D.R.CONGO: SOUKOUS STARS WIN INTERNATIONAL MUSIC AWARD

Winner of "Best Soukous Act" at 22nd Annual International Reggae & World Music Awards in New York City - May 13, 2003

 
 

Contact the Soukous Stars to play a concert near you:

Nguma Lokito - Tel # (301) 537-1223

Soukous Stars Fax # (718) 981-7044

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The Soukous Stars - Featuring Jirbo Ntunta, Lokassa, Nguma Lokito, Shiko Mawatu & Gepry Mavambu showcasing their latest music award from the 22nd Annual International Reggae & World Music Festival - Photo courtesy of the Soukous Stars

   
[Festival Report by reporter Gabriel Packard]:  Congolese band the Soukous Stars won the Best Soukous Entertainer Award at the 2003 International Reggae and World Music Awards, held in New York City on May 13, 2003.

The Soukous Stars’ lead singer Jirbo Ntunta said that the award was "good for all countries in Africa and good for African music in general." And in his acceptance speech, Soukous Stars’ manager, Abou Sylla, said the band was proud "on behalf of the entire continent of Africa."

 
   

 

Jirbo Ntunta and the Soukous Stars Dancers perform at the 22nd Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards in New York City - Photo by William Farrington

 
   

The only other African to win an award was veteran South African reggae singer Alpha Blondy, who scooped the Best African Entertainer Award; he was unable to attend the ceremony to accept in person.

 
   

 
The Soukous Stars lit up the stage with a highly energetic music and dance set; The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause - Photo by William Farrington  
   

There was a Spiritual Service through Music Award named after former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who is the key figure of the Rastafarian religion (Selassie’s original name was Ras Tafari) which is inextricably linked with Reggae music.  The Haile Selassie award was won by Jamaican reggae musician Luciano.

Fellow Jamaican Sean Paul, whose single "Get Busy" was at the time number one in the Billboard Hot 100, arrived to accept the Best Album Award for his "Dutty Rock."

 
   

Soukous Stars To Release Latest Album in This Summer - Report by AfricaSounds.com

In August 2003, the Soukous Stars are planning to release their new album, entitled "B-52".  In addition, lead singer Jirbo Ntunta will also be releasing his latest solo album, entitled "Enough !" in September 2003.  Check back often on AfricaSounds.com for additional information on The Soukous Stars and Jirbo Ntunta.

 
   

 

The Soukous Stars - Group Portrait - Photo by William Farrington

 

 

 
Over the past several years, New York City has become home to a variety of African musicians.  For fans of Congolese music, this is an especially intriguing development, particularly since the legendary Soukous Stars have come to town.  Well-known for their "soukous" albums of the past decade, the Soukous Stars have most recently taken on a decidedly more contemporary approach to their music style fusing the latest in Congolese sounds into their musical stew.

The Soukous Stars added their youthful element by recruiting lead singer (and excellent dancer) Jirbo Ntunta,  formerly a member of Le General Defao's Big Stars Orchestra.  Jirbo has added an urban and contemporary element to the rumba guitar rhythms of legendary guitarists and veteran Soukous Stars band members Lokassa and Nguma Lokito.  Add to the mix Shiko Mawatu and Gepry Mavambu, a former drummer for Tabu Ley Rochereau, and you get the picture.  This new and improved line-up of the Soukous Stars is hotter than before... more intense, urban and contemporary because it adds a flavor of modern Kinshasa style animations and guitar work. 

In addition, the band has added a team of excellent female dancers that have joined the group for their live performances.  These dancers, who join Jirbo on stage, perform the latest dance crazes of Congolese music.  They add to the enjoyment of the live performance and increase the crowd response and participation. 

Soukous Stars will perform in Chicago for the African/Caribbean International Festiva of Life on July 4, 2003

 

 

Four dancers from the Soukous Stars live performance - Photo courtesy of the Soukous Stars

 
   
The band also showcase many of the golden-era dance floor classics of Congolese music.  Melding luscious melodies and brisk sebenes, the veteran guitarists and drummer drive the music forward.  Medleys similar to the Mega Mix album that the band is famous for and renditions of Congolese classics such as Franco's "Mario" also add a nostalgic mood to portions of the live set.  For live Congolese music in the USA, the Soukous Stars rise to the call.

Currently, the Soukous Stars are scheduled for a USA tour that will take them coast to coast during the summer and fall months of 2003.  We have posted the first portion of their tour schedule to the right.  Be sure to check them out when they are in your region. 

In addition, both the Soukous Stars and Jirbo Ntunta are finalizing their latest albums in the recording studio, with plans to release the group album in August 2003 and Jirbo's solo album in September 2003.  Check back often on AfricaSounds.com for the latest happenings of the Soukous Stars.

USA Tour 2003

July 4 - Chicago, IL

July 5 - Charlotte, NC

July 6 - Pittsburg, PA

July 11 - New York, NY - SOBs

July 12 - Washington, DC

July 18 - Houston, TX

July 19 - Harlem, NY

July 26 - Atlanta, GA

August 8 - Oakland, CA

August 9 - Santa Barbara, CA

August 10 - Los Angeles, CA

August 22 - Kansas City

August 23 - Minneapolis

August 29 - Portland

August 30 - Boston