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World Music CD Reviews Africa


By Tom Pryor
Published September 22, 2005


Of all the veterans of the golden age of Congolese music, few can still convey the sweetness and pure joy of Kinshasha in the ’60s and early ’70s as Mose “Fan Fan” Se Sengo. From playing second guitar in the legendary OK Jazz (the great Franco was first!), to his work with both Super Matimilla and Orchestra Makassay in Tanzania, to his stint with Bana OK in Belgium, to his contemporary solo work, Mose Fan Fan has kept the sweet lilt of classic Congolese rumba alive for decades. His latest release, Bayekeleye, is no exception. Lightly arranged for just guitars, bass, trap-drums, light hand-percussion and the very occasional saxophone, these songs are airy, fleet-footed rumbas filled with sparkling, luminescent guitar work and gentle call-and-response choruses. Tracks like “Zenda” and “Lipopo Ville” are pure old school African pop: never rushed or hurried, taking their own sweet, African time to get where they’re going. And sly old Fan Fan knows how to make listeners enjoy every minute of the ride.