Today’s world is being consistently knit together as trans-cultural exchanges remains on the rise, every nation now is almost an extension of another via the speed in our ability to exchange information, have a feel of others experience regardless of their distance and enjoin ourselves in their struggles and stories.
But yet many form of art has succeeded in keeping its indigenous identity, regardless of the fusion of variety of styles inspired by the incessant craving of man for something different, a need that Nkumu Katalay the hottest Congolese contemporary artiste at the moment is trying to satisfy with his Rumbianfunk.
The Congolese Rumba was a musical form that hit a nerve throughout Africa and had a bigger cumulative effect on Western dance floors than any other African music. Despite the numerous decades of its existent ,the signature of the Congolese Rumba has retained its core traits, from the heavy touch of modernism, which is impressive because only few things on earth if any has survived the touch of time.
In the quest to define his time with pure natural expression of the music in his soul, Nkumu Katalay has been on the musical journey, hinged on an innovative style that is inspired with his creative ability to infuse all African music in one unified systemic expression the Rumbianfunk.
Today in celebration of the global African woman he will be dropping his second single of the year 2021 titled Helena Mama which is coming at the heels of another hit song zua Lokolo which he released to the public on 13th of February this year.
“Helena mama or I am yours Is my more direct way of confessing my love for Africa, it’s an embodiment of an African mom, overall the song speaks of African pride, the concept of keeping your head up and being proud of self” he explained on the lyrical intention of his latest single.
“I call my approach Rumbianfunk, the Rumba with my Funk, between these two musical expression we feel all black impulse, the rumba and funk, I selected the two, because within this two music I saw a unification of our people ,one is a traditional element and the other a contemporary element, everything, the jazz, the traditional music all that goes in the contemporary sense has gone through this two forms, Rumba and Funk.”
“In my musical odyssey ,I came to the realization that Rumba and Funk are the two major component our people expressed themselves when they left Africa as well as the corner stones of our musical content back home. Being also a Congolese, that own its version of rumba, I realize that within the Rumbian-funk am able to play the Afro Diaspora spirit in music ,be it jazz, traditional, the contemporized, all are within grasp in the experience that all African musical expression elicits.” He calmly explained in his soothing voice.
An uninformed listener on the actual lyrics of the Rumba song, will likely misinterpret the soulful rendition of the melodious song, as an incarnation of the pain in Congo that is resonating in the touching vibrations of its music acts.
Those who don’t understand Lingala language while listening to Rumba, still feel a reverberation of the emotional ecstatic pain, that is yet subtly joyful in their voices, as well as in the smooth delivery of the songs and one can’t help but wonder how a people caged in an endless conflict over the control of resources can still sing of love.
“Lingala is a beautiful language, its delivery with rumba is great,our language has a billion metaphors to twist the communication of love , So Congolese musicians have made good use of that, besides love is commercially viable ,it sales, as well as offer us an escape from the unpleasant realities, my vision is to highlights the contribution of Congolese culture in the modern world history and uplift our values and culture to a new pedestal,” he explained.
The new Congolese break out star, who is proudly recording and pushing his Afrocentric rhythms from New York City dreams of re-igniting the love and passion for Rumba In the social space of Anglophone Africa, as it was in the 70ties and of recent as well in the 90ties, when the likes of Awilo Longomba, Kofi Olomide were the music of choice at parties and events in cities like Lagos.
As of this decade Fally Ipupa has been almost a lone ranger and ambassador of rumba to Anglophone nations and has even collaborated with Nigeria’s top music acts like Tuface Idibia, Flavour, Tekno as well as R.Kelly the American superstar, whom he featured in his song Nidja.
Music has become Nkumu’s path to navigate the world, his corner stone, which holds fragments of his identity together. The cultural and social dynamics that exist both in New York City and Kinshasa helped his quest for translating his idea of sound and movements.
These two cities introduced Nkumu Katalay to the world, and they also poured in him a deep appreciation of humanity. While he mainly represents Congolese music and culture, his style is a hybrid of various genres reflecting the Afro-Diaspora global culture.
With the wide acceptance and accolades he has garnered in his less than two year career, a new reality is emerging, which is the unarguable fact that there is a new contender to the Rumba throne, whose name is Nkumu Katalay.