Lokua Kanza

Lokua Kanza is a very talented singer-songwriter with a distinct style of music, mainly coloured by his high-pitched voice. Born from a Mongo father and a Tutsi mother from Rwanda, the family moved to Congo's capital Kinshasa in 1964. When his father died, his mother moved to a poorer neighbourhood of Kinshasa, and Pascal Lokua (as the oldest of eight children) had to earn some money, and he started to sing church. He also got acquainted to current Congolese music (Franco and Kabasele). When he met Ray Lema who becomes some sort of a mentor for the young Pascal Kanza, he started studying classical guitar at the Kinshasa Conservatory.
Quite soon, he became a very young director of the Ballet national de Kinshasa when he was 19 (!) years old and in 1980, he became member of Abeti's band. In 1981, he went to Côte d'Ivoire to play in the Best Orchestra of Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan.

In 1984, he went to Paris, where he worked with big names in African music, such as Papa Wemba, Manu Dibango, and Angelique Kidjo. With Ray Lema, he worked again on 2 of Lema's albums, « Nangadeef » (1989) and « Bwana Zoulou Gang » (1987). He also worked with jazz musicians and with several French artists, such as Alain Bashung.

In the 1990s, he started a career as a solo singer, accompanying himself on guitar and percussion. He often performed with the Senegalese Julia Sarr (vocals) and Didi Ekukuan (percussion and vocals). His music is powerful and magical, with influences from folkloric music of his native Congo, as well as from Brazilian and South African music. Lokua Kanza was granted the South African Kora Award for 'Most Promising Male Artist in Africa' in 1996.

album cover 'Toyebi Té'
Lokua Kanza, album cover 'Toyebi Té' 

Born: April 1958, Bukavu, as Pascal Lokua Kanza
Style: folk / afro-folk / world music (vocal/guitar)

Title Year Label Remarks
Moko 2021 Nzela Production / Universal Music Africa
Nkolo 2010 World Village
Plus Vivant 2005 Yewo Music / Emarcy Records
Toyebi Té 2002 Emarcy Records 0168532
3 1998 RCA
Wapi Yo 1995 RCA 7432131198-2
Lokua Kanza 1993 RCA/DiK Musiques LOK 01

Page added March 1999