Samba Ngo

Samba Ngo

BandWorldAcoustic

Samba Ngo's music can send a crowd into fits of dancing ecstasy. He is a master of sebene - the element of Congolese music that enchants listeners with driving layers of guitar and call-and-response choruses.

Biography

The music of Samba Ngo exudes a healing power that must be experienced to be understood. Rooted in traditional Congolese sounds, Ngo is a master of sebene - the characteristic element of Congolese music that enchants and entrances listeners with driving layers of guitar, and call-and-response choruses. Between songs, he incites passion with his own brand of encouragement: "C'est bon!" and "Let's dance now, because tomorrow who knows?"

Ngo, the son of an herbal doctor, was born in the tiny village of Dibulu, in the center of what is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. His father, the village's only nganga (doctor), treated the sick (and often insane) with herbs and music in his healing rituals. Ngo learned the natural healing power of music by watching his father, and soon began playing the likembe (also known as a kalimba or thumb piano) and guitar.

At 13, he left his village and moved to Brazzaville, Congo, where he joined a band called Echo Noire, which quickly achieved acclaim in Africa and Europe. He formed his own band, African Rhythms in 1970, and one year later created the group M’Bamina with Nkouka Batenda and Father Christian De La Bretesche. With M’Bamina, Ngo toured worldwide and recorded nine albums. During his 14-year stint with the band, Ngo also worked in Paris as a producer and musical director for Paco Rabanne.

In 1986, he moved to California to begin a solo career. He formed his own band, the Ngoma Players, and released his first solo album, Introspection, in 1990. His 18th album, Metamorphosis, maintains a distinctly African sound, and offers listeners some irresistibly danceable music. His most recent album, Ndoto, showcases his kalimba-like guitar style and expressive voice. Ndoto's lyrics, sung in French, English, Lingala and Kikongo, explore the meaning of love and create an almost spiritual ambiance.

Ngo's music, and the spiritual impetus behind it, makes his sound unique and magical. In a world that's increasingly unpredictable, where greed and violence dominate and differences in culture, race, age and economic status create barriers instead of bridges, Ngo's music restores hope. Ngo's sacred gift, taught by his simple but profoundly wise father, is the healing power of sound and rhythm. His admonishment, "Let's dance today, because tomorrow who knows?" implores us to let the beautiful and rhythmic forces present in his music break down all barriers and find joy in the moment. And that's, as Ngo would say, "C'est bon!"

Lyrics

Ndoto

Written By: Samba Ngo

Everytime I dream,
I see your shadow
Speaking to my shadow
Without words
Everytime, in my dreams,
I see your body
Speaking to my body
Without words
I see you and me
Enjoying ourselves
Without words
(English Translation)

Butche

Written By: Samba Ngo

When is the light going to come?
It's been dark too long
(English Translation)

Sa Ntima

Written By: Samba Ngo

Since the day of our birth
We have only judged one another
We haven't been involved.
The world is filled with problems.
The each is hiding the secret
of its beginnings.
You are a child of the Earth like me.
Hope
Turn on the light
You will see who I am.
(English Translation)

Discography

1968 C'est un Fantome, Disque Akueson
1969 Kyrie Paean, SM
1970 Bopolichi, Phillips
1971 Taganyka, Barclay
1974 Africa Roll, Barclay
1978 Experimental, Fiesta
1979 Muniengue Muniengue,
Tama Production
1980 Katanga, Paco Rabanne
1980 Attention, Paco Rabanne
1980 Dende, Paco Rabanne
1981 M'Bamina Experimental,
Paco Rabanne
1982 Reflection, Paco Rabanne
1983 Energy, lad Congo
1985 Tam Tam Pour l'Ethiopia, Celluloid
1986 Medicine (Ray Lema), Celluloid
1992 Introspection, Elingo
1999 Metamorphosis, Compass
2002 M’Bamina: Best of du Groupe Mythique, Bayelou Music
2003 Ndoto, Samba Ngo Productions

Ngo sings and plays on two Bill Summers' CDs, Headhunters: Evolution Revolution (Basin Street Records, 2003) and The Essence of Kwanzaa (Monkey Hill, 1997).

Ngo’s song "Sa Ntima (Hope)," from his 1990 album Introspection appears on the compilation Africa (Putumayo, 1999). Sa Ntima also appears on Ashkenaz
Celebrates 30 Years (Ashkenaz, 2003).

Ngo has songs on two compilations: Global Voices: A Vox Set (Music of the World, 1998) and African Heartbeat:
The Essential African Music Collection (Shanachie, 1998).

Set List

The length of sets will depend upon the venue and the requirements of the house.