Soukous (also known as lingala or congo, and previously as African rumba) is a musical genre that originated in the two neighbouring countries of Congo during the 1930s and early 1940s, and which has gained popularity throughout Africa. "Soukous" (derived from the French word secouer, to shake) was originally the name of a dance popular in the Congos in the late 1960s, and danced to an African version of rumba. Although the genre was initially known as rumba (sometimes termed specifically as African rumba), the term Soukous has come to refer to African rumba and its subsequent developments.
Soukous is called congo music in West Africa, and lingala in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania - referring to the Lingala language of the region from where it originated. In the 1980s and early 1990s, a fast paced style of soukous known as kwassa kwassa – named after a popular dance, was popular. A style called ndombolo, also named after a dance, is currently popular.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Congolese musicians fused Congolese & other African traditional music with Caribbean (especially Afro-Cuban) and South American sounds – rhythms that were not entirely foreign to the region, having been founded to varying degrees on musical traditions from the area. This music emerged in the cities of Leopoldville, as Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was then called, and Brazzaville, then capital of the French Congo, now capital of the Republic of the Congo. Most of the musicians performed in Lingala language, but some also used Swahili, Tshiluba and Kikongo.
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