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Songs for the Poorman
Remmy Ongala
Songs for the Poorman
Genres: World Music, Pop, Latin Music
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Remmy Ongala is a household name in Tanzania, and his fame has spread worldwide with Songs for the Poorman. Born in Eastern Zaire (Congo), he was once a member of Kenya's fabled Orchestre Makassy, and his own sound is a bl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Remmy Ongala
Title: Songs for the Poorman
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Real World
Release Date: 4/23/1993
Genres: World Music, Pop, Latin Music
Styles: Africa, Caribbean & Cuba, Cuba, Rhumba
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 017046230520

Remmy Ongala is a household name in Tanzania, and his fame has spread worldwide with Songs for the Poorman. Born in Eastern Zaire (Congo), he was once a member of Kenya's fabled Orchestre Makassy, and his own sound is a blend of Congolese soukous with the lighter, funkier sounds of Kenya and Tanzania. Ringing guitar lines and loping bass lines counterpoint Ongala's soulful vocals on eight songs concerning serious topics such as poverty, injustice, death, and, of course, human passion. Both danceable and intelligently listenable, his music is validation for a culture where music is an integral force in everyday life. --Derek Rath

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CD Reviews

Tremendous! just tremendous music
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Remmy Ongala is just marvellous. A Zairean superstar who can change languages at the drop of a hat, he brought wonderful rumba-like music from Zaire to Tanzania. His music though sometimes political, is very deep and passionate. I will never forget the first cd of his that I bought, "Sema" This music whether you are African or European as I am is enough to die for. Remmy Ongala, Na kupenda sana asante!"
An absolute MASTERPIECE of World/Afro-Pop music
Holten Norris ( | New York City area | 11/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I nearly fell off my chair when I first heard Ongala's music; if you're a fan of any type of World, Soukous, African or Afro-Pop music styles, this up tempo cd is a MUST have. What makes this music so incredible and original is that in addition to Ongala's deeply passionate and soulful singing, it combines a magical Soukous guitar style with an almost latin/afro-cuban percussion sound. This cd also has a really great raw, edgy, roots type feel, at times danceable, but less commerial sounding than most contemporary Afro-Pop. Almost every song is excellent with very little filler or repetitive sounding material. Suprisingly, the All Music Guide (AMG) doesn't even rank this as Ongala's best release; its hard to imagine though how Ongala could top this brilliant masterpiece! Maybe the best thing about this music, and Soukous styles in general, is how uplifting, optimistic, and hopeful it makes one feel, an instant antidote for gloom and depression. If you like Ongala, you should also definitely check out the Soukous sound of Kanda Bongo Man's titles, "Amour Fou/Crazy Love" and "Best of", more instant Prozac for the soul."
An essential African staple
Sean M. Kelly | Portland, Oregon United States | 04/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"More than the hundreds of other African oriented cds and albums that I own, this album is one that I keep going back to for inspiration and fun. Ongala's vocals are just the tip of the iceberg on this lp. His words speak volumes as to his existence, and that of countless others around him. The passion he exudes leaves no doubt that he is fully in tune with all that is around him.As if the lyrics weren't enough, you have the music itself. His wonderful blend of soukous (a common brand of East African rhythms akin to zouk music of the Caribbean) spearheads the LIFE that permeates this album. His use of horns reminds the listener of Fela Kuti's bands of the late 70's and early 80's- the power of the horns on several of the tracks steals the show.Ongala's lps are a great introduction to the music of East Africa, complete with the soukous guitar styles and horns- all commonplace in this part of the world. More importantly, this lp will bring you joy and an appreciation of music. It is the universal language, to be sure. As Frank Zappa so often said- "Music is the best!""