Remmy did not exactly cared for the Westerners which also explains Remmy had still lived in Tanzania as opposed to Great Britian. See many African artists would move to Europe or USA to try to make great money and avoid political hell that came being with a African artist. But Remmy did not get that memo or cared much about that. In addition, one song may have led to Remmy's death. That song was Kilio Cha Samaki on the film "BONGO BEAT" in which he blames religion (well two main religions). He points the fingers at Europeans and Arabic people for oppressing. Remmy claimed that Africans were too nice to those people for too long and allowed them to oppress not only with force but with religion as well. He condemned Christianity and Muslim religion because he says Europeans and Arabics were using as tools to distract Africans and harm them as well. Some say that was the mentally of Patrice Lumumba. More importantly after 1996, Remmy was not really seen anymore. He became sick and converted to Christianity.
This is likely the same theory with his idol Franco who is known as Grand Maitre. Franco was also not so westerner loving fan ever. In fact Franco reportedly thought James Brown was a total piece of shit. Franco also did similar things by speaking of uniting Congo and have the line "Congo aux Congolais". This angered some westerners and as result, to some poeple they say that these folks decided to poison Franco with some accomplices especially associated with sorcery which is related to witchcraft. Franco also said the Westerner artists are chicken pots and were so narrow minded. In fact Franco went Muslim to anger westerners which he named himself ABOUBACAR SIDDIKH for a political statement which may also to a poison. Franco's refusal to really fit the Western market and not live in Europe may have led to Franco's demise. More importantly, he only started living in Belgium when he was frail and sick.
Regardless, Franco and Remmy Ongala were great musicians and I will forever love their music and for what they did to try to advance AFRICA.