Boketshu 1er & Classic Swede Swede have been among the first trying to create a mix of
traditional Congolese music and urban music. Created in 1985, Classic Swede Swede make what is now called "tradi-modern"
music, based on Mongo folkore. With modern instruments, mainly bass and drums, they reinterprete traditional rhythms,
but with the energy usually seen with modern Congolese music. They are popular for this energy, their dances such as the
« Sundama » and the « Etutana », but foremostly for their lyrics
on issues from modern Congolese society: politicians, preachers, street children and misery. Influences from modern Congolese
music can be heard in the structure of the songs (the use of the sebene) and, on their latest albums, the, albeit
timid, use of the electric guitar. Their first albums are presented as group efforts, later albums are signed by
Boketshu, accompanied by Classic Swede Swede. Various off-shoots were formed over the years, for
album titles please see the discography part below.
The group encountered difficulties with censorship by the Congolese authorities for their alledgedly obscene dances. A first
European tour in 1989, and a recording released by Belgian label Crammed did a lot for their promotion though.
In recent years, there has been a rise in the number and popularity of groups making this "musique tradi-moderne",
coming from various regions of Congo. The most successful examples are Konono No.1 and les Bayuda du Congo.
• Musicians on « Avant-Avant - Pas de recul (1999) »:
Lead vocals: Boketshu 1er, Petit Logique, Marcel Aisance, Noko Esombo Benjamin;
Bass: Bebeto, Kunter, Kelani, Ousmane;
Keyboards: Vasco da Gama, Kunterkelani;
Xylophone: Ngunza Tshimbalaga;
Drums: Nono Brevete;
Lokole: Leon Nkeka, Patsherie Mbonda;
Live drum: Paul Lukoke, Depaulca.
Born: as Boketshu Longombolo
Style: Traditional-modern Congolese music / tradi-moderne / mongo folkore