Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mbilia Bel - "Faux Pas" (Congo)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of the Congolese female vocalist Mbilia Bel singing "Faux Pas". The lyrics of that song are provided by a YouTube commentor. Several other comments from that YouTube discussion thread are also provided in this post.

In addition, this post provides information about African rumba as well as information about Mbilia Bel.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Mbilia Bel for her musical legacy. Thanks also to all those quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube. Special thanks to Job Mokaya for providing the English translation of this song which is sung in the Lingala language.

""Soukous", a derivative of the French word "secousse" – "to shake"[2] – was originally the name of a dance and music popular in the Congos in the late 1960s, an African version of the Cuban Rumba. From the 1940s, Afro-Cuban son groups such as Septeto Habanero and Trio Matamoros had been played over Radio Congo Belge in Léopoldville (Kinshasa), and the Congo shared the widespread popularity of Cuban music during the late 1940s and 1950s.[3]

To Africans, Cuban popular music sounded familiar[4] and Congolese bands started doing Cuban covers, singing the lyrics phonetically. Eventually they created original compositions with lyrics in French or Lingala, a "lingua franca" of the western Congo region. The Cuban horn guajeos were adapted to guitars.[5] The Congolese called this new music "rumba", though it was more based on "son"."

"M'bilia Bel (born 1959) is a Congolese rumba singer, known as the Queen of Congolese rumba. She rose to fame after being discovered by Tabu Ley Rochereau.

Born in 1959 and brought up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, M'bilia Bel became successful in the early 1980s when she recorded and toured with Tabu Ley Rochereau, and made her own solo albums. The birth of her first child prompted her to take a break from performing, however, and after a last album with Tabu Ley in 1987, she moved to Paris. There she started working with guitarist Rigo Star, and between 1989 and 1990 she went on tour to the United States, the United Kingdom, and West Africa. With a combination of beauty, an angelic soprano voice, and tremendous agility on stage, M'bilia Bel stole the hearts of music fans all over the continent. She was Africa's first female transcontinental diva. She became the first female musician from Africa who could claim popularity all over the entire continent and beyond. In fact, one could argue that there has not been any female musician from Africa who has captured the imagination of music fans across the continent as much as M'bilia Bel did in the eighties. South African Miriam Makeba, known as Mama Afrika, popularity peaked in the 1960s but could not attract as many fans as M'bilia Bel did later."...

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Congo - Mbilia Bel- Faux Pas

Seka Moke Uploaded on Jul 31, 2008


LYRICS - FAUX PAS (English translation)
(as sung by Mbilia Bel)

Note: These lyrics were posted by Job Mokaya, 2013 in four comments to this YouTube discussion thread. Aside for the first comment given, given the way that YouTube publishes comments, I'm not sure if I'm reproducing the comments in the lyrics in the order that they were posted.

"LYRICS: “Faux pas” means “Wrong move” or “Wrong act” A song of Tabu Ley Rochereau, sang by the queen Mbilia Bel: [Verse] Stay there where you are, I’ve heard that you are requesting my address So you are being send by my rival I want you to forget my man now. I can’t fight you because I’m peaceful I’ve been hearing about you quite for some time. You’re being send to take my man away from me. Go back to where you are coming from. Ask to those who know about me when I go crazy.

What can I say now, who is that one making a big mounth claiming my man? Oh no, I can’t believe it, this is embarrassing, oh no, not to me M’bilia; The type of marriage we get ourself into has many faces. You wake up in the morning and you are being confroted with infidelity; You feel like going crasy, Not knowing what else to do, Oh no, not me M’bilia; In our time poligamy is taken lightly; In the time past it was dignified. Where is all of this leading us to? and to where are we taking this?"

I’ve been hearing about you quite for some time. Where ever I would go you would inquire about my whereabout. You’re being sent by my rival. But the one sending you is fooling herself. Now she’s sending you to get my man for her, but at the same time, you yourself start to fall in love with him. “You can not leave a goat along with kassava leaves”. You should know that the man is mine; You and your friend are temporary. I’m not strong enough to fight, but with my words I can piece you off

Rivalry is very painful, heartbreaking. You’re coming from “I don’t know where” and you want to kate my man away from me; I would lose my mind and I will do anything to prove you otherwise. A rival is only a “rival”. What friendship should we have? What you don’t want done to you, don’t do it to another. It hurt, it’s heart breaking. Now what else can I tell you? The man is mine. Who are you to claim my man? This is crasy. This is embarrassing! oh no; not me Mbilia"


LusaMonene1, 2013
"So the song is about love rivalry, good work Mokaya."

faustino henrique, 2013
"Many Thanks, Mr. Job Mokaya, because most of us doesn´t know understande Lingala and a translation in Portuguse, English or French (for me, in this case) is very useful. Once again, many thanks."

hombredeciencia, 2009
"Esta canción se escuchó mucho en la costa norte de Colombia en los años 80s. Tiene un ritmo Bárbaro. todo un exitazo. This song on a lot on the north coast of Colombia in the 80s. Barbaro has a rhythm. everything a hit. where can I get the letter.

Herrick OCHOM, 2009
"I adore this lady so much that she remains me off my past while i was growing up kid in kampala in the mids 80s. where are you these days. beautifull musics and the voice..ooh my god.."

yankin, 2012

"this song in my city Barranquilla Colombia, was and will remain a success in folk dances. Mbilia Was there she knows."

Revocatus Nyefwe, 2013
"Every one at the age of 30 on in tanzania knows mbilia and we love her..........she used to stole all the night clubd performance and bits"

missevegee, 2013
"Its nice to hear that our beautiful mbilia is so appreciated by people outside congo. She is congo's dearest pride in music. She sings in Lingala which is the native language of the democratic republic of congo. I am planning to translate her music for all her non-congolese fans :)))"

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  1. i have never seen a dancer with the grace and finesse of mbilia, a queen undoubtedly

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

      I'm glad that I came across this video of Mbilia. I hadn't heard of her before, although I know a 30ish African American woman who has that given name.