Kwassa Kwassa

In preparation of the Groove Clinic that I’ll be doing in a few weeks on June 26, I’ve been researching a bit on the sound of the Congolese music that we sing in our church. We do a style that is called “Soukous” which is a play on the French word for shake. It was originally called rumba or African rumba because it was created by artists in the 40s who were mixing their African sounds with Cuban music that they were hearing on the radio. It’s also been called kwassa-kwassa after a dance that goes with the music. I’ve never seen our church goers dance kwassa in church (except when we had a musician named Mozart Kapend perform a concert for us.) Here’s a video that shows the kwassa-kwassa.

This term might be familiar to indie music fans who dig the band “Vampire Weekend” who have copped the Soukous sound. They have a song called “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”. Here’s a video that gives you a great feel for the bizarre post-modern mash-up that is Vampire Weekend.

Personally, I like the real thing. Maybe one day, I’ll get to go to the DRC and dance the kwassa-kwassa in Kinshasa. You can hear more Soukous on the internet radio station at or by going to the radio section of your itunes under “international”.

  1. #1 by Heidi Vincent on June 10, 2009 - 12:18 pm

    So what’s the Groove Clinic going to cover? Is it for uber advanced musicians?

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