Formed by a group of teenage students (including drummer Zicozaco Essabe, bass player Ndebo Bona, guitarist Tshomba Olivier Sawa and vocalists Dezzy Bkanga and Denis and Bruno Bonyeme) in October 1967 in Kinshasa, Congo (formally Zaire). Thu-Zaina (the name means ‘person’ or ‘friend’) were a bridge between the great Congolese orchestras of Franco and Tabu Ley and the new wave bands of the Zaiko Langa Langa family. Following early support from Tabu Ley, the group made their live debut in 1968 at Le Marinal in Kinshasa. They became regular performers at La Jeunesse Montante, weekend afternoon fashion and music events for young people, where their mix of Congolese music, rumba, ‘jerk’ and R&B made them very popular. They recorded their first releases for Philips Records in 1969. The band enjoyed several hits on various labels over the next few years. As they were still students the band rarely travelled abroad, concentrating their energies instead on the local scene where they received the patronage of Franco with whom they signed a contract in 1970. However in 1972 the contract expired and the politics and in-fighting of the Kinshasa music scene began to take its toll on the band. They continued in spite of line-up changes, finally disbanding in 1974. Coup De Chapeau is a collection of hits from throughout their career and, with its mix of melodic tunes and ringing guitars, offers a valuable record of a band who exemplified a transitionary period in Congolese pop.
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