Shiko Mawatu

Shiko Mawatu


Shiko has mastered the Congolese finger-style guitar, popularized by the legendary Franco. Shiko also collaborated with Madilu System, who was also with Franco’s TP OK Jazz, but sadly passed away. Fortunately, this popular rumba guitar style lives on with Shiko.



Shiko Mawatu grew up in a family where music came naturally. His father was an accomplished accordion player and his two brothers Bunda Mawatu and Rocky Lisasu sang for the Simba Band in Kinshasa. With a musical upbringing, Shiko Mawatu experienced many musical influences in his native city of Kinshasa, Congo. In his early teens, he exercised his writing ambitions by collaborating with Veve Verckys Kiamuangana, the famous Congolese producer & musician who had discovered Shiko as a young talent.

Still in his teens, he formed the band “Le Paty – Bana Ngenge” with his friends Aziza and Tofolo, both gifted musicians in their own right. They collaborated and performed Shiko’s originals at local venues for years. He, then, decided to pursue a solo career to better express his talent as an arranger, songwriter, and singer. Later, he discovered a talent and singer Vonga Aye and together, they began working with the famous saxophonist Empopo Loway to form a band with Vonga Aye as their female lead vocalist. They all worked with the guitar legend Dr. Nico Kasanda Wa Mikalayi, who then took them to Europe to record their first album, “Bonbon Kojak.” The success Shiko had achieved as a guitar player, a songwriter and an arranger had put him on the map in the musical community of Kinshasa, well before the European trip. Upon his return to Congo, Shiko discovered Malage De Lugendo, who later became Franco Luambo Makiadi’s protégé and Zaiko Langa Langa’s main vocalist. Mawatu continued his streak of discovering new talents such as Deese Mukangi and many others along his musical journey through life.

He returned to Europe in 1990 in search of new influences and collaborations with other gifted musicians. He performed with Theo Lolango and an American, David Hoffman in Rome, to experiment with new sounds and techniques. In 2000, The Soukous Stars, comprised of legendary artists like Lokassa Ya Mbongo, Canta Nyboma, Shimita Diego and the Professor Ngouma Lokito retained his services as a lead guitar player and also as music director for the group. However, this famous songwriter did not perform or record his original materials with Soukous Stars but gave them the best of himself, non-the-less. Mawatu decided to make 2007 a year of his original songs on record for the first time ever.

Embracing an effortless eloquence and cocoa butter smooth persona, Shiko Mawatu and his original songs have brought back the true meaning of Congo Rumba. Like his musical spiritual godfather Franco Luambo Makiadi, this Kinshasa native combines magical fingers on his guitar and an incredible writing style that captures the vibe of vintage Congo Rumba without being old fashioned. On his debut solo album entitled Kimbanda Nzila, his experience, maturity and amazing talent come through loud and clear!

“It’s always been my goal to try and bring back real Congo Rumba,” Shiko says. “When I was younger, it was all about the inner feeling. From the first time I ever stepped into a studio, my dream was to pick-up where the Grand Master Franco Luambo Makiadi left off.” While Shiko Mawatu’s aspirations might have seemed like a lofty ambition, the longevity of his career, his experience and patience are testaments to the purity of his vision.

With the release of Kimbanda Nzila, Shiko’s first album, he vies to be the next “quiet storm” king or crooner of Congo Rumba in a country where fame and stardom is a monopoly of a few among thousands of great musicians. It’s logical given the fact that he creates beautiful music several years after the death of Franco Luambo Makiadi. Like Luambo Makiadi and his T.P O.K. before him, Shiko’s musical genius shines bright in his quest to create eternally soulful music. “I wasn’t always completely satisfied as an artist with the situation of writing and arranging for others,” Shiko confesses. Having collaborated, written and arranged songs for renowned Congolese artists like Madilu Systeme, Josky Kiambukuta, Tshala Muana, Faya Tess and the late Pepe Kalle before making his own album, Mawatu has proven time, and time again, that he is more than ready.

Without a doubt, the landscape of Congo music is getting younger, but that fact does not hinder Shiko Mawatu’s creative process. “It would be a mistake for me to try and compete with younger singers and musicians,” Shiko says. “I’m not going to be dancing without my shirt on TV, but at the same time I believe my songs will appeal to everyone from teenagers to older folks.”

“As a songwriter my biggest challenge has always been finding new ways to say old things,” Shiko Mawatu says. “For me, it was all about telling a story and exploring my environment, where I come from and where I am going. Like everywhere else in the world, my environment is a much different place than what it used to be 15 years ago.”

On the album’s first song “Ntaba Ya Bandundu,” Mawatu brings forth the issue of infidelity in marriages in African communities awa



Producer: Euloge Makombo, iMak Entertainment, New York.
Label: Lubangi Muniania, Tabilulu Productions, New Jersey.

Kimbanda Nzila is also on a humanitarian project in the Congo by contributing to the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation (DMF). A portion of the sale proceeds will help to keep the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa going. The DMF has also acquired the song “AFRIQUE” composed and rendered by Shiko Mawatu, as its official website introductory song.

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This CD is available in Stores and Online including:

1. Sterns USA
2. Virgin Records Megastore
4. iTunes
5. MSN Music
6. CD Baby
7. Rhapsody
8. Barnes and Nobles
9. CD Universe

Set List

Eleven (11) Songs

Track Number / Song Name
01 Ntaba Ya Bandundu
02 Kupanda
03 Moziki
04 Dani Mamani
05 Kimbanda Nzila
06 Allo Allo
07 Terminus
08 Lavandier
09 Un Etat Dans Un Etat
10 Didi
11 Afrique