The two-guitar front line of Tabu Ley Rochereau (born in 1940) and Dr. Nico Kasanda (1938-1985) elevated African Fiesta to the forefront of Congolese dance music during the '60s. Although only together for two years, the group's influence is still being felt. Formed in 1963, African Fiesta represented the vision of Rochereau, who had spent the previous four years with the premier Congolese band African Jazz. The tension between Rochereau and Kasanda led to a split in 1965 with Rochereau renaming the band African Fiesta National and Kasanda forming African Fiesta Sukisa. Following the split, Rochereau and African Fiesta National continued to dominate the Congo's musical scene. By 1970, their records routinely sold in the millions. African Fiesta National served as a breeding ground for such future African music stars as vocalist Sam Mangwana, who performed with the group between 1968 and 1970.
Share this page