Lingala is Congolese music, so much loved by older people above 50 years old.
And how did young Kenyans fell for it? They got if from their fathers.
It is like a predominant gene that showed up later in adulthood.
Who is good in this Lingala thing? Fally Ipupa or Ferre Gola. That question can lead to an endless debate among young Kenyans who out of nowhere have come to be fans of this music genre that initially pleased only the old generation.
It was considered a type for people of the 60s and 70s.
But it seems old is gold considering how millennials have come to indulge in the dance and love of Lingala.
A lot can be said to have contributed to this new craze over the Congolese vibe; is it their mellow voices or great dressing style?
Whatever it is, I can’t specifically point at it but that genre of music that seemed to be fading a few years ago has come to be a favourite among the youths.
Lingala is African in every definition of that word; the language is Congolese, the dressing with chains made of gold from Congo, the excellent dancing and the stories behind some mega-hits are just so African.
Despite being a sophisticated generation, the youths still have some African originality in them and listening to Lingala music awakens that genuine feeling of being African.
According to this article by Capital lifestyle, “young Kenyans sing along to Lingala musicians when they perform even though the lyrics are in French”.
Back in the days when growing up, it was our father’s generation music, they would play these songs in bars and even our homes.
We didn’t know any other music genre as big as Lingala when growing up.
Then from nowhere came Hip Hop and Trap, and that is what the Y-generation became accustomed to.
Lingala faded and remained with our father.
However, of late, there has been a new style of Lingala that has been appealing to millennials.
And these are some of the reasons behind the new Lingala vibe.
Lingala did an overhaul of its image, by bringing in new players who talked about youthful topics in their songs that resonate well with the young people.
Just like any company does when they want to remain relevant in the market, Lingala musicians like Koffi Olomide who have been celebrated for years changed their style and started singing about ‘Selfies’.
That is something that even the Hip Hop crazed youths could listen to.
Koffi also changed his dressing style and started dying his hair and dressing like a young man.
He has the most attractive fashion among Lingala musicians despite his age.
The ability to change and blend with a new wave is what has saved Lingala music from fading away from the music scene.
The current generation is very critical of pop culture and anything coming out because they have a voice.
We have blogs, Youtube videos and social media platforms where the listeners, most of them young are very active, and they will be vocal on what they consider the content and what they don’t.
If you play them bad music, they will call it out.
And if you give them something unique and different, they will be so fast in spreading it among friends.
I can point at new technology as a significant contributor to the quality of Lingala music coming out.
Back in the days, Lingala videos were plain and rather boring.
here wasn’t much creativity put into the shooting of the videos.
That is totally different from what is being put out today, the videos are of high quality, and the lyrics are catchy and have a good feeling in them.
Lingala music can actually compete in the African market with other genres like techno, Nigerian sound and South African Kwaito that are heavily played.
I won’t say our Kapuka and Kenyan Hip hop sell more than Lingala because it doesn’t. Congolese Lingala musicians are way richer than their Kenyan ones.
They wear designer clothes and gold chains on their necks. Either way, Congo itself as a country is very rich in minerals. A lot of rocks in that country.
Lingala musicians have albums; Fally Ipupa’s album ‘Droit Chemin’ sold heavily, around 100k copies.
Most African musicians don’t focus on albums as much because we don’t like buying them.
We prefer listening to hot singles that are trending. I can say Lingala albums sell a lot because they sing with some French at times.
Remember Congo was colonised by French-speaking nation and their music does so well in France.
Many Lingala musicians get a fully packed show in France. And with such an audience, they can easily sell their music.
Most African musicians have a problem with selling abroad but not Congolese musicians.
They can sell in any French-speaking nation.
What’s music without a good dance? And there is no lie that these Lingala musicians can move their bodies.
A musician who can sing and dance is considered more artistic and talented, just like Chris Brown.
I know I can’t compare them with Chris, but the ability to dance is what makes Lingala music attractive to millennials.
When they perform on stage, you want to watch because they can get down like it is supposed to be.
Have I said before that they dress well; in designer and chains. That is just the tip of the iceberg because Congolese people are generally the most fashionable in Africa.
And their musicians are no exception, they are very trendy with their sense of style.
When it comes to dressing, they can put themselves together in a lovely way. They don’t need a stylist.
Millennials are fashion conscious and very attracted to celebrities that nice rock hairstyles, cool shoes and blazers.