Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Congolese singer Tabu Ley Rochereau - "Kaful Mayay" (sound file & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases Congolese singer Tabu Ley Rochereau (also known as Tabu Ley) singing his song "Kaful Mayay". Information about Tabu Ley, and information about Soukous music (also known as African Rhumba) are also included in this post. In addition, this post includes an English translation and summary of this song from that sound file's viewer comment thread.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu (13 November 1937 or 1940 – 30 November 2013),[1][2] better known as Tabu Ley Rochereau, was a leading African rumba singer-songwriter from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the leader of Orchestre Afrisa International, as well as one of Africa's most influential vocalists and prolific songwriters. Along with guitarist Dr Nico Kasanda, Tabu Ley pioneered soukous (African rumba) and internationalised his music by fusing elements of Congolese folk music with Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American rumba. He has been described as "the Congolese personality who, along with [the dictator] Mobutu, [most] marked Africa's 20th century history."[3] He was dubbed the "African Elvis" by the Los Angeles Times.[4] After the fall of the Mobutu regime, Tabu Ley also pursued a political career.

During his career, Tabu Ley composed up to 3,000 songs and produced 250 albums."

From "A brief summary of African Popular music"
by Piero Scaruffi excerpted from "The History of Popular Music"
"During the 1950s, when they experienced rapid urbanization and a relatively booming economy, the two French-speaking colonies of the Congo area (capitals in Brazzaville and Kinshasa) witnessed the birth of an African version of the Cuban rumba played by small American-style orchestras (called "kasongo", "kirikiri" or "soukous") with a touch of jazz and of local attitudes: Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabasselleh's African Jazz (that counted on vocalist Tabu Ley, guitarist "Docteur" Nico Kasanda, saxophonist Manu Dibango), Jean-Serge Essous' O.K.Jazz (featuring the young Franco), Orchestre Bella Bella, etc. Each orchestra became famous for one or more "dances" that they invented. So soukous (as Ley dubbed it in 1966) is actually a history of dances, rather than one monolithic genre (Ley's definition originally applied only to a frenzied version of rumba). A guitarist named Jimmy Elenga introduced "animation": instructions yelled to the crowd in order to direct their dances. Animation eventually became part of the dance, delivering both the identity of the dance, the (ethnic) identity of the band and a (more or less subtle) sociopolitical message. As dictators seized power in both Congos, musicians emigrated to other African countries, to Europe and to the USA, thus spreading soukous around the world, while in Zaire (Congo Kinshasa) soukous bands were used for Maoist-style propaganda purposes ("l'animation politique").
Click for a link to Soukous music radio.

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Tabu Ley Rochereau - Kaful Mayay

Malala1974, Uploaded on Jun 13, 2008

A song of Tabu Ley Rochereau


Queenlez, 2013

This song is about domestic violence song...
Tabu Ley was a great women advocate...he was a voice for women...he sang a lot about women issues specially with Mbilia Bel....

The song is about all the abuse this woman is subject to in the hands of her husband...

She's crying...saying I am going back home...
I am tired of a life with a husband who doesn't love me...
It's hard to live in a loveless marriage...

I am doing everything he wants...
I am cooking, cleaning the house, doing his laundry...
But he still beats me up, calls me name...and mistreats me...

I am eating but I am still losing weight because of this stressful marriage...
I have decided to go back home...God forbid he kills me....
I am not going to risk my life just for the sake of being married..."

Agréable djo, 2014
"une femme parle un certain DIBUANA dans cette chanson de Papa Tabu ley: Dibuana , suis devenu l' offrande , je rentre au village parceque mon marie me rend la vie difficile . Dibuana je m'en vais , je rentre au village de mes parents parceque mon marie me menace, j'évite la honte pour ce grand problème qu'il m'a fait, moi l'enfant de maman, je ne dors pas la nuit , mon mari me tappe tout le temps, laisse moi partir, ça me fait très mail au coeur , s'il faut que reste ici ,ça sera ma mort , bien que le mariage c'est pas mauvais . Dibuana je suis devenu l'offrande , parceque je suis envouté par mes parents. je commence a maigrir , mon marie m'insulte tu le temps, je ne mange plus comme il faut de peur que mon marie me tue, oh mon Dieu ça m'étonne, c'est malhereux pour ce mariage contre ma volonté Mayay( le non de son mari) . je fais la cuisine et le ménage , la lessive comme il faut, je faits tout ce qu'il me demande , oh mon Dieu je ne supporte plus ce mariage sans amour. j'ai peur parceque nous sommes marié selon les normes de la notre coutume, oh mon coeur je suis devenu l'offrande , le mari de Kitshoul je refuse (kitsoul : une forme de mariage chez les Bayanzi une tribu du congo dont Papa Tabu fait parti) Mayay un petit qui s'est marié avec sa femme de coutume(kitshoul) Kaful Mayay c.a.d. pose la question à Mayay. elum'akua me Kalumayay é ne alélél ( pose la question à Mayay si tu veux savoir le jour de ma mort, et y aura des pleurs) . mieul epar epar Kaful Mayay ( il à des chiques dans ces pieds) . il dit ds sa parôle que je t'émbette et je t'insulte dans ma langue maternelle et tu me mettra nul part"
Translation from French to English (from Google translate)
a woman speaks in a DIBUANA this song Papa Tabu ley: Dibuana, became the offering, I returned to the village becaufe my marie makes life difficult for me. Dibuana I go, I go back to my parents' village becaufe my marie threatens me, I avoid the shame for this great problem that was me, the child mom, I do not sleep at night my husband off with me all the time, let me go, it makes me very mail to heart, whether that stays here, it will be my death, although marriage is not bad. Dibuana I got the gift, because I am captivated by my parents. I began to lose weight, you insult my married me time, I can not eat it right lest my marie kill me, oh my God I'm surprised it is Malhereux for marriage against my will Mayay (the not her husband). I do the cooking and cleaning, washing as it should, I made everything he asks me, oh my God I can not stand this loveless marriage. I'm afraid because we are married according to the standards of our custom, oh my heart I became the offering, the husband of Kitshoul I refuse (kitsoul: a form of marriage in Bayanzi a tribe of Congo which is Papa Tabu party) a small Mayay who married his wife usual (kitshoul) Kaful Mayay cad raises the question Mayay. elum'akua me Kalumayay é do alélél (Mayay ask the question if you want to know the day of my death, and will cry). mieul separated separated Kaful Mayay (it classy with these feet). ds he said his word and I'll émbette I insult you in my mother tongue and you put me anywhere
Here is the comment that I posted in response to that summary:
"Agréable djo, thank you so much for this summary of this song. Here’s what I think you wrote in standard American English:

The song is about a young bride who returns to her parent’s village because of a difficult marriage. In the song the woman describes being unable to sleep at night because she , never knows where her husband is. S he says that although marriage itself isn’t bad, if she stayed there that would have been her death. She began to lose weight, she couldn’t eat right. She was married against her will [but] she did everything her husband asked of her. She said “ I do the cooking and cleaning, washing as I should. I made everything he asks me. Oh my God, I can not stand this loveless marriage. I'm afraid because we are married according to the standards of our custom, oh my heart I became the offering, the wife of Kitshoul. I refuse (kitsoul: a form of marriage in Bayanzi a tribe of Congo which Papa Tabu belonged). Mayay ask the question if you want to know the day of my death, and [you] will cry”

[or is it "I will cry?]”
I don’t understand the rest of this summary. Also, I don’t know what the word "Dibuana". Is that a personal name? And is "Mayay" a personal name (Is that the husband's name?) I’m still unsure what the title “Kaful Mayay” means.

Thanks to Tabu Ley Rochereau for his music legacy. Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post and to the publisher of this sound file on YouTube>

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Visitor comments are welcome.

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