The great Congolese guitar tradition continues with Jeannot Bel from Kinshasa. His album titled Kuetumbari is an infectious collection of dazzling guitar-driven rumba and soukous. Jeannot Bel’s detailed guitar solos and innovative patterns enrich the lively dance beats from Congo.
Jeannot Bel (stage name) grew up in Kinshasa and started to play the guitar inspired by Dr Niko, Luambo Makiadi, Pepe Felix and Tshimpaka Roxy. He played his first gigs at age 14, performing with bands fronted by Lassa Carlito (OK Jazz), Debaba (Viva la musica).
As he developed his guitar skills, Jeannot Bel also studied music technology at University of West London. He began touring with Kanda Bongo Man and eventually moved from Kinshasa to London.
In the UK, Jeannot Bel recorded with Debaba and many African musicians such as Lazare (Alpha Blondy pianist) and Massamba (Africa International).
He is currently a widely respected guitarist and is teaching African music lovers how to play soukous and Congolese rumba guitar.
Kuetumbari highlights the fascinating sounds of the Congolese guitar style performed by one of the current maestros, Jeannot Bel.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.