THE STORY OF OUR BAND
African Ngwasuma (formerly Lokito Ya Congo) was founded by the multi instrumentalist Congolese musician: Renato Mondele in 2001 to promote soukous, the popular music of his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since its foundation, our band has been invited to several major festivals, released numerous CD's and has become a regular representative of Congolese music in the African Clubs of London. We tour regularly not just inland but internationally too. We play every Friday and Sunday night at Maestro Bar, 45, Deptford Broadway, London but we are frequently invited to play at other clubs within and outside London.
Our band had been known by the name: Lokito Ya Congo until June 2016, when we decided to change it to African Ngwasuma. When you are searching for our history, the former name is the one by which you can find us!
Renato comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he grew up in Lulu Toto, Bas Congo province. He attended School in Tumba Kunda Dia Zayi then moved to the capital: Kinshasa, where he began playing the guitar and soon became a professional guitarist. He started his career in local bands namely Lunda Freska, Monde Arabe and Stuning Mangenda.
The first big step in his career was between 1993-1999 when he was with band the 'Big Stars' of the legendary Congolese singer Defao Matumona popularly known as General Defao. The Big Stars Band was one of the most popular formations on the contemporary music scene in Kinshasa, where Renato contributed his talent on albums such as 'Sala Noki' and 'Amour Interdit.' In his time with The Big Stars Band, Renato toured Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cameroun, Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and all over the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also played in cooperation with other famous Congolese stars such as Mbilia Bel.
In 1999, Renato started to work on solo projects whilst still working with Defao's Big Stars band.
In 2001, he moved to London, United Kingdom, and started his own band called African Ngwasuma, that means: 'The Boom of Congo.' Besides that, as a session musician, he contributed on the albums of Kanda Bongo Man, another Congolese music icon now living in the United Kingdom, too. Renato accompanied Kanda Bongoman at music programmes like the Jools Hollands programme on BBC and at music festivals notably Glastonbury and Womad.
By 2003, Renato became a multi talented musician, he learnt drumming and singing too.
The philosophy behind this was that he wanted to arrange everything properly in his band and wanted to be a good band leader who can supervise every segment in it to maintain a professional level.
All of African Ngwasuma's musicians are experienced musicians. Renato carefully selects his bandmates, some also previously played in famous Congolese bands, like the bassist, Claude Bula, who played in the famous Choc Stars and also in The Big Stars.
In 2009, Renato decided to give back to his community in Congo, so he went and assembled a band from scratch after rigorous auditions. After some rapid rehearsals with his new band in Kinshasa, Renato performed some 'explosive' shows before returning to London.
Renato is not only a musician and band leader, he is also devoted to hand over his knowledge to the future generations and it is for this reason that he provides tuition in guitar including solo, rythm and bass guitar, drumming and singing. If you are interested in attending his lessons, click here for more information and to contact him.
Our band is ready to tour locally or internationally at any time of the year to play at big festivals, in smaller events, in clubs, on weddings, birthday parties, etc. If you ever wanted to invite an African band to your celebration, we are glad to perform a fantastic and joyful concert for you! Check our videos to listen to the music we play. You can find our contacts for booking in the Contact menu!
Members of the band:
Renato Mondele: Vocalist, Guitarist, Drummer
Ramos: Vocalist, Drummer
Shaber: Guitarist, Vocalist
Claude: Bass Guitarist
Fiston Mpiana: Drummer
Kas Kasongo: Vocalist
Nkosi Kibota - 2004
La Rumba Congolaise - 2007
Kindingindanga - 2008
Sala Makasi Nayo - 2014