Congo’s first Guitar God: Henri Bowane


This a bonzer record.

Henri Bowane was a founding father of that strain of African music that has now become a heritage of the entire music loving world, soukous. He was a guitarist who played with Wendo Kolosy one of the early proponents and creators of Congolese rumba which later morphed, in the riverside and dark alley clubs of Kinshasa and Brazzaville, into the soukous.

Indeed, so influential was Bowane that we should recall a few of his many accomplishments.

1)He was arguably the first guitar god of Congo, playing long free-twirling lines that came to be known as sebene (seven) in reference to the 7th chord. Discos and dance parties where Bowane played would be interrupted mid-solo by shouts of “Sebene! Sebene!”

2) He was Franco’s first boss and mentor, again arguably, being labeled the man who ‘discovered’ Congo’s greatest guitar player.

3) He owned Kinshasa’s first Cadillac.

Not a bad resume if you ask me.

In the mid-70’s he recorded his sole solo album, which is what he share tonight. What a snorter. What a ripper. What a joy. Rumba, soukous and even an English language mid-60’s heavy garage grinder, are the delights you’ll discover here.

Go forth and listen. (Be prepared to grin!)

Double Take -Tala Kaka

Track Listing

01 Sam Ba No

02 Cherie Natou

03 Natali Nato

04 Fou-Nous-La-Paix

05 Monoko Ya Mboka

06 Marie Louise

07 Wabon’kum Blues



5 thoughts on “Congo’s first Guitar God: Henri Bowane

  1. Barron

    This is really choice. Despite having collected Congolese music for several year, this guy was new to me. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Trio Beros – Bana Conga / Mambo La Roffia (Esengo 101) | Blues And Jazz 78s

  3. Lesego Bowane

    I wish to have met him, sadly he passed on when I was only 2years. No wonder the gift of music in our family, a foundation was laid by him.


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