Tabu Ley Rochereau & Orchestra Afrisa International | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tabu Ley Rochereau & Orchestra Afrisa International 

For over two decades Zairiain singer-composer-bandleader Tabu Ley Rochereau has been a superstar in Africa--and, along with guitarist-bandleader Franco, is one of the two reigning masters of the soukous or Congolese music that has be come a mainstay of pan-African popular culture. Soukous is basically a romantic dance music in which a skipping, driving rhumbalike beat punctuated by staccato horn blasts forms a setting for the singer's extended meditations on life and love, sung in Lingala or French. It bears a detectable resemblance to salsa, and is also the original source of the chiming, twinkling guitar style later appropriated by Nigerian juju musicians like Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade. Rochereau is not only a world-class funkateer but also one of the world's great soul singers, who achieves his distinction not through power but through his mastery of a distinctive melodic lilt, turning notes and phrases in a dulcet croon that in the U.S. might find a rough analogue in the work of Sam Cooke or Al Green. Rochereau's act, which I can hardly wait to see, is reportedly structured not unlike an old-fashioned American R & B revue, with the bandleader periodically stepping aside to let his proteges take turns fronting the formidable Orchestra Afrisa International. All of which promises to offer not only a great deal of melodic and polyrhythmic interest, but also an excellent remedy for the February blahs, if you need it. Tonight and Saturday, 9 PM, Central American Club, 4001 N. Broadway; 978-1530, 508-5301, 684-1345, or 348-2978.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stuart Napier.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

More by Renaldo Migaldi

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
July 15
Performing Arts
March 21

Popular Stories