The Queen of Mutwashi soldiers on

Today, the Congolese Parliament has a female artist. To many of her fans, Tshala Muana is not only the indisputable Queen of the Mutwashi dancing style but also a respected nominated Member of Parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Voted Best Female Artiste from Central Africa during Kora All Africa Music Awards (2003), it was the late Congolese President Laurent Desire Kabila who first nominated Muana for a parliamentary seat in recognition of her role in advancing the feminine cause. However, during that time the masses thought it was one of Kabila’s political appointees, in a bid to buy the masses as veteran Kanda Bongo Man was also made Minister during the same time. As is the case with veteran Tabu Ley, now the Kinshasa deputy Mayor, President Joseph Kabila retained Tshala as a nominated MP. Last year, the 48-year old Tshala was in the forefront of reconciliation talks among Congolese musicians JB Mpiana, Koffi Olomide, Werra Son, Felix Wazekwa and others at the Congolese president’s palace. However, despite this effort, the parties have gone back to their usual rivalry, which their fans love. She has held on to her music, releasing a new album Tshikuna Fou as a follow up to Malu. According to recent reports from Kinshasa, Tshala is vigorously promoting the new single through guest appearances at live shows. Unlike most of her counterparts, Tshala has always preferred to record most of her songs in her native Luba language of Eastern DRC. The songbird comes from the Kasai region as did the late solo guitar wizard “Dr” Nico Kasanda who will be remembered as one of Africa’s best guitarists with the group African Jazz and later African Feista Sukisa. Tshala once recorded some material with Werra Son, surprising fans who thought she would throw her weight behind Mpiana who hails from Kasai. In East Africa, her fans still adore her for her Karibu Yangu and Dezo Dezo (originally by Ndala Kasheba). Other popular songs by Tshala include Ndeko ya Samuel, Lwatu and Kokola. She was voted Best Female Artiste from Central Africa during Kora All Africa Music Awards (2003). With the General elections now round the corner in DRC, Tshala is among those in the frontline of a campaign to unite artistes prior to the elections.

March 2006
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