Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcases Congolese vocalist Mbilia Bel's song "Boyayé". Biographical information about Mbilia Bel and four YouTube examples of Mbilia Bel performing that song are featured in this post. One of those videos includes Lingala sub-titles of that song's lyrics. Several English explanations of "Boyayé" and selected comments from two of those sound files or videos are also included in this post.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to Mbilia Bel for her cultural legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT MBILIA BEL
From https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/mbilia-bel/id274678991#fullText Biography
"Born: January 10, 1959 in Kinshasa, Congo
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s
Mbilia Bel's career took off in the mid-'80s when she sang alongside Tabu Ley on a number of recordings and tours, also recording solo albums at the same time. After her first child was born, she took some time off and decided to part company with Ley, making one last album with him in 1987. She moved to Paris and hooked up with guitarist Rigo Star*, who composed and arranged much of her material. Most of her lyrics revolve around themes of adult love, which has proven controversial on some occasions. She toured the U.S., U.K., and West Africa from 1989 to 1990, drawing enthusiastic crowds. More recently, she has taken to experimenting within the traditional rumba/soukous framework, mixing in rap and other elements, with mixed results. ~ Steve Huey."
"Rigobert Bamundele, best known as Rigo Star, is an appreciated soukous guitarist and composer from DR Congo, now based in Paris. He has played with several major soukous and world music acts, including Papa Wemba's Viva La Musica, Bozi Boziana's Anti-Choc, Kanda Bongo Man, Koffi Olomide, Kelele, and Paul Simon. His name is mostly associated with Congolese female singer M'bilia Bel, with whom he collaborated almost exclusively throughout the 1990s"... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigo_Star
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their publishing dates on YouTube with the oldest examples given first. Selected comments from two of these examples are given after those example.
Example #1: Boya ye
Malala1974, Uploaded on Feb 21, 2009
Afriza Internationa: Boya ye!
Selected comments from this example's discussion thread:
"lol I love her voice and the message of this song I tell my friends who think their girl has to win our approval or vice versa forget about us its what you feel. "
"En fait Mbilia Bel chante la souffrance d'une femme qui a épousé un mari très pauvre, sans travail, sans maison, sans chaise, sans argent. Alors les gens, tout en se moquant d'elle, lui demandent de délaisser un mari aussi pauvre pour se donner la chance d'être épousée par un homme riche. Mais la femme rejette en bloc toutes les démonstrations qu'ils lui font de la pauvreté de son mari, en affirmant son attachement incoditionnel au père de ses enfants. Boya yé veut dire littéralement: "refuse-le
Google translate from French to English:
"In fact Mbilia Bel suffering sings of a woman who married a poor husband, no job, no home, no chair, no money. So people while making fun of her, ask her to abandon a poor husband to give [herself] the chance to be married to a rich man. But the woman totally rejects all the demonstrations they make it to the poverty of her husband, claiming its attachment to incoditionnel father of her children. Boya yé literally means "refuses it""
Example #2: Mbilia Bel - Boyayé
Sehanne, Uploaded on Aug 26, 2009
Selected comments from this example's discussion thread:
"This brings back soooo many memories of parties from my childhood. By the time these slower songs came on, it was well into the early hours of the morning and us children were fast asleep in various corners of the house while the parents were still dancing. God bless Congo always."
in reply to ifeanyich
@ifeanyich With much love for east Africa, M'bilia is from Congo, central Africa...she is of course the Queen of Congolese Rumba."
"Please my African Congolese brothers and sisters could you try to translate some of those music so that we all know what they are talking about. The rythms of most music are excellent, but rythm without lyric meaning is as though dancing like a dumb and mute person."
Tsiresy Domingos , 2013
"The song's title meaning "Leave him". A woman is complaining about her family, friends, acquaintances who are pressurising her to leave her husband as they feel he is no good, a looser. She is tired ("aha ngai na lembi", in lingala from 3:59) of all the talking, she is not leaving him as she loves him, he is a good man, he is the father of her kids despite his shortcomings and their poverty. I hope this helps."
..."she is complaining that everyone is telling her to dump the man she loves, who happens to be her husband. She says that the people are telling her that the man have no money, house or anything to show.....and says she is tired (ngai nalembi) but she swears to stick to the man.....who is the father of my kids (anzali tata ya bana nangai)..."
naija4life Naija4lifestyle , 2013
in reply to Karate
"It,s really great of you to translate this song. I LOVED this song when i first heared it in lagos more than 25 years ago ( and i,m still loving it) Thanks indeed and God bless!"
Murray Edwards, 2013
"Absolutely fantastic, this song was a big heat in Nigeria, i hope she is a millionaire, this song went everywhere. I just love this music."
HAPPY KONKOLA, 2014
"The song is so captivating that it brings back those old school days when we used to rhumba nite every Saturdays in Zambia."
Africanmusictv [ AMTV ], 2015
"Mbilia Bel, the Queen of African Soul. Nubian Beauty from Congo. I will NEVER get tired of your sweet voice. I miss my African Queen. One Love Congo!!!"
Christopher Osuoha, 2015
"This is a timeless classic. I still remember while growing up how this song and that of Eric Donaldson's land of my birth dominated the radio air waves in the 80's in Nigeria."
Sara rose, 2015
The song is beautiful. It's in lingala. The song is about how her husband is poor and has no money , the tittle of the song means to leave or say no. She's singing about how everyone is telling her to say no to him and leave him but she won't because she loves him.
Example #3: Mbilia bel - Belle époque - BOYAYE [OFFICIAL]
BrowntouchAfro, Published on Oct 21, 2012
Example #4: Mbilia Bel Boya Ye Lyrics in Lingala
Soukous Lyrics Published on Apr 9, 2014
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